HC Deb 27 June 1951 vol 489 c1364
33. Wing Commander Hulbert

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to what extent he is encouraging the development and use of helicopters; and what is his present programme.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Beswick)

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply of 25th June by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply on the development of helicopters. As regards their civil use my noble Friend is encouraging all the experimental flying necessary, consistent with the present state of development of the helicopter and the resources available. The present programme is focussed on the work of the British European Airways Helicopter Experimental Unit, which is mainly financed by the Exchequer, and includes the operation of an experimental service between the London airports and Birmingham.

Wing Commander Hulbert

Does the hon. Gentleman's Department propose to increase the internal helicopter services during the present year?

Mr. Beswick

Not during the present year.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

In view of the fact that London and Birmingham are well served with transport of all kinds, could not this form of transport be supplied to places where it would be far more important, such as the Highlands and Islands of Scotland?

Mr. Beswick

As I have previously explained, it is not safe to operate a passenger service over water with a singleengined helicopter. When twin-engined helicopters are available the situation will be different.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the Parliamentary Secretary able to make any further statement as to the provision of a helicopter landing stage over Charing Cross railway station?

Mr. Beswick

No, Sir.