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The Bristol Sycamore

can fly again

It's done: the Bristol Sycamore can officially fly again! The helicopter, which has been part of the Flying Bulls fleet since 2010, obtained type approval on 1 February 2016 from Austro Control. The helicopter is thus approved for use in air traffic again. With the serial number 13745, it is the only flying Sycamore in the world!

The first civilian registration was D-HALD in the seventies, once it had been decommissioned from the German Armed Forces. The Sycamore was last registered under HB-RXB in Switzerland and completed its last flight there on 20 June 2006.

The Flying Bulls have now made the helicopter, which was built in 1957, able to fly again after many hours of work. During this time, Dieter Hasebrink, a former technician at the German Armed Forces and certified Sycamore specialist, was on hand to provide advice and assistance. This difficult and laborious project was completed with his help.

The registration process was also very laborious. Type approval was necessary, because this type of helicopter had never previously been registered by the Austrian aviation authorities. In order to gain the certificate confirming it is able to fly, numerous stipulations and parameters had to be fulfilled. This proved to be a major challenge for the Flying Bulls team, because there were also no longer any licensed pilots or technicians. A test programme was thus created together with Austro Control, which started on 2 July 2013 with a 15-minute hovering flight carried out by Siegfried "Blacky" Schwarz.

The further flight tests took 15 flight hours and included 30 landings. In addition to this programme, the technicians also had many other things to do. There were numerous repairs, the canopy glass was replaced, and the Alvis Leonides radial engine, the rotor blades, aviation electronics, the tanks and trim pumps were all worked on.

All this work, the many working hours and the necessary flight hours the long process up to the point of type approval were worth it: the Bristol Sycamore can now rise into the air with the registration OE-XSY – the only one of its type in the world.