HC Deb 02 February 1953 vol 510 cc1448-9
2. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Supply what progress has been made in the production of a 23-seater aircraft which embodies characteristics of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aeroplane; what are the special features of the aircraft; and if it is to be used in the proposed helicopter passenger network in this country.

Mr. Sandys

The hon. Member is, I believe, referring to the Fairey rotodyne principle. This uses turbine compressors to feed air to jet propulsion units mounted on the tips of rotor blades. These provide lift for ascent and descent. Far forward flight, the air is fed into turbo-propeller engines mounted on small wings —the rotor being left free to auto-rotate. By this method it is hoped to combine the manoeuvrability of a helicopter with the higher cruising speeds of a fixed-wing aircraft. This work is still in the early development stage.

Mr. Dodds

As this is a revolutionary idea which may have great possibilities, can the Minister assure us that his Department are giving every assistance to make it a practical proposition as soon as possible?

Mr. Sandys

That is what we are doing.