October Lecture 2015 (1)

“100 Years of Aircraft Manufacture at Yeovil”

Thursday 8th October 2015

Lecture Starts at 7.30 pm

Speaker: Dr Alisdair Wood
Customer Support and Service UK Chief Service Engineer, AgustaWestland

Location: Lecture Theatre ‘0’, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ.

Lecture Synopsis

Several UK aerospace companies can trace their roots back to the origins of aircraft manufacture in this country but only one has produced aircraft continuously for 100 years and has made the successful transition from building fixed-wing aircraft to helicopters – Westland. Unsurprisingly it has a fascinating history.

Already well steeped in Yeovil’s history, the Petter family entered aircraft manufacture in 1915 when the brothers Percival and Ernest Petter founded the Westland Aircraft Company, beginning with Short seaplanes before building one of their own, the Wagtail, in 1917. In the inter-war years they continued to build successful aircraft, notably the Wapiti, continuing into the Second World War aircraft such as the Lysander and mass production of Spitfires and Seafires . Their last fixed-wing aircraft, the Wyvern, was not as successful and Westlands maintained their existence by undertaking aircraft repair.

The turning point in their fortunes came with the partnership with Sikorsky which produced aircraft such as the Dragonfly, Whirlwind, Wessex & Sea King. The acquisition of Saunders-Roe produced the Wasp but the Lynx, which still holds the world helicopter speed record and versions of which are still in production today, was a purely Westland design. Partnerships though have been the foundation of Westland’s success, the latest with Agusta producing the EH101 Merlin and AW101.

Light Refreshments served from 19:00.

Visitors Welcome, No Booking Required.