I've started research into my book about the Wasp helicopter. I've been going through old copies of 'Cockpit' and 'Flight Deck' magazine which the RN produced over the time of the aircraft. 'Cockpit' is the RN Flight Safety magazine and still in production ot this day. I've got some great articles for the book and next week I will be seeing Mr David Gibbings who helped me out with the Lynx book. As a Westland Flight engineer, he was in the first Lynx to fly and I've now just discovered that he was in the second ever Wasp flight some years previously. He is an archivist for Westland now and should be a fount of all knowledge.
The early days of rotary wing flight in the RN are fascinating and there were many experiments tried out before a final design was settled on. I intend to cover quite a deal of this in the book as it explains how the Wasp ended up as it did. Some interesting photos:
Not quite a Wasp yet but the first aircraft to conduct sea trials. Note the undercarriage which has flat plates attached to the skids - using air bled from the engine these could act like little hovercraft or actually suck the aircraft down onto the deack.
Not a Wasp at all but another early prototype that was actually quite successful but too small for the RN in the end (the Fairey Ultralight). It used little jets at the tip of each rotor blade to power the rotors rather than a gearbox. It didn't succeed but one wonders why no one has resurrected the idea.