Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Patrick Brouckaert, Philippe Decock, Jacques Vincent - Translation: Marc Arys
© 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 Decock©)
Towed to his public
(Philippe Decock©)
The RS-04 did his last flight on December 19th, 2018
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Strong and efficient technology
(Jacques Vincent©)
Risk what has to be risked
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The Air Force we love and support
(Jacques Vincent©)
43 years old and always beautiful lines
(Philippe Decock©)
RS-05, he will be the last of the Kings!
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Preparation
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The crew chief on duty
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Face to face
(Jacques Vincent©)
Ready for taxi
(Jacques Vincent©)
Big eyes are watching you
(Philippe Decock©)
Take off
(Philippe Decock©)
Some other Belgian Air Force presentation
(Philippe Decock©)
The Airbus Helicopter NH-90 NFH, the successor of the King
(Philippe Decock©)
Lockheed C-130H Hercules, note the former United Nation markings 
(Jacques Vincent©)
15 (Wing) shade of grey
(Jacques Vincent©)
Embraer ERJ-135
(Philippe Decock©)
Agusta A109BA
(Philippe Decock©)
The local Sud Aviation SA316B Alouette III
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Always so daring even after 48 years of service
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Airbus Helicopter NH-90 TTH
(Philippe Decock©)
18 Squadron on duty
(Philippe Decock©)
A machine that flies well despite some "youth diseases"
(Philippe Decock©)
 
The RS-02 demonstration
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Both flexible and massive
(Philippe Decock©)
During his career, the helicopter kept this camouflage that was originally intended for Egypt
(Jacques Vincent©)
The perfect image of the Belgian coast guardian angels
(Philippe Decock©)
The Seaking offered incredible in flight stability
(Philippe Decock©)
A last SAR demo for the RS-02
(Philippe Decock©)
Back on the ground
(Philippe Decock©)
Marchaling
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
A refueling for a last night flight
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Night show...
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Alouette III
(Philippe Decock©)
She still carries her Navy anchor recalling her first assignment
(Philippe Decock©)
After the King, a reptile...
(Jacques Vincent©)
Airbus Helicopter NH-90 NFH
(Philippe Decock©)
The "caiman" comes out at night
(Philippe Decock©)
A last night trip for the King
(Jacques Vincent©)
Sand and spinash green in the night
(Jacques Vincent©)
Eyes in the eyes for this last dance
(Philippe Decock©)
A last music with the rotor disc in the night
(Philippe Decock©)
Bye Bye RS-02
(Philippe Decock©)
  
   
Last Seaking flight March 21st, 2019
  
 The morning program of the last King
Fog on the base as in the hearts
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Leaving Koksijde air base
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
 
Nieuwpoort Beach
 
Arrival at Nieuwpoort beach
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
A crew member brought a flag to the city authorities
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Under high media surveillance
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
Bye everybody
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Take off for the next station
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©) (Patrick Brouckaert©)
 
Koksijde Beach
 
A pass over Koksijde beach...
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
...and landing
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The Base Commander brought the flag to the Seaking City
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
A last and real particular mission for the crew
(Patrick Brouckaert©)

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

Some TV broadcast interview
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Despite the smiles, the sadness was present
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The divers
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The firemen
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Westland Seaking Mk 41A from the MFG-5 (German Navy)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Westland Seaking Mk 43B from the Skv-330 (Norway Defense Force)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
A memory of the past (Windkracht 10 serie)
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
The future is here, but it will take time to forget the King
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
Day is over, the machine are towed into the hangar
(Patrick Brouckaert©)
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 Brouckaert©)
  
 

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