Ben's lift off

WESTON'S Helicopter Museum has played host to a special guest during the summer months.

WESTON'S Helicopter Museum has played host to a special guest during the summer months.

Benoit Lepicier, a French exchange student, has been enjoying the hospitality of volunteers at the facility in Locking Moor Road.

During his stay, they have treated him to days out at RAF Yeovilton, Wells and the SS Great Britain.

Engineering student Benoit has been learning for two months at the museum's education department as part of his diploma in Aeronautical Aircraft Maintenance.

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The 23-year-old has carried out a number of conservation projects, including a complete overhaul of a Franklin 6V4-200 C33 piston engine from a Hillier UH-12C chopper.

The museum's collection officer, Kathryn Sherrington, said: "We were so impressed by the quality of Benoit's work that we had the engine mounted and put on permanent public display.

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"Benoit chose to spend his internship here because we have the world's largest collection of helicopters and there is always plenty of conservation work to be done."

General manager Lee Mills added: "Benoit has enjoyed his time here and the volunteers have made him feel very welcome."

Last year The Helicopter Museum unveiled plans to allow more schools to visit with the appointment of a Lottery-funded education officer.

New facilities at the site include a brand new classroom and interactive displays that aim to get more children interested in helicopters and aviation.

Mr Mills told the Mercury that around 20 North Somerset schools have visited so far this year.

Pupils' lessons are held in a Merlin EH101 as well as a more traditional classroom setting.

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