FLY BYE BYE; END OF AN ERA NAVY SEA KING HELICOPTERS' FAREWELL TOUR.
Byline: PAUL WARD firstname.lastname@example.org
ROYAL Navy pilots took Sea King search and rescue helicopters on an emotional flying farewell tour of Scotland yesterday.
The choppers have been decommissioned after 44 years of service. And three helicopters went on a historic final flight from their base, HMS Gannet near Prestwick in Ayrshire.
They travelled to the west Highlands, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayrshire - and places where they have been deployed to help find missing or injured people.
HMS Gannet Lieutenant Commander Charlie Fuller, who was on board one of the Sea Kings, said: "It's sad to be saying goodbye but there is also a huge sense of pride at a mission which has been completed well.
"The fly-past was our chance to say farewell. It was amazing to see so many members of the public come out to wave us off as we flew past."
On January 1, HMS Gannet's search and rescue responsibilities ended when they handed over to contractors Bristow, who will operate 10 helicopter bases in the UK on behalf of the coastguard.
IN-SPIRED Sea Kings circle St John's Tolbooth Church in Edinburgh
HISTORIC FLIGHT Sea Kings at the Wallace Monument as they tour central Scotland
LANDMARK JOURNEY The Sea Kings flew low as they passed over Edinburgh Castle
BONNIE BANKS The Sea Kings dropped into the glens as they flew over Loch Lomond
SKY SHOW Crowds in Oban's North Pier for final fly-past of the HMS Gannet helicopters
NEIGHBOURS People gathered on the seafront in Troon, Ayrshire, to wave goodbye
CITY VISIT Two Sea King choppers fly over River Clyde in Glasgow
SPRAY SHOW Tugs at Faslane Naval Base, Gareloch
MAIN PICTURE: Roddy Scott OTHERS: Moira Kerr, Thomas MacDonald, Wattie Cheung and Alan Simpson
KING OF THE CASTLE Sea Kings fly over Stirling Castle