In 1915 the Westland Aircraft Works was founded as a division of Petters Limited in response to government orders for the construction under licence of initially 12 Short Type 184 seaplanes, followed by 20 Short Type 166 aircraft. Orders for other aircraft followed during WW1, including the Sopwith 1½ Strutter, the de Havilland-designed Airco DH.4, Airco DH.9 and Airco DH.9A and the Vickers Vimy. Resulting from the experience gained in manufacturing aircraft under licence, Westland began to design and build its own aircraft, starting with the Westland N.1B in 1917, which was followed in 1918 by the Wagtail and the Weasel. In 1935 Petters split its aircraft manufacturing from its aircraft engine concerns to form Westland Aircraft Limited, based in Yeovil, Somerset. WW2 designs and production included the Whirlwind, the Lysander and the Welkin. For much of WW2 their factories were used to build Supermarine Spitfires, after the Supermarine factory in Southampton was bombed out of action during the Battle of Britain; indeed Westlands built more Spitfires than any other manufacturer. Westland would then go on to be the major designers of the Supermarine Seafire, a navalised conversion of the Spitfire. The Westland Wyvern was a post-war design of carrier-based strike-fighter for the Fleet Air Arm serving up to 1958. Post-war the company decided to get out of fixed-wing aircraft and concentrate solely on helicopters under a licensing agreement with Sikorsky. Production started with the Sikorsky S-51, which became the Dragonfly, flying for the first time in 1948, and entering service with the Royal Navy and RAF in 1953. Westland developed an improved version the Widgeon which was not a great success. Success with the Dragonfly was repeated with the Sikorsky S-55 which became the Whirlwind, and a re-engined Sikorsky S-58 in both turboshaft and turbine engine powered designs as the Wessex. The helicopter divisions of Bristol, Fairey and Saunders-Roe (with their hovercraft) were merged with Westland to form Westland Helicopters in 1961.
Sea King HU5
Westland WS-61 Sea King HU5, XV705, of UK - Navy.
Hovering over the main runway, of Prestwick Airpo...