From Bond to body hunts: Wg Cdr Ken Wallis' autogyro adventures

When the police were trying to find the missing Lord Lucan, the call went out to Wg Cdr Ken Wallis: bring an autogyro to Sussex and join the search. It wasn’t the only time this great man and his machines, equipped with film cameras, aided in body hunts. Ben Dunnell reports

Starring in a James Bond film, setting speed records and entertaining airshow crowds were all very well for Wg Cdr Ken Wallis, but he was always keen for his autogyros to demonstrate and find practical applications. The great engineer, inventor and pilot pursued many an avenue for his lightweight, agile rotary-wing creations: there was an Army Air Corps evaluation for a light observation platform, a potential requirement for a means of inserting West German special forces into hostile territory, a trial with infra-red line-scan equipment to find unexploded airfield denial weapons, and several more. In each case, the Wallis autogyros performed very well indeed, yet there were to be no orders. And so it was too with work on behalf of the police.

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