Stranded Sea King hitches a lift

Thanks to the UK Ministry of Defence for providing another item for the “not something you see every day” files, and for proving why the Royal Air Force calls the Chinook a “support helicopter”.

A Sea King search and rescue crew from the Royal Navy’s HMS Gannet unit – located at Glasgow Prestwick airport – “identified a potential defect” during a training flight in Glencoe, Scotland on 13 October, and swiftly put the aircraft down on a recognised landing spot outside a hotel. Other reports variously suggest the issue was engine- or gearbox-related, but the MoD hasn’t commented on that as yet.

With the Sea King safe but stranded, and with its main and tail rotor blades removed, a Chinook from RAF Odiham was on 18 October tasked with moving it to a car park just over a mile away (both images courtesy of Crown Copyright), where it could be moved onto a low-loader for its return journey to Prestwick.

Hooking up

You haul

I suspect there was probably some lively banter between the “light blue” and “senior service” crews involved, but the MoD’s official line is that it was “a real team effort”, and provided the Chinook crew with an  ”invaluable outsized load training” opportunity. The RN lists the Sea King HU5′s unladen weight as being 9.7t; just shy of the CH-47′s underslung load capacity of 10t.

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