Little Nellie was the nickname given to a heavily armed autogyro featured in the film adaptation of You Only Live Twice. In the film it was shipped by Q in four suitcases and assembled before use. Little Nellie was based on a modified Wallis WA-116 Agile, a British autogyro developed in the early 1960s by former Royal Air Force Wing Commander Ken Wallis.
An autogyro (from Spanish autogiro), also known as gyroplane, gyrocopter, or rotaplane, is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust. While similar to a helicopter rotor in appearance, the autogyro's rotor must have air flowing through the rotor disc to generate rotation.
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. Wallis' first prototype autogyro, registered G-ARRT, was first flown on 2 August 1961. In 1962, five WA-116s were built by Beagle Aircraft at Shoreham, three of which were for evaluation by the British Army Air Corps.
James Bond's autogyro
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.
- British Civil Aircraft since 1919 - Volume 3