It has been said the that closure of FAA and RAF SAR Sea King flights was a necessary cost cutting exercise, but closure of these valuable services was a cheap price cut. The final costing may be an increase because reducing SAR cover leads to increasing loss that more than cancels any price reduction. Some of that loss is human life which is priceless.
FAA and RAF SAR helicopter crews have given sterling service since they acquired their first helicopters. Integrating effectively with RNLI and HMCG SAR teams, these helicopters provided an outstanding service with great personal courage in the face of what were often terrifying conditions.
As the FAA and RAF re-equipped with the Sea King, their capabilities increased and they became a much loved sight around the coasts, the mountains and the inland areas. A great many people came to owe their lives to the professional services provided by the dedicated crews. It will seem strange that the Sea King will no longer be part of the British skies in its SAR liveries.
By providing SAR helicopters, the FAA and RAF were not only providing a vital service in the British Isles, but they were maintaining a cadre of aircrew who were fully trained SAR professionals, available for deployment anywhere in time of war to provide SAR and Combat SAR support for British warfighters. Their use to provide SAR services at home kept their skills honed for any SAR requirement.
What a shame that venial politicians consistently fail to match public service of the FAA and RAF.
So it is a feeling of deep loss, but also of celebration of a glorious history.