The Flying Jeep


The Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment in Manchester, UK began work in 1940 on attaching rotor blades to a jeep. Nicknamed the ‘Rotabuggy’, initial tests involved dropping the jeep from heights of a few meters while it was filled with concrete to demonstrate it could take the impact without damage.
The jeep was then fitted with additional equipment including the rotor blades, a tail fairing with twin rudderless fins, a rotor control next to the steering wheel and glider navigational instruments. In 1943, the first test flight was conducted when the Rotabuggy was toed behind a Bentley and managed to glide at speeds of up to 65 mph.
The initial flights had limited success as handling proved difficult but after some modifications, the flying qualities of the vehicle were officially described as “highly satisfactory”. However the project became deemed unnecessary with the development of Horsa II and Hamilcar which were gliders equipped to carry vehicles.