Sea Kings lift off for the final time

RNAS Culdrose has waved goodbye to its iconic Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters for the last time.

After 42 years of rescue operations and saving more than 15,000 lives, the 771 Naval Air Squadron was formally decommissioned last month with the final three helicopters flying out on Monday.

At 15 minutes’ notice by day and 45 minutes by night, the squadron provided a lifesaving service within a 200 nautical mile radius of the base. The emergency rescue service carried out over 200 rescues every year, ranging from plucking sailors from sinking ships to airlifting casualties of road traffic accidents to hospital. They also assisted the police in carrying out aerial searches for missing people.

RNAS Culdrose will continue to train crews in search and rescue as it is an essential skill for aviation at sea. They will also continue to provide aviators and helicopters for front line operations within the Royal Navy. Aircraft including Merlin helicopters, Sea King Mk7s, King Air Avengers and Hawks will still be seen in the skies around the air base.

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