Commemorating Westland's World Speed Record

Commemorating Westland's World Speed Record Credit: Yeovil's Magnificent Flying Machines

Almost 30-years-ago the skies above the Somerset Levels provided the scene for a world speed record - one that still stands to this day.

It was set by a Westland helicopter at a time when the company's future was in doubt.

Now a plaque commemorating the occasion has been unveiled in tribute to those who spent weeks working in secret to make it happen.

It was in 1986 when the G-Lynx helicopter flew over Somerset at almost 250mph.

Drew Clews was the co-pilot on the August evening and remembers the significance of their record attempt.

Just a few months earlier Westland, Britain's last helicopter manufacturer had become caught in the middle of a government tug-of-war.

The Prime Minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher, wanted a merger with an American company, while her defence secretary Michael Hestletine favoured European investment.

It was a dispute that led to his resignation.

The plaque unveiled to commemorate the record Credit: ITV West Country

Keen to prove that Westland could still produce the best helicopters with the best technology a team spent 10 weeks secretly adapting a Lynx helicopter for a world record attempt.

The pilot for the mission was Trevor Eggington, his widow Joan only found out about the attempt after it had all taken place.

30 years on the record remains, as does the company, determined to show they have the skills and ability to set standards others aspire to.

Credit: Yeovil's Magnificent Flying Machines