Ken Wallis
Doubled for Sean Connery flying Little Nellie in You Only Live Twice

Ken Wallis & Little Nellie

We were saddened to learn that Wing Cdr Ken Wallis sadly passed away on Sunday 1st September 2013. We were privileged to have Ken and Little Nellie attend our Bond Girls Are Forever event in 2006, he will be sadly missed.

In 1966, during the preparation for You Only Live Twice, production designer Ken Adam heard a radio interview with Wing Commander Ken Wallis, talking about flying autogyros. When asked if he would like to take on helicopters (the “big boys”) Wallis replied ‘give me a chance!’

The producers did just that, and in doing so created one of the best aerial battles ever staged for a Bond film.

'Little Nellie', as seen in the film, was one of three military Type WA 1 16 built in 1962. One of these, XR 944, in updated form, remains in camouflage, taking part in military exercises.

Little Nellie is not the only film star, the WA 1 16 prototype having starred in a Dick Smart film, while the WA 1 1 6 T two seater was flown in The Martian Chronicles.

The Wallis autogyros have held for the UK all 20 official World Records for autogyro speed, time to climb, altitude, range and duration. The records are held in the Any Autogyro Class E 3 and Autogyros Under 500 kgs Class E 3A. Further World Record flights are planned.

Other Wallis autogyros are operated as workhorses, by day and night, mostly in specialised remote sensing military and civil roles. A specially silenced Type WA 117 has been used in the Loch Ness Investigation and on special photography in Saudi Arabia. A Type WA 1 20, fitted with a multi band photographic pack of four cameras, illustrated exploration of the surface of the Earth in the Exploration Exhibition at the Science Museum. The little aircraft have been operated at sea, from Naval patrol craft too small to carry a helicopter.

Ken Wallis remains very proud of his doubling for Sean Connery in the aerial sequences of You Only Live Twice and really is – when airbourne – 007!