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Bristol Type 173 & Type 192 Belvedere

Bristol Type 173

The Bristol Type 173 was a British twin-engine, 

Tandem rotor transport helicopter.

It was designed by Raoul Hafner as a civil transport helicopter but evoked interest from the military.

Bristol Type 192 Belvedere

It did not enter production but was developed into the 

Bristol Belvedere which was operated by the Royal Air Force from 1961 to 1969.

The Bristol Type 192 Belvedere is a British twin-engine, tandem rotor military helicopter.

It was designed by Raoul Hafner for a variety of transport roles including troop transport, supply dropping and casualty evacuation.

It was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1961 to 1969.

The Belvedere was Britain’s only tandem rotor helicopter to enter production, and one of the few not built by Piasecki or Boeing.

The Belvedere was based on the Bristol Type 173 10-seat (later 16-seat) helicopter which first flew on 3 January 1952.

The 173 project was cancelled in 1956, and Bristol spent time on the Type 191 and Type 193 to Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy specifications.

These two naval variants were cancelled, but the RAF expressed an interest in the aircraft and the Type 192 “Belvedere” was created.

Three Type 191 airframes were almost complete when the order was cancelled, but they were used to aid the development of the Type 192.

The first two were used as test rigs for the new Napier Gazelle engines and the third was used for fatigue tests.

The Type 192 shared some of its design features with the cancelled naval variants, which made it less than ideal for transporting troops.

The front undercarriage was unusually tall, originally designed to give adequate clearance for loading torpedoes underneath the fuselage in the anti-submarine warfare role.

This left the main passenger and cargo door 4 feet (1.2 m) above the ground.

The engines were placed at either end of the cabin. (By comparison the contemporary purpose-designed troop transport Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight had its engines above the aft cabin to permit a rear loading ramp).

To provide access to the cabin from the cockpit there was a small entry past the engine that resulted in a bulge on the left side of the fuselage.

The first Type 192 prototype XG447 flew on 5 July 1958 with tandem wooden rotor blades, a completely manual control system and a castored, fixed quadricycle undercarriage.

From the fifth prototype, the rotors fitted were all-metal, four-bladed units.

Production model controls and instruments allowed night operations.

The prototype machines had an upwards-hinged main passenger and cockpit door, which was prone to being slammed shut by the downwash from the rotors.

This was replaced by a sliding door on the later aircraft.

Twenty-six Belvederes were built, entering service as the Belvedere HC Mark 1.

They were originally designed for use with the Royal Navy but were later adapted to carry 18 fully equipped troops with a total load capacity of 6,000 lb (2,700 kg).

The two rotors were synchronised through a shaft to prevent blade collision, allowing the aircraft to operate through only one engine in the event of an emergency.

In that case, the remaining engine would automatically run up to double power to compensate.


Type 173 Mk 1

First prototype.

Type 173 Mk 2

Second prototype.

Type 173 Mk 3

Three more prototypes for military evaluation with four-bladed rotors.

Type 191

Projected naval version. Never flown; first two aircraft used as Gazelle ground test rigs for Type 192.

Type 192

Military transport helicopter for the Royal Air Force, named Belvedere.

Type 192C

Proposed civil version with 24 seats, not built.

Type 193

Variant of the Type 191 for the Royal Canadian Navy, not built.

Type 194

Proposed civil version of Type 192 with Gnome engines.





19 fully equipped troops


12 stretchers with two seated wounded and a medical attendant


6,000 lb (2,700 kg) cargo

(Internal or slung)


54 ft 4 in (16.56 m)


17 ft 0 in (5.18 m)

Empty weight

11,350 lb (5,148 kg)

Max take-off weight

19,000 lb (8,618 kg)


2 × Napier Gazelle turboshaft,

1,465 shp (1,092 kW) each

Main rotor diameter

2 × 48 ft 11 in (14.91 m)

Main rotor area

3,270 sq ft (304 m2)


Cruise speed

138 mph (222 km/h, 120 kn)



460 mi (740 km, 400 nmi)

(Standard tankage)

Service ceiling

12,000 ft (3,700 m)

Rate of climb

850 ft/min (4.3 m/s)

Vertical climb rate

440 ft/min (2.2 m/s).

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