This helicopter was the eighth of a development batch hand built by the French firm Aerospatiale at Marignane.
It first flew on 20 July 1968 as an SA330A, later being upgraded to an SA330E. It was delivered to Westland Helicopters at Yeovil on 10th October 1968 as a pattern airframe for the RAF Puma HC1.
It was acquired by Aero Flight at RAE Bedford in May 1973 where it was then extensively instrumented for a wide range of helicopter research and system demonstration activities.
It was also equipped with an internal power winch for use in the dropping of a variety of un-powered models used in spinning and aerodynamic stability trials.
The photo shows the aircraft in July 1980 fitted with an early instrumentation probe and a rotor hub instrumentation installation.
During the 1970s a research emphasis was placed on rotor aerodynamics. In forward flight the helicopter blade tip operates at high Mach numbers on the advancing blade while possibly encountering low speed stall on the retreating blade. Also, large local fluctuations of blade loading are caused by the vortices from preceding blades. An understanding of these complex phenomena was considered essential to the design of rotors possessing maximum lifting power while having minimum vibration and reduced structural fatigue loads.