British helicopter enthusiasts buy two Belgian Airforce Sea Kings
The British helicopter enthusiasts’ group Historic Helicopters bought Belgian Airforce Sea King helicopters. The helicopters had been decommissioned and could have been scrapped if no buyer had been found. Historic Helicopters successfully bid for the RS-02 and RS-04 helicopters that were based at the Koksijde Air Base in West Flanders. Currently the airmen (and women) at the base fly NH-90 helicopter.
Cabin Officer Brecht Vandecasteele has thousands of flying hours under his belt with Koksijde’s Sea Kings. He told the press agency Belga that both the Defence Minister and the Defence Minister Philippe Goffin (Francophone liberal) have accepted Historic Helicopters’ offer for the two Sea Kings. He added that it was the high bid made for the Sea Kings.
The British association already has 5 helicopters, all of which originally served with the British Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force. Historic helicopters hopes to fly the RS-04 again next July at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloustershire, England and next September at the Sanicole Air show at Hechtel-Eksel in Limburg Province.
The final details of the sale still need to be finalised.
More than 42 years’ service
The Belgian Airforce’s Sea Kings were in use for more than 42 years. They entered service in 1976 and flew at total of more than 60,000 hours. The last 5 Sea King in use with the Belgian armed services were decommissioned on 21 March 2019.
The RS-01 Sea King is on display in the Royal Army Museum in Brussels. The RS03 was bought by the municipal council in Koksijde where it has become a monument outside the air base. The RS-05 is used by students training as aircraft technicians and the Flemish Aeronautics Training Centre in Ostend (West Flanders).