Air Cadets from 234 (City of Durham) and 1407 (Newton Aycliffe) Squadrons are among the last in the UK to experience a flight in the Search & Rescue Sea King Helicopters stationed at RAF Boulmer before they are scrapped in September.
It was undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend for the 24 cadets from County Durham; a chance to experience a flight in a real life search and rescue helicopter. For many this was their first flight in a helicopter and it was an unforgettable experience. The helicopter’s crew from 202 Squadron gave the cadets a full guided tour of the iconic Sea King aircraft before flying all 24 cadets and staff on an aerial tour of the local castles, with the back door wide open!
Although the crew were incredibly welcoming and upbeat there was an air of sadness to the situation. In less than two months 202 Squadron will be disbanded and the current Sea King crews will move on to other roles as the UK’s Search and Rescue operations are transferred to private civilian companies. This then was among the final opportunities for Air Cadets to experience a flight in these unique aircraft.
During the jam packed weekend cadets also got to take part in a camouflage and concealment exercise, the low ropes course, a visit to the fire section and live firing on the No. 8 and Cadet L98 A2 rifles. This was in addition to a brief glimpse of the only remaining flying Vulcan Bomber as it toured the nation’s RAF bases for one final flypast during its last display season. All this in less than 48 hours!