Chief Petty Officer Simon Hustwit’s years of experience manoeuvring a 22.15 metre helicopter were obvious when he reverse-parked Sea King Shark 07 at the Fleet Air Arm Museum yesterday.
The Sea King is the latest addition to the Museum’s collection and has been installed in time for Easter and school holiday visitors to take enjoy the sight of the King proudly on display between the Wessex and Scout helicopters.
Shark 07 was gifted to the Museum in June 2011 in recognition of the Sea King’s well earned place in naval aviation history. The Sea King had over 60,000 flying hours serving the nation on operations in the Middle East, as well as domestically. 817 Squadron also provided assistance to many Australians, fighting raging fires, rescuing hundreds of people in flood ravaged areas and conducting countless rescue operations at sea.
A lot of behind the scenes work has gone into getting the Sea King ready for its Museum debut. Sea King Logistics Manager Mr Kevin Beare oversaw the process and says the King is looking better than ever. “Many hours have gone into getting Shark 07 safe and suitable for public display,” Mr Beare said. “All the fluids have been drained out of the transmission and hydraulic systems, it’s been washed with a special cleaning agent and polished with automotive polishes, the 817 Withdrawal Unit have done a great job”.
For CPO Hustwit, who was with 817 Squadron for 15 years, it was a labour of love. “I think it’s great that it’s got a place here in the Museum. Obviously it’s going to preserve the Sea King and some of the legacy of 817 for the people to come and check out and it will be also be a reminder of all that 817 achieved. I’m looking forward to bringing my kids here, and all the boys feel the same. We can bring them our children here to the Museum and show them what we’ve done and what we used to work on. We’re going to be part of history”.
A formal handover ceremony for the Sea King is scheduled for later this year.
Naval Today Staff , April 05, 2012; Image: navy