So long, farewell: Sea King helicopters take a final flight over Vancouver Island


WATCH: The Sea King helicopters take a final flight over Vancouver Island on Dec. 17. 

The Canadian Forces paid a final salute on Monday to a legendary aircraft after 55 years of service.

HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Edmonton sailed into CFB Esquimalt in the morning and as they were arriving, a formation of four Royal Canadian Air Force CH-124 Sea King helicopters flew overhead.

After over fifty years of Canadian military service, it was the Sea Kings’ final flight. They started at the 12 Wing’s 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, Patricia Bay, B.C. before going along the Victoria coastline, then up Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum. A Cormorant followed the flight.

The Sea King helicopters are being replaced by the CH-148 Cyclones. Eight Sea King aircraft are being retained by the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) at publicly-accessible bases and museums.

These include:

  • Two at the Shearwater Aviation Museum, Shearwater, Nova Scotia
  • One at the Shearwater Aviation Park, Shearwater, Nova Scotia
  • One at the Trenton National Air Force Museum, Trenton, Ontario
  • One at the Borden Military Museum, Borden, Ontario
  • One at the National Defence Headquarters – Carling Campus, Ottawa, Ontario
  • One at the Comox Aviation Museum, Comox, British Columbia
  • One at the  443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron Gate Guardian, Patricia Bay, British Columbia

One helicopter is being retained by the DND/CAF as a training aid and another is going to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, in Ottawa, for public display. Fifteen Sea Kings will be sold and three were already demilitarized and converted to waste (recycling certain components to the extent possible) in September 2018.

Two helicopters have already been delivered to the  Shearwater Aviation Museum, and one helicopter was transferred to the Trenton National Air Force Museum. The dates for transportation and delivery of the other helicopters are being determined.

There are now three Cyclones on the west coast the 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron.


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