(Image: INNES; Westland Whirlwind XD165 wreck)
Resting unceremoniously on its port side on the fire dump at the former RAF Llandwrog, now Caernarfon Airport, lies the mortal remains of Westland Whirlwind XD165. The abandoned helicopter hulk is little more than an empty fuselage today. Its once-busy flight deck is now an empty space, its cockpit instruments long since stripped out. The engine, rotor blades and undercarriage have all gone, as has anything else that could possibly have been reused elsewhere. Its yellow Search & Rescue can still be seen, peeling away from its corroded form. For aviation enthusiasts, and helicopter fans in particular, Whirlwind XD165 is a sorry sight.
The 62-year-old machine first flew on July 9, 1954 and was delivered to the military the following month. When its flying life came to an end, XD165 was delivered to No. 1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton for ground instructional duties, reassigned the maintenance serial 8673M. According to Demobbed, the Whirlwind later travelled to Netheravon in 1992 and Wattisham in 1993. By December 2000 she had passed on to Storwood before arriving at the Yorkshire Helicopter Preservation Group in Doncaster in November 2005.
(Image: via Google Earth; Caernarfon Airport, formerly RAF Llandwrog)
Sadly, her preservation appears to have been short-lived. Less than a year later, in March 2006, Whirlwind XD165 had left Doncaster and taken up permanent occupancy on the Caernarfon Airport fire dump in Gwynedd, Wales. She’s pictured here earlier this year, a neglected hulk in a flooded corner of the old wartime military base.
RAF Llandwrog opened as an RAF Bomber Command training base in January 1941 and closed in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. The abandoned bomber base has been a civil airfield since 1969.
Sad as they are, fire dump aircraft and crash rescue training articles can be surprisingly photogenic, including SEPECAT Jaguar XX845 hulk at Predannack.