SEP 13th 2014

Pussy Galore's helicopter flies into Revival

A movie superstar was packing in the crowds at the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation exhibition at Revival today.

It’s the Hiller UH12 helicopter – better known as the aircraft Pussy Galore, played by Honor Blackman, flew in the 1964 Bond classic, Goldfinger.

‘She wouldn’t actually go in it, so while it looks like Pussy Galore it’s not Honor Blackman at the controls – it’s a bloke in a wig,’ reveals the US helicopter’s owner for the past 10 years, Rob Hields.

And, says Rob, he’s not even flying it – the actual pilot is out of shot in the back seat. One of the Hiller’s many unique features is that its dual controls are in the back of the three-seat cab.

‘I have spoken to Honor on the phone and she gave me the story – and also said she would now love to go in it so we will try to arrange that.’

Rob and his partner Sam Brooks – looking wonderfully 1960s with her Pussy Galore leather get-up – have their own aviation business in Leeds. The journey down took Rob rather longer than expected – and involved an emergency landing in a field, in a twist worthy of a Bond plot.

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Sam told us: ‘No baddies chasing us, just that Rob ran out of light and in a helicopter that’s very much old-tech with no navigation system you can’t fly at night. So Rob had to set down and stay overnight. Thankfully the farmer was very helpful – we gave him a ticket to Revival as a thank you.’

So what’s it like to fly? ‘I like flying it but it is very difficult to fly,’ says Rob. ‘Hiller was a perfectionist and he came up with this twin rotor system with two paddles. The paddles put the main input into the rotor head which is very unusual. Model helicopters use the same system today.’

It’s not a fast helicopter – it will cruise at 70mph – but in its day it was most certainly expensive. At £12,500 it was twice the price of a detached five-bed house says Rob.

Its movie future is not over – the Hiller UH12, with Rob at the controls this time, will again be starring in a film next year – The Man from Uncle with Guy Ritchie.

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