UK: 771 Squadron Shows off Sea King Helicopter at Exhibition

771 Squadron Shows off Sea King Helicopter at Exhibition

Aircrew from the Culdrose-based Search and Rescue 771 Squadron proudly showed off their Sea King helicopter at the exhibition dedicated to lifesaving in the National Maritime Museum, Falmouth – attracting record visitor numbers.

Personnel from 771 Naval Air Squadron made the short trip to the Cornish port of Falmouth and found a long and winding crowd waiting to enter the blockbuster exhibition where 771 have a helicopter and flying equipment on display, alongside other interactive displays from the RNLI and the Coastguard.

Led by their new Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr Martin ‘Cybill’ Shepherd, the team from 771 welcomed the throng of visitors with a brief overview of the squadron history and an outline of the role of the aircrew who fly the aircraft. Following the initial welcome, the crowd surged into the interactive display questioning the aircrew on what they actually do when they are scrambled to a rescue.

The meet-and-greet over the Easter break smashed the previous record for the museum’s daily intake (1,878 visitors) with an impressive 2,325 filing into the waterfront attraction to meet the six-strong team from 771.

Lt Cdr Paul Robertson and Lt Cdr Andy Watts, both SAR observers and medical technicians were able to answer all the rear cabin questions concerning the navigation, winching and medical assistance that are provided during real rescues. Lt Cdr Nige Terry, Lt Al Summers, Lt Simon Thompson and Lt Mark ‘Vasco’ Barber – all search and rescue ­– pilots were able to answer the key questions of “what does that stick do and how easy is it to fly one of these things?”

“It was the busiest day we have had for quite some time and it was great having 771 NAS aircrew there to talk to people in the helicopter and while they were queuing” said Derryth Ridge, Family Learning Officer at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

“It was a wonderful day with such a wide range of visitors both young and old but all so very keen to ask their question and patient enough to listen to the answer,” said Lt Cdr Andy Watts, 771 NAS Public Relations Officer and coordinator for the Meet the Aircrew events.

Andy added: “It seemed a shame when we had to close at 5pm as we could have carried on for much longer. Hopefully over the next two years everyone will have a chance to see this fantastic exhibit that will encompass the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in 2012 and the 60th anniversary of Royal Navy Search and Rescue in 2013.”

Though not daunted by being hit by this tidal wave of people, 771 NAS have already agreed to repeat this unique opportunity to describe their role whilst sitting in Sea King XV663, such a unique exhibit and with an impressive flying record.

Further ‘Meet the Aircrew’ events are planned for Monday August 6 and 13 this year.

Naval Today Staff , April 27, 2012; Image: royalnavy