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Devoid of its main rotor and resting in an undignified manner on its fuselage for ease of entry and egress, the aircraft’s instrument panel (now Perspex protected) and flying controls are still in place.A video screen has been installed in a simulator-like fashion directly in front of the windscreen to show footage of TFD helicopter operations.A general information panel covers the operations and equipment of the six helicopters currently operated in the fire attacker, rescue, casualty evacuation and incident information-gathering roles.(These will be covered on this website’s Fire/Disaster Prevention page.) A later-model SA.316B Alouette III sister aircraft, JA9071 (Seagull), is securely clamped and tied down with two of its three rotor blades clipped—Tokyo is prone to typhoons as well as earthquakes—on the roof of the fifth floor (5F in Japan means the fourth floor elsewhere).One of several framed posters on the same floor is reproduced here and a translation provided below.
The missions included evacuating the residents of Miyakejima—part of the Tokyo-administered Izu island group, 110 miles (180km) south of the capital—following the volcanic eruption in 1983, the 1986 Kokaigawa floods in Ibaraki Prefecture, and the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) Earthquake.
Operations commenced in April 1967 with this very aircraft, which had been purchased direct from its French manufacturer.
This tradition has been maintained, with subsequent aircraft being acquired exclusively from Sud Aviation’s successor Aérospatiale and from Eurocopter, the name under which the company operated before becoming Airbus Helicopters in January 2014.
(Please bear in mind that public museums in Japan tend to be closed on Mondays, on Tuesdays if a National Holiday happens to fall on the Monday, and from late December to the first week of January.) Accessible direct from Exit 2 at Yotsuya-Sanchome Station on the Marunouchi subway line, the Tokyo Fire Museum collection includes three French helicopters formerly operated by the Tokyo Fire Department (TFD, and in Japanese above).
Two of these are visible from outside but are worth a closer look, and admission is free.
The aircraft’s innovative Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, which was developed by Sud Aviation, has been removed and placed on adjacent display, as has an example of its Turboméca Arriel 1C1 engine.