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Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222 nick-named the "Trembling Triple Two" outside Hangar 1 of the Ulster Aviation Society at Maze Long Kesh
Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222 nick-named the "Trembling Triple Two" outside Hangar 1 of the Ulster Aviation Society at Maze Long Kesh

PUMA HC Mk1 Helicopter

"Trembling Triple Two" on Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222 at the Ulster Aviation Society
Manufacturer: Westland
Model: Puma HC Mk1
Registration: XW222
"Trembling Triple Two"
Operating Life: 1970-2009
UAS Location: Hangar  2
Served with: 230 Sqn
Maximum Speed: 159mph
Cruise Speed: 154mph

Engines: 2 × Turbomeca Turmo IVC turboshafts, 1,175 kW (1,575 hp) each

Service Ceiling: 15,750 ft
Length & Height: 18.15m x 5.14m
Rotor Diameter: 15m
Range: 360 miles
Production:  SA.330E equivalent assembled by Westland Helicopters for the RAF, first flown on 25th November 1970
Fuel decals on the panels of the Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222 at Maze Long Kesh, Lisburn
Puma-Wireframe.webp

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222 instrument panel in the main cockpit
defensive GPMG in the rear of Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222 at the Ulster Aviation Society
Some of the bench seats and defensive GPMG in the rear of Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Video: MARK J. CAIRNS

Located at the Ulster Aviation Society, the Westland Puma HC Mk1 medium support helicopter, with its iconic silhouette and storied past, holds a significant place in aviation history, particularly in relation to its role during the Northern Ireland "Troubles."

Serving as a vital troop transport in the border areas, especially during the 1980s and 1990s, the Puma played a crucial role in the movement of British troops throughout the province. Paired with other Army helicopters like the Gazelle and Lynx, it formed a formidable fleet that facilitated efficient and secure transportation.

During the conflict, the Puma helicopters became synonymous with their reliability and versatility. Their robust design and impressive capabilities made it the preferred choice for British troop deployment and supply logistics in challenging and hostile environments.

As visitors explores the Puma’s features and understands its context within the larger conflict, it becomes evident that this helicopter played a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of Northern Ireland.

With its remarkable speed and agility, the Puma helicopter allowed British troops to swiftly respond to emerging situations, ensuring the maintenance of security and stability in Northern Ireland at the time.

The aircraft was capable of carrying 16 passengers, 12 fully equipped troops or up to 2 tonnes of freight, the latter moved as internal cargo or underslung, or a mix of the two.

 

It could also be fitted with up to six stretchers for operations in the casualty evacuation or medical emergency response team role, or in offensive roles such as XW222 with its mounted GIMPY machine gun.

Preserved and showcased at the Ulster Aviation Society, the Puma serves as a tangible reminder of the helicopter's significance during the troubled times. Visitors have the unique opportunity to explore this meticulously restored aircraft, offering a glimpse into its powerful legacy.

As visitors marvel at this particular Puma HC1, nick-named “Trembling Triple Two” with its distinctive 230 Sqn snarling Tiger on the nose, they can witness firsthand the engineering marvels that made it a stalwart in troop transportation.

From its spacious cabin capable of accommodating a significant number of personnel to its advanced avionics and navigational systems, as well as offensive and defensive systems, the helicopter showcased the technological advancements of its time.

The Ulster Aviation Society's commitment to maintaining the Puma in its optimal condition ensures that enthusiasts and historians alike can delve into the rich history of this iconic aircraft.

The Puma’s significance extends beyond its military role. It serves as a symbol of resilience and determination, reminding us of the challenges faced and overcome during the "Troubles.”

This legendary helicopter, continues to inspire awe and admiration.

The amazing snarling Tiger nose art of 230 Squadron on Puma HC1 Helicopter XW222

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

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