PRESS RELEASE – After careful consideration by its Collections Review and Disposals Recipient Selection Committees, the RAF Museum is pleased to announce the transfer of Saro Skeeter AOP.12 XM555 to North East Land Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM).The Skeeter is a two-seat training and scout helicopter which was produced by Saunders-Roe (“Saro”) of Cowes and Southampton. It has the distinction of being the first helicopter to be used by the British Army Air Corps (AAC) and several Skeeter AOP.12s were operated by the Central Flying School of the Royal Air Force.
This particular example was ordered in 1957 and its service history was primarily with the AAC. After being declared non-effective in the late 1960’s it was allocated to various RAF stations across the country for training or display purposes before finding a home in the early 1980’s at the Aerospace Museum RAF Cosford – now RAF Museum Cosford. In 2003 it was transported to the Museum’s London site for display before entering storage in 2010 (for full aircraft history see below).Ian Thirsk, Head of Collections RAF Museum: “We are delighted to have found such a worthy home for the Skeeter in NELSAM and look forward to building our relationship with them. The Museum’s disposal policy reflects our on-going commitment to carry out disposals in a responsible and ethical manner and after due consideration on a variety of bids we deemed NELSAM to be well suited. We wish them the very best of luck and look forward to seeing the Skeeter on public display soon.”
Dr Hugh Newell Chairman NELSAM: “The recent expansion of the museum is designed to explain the extremes changes in the development of transport during the 20th Century by presenting as complete a range of exhibits both civil and military as we can display. The Saro Skeeter represents the introduction of the helicopter into the air observation role of the British Army and the acquisition of the helicopter greatly enhances our ability to describe the fusion of land and air assets in our military collection. We are extremely grateful to the RAF Museum for this gift to enhance our displays.”