The Helicopter Museum is one of the few aerospace museums in the world that specialise in rotory-wing flight. Bückeburg is the location of the German School of Army Aviation, established in 1959. An army helicopter pilot, Werner Noltemeyer, began a collection that became a small museum in 1971 with help from the local authority. The museum was expanded in 1980 and in 2011 added a glass cube – the ‘aviary’ – where helicopters hang above the heads of visitors.
Among 50 aircraft are helicopters and gyrocopters made by companies in many countries, for example Focke-Wulf and Bölkow in Germany, Kamov in the Soviet Union, Aérospatiale in France, Bristol in the United Kingdom and Bell, Sikorsky and Hughes in the USA. The museum also displays equipment, models and films. One model recreates the beginnings of the helicopter – Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of a flying machine with a rotating sail. The exhibitions tell both technological and human stories. A simulator allows visitors to ‘fly’ a helicopter for themselves.