united kingdom 771 Squadron

Fleet Air Arm

771 NAS : 771 Naval Air Squadron

1939 to 2016    

771 Squadron
Tail Codes
FD 1951/55
PO 1961
CU 1964/15
On 31 Dec 2015, 771 NAS stood down and handed over Search and Rescue operations to the MCA from Newquay. Decommisssioned on 23 Mar 2016 in a ceremony at RNAS Culdrose.
771 Naval Air Squadron was formed in 1939 at Lee-on-Solent as a Fleet Requirements Unit flying a variety of fixed wing aircraft. In Sep 1945 it received the Hoverfly, making 771 the first naval air squadron to operate helicopters, which it used until May 1947. It disbanded in Aug 1955 when it combined with 703 Squadron to form 700 Squadron. 771 Squadron reformed and assumed a helicopter trials and SAR role with the introduction of the Whirlwind HAR.3 in 1961 at RNAS Portland, until 1964 when it disbanded and became 829 Squadron. It reformed at RNAS Portland in Jun 1967 with Whirlwinds and began to introduce the Wessex in Nov 1969.
It moved to RNAS Culdrose in Sep 1974. 6 of its Wessex were left at RNAS Portland, to form the basis of 772 Squadron. The Wessex HAS.1 was replaced by the twin turbine powered Wessex HU.5 in 1979. In 1985, it absorbed 707 Squadrons Wessex when it took over Commando Helicopter Training and the Wessex were replaced by the Westland Sea King HAS.5 in Oct 1987 as the Squadron assumed a long range, day/night and all weather SAR capability and then converted to the HAR.5. In July 2001, 771 Squadron assumed the responsibility for Advanced and Operational Flying Training for Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Pilots and Observers, as well as the residual Sea King HAS.5 & HAS.6 Pilot Conversion and Refresher Courses. On 1 Nov 2001, the unit took administrative responsibility for HMS Gannet SAR Flight, when it absorbed 819 Squadron at Prestwick.
Between late 2012 and early 2013, 771 NAS began stencilling its Sea Kings on the sponsons and rear hulls with notable (ie dangerous) rescue missions it had accomplished. Where known, these are recorded in the individual airframe histories.
771 NAS must be one of the very few British units to have the unique privilege of witnessing a birth in flight. Baby Marcus was born to a mum from St. Martins in the Isles of Scilly, during a medevac mission to the Royal Cornwall Hospital on 1 Oct 2013.

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HMS Gannet SAR Flight

News of 771 Squadron

Royal Navy SAR Sea Kings Leave Culdrose, 12-Apr-16 : Royal Navy last three SAR Sea King flew from RNAS Culdrose base to HMS Sultan in Gosport. 771 Naval Air Squadron was formally decommissioned at the end of March and their tasks assigned to civilians

Royal Navy 771 Squadron Final Month of SAR Operations, 07-Dec-15 : After 40 years, 771 Naval Air Squadron entered into its last month of search and rescue (SAR) tasking as responsibility will be passed onto the Maritime and Coastguard Agency contractor Bristow.

771 Naval Air Squadron Farewell Flight, 21-May-15 : Royal Navy 771 Naval Air Squadron celebrates their 76th birthday with a Sea King formation around the west coast of Cornwall. Will hand over its SAR duties at the end of the year

Royal Navy Give SAR Sea King Final MOT, 13-Feb-15 : Royal Navy Reservists from RNAS Culdrose have started the very last ever “Flying-MOT” scheduled maintenance of a Sea King Mk 5 before the aircraft is retired from service next year.


1974/16RNAS CuldroseEGDR
1967/74Portland HeliportEGDP
1961/64Portland HeliportEGDP
1946/47Portland HeliportEGDP


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1987/16 Sea King     Sea King HU.5
1979/88 Wessex     Wessex HU.5
1969/79 Wessex     Wessex HAS.1
1967/70 Whirlwind     Whirlwind HAS.7
1963 Wessex     Wessex HAS.1
1961/64Saro P.531
1961/63 dragonfly     Dragonfly HR.5
1961 S-55 H-19     Whirlwind HAS.22
1961/64 Whirlwind     Whirlwind HAR.3
1945/47R-4 Hoverfly


31-dec-0931-dec-09 Rescue from Trawler Trevessa
26-jun-0827-jun-08DE SAR Meet 2008
18-jan-0718-jan-07 MSC Napoli rescue
20-jun-0525-jun-05DE SAR meet 2005
16-aug-0416-aug-04 Boscastle Flood Disaster
04-oct-9406-oct-94NL SAR meet 1994
28-oct-8928-oct-89 Rescue from mv Muree
13-aug-7914-aug-79IE Rescue from Fastnet Yacht Race
25-jun-7728-jun-77 Fleet Review: Silver Jubilee of HM The Queen
07-jul-7212-jul-72 6th International Helicopter SAR Competition
15-jun-5315-jun-53 Fleet Review: Coronation Review of the Fleet

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