Little Nellie

Little Nellie

Appears In
You Only Live Twice

On Film
Q delivers the iconic autogyro to Bond in southern Japan. Known affectionately as Little Nellie, the nimble flying machine arrives in four alligator packing cases. Once it’s assembled and Q finishes his briefing, Bond pilots the aircraft – which carries the mark G-ARZB – in search of Blofeld’s base. When four SPECTRE helicopters attack, Bond emerges victorious, destroying them all with Little Nellie’s fierce array of weaponry, which includes front-mounted machine guns, rear-mounted flamethrowers, air-to-air missiles, rocket launchers and aerial mines.

The Vehicle
This tiny, agile and surprisingly safe flying machine was the brainchild of Wing Commander Ken Wallis, a former tactical weapons expert in the RAF. Its 1.6-litre rear engine powers the gyro and the top rotor then spins naturally once the machine is airborne to create an airfoil. Wallis set no fewer than 34 autogyro world records, including a top speed record of 129mph.

The Production
Little Nellie came to the attention of the Bond producers when production designer Ken Adam heard by chance an interview with Wallis on the radio. He tracked him down and invited him to demonstrate his machine at Pinewood Studios. EON Productions’ Cubby Broccoli approved the machine’s inclusion as soon as the demonstration was complete, asking for an air battle scene to be written into the film. Wallis himself flew Little Nellie in all the airborne sequences on set, with Adam designing and fitting working replicas of all the weapons. Adam also toyed with the idea of fitting a drilling device above the rotors to twist into one of the SPECTRE helicopters from below, though this idea was eventually dropped.

Q Branch Modifications
• Two front-mounted machine-guns – firing incendiary and high explosive rounds up to 100 yards
• Two side-mounted rocket launchers – each with a 14-piece capacity
• Two heat-seeking air-to-air missile launchers
• Aerial mines
• Two rear-mounted flamethrowers with an 80-yard range
• Two rear-mounted smoke ejectors
• Radio
• Helmet-mounted camera