Australia — Sea Kings make their final flight

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.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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