Sea Kings and 817 Squadron make their Final Flight
Royal Australian Navy, December 15, 2011 - Residents of Sydney, Canberra and the Shoalhaven had their last chance to see the Royal Australian Navy’s Sea King helicopters in the air today as they said farewell to the nation with a formation flypast.
The formation launched from the Naval Air Station at HMAS Albatross in Nowra at 10:00am, proceeded north up the NSW coast, arriving in Sydney for a flight over Sydney Harbour at approximately 10:55.
The formation then turned south to Canberra, flying over Lake Burley Griffin at approximately 12:00. The formation followed the lake before turning to fly up ANZAC Parade and over the Australian War Memorial before turning north east towards the coast.
The Sea Kings then flew over the Shoalhaven—the region these aircraft and their squadron have called home—flying over landmarks and towns including Jervis Bay, HMAS Creswell, Point Perpendicular, Huskisson, Berry and Nowra, before returning to HMAS Albatross to land for the final time.
The Royal Australian Navy’s Sea King helicopters are being retired after 35 years of remarkable service to Australia in times of conflict, peacekeeping, natural disaster, search and rescue and national celebration.
Sea Kings have been there countless times when called upon in times of disaster, such as the 1994 bushfires, the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the 2001 Northern NSW floods and just this year in the South East Queensland flood relief efforts to name just a few examples.
817 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Moggach, led the formation, describing it as a fitting end to a remarkable career for these aircraft.
“We call them the Mack trucks of the skies. The Sea Kings are a very capable aircraft that has served Australia well, and all of who have maintained and operated them feel honoured to have done so,” Commander Moggach said.
“After 35 years, it is time to look to the future with a new generation of aircraft.”
The amphibious and maritime logistics support role played by the Sea Kings will be undertaken by the new MRH90 Multi-Role Helicopter, which is currently undergoing acceptance trials.
Westland Sea King Mk.50 N16-118 Westland Sea King Mk.50A N16-239 Westland Sea King HAS.5 N16-918 ( Fleet Air Arm (RAN) )
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Westland Sea King in Fleet Air Arm (RAN)
HS-817 817 squadron Fleet Air Arm (RAN) Royal Australian Navy