Saying ‘Goodbye’ to the Sea King
Cadets and Staff from 13 (City of Exeter) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) have enjoyed one of the very last flights by an ATC unit in a Westland Sea King helicopter, just 6 weeks before it is due to be retired.
Nearly 180 of the much loved aircraft have served the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force since 1969 as a troop transport, anti-submarine and Airborne Early Warning aircraft in Falklands, the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. However the Sea King is perhaps most best remembered by the British public for its role as a Search & Rescue Helicopter, from which it finally stood down on the 1st of January this year, in major incidents such as Boscastle floods and the Piper Alpha disaster.
With the out of service date for all but 8 of the non passenger carrying AEW version looming the end of March, 13 Squadron ATC jumped at the offer from RNAS Culdrose based 771 Naval Air Squadron for a final fight in the iconic aircraft.
The Sea King, which was on a routine training flight, picked the Cadets up from the farm near Exeter and took them on a trip of the surrounding area.
Squadron Commander Flight Lieutenant Louse Jordan said “This was a fantastic opportunity for my cadets and one they all really enjoyed, even the weather was wonderful! We are really grateful to the Royal Navy for this opportunity”
Photos taken by Kevin Wills (one of the organisers of Dawlish Air show) and CI Kate West