The Westland Sea King, here represented by the HAR. Mk 3 model, is the cornerstone of the RAF’s rescue capability. Here SAM takes a detailed look at one of these ageing helicopters.
1. Front three-quarter view of the starboard side, showing the locations of the various markings. The No. 22 Sqn ‘Pi’ badge has been applied over a larger No. 202 Sqn ‘mallard’ badge, giving the appearance of a white border. The two pairs of aerials under the chin form part of the radio homing system.
2. The inside surface of the port engine bay cover. The basic colour is a weathered interior green, and the walkway portion is coated in a faded black, non-slip compound. The red-painted areas protect the engine bay fire-detection wires. The starboard engine bay cover is identical.
3. The port (No. 1) Gnome engine. The starboard engine is mounted with the same orientation, so that it is neither inverted nor a mirror-image of No. 1. Note the pipes coming out from the rear of the Centrisep filter.
4. The Centrisep particle filter and port pitot tube area. Note that some RAF Sea Kings have colourless cockpit roof windows, while others have them tinted green.
5. The Multi-Sensor System (MSS) modification programme provides Mk 3 Sea Kings with the Mk 3A-standard processed radar and turret-mounted TV and thermal imag-
ing cameras. The camera pod is seen here on its mounting under the port stub wing. Note that with the pod fitted the under-slung load hook assemblies are removed to enhance the camera’s field of view.
6. The interior of the port transmission bay. The main gearbox is approximately Medium Sea Grey, the hydraulic pipes are polished aluminium with blue fittings, and the interior of the bay itself is a weathered satin black. The inside face of the door, which opens to form a maintenance platform, has a flat surface coated the a matt black non-slip compound.
7. General view of the port side, with the dark grey-green engine blank ‘bung’ in place. Of note are the bungee cord on the medium grey flotation bag cover, and the royal blue passenger seat webbing, visible through the right-hand cabin window.
8. Detail of the upper port side of the fuselage and rotor hub.
9. The main rotor hub assembly. The mass of hydraulic pipework is associated the blade folding system, which is rarely used on RAF Sea Kings. One blade does not have this pipework, since during the blade folding sequence it positions along the spine of the aircraft and does not fold. Note that the upper surface of one blade is painted yellow for conspicuity, although the colour is generally heavily weathered along the blade’s entire length.
10. Rear port fuselage. The moveable spotlight is controlled from the port bubble window position.
11. Tailwheel area. The tailwheel castors freely when ground taxying, but is always locked for take-off, landing and when the aircraft is stationary.
12. Tail pylon and rotor assembly. Note the two recessed oil level sight glasses, one just ahead of the tail rotor hub and one behind the grille above the ‘Danger’ sign, and the narrow natural metal strip on the leading edge of each rotor blade.
13. The hydraulically-operated rescue winch. Note the small fixed light (attached to the fuselage) and larger moveable spotlight (attached to the winch frame) below the winch itself. This area rapidly becomes heavily exhaust stained in normal use, though this aircraft has been recently cleaned.
15. General view looking inside the port personnel door, showing the area behind the pilots’ seats. Note the yellow torches clipped to each seat frame, the silver relief tube (never used) to the right of the map
14. General view looking into the starboard main cabin door. The yellow pack contains an inflatable 10-man liferaft, and the red frame assembly beneath the seats is the tail rotor gust lock. Two olive green dispatchers’ harnesses hang from the roof, as does a stretcher, and a black spiral intercom lead is visible. The various bags on the seats contain medical equipment. Although cabin equipment layouts may differ in minor detail, reflecting the nature of each SAR Flight’s normal operating environment, all RAF SAR Sea Kings carry identical, standardised equipment.
bag, and the exposed wiring in the roof. The light orange material on the right is the cover of the equipment stowage rack (known as ‘Jock’s Box’). The predominandy grey pilots’ seats have orange backpads, sheepskin-covered seat-pan dinghy packs, and black harnesses with blue buckles.
16. The centre console, showing the ready-use documents stowage. The knurled collar on the pilot’s collective lever is the friction assembly and is not present on the co-pilot’s collective lever.
17. The instrument panel, with full flight instrumentation for each pilot. Note that only the right-hand pilot’s position is provided with toe brakes.
20. A Centrisep sand filter.
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