Canadian Sea King retirement

The Royal Canadian Air Force has retired its Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopters after more than 55 years of service to the nation.

The Sea King entered service in Canada in May 1963 and was originally designated CHSS-3. By the time of the final flight in December 2018, the type had accrued a total of more than 550,000 flight hours. The helicopter is being replaced in the ship-borne maritime helicopter role by the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone.

A ceremony to mark the Sea King’s impending retirement was held at Patricia Bay, British Columbia, home to the RCAF’s 443 ‘Hornet’ Squadron on December 12, 2018, with the final flight expected to occur before the end of December. Speaking at the farewell ceremony, Rear Admiral Art McDonald, Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said: “Today is the day we retire a stalwart workhorse and celebrate how it provided the foundation for continued naval aviation success in a Navy-Air Force industry partnership. The Sea King was more than just a helicopter; since its introduction in the 1960s it fundamentally changed the nature of naval operations worldwide.”

Around ten CH-124s will be donated to museums and the remainder will be disposed of. Nigel Pittaway