Friday, 20 September 2013

All change for Air Sea Rescue

The sight of the large yellow Sea-king helicopters has for many years been a reassuring one for walkers. The prime duty of these RAF helicopters is to rescue RAF airmen if and when they end up "in the drink" - that's out at sea, rather than the officer's mess. But 90% of the time they offer their service to emergency cases in the mountains or along the coast to injured and stranded walkers and seafarers. Those of us who walk the Snowdonia mountains would normally expect to see at least one on a full day out. The service was closely associated with Prince William for 3 years. However from 2016, everything changes. Two Sikorsky S-92 helicopters will be based in a new hangar at Caernarfon Airport alongside office and mess facilities. This will be operated by Bristow Helicopters. There will be no connection with RAF Valley. The planning application for this new hangar is now being considered. It looks like creating 35 new jobs in Gwynedd but this will be to the disadvantage of Anglesey where RAF Valley has looked after the aging fleet of Sea-kings for something like 50 years.

Artist's impression of the new hangar.

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