He is very proud of being able to fly, and the speed and versatility this gives him. This has led to rivalries with the engines, most notably a race with Percy the Small Engine in his first appearance. Despite this, he is a friend to the railway and has often been able to help the engines out- even though they do sometimes refer to him as "whirlybird".
Harold makes his first appearance in Percy the Small Engine (1956), appearing in two stories. He is not seen again under the Reverend's name, but reappears in More About Thomas the Tank Engine (1986) and Thomas Comes Home (1992) by Christopher Awdry.
Harold is based on a Sikorsky S-55 helicopter, built in the UK as the Westland Whirlwind. This was one of the most successful early helicopters, with examples being used all over the world. The character's name may arise from the fact that variants of the Whirlwind in UK military service were designated HAR 1, HAR 3, HAR 10 etc.
The Magic of Sodor; Take a Ride on Thomas, Harold and Friends and Discover.: Sam and Frazer Owen, Aged Five and One, Had a Magical Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine and His Friends at Thomas Land, Drayton Manor, in Staffordshire, along with Dad Rob and Mum Cathy
Sep 21, 2010; Q How did you get there and how long did it take? The AA route planner was spot on when it said it would take two hours and 20...