During the Second World War a team led by Raoul Hafner carried out experiments using rotary-winged aircraft as a means of delivering troops and vehicles onto the battlefield. The Rotachute P5 was designed by Hafner in 1941 to carry a fully equipped man, a Bren gun, 300 rounds of ammunition, a parachute, a gun sight and a compass. The craft would have been towed into the vicinity of a landing zone and released, allowing the pilot to guide the craft to the ground under auto-rotation.
The Hafner Rotabuggy was developed at the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at Ringway. It was a Willy’s jeep fitted with a rotor and a streamlined tail. It was to be used in the same way as the Rotachute.
Prototypes of both these aircraft were flown but they were never used operationally. The experiments were discontinued when it became clear that gliders offered a more economical and efficient way of carrying troops and equipment.
Replica Rotabuggy built by the Wessex Aviation Society in 1981.
ML Aviation Aircraft
This was originally designed to be a light aircraft for private use which could be transported in a Land Rover and quickly assembled for flight. In 1960, military trials using these aircraft were undertaken at Middle Wallop. Inadequate take-off performance and a lack of agility rendered them unsuitable for service use.
Remote Controlled Electronic Device – “Wisp”
Experiments were also undertaken using remotely controlled electronic devices such as this “Wisp” for unmanned reconnaissance.