The National Maritime Museum Cornwall has taken delivery of one of its largest exhibits this week, welcoming a 70ft long, 16ft high, six-tonne Sea King helicopter through the doors in Falmouth.
Squeezing in with just 1½ inches of clearance, the chopper, which has been retired from service by the Ministry of Defence, will be used as a hands-on, interactive exhibit in a major show at the museum exploring the role of Air Sea Rescue.
Search and Rescue opens on March 16 and examines the history and role of the various organisations, past and present, who make up the UK’s Maritime Rescue Services.
Reflecting this multi-agency response to the unfolding emergencies around Britain’s coastline, the Sea King has been painted in an unusual combined livery of both the Royal Navy and RAF Search and Rescue colours.
Prior to her new role as a museum exhibit, the Sea King had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy. Entering service in 1970, she served in the Falklands War, operating with other Sea Kings on the afternoon of June 8 1982 when three bombs hit the RFA Sir Galahad.
The ship was heavily laden with Welsh Guardsman and the Sea Kings worked together to winch the injured.
Following her time in the Falklands, she was based just down the coast from Falmouth, at RNAS Culdrose, on the Lizard Peninsula.
Technicians at Augusta Westland carried out the restoration, with further support for the project from the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and Vector Aerospace.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for their time and investment,” said the Maritime Museum’s Exhibitions Manager Ben Lumby.
"We look forward to opening the doors to the exhibition on March 16 to see how our visitors react to this new, powerful and important exhibition.”
- Search and Rescue opens at National Maritime Museum Cornwall on Friday March 16 2012.