Two-heli coup for Newark

Puma HC1 XW208 (this image) and Chinook HC1 ZA717 (below right) arriving at Newark from Cranwell on 7 and 22 February respectively. NAM

During February the Newark Air Museum at Winthorpe took delivery of two former RAF helicopters from RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire, where they had been used to train loadmasters in slinging techniques and load-securing methods.

First to arrive on 7 February was an incomplete Westland Puma HC1, XW208. “This particular acquisition comes some seven years after the museum first made an attempt to secure a Puma for its collection, back in 2011”, commented Dave Hibbert, museum trustee and acquisitions officer. “RAF Pumas have been regular visitors to our Southfield site and they have always been popular at the museum. We are already actively following up leads across the UK to locate the missing parts, and while it is viewed as a long-term project we are really proud to secure this early example of an under-represented type of helicopter.”

Following the same route on 22 February was Boeing Chinook HC1 ZA717, the first example of an RAF Chinook to be acquired by an independent aviation museum in the UK.

ZA717’s arrival was particularly poignant for the museum’s groundsman Nigel Bean. As a serving RAF police officer he witnessed the non-fatal incident on 25 July 1989 that saw ZA717 being written off at RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands. The Chinook’s arrival at Newark was witnessed by 70 children from two Lincolnshire schools, who were visiting the museum as part of an Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire artsbased education project entitled ‘Fly Away Day’. This was a particularly apt welcome for ZA717, as eventually the museum plans to use it as an interactive education space/ resource for visiting groups of schoolchildren, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers.

Regarding the Chinook, Dave Hibbert said, “As with the Puma, we are already actively following up leads across the UK to locate the missing parts, and look forward to turning ZA717 into an important educational resource at the museum.”