The Wallis WA-116 Agile is a British autogyro developed in the early 1960s by former Royal Air Force Wing Commander Ken Wallis. The aircraft was produced in a number of variants, one of which, nicknamed Little Nellie, was flown in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Little Nellie is currently on static display at The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, Bedfordshire in the UK.

WA-116 Agile
Little Nellie, pictured with its creator Ken Wallis in the cockpit.
Role Single-seat autogyro
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Wallis Autogyros Limited
Designer Ken Wallis
First flight 2 August 1961
Number built 10+

Design and development edit

Wing Commander Ken Wallis, a former RAF pilot, developed a number of improvements to the autogyro design, including the offset gimbal rotor head which gives the autogyro hands-off stability.[1] Wallis' first prototype autogyro, registered G-ARRT, was first flown on 2 August 1961.[2]

Operational history edit

In 1962, five WA-116s were built by Beagle Aircraft at Shoreham, three of which were for evaluation by the British Army Air Corps. Wallis flew one of these aircraft, XR942, at that year's Farnborough Air Show.[2]

In 1966, one of the Beagle-built WA-116s, registered G-ARZB, was modified for use in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.[3] Little Nellie was named after legendary music hall performer Nellie Wallace.[4]

Few Wallis autogyros have been operated privately, with nearly all of them being used for research and demonstration flying by Wallis himself.[3] Wallis withdrew all his autogyros from use by anyone other than himself, after the crash of WA-117 G-AXAR at the 1970 Farnborough Air Show.[5]

Operators edit

  United Kingdom

Variants edit

WA-116 Agile
Prototype autogyro powered by a Wallis-McCulloch 4318A engine.[2][6]
Two-seat variant, one built.[2]
WA-117 Venom
Variant powered by a 100 hp (75 kW) Continental O-200-B engine.[2]
WA-118 Meteorite
Variant powered by a 120 hp (89 kW) Wallis-modified Meteor Alfa supercharged two-stroke engine.[7]
Variant powered by a 40 hp water-cooled 990 cc Hillman Imp engine.[2]
Streamlined variant for high-altitude research with a Wallis-McCulloch 4318A engine; a single WA-121 was built in 1972.[2]

Specifications (WA-116) edit

Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919 – Volume 3,[2] Flight 31 March 1966 : The Wallis Autogyros[8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 11 ft (3.4 m)
  • Empty weight: 255 lb (116 kg)
  • Gross weight: 550 lb (249 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 58 lb (26.3 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wallis-McCulloch 4318A 4-cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed piston engine, 72 hp (54 kW)
  • Main rotor diameter: 20 ft 4 in (6.20 m)
  • Main rotor area: 324.8 sq ft (30.17 m2)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch pusher propeller


  • Maximum speed: 87 kn (100 mph, 161 km/h)
  • Range: 209 nmi (241 mi, 387 km)
  • Endurance: 2 hours 27 minutes
  • Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
  • Time to altitude: 1,000 ft (305 m) in 56 seconds
  • Power/mass: 0.1307 hp/lb (0.2149 kW/kg)

See also edit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "The Wallis Autogyros." Flight. 31 March 1966. p. 515.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Jackson (1974). p. 329.
  3. ^ a b Apostolo (1984). p. 101.
  4. ^ "Focus Of The Week: Little Nellie". James Bond 007. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  5. ^ "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 19511". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  6. ^ Note, the McCulloch 4318A is a four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed two-stroke engine originally intended for limited-life drone applications.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "THE WALLIS AUTOGYROS". Flight International. 89 (2977): 515–520. 31 March 1966.

Bibliography edit

  • Apostolo, Giorgio (1984). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters. New York: Bonanza Books. ISBN 0-517-439352.
  • Jackson, Aubrey J. (1988). British civil aircraft, 1919-1972 Volume III (2nd., repr. with corrections ed.). London: Putnam. p. 329. ISBN 0851778186.