Saturday, March 5, 2016

Westland Sea King (Haynes Manual)

To mark its final year of service in the forefront of UK Search & Rescue (SAR) Haynes bought out this manual on the Westland Sea King last year and its a very good edition in the Haynes line. The Sea King is iconic of course, originally a US designed and built helicopter, the UK version built by Westland has served in the Falklands, Gulf Wars, Afghanistan though this book concentrates on the HU5 version used for SAR duties.

The book starts with a short general history of the use of helicopters in rescue operations and then the development of the Westland Sea King. Much of the book is taken up with the Sea King's innards and how to maintain it (as you would expect from a Haynes manual!) What is most interesting here is the more specialised equipment unique to a SAR helicopter and role. The book ends with a few examples of the many rescues and recovery operations the Sea King was involved with during its career.

The end of the Sea King also means the end of Royal Navy involvement in SAR as the role passes to a civilian contractor working for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, in a way the passing of the Sea King HU5 from service is sad but the new SAR fleet is much more up-to-date and modern which will be welcomed by anyone in trouble! One wonders though if the new service and it's equipment will get immortalised in a Haynes manual one day?

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