Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Patrick Brouckaert, Philippe Decock, Jacques Vincent - Translation: Marc Arys
ę sbap 2019
 
After 43 years of good and loyal services within the Belgian Air Force, the icon of the Belgian Coast, the guardian angel of the North See, bows out. Indeed, the Seaking has definitively been stricken from the inventory of the Air Force and his longtime announced retirement had been planned in several parts.
First, all along 2018, the Seaking of the 40 Squadron took part in several aeronautical events with a remarkable presence during the Belgian Air Force Days at Kleine-Brogel.
Afterwards on December 19th, 2018, the three remaining helicopters had a formation flight in the northern part of the country. RS-01 already had left in 2008 and arrived at the esplanade of the "Cinquantenaire" in Brussels to be preserved at the Brussels Air Museum. On August 29th, 2013, RS-03 was 'cocooned' and stored at Koksijde.
After the formation flight in December 2018, RS-02, RS-04 and RS-05 (which for RS-04 was its ultimate mission) the authorities organized a photo-day for all the passionate to immortalize the last flight of the RS-02 during the day- and night time.
And last but not least, RS-05, still in its beautiful black livery, said goodbye, in an original way, on March 21st, 2019. This day started in the greyness, but the mission was flown and the majority of the Belgian beaches were visited by the Seaking and crew, to handover a souvenir flag of the Seaking to each responsible of the seaside resorts and, of course, emphasize the great work done by the five helicopters which arrived in 1976.
On each beach, inquisitive visitors were numerous to attend the ballet and pay a last tribute to the King of de Seas. The afternoon was dedicated to a press conference, with a last SAR - Search and Rescue display of this magnificent machine.
Emotions were omnipresent, especially for the last crew, which did everything to please the photographers. This last flight, was not effectively the last one, as some days later, RS-05 took off to fly to its final destiny, a technical school at the Oostende airport.
It is impossible to retrace the entire history of the Seaking in Belgium, but we invite warmly our readers to have a look back at the various reports SBAP had dedicated to this venerable forty year young helicopter.
And now let us welcome the Airbus Helicopter NH-90 NFH, which will, a.o. take over the SAR missions along the Belgian coast. Let us hope this machine made of carbon fiber and in grey colour, can be as much appreciated as the sand and spinach green King of the Seas.
  
Arrival of the RS-01 in Brussels   Retirement for the RS-03
40 Years and an historical overview End 2018...Brother of arms
 
 Just click on the desired article
  
 
Koksijde photocall January 9th, 2019
 
The star of the day: The RS-02
(Philippe Decockę)
Towed to his public
(Philippe Decockę)
The RS-04 did his last flight on December 19th, 2018
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Strong and efficient technology
(Jacques Vincentę)
Risk what has to be risked
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The Air Force we love and support
(Jacques Vincentę)
43 years old and always beautiful lines
(Philippe Decockę)
RS-05, he will be the last of the Kings!
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Preparation
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The crew chief on duty
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Face to face
(Jacques Vincentę)
Ready for taxi
(Jacques Vincentę)
Big eyes are watching you
(Philippe Decockę)
Take off
(Philippe Decockę)
Some other Belgian Air Force presentation
(Philippe Decockę)
The Airbus Helicopter NH-90 NFH, the successor of the King
(Philippe Decockę)
Lockheed C-130H Hercules, note the former United Nation markings 
(Jacques Vincentę)
15 (Wing) shade of grey
(Jacques Vincentę)
Embraer ERJ-135
(Philippe Decockę)
Agusta A109BA
(Philippe Decockę)
The local Sud Aviation SA316B Alouette III
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Always so daring even after 48 years of service
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Airbus Helicopter NH-90 TTH
(Philippe Decockę)
18 Squadron on duty
(Philippe Decockę)
A machine that flies well despite some "youth diseases"
(Philippe Decockę)
 
The RS-02 demonstration
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Both flexible and massive
(Philippe Decockę)
During his career, the helicopter kept this camouflage that was originally intended for Egypt
(Jacques Vincentę)
The perfect image of the Belgian coast guardian angels
(Philippe Decockę)
The Seaking offered incredible in flight stability
(Philippe Decockę)
A last SAR demo for the RS-02
(Philippe Decockę)
Back on the ground
(Philippe Decockę)
Marchaling
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A refueling for a last night flight
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Night show...
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Alouette III
(Philippe Decockę)
She still carries her Navy anchor recalling her first assignment
(Philippe Decockę)
After the King, a reptile...
(Jacques Vincentę)
Airbus Helicopter NH-90 NFH
(Philippe Decockę)
The "caiman" comes out at night
(Philippe Decockę)
A last night trip for the King
(Jacques Vincentę)
Sand and spinash green in the night
(Jacques Vincentę)
Eyes in the eyes for this last dance
(Philippe Decockę)
A last music with the rotor disc in the night
(Philippe Decockę)
Bye Bye RS-02
(Philippe Decockę)
  
   
Last Seaking flight March 21st, 2019
  
 The morning program of the last King
Fog on the base as in the hearts
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Leaving Koksijde air base
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
 
Nieuwpoort Beach
 
Arrival at Nieuwpoort beach
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A crew member brought a flag to the city authorities
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Under high media surveillance
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę) (Patrick Brouckaertę)
Bye everybody
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Take off for the next station
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę) (Patrick Brouckaertę)
 
Koksijde Beach
 
A pass over Koksijde beach...
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
...and landing
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The Base Commander brought the flag to the Seaking City
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A last and real particular mission for the crew
(Patrick Brouckaertę)

Supporter of all ages
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The famous banner and the performances of the King of the Seas
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Last beach lift off
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A goodbye pass
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
As if he comes to save us a last time
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The image is reminiscent of a certain badge worn by the crews some years ago
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Bye bye Koksijde beach
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
 
Koksijde Press Presentation and Farewell
 
Press point before the last ceremony
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The word of the Base Commander
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Ready for the last formation flight
(Philippe Decockę)
A tribute from the fighters to the old King
(Philippe Decockę)
(Philippe Decockę)
Some souvenir of the last day
(Michael Moors BAF via FBę)
With some foreign guest
(Bart Rosselle BAF via FBę)
From Norway...
(Michael Moors BAF via FBę)
...or from Germany
(Michael Moors BAF via FBę)
Fly past above Koksijde air base
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A second in Vic formation
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
(Philippe Decockę) (Philippe Decockę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę) (Patrick Brouckaertę)
Return of a distinguished guest
(Philippe Decockę)
One of the three last European country using the Seaking
(Philippe Decockę)
N░ 66: An Apollo mission perfume
(Philippe Decockę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę) The German guest on landing
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę) The Novegian Seaking on taxi
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A last SAR demonstration
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Winch out
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Smoke for location help, very useful at sea
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Winch in
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
For posterity full of nostalgia
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A last salute
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę) (Patrick Brouckaertę)
Approach...
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
...and last touch down
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Go for the shower...
(Philippe Decockę)
...disappearance in the drizzle
(Philippe Decockę)
Clearly the end of an icone
(Philippe Decockę)
Fire brigate tribute to the King
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Coming out at other side
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
It was a nice flight Captain
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The last Seaking crew
(Patrick Brouckaertę)

Some TV broadcast interview
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Despite the smiles, the sadness was present
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The divers
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The firemen
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Westland Seaking Mk 41A from the MFG-5 (German Navy)
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Westland Seaking Mk 43B from the Skv-330 (Norway Defense Force)
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
A memory of the past (Windkracht 10 serie)
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The future is here, but it will take time to forget the King
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
Day is over, the machine are towed into the hangar
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
The RS-05 did a real last flight few days later between Koksijde and Oostende airport. The machine is now in hand of a technical aeronautic school.
(Patrick Brouckaertę)
  
 

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