Italian stallion gives the Helicopter Museum a colourful new star in Somerset-Rome handover

By Culture24 Staff | 11 October 2010
  • Archived article
A photo of three men in suits in front of a yellow and green helicopter
Left to right: Graham Cole, AgustaWestland Managing Director, John Penrose, UK Tourism Minister and Elfan Ap Rees, Helicopter Museum Chairman Of Trustees with the newly unveiled exhibit
A trendsetting helicopter used by customs and immigration forces to patrol international borders for almost 25 years has become the first all-Italian aircraft to enter Weston-super-Mare's Helicopter Museum.

The Italian Guardia di Finanza Agusta was built in 1986 to monitor Italy's outskirts and territorial waters. It was one of the first planes to adopt the sleek lines associated with swish modern styling, and upgraded versions of the plane are still used across the world by military, corporate, police and emergency services.

The model on show was taken out of use in June, but Anglo-Italian helicopter company AgustaWestland paid for the aircraft to be shipped to Rome from Somerset, where it was unveiled by Tourism Minister John Penrose in a ceremony on Friday (October 8 2010).

It joins the world's largest dedicated collection of rotary-wing aircraft at the museum, more than 60 percent of which are listed in the highest "Benchmark" category on the National Aviation Heritage Register.
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