UK Helicopter Museum
Many excellent aviation and military museums can be found all over Britain, the Helicopter museum in Somerset is no exception. The museum owns a large collection of helicopters from all over the world including seven Soviet models. Manufactured by Mil are the Mi-1, Mi-2, Mi-4, Mi-8 and Mi-24D, there are also a Kamov Ka-26 and a Polish build Swidnik SM-2 on display.
Locking Moor Road
Wed - Sun 10:00 - 16:30
A great museum in Somerset
Comtourist were in Somerset in 2008 and had the change to visit the Helicopter Museum near Weston-super-Mare. Finding the museum is easy as it is located directly on the A371 motorway. The museum has a total collection of 80 helicopters from all over the world, attractively displayed in a large hangar. Exhibition highlights are the Mi-24D Hind from the East German army, a Czechoslovakian Mi-4 and a Kamov Ka-26 with Interchangeable cabin from the East German airline Interflug. The Helicopter Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 16:30 all year. Comtourist is delighted with the large amount of Soviet helicopters in the museum collection and recommends visiting the museum to all aviation enthusiasts.
Mil Mi-1 Hare
WSK Swidnik SM-2
A Polish build PZL Swidnik SM-1 variant of the Soviet Mil Mi-2 presented as a Mi-1 with Soviet markings. This helicopter served in the Polish Air Force from 1959 to 1990 mainly used for pilot training.
Polish derivative of the Soviet Mi-1 build in 1961 at Swidnik for the Polish Air Force. The SM-2 was withdrawn from service at the end of the 1970s, most models were scrapped and very few helicopters have survived today.
Mil Mi-2 Hoplite
Mil Mi-8PS Hip
The Mi-2 is a mass produced Soviet helicopter of which more then 5200 have been built since 1966. This helicopter was built in Poland at the PZL-Swidnik plant like the Mi-1 and the SM-2 of the museum.
The Mil M-8PS was not yet displayed in the public exhibition hall of the museum during our visit. The museum’s Mi-8 is a rare VIP variant build to transport VIP’s for the Polish 36 Special Air Transport Regiment.
Mil Mi-4 Hound
The Mil Mi-4 Hound is a transport helicopter that closely resembles the American H-19 Chickasaw actively used by the US Army during the Korean War. In 1951 Stalin demanded a similar transport helicopter that had to be operational in 12 months. More then 3000 Mi-4s were built in the next 15 years to serve in the Soviet and Warsaw pact forces and fulfil civilian tasks for Aeroflot. The Mi-4 of the museum was build in the 1950s and last served with the Czechoslovak Air Force, it was delivered to the museum in 1992.
Mil Mi-24D Hind
The Mi-24D ground attack helicopter is undoubtedly the star of the Helicopter Museum collection. It is located on the centre of the hangar with multiple observation platforms allowing a good look at this Soviet monster. The Hind became famous for its role in the Afghan War, they were initially very successful but losses mounted when the Americans started to supply the Mujahideen with Stinger service to air missiles. The Hind is armed with a Yakushev-Borzov YakB-12.7 mm remotely controlled 12.7x108mm calibre four-barrel Gatling gun mounts for Falanga anti-tank missiles and wing pods for 80 rockets. There is also original ground service equipment displayed including a gasoline tank and munitions crates. More then 350 Mi-24D helicopters were build at factories in Arsenyev and Rostov on Don. The Hind of the Helicopter museum was build in 1981 and belonged to the East German army based in Basephol. The united German government disbanded the Hind squadrons in 1992 and this helicopter was donated to the Helicopter Museum.
Kamov Ka-26 Hoodlum
The Kamov Ka-26 Hoodlum is one of the most interesting and innovative helicopters displayed in the museum. This Soviet build light utility helicopter has two co-axial rotors and an interchangeable cabin, 600 Ka-26 helicopters were built. The museum aircraft was built in 1973 in Russia as a utility and crop spraying helicopter. It was later owned by the East German National airline Interflug. The interchangeable unit behind the cockpit allows quick conversion from crop spraying to passenger carrying or crane lifting.
Famous US Helicopters from the cold war
Most of the helicopters in the museum are British models mainly produced by Westland, there are also some interesting American helicopters that are now Cold War icons. The most famous US Cold War helicopters are probably the Bell H-13 Sioux and the Bell UH-1H Iroquois. The Bell H-13 Sioux became an icon of the Korean War as a result of its prominent role as transport helicopter for wounded soldiers in the famous 1970s American television series M*A*S*H. The Bell UH-1H Iroquois, better known as the Huey became famous during the Vietnam War were it transported soldiers to and from the frontline.