The prototype single-seater WA-116 ultra-light autogyro was flown by Wallis for the first time on 2 August 1961. The Wallis WA-116 Agile was first flown in 1962, and subsequently seen in a James Bond film.
The Wallis WA-116 autogyro, known as "Little Nellie", could lift twice its own weight, fly 210km/h and rapidly climb to 4100m - even though it weighed 110kg. This aircraft could take off in 30 yards of space at a minimum speed of approximately 20km/h.
The autogyro was flown by James Bond in a movie featuring the flying exploits of agent 007.
The aircraft achieved fame as 'Little Nelly' in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. For its role, 'Little Nelly' was armed with dummy air-to-air missiles, 44mm rockets, rearward-firing 'flame-throwers' and two machine-guns. As well as the Bond movie, a Wallis design also appeared in and was used as a camera ship in The Martian Chronicles.
After building nine single-seaters, construction of a two-seat variant — the WA-116T — was begun in 1969; he then tested a four-blade rotor and finally produced the WA-116F with which he won the closed circuit world record in 1974 in the 670.26km category.
Wallis autogyros have been powered by various types of engines, within the range 72 to 160hp (the latter is used in the two-seat Wallis WA-122) and have been employed for research programmes, including one promoted by Sperry Radar.
In 1983 development of a production version, powered by a Weslake engine, was under way in association with Vinten Ltd. Intended primarily for para-military use, including policing and survey work, the definitive aircraft was to be certificated in 1984.
The original WA-116 appeared in various guises, including four Beagle-built military prototypes and a two-seater. Holds Class E3/E3a records for height 15,220 ft (4,639 m) and speed 111.225mph (179kmh). A version built in conjunction with Vinten was designed for aerial photography.