HC Deb 29 October 1956 vol 558 c1039
1. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Supply what progress has been made in the development under the auspices of his Department of the combined airliner and helicopter, the Fairey Rotodyne ; and what are its chief characteristics.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Reginald Maudling)

The Rotodyne is propelled in forward cruising flight by two Napier Eland turbo prop engines which are mounted in short fixed wings. Lift for vertical flight and hovering is provided by a rotor which is powered by tip jet units drawing compressed air from the main engines. In cruising flight the rotor free wheels and the lift is shared with the fixed wings. The Rotodyne, when developed, is expected to carry about forty passengers over stage lengths of 350–400 miles, at a cruising speed of about 170 miles an hour.

Progress continues with the design and construction of the two prototypes ordered by my Department and the first is now nearing completion.

Mr. Dodds

Can the Minister give any information as to when it is anticipated that the Rotodyne will be available for use in inter-city travel?

Mr. Maudling

It would be unwise to predict when it will appear actually in operation on routes, but I hope that the first prototype will fly reasonably early next year.