HC Deb 07 July 1954 vol 529 c2139
27. Mr. Dodds

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what provision is being made to increase the numbers of helicopter pilots.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Mr. George Ward)

Arrangements have been made to ensure that our plans for increasing the Royal Air Force's helicopter strength are matched by a corresponding output of qualified pilots. Helicopter pilots will continue to be trained under civil contract and, in addition, a small Royal Air Force training unit will shortly be set up.

Mr. Dodds

As it is inevitable that the Army will be requiring many helicopters in the immediate future, will the hon. Gentleman state whether his Department is making preparations for the necessary helicopter pilots?

Mr. Ward

As I told the hon. Member on 19th May, we have outstanding orders for about 100 helicopters, of which about a half should be delivered by the middle of next year. We shall, of course, train pilots to keep pace with these deliveries.