Boulmer's Purpose-built SAR Flight 1976 Style
by Flight Lieutenant D. J. Carey (Air Clues 1976)
UNTIL the autumn of 1975, 'A' Flight of No 202
Squadron operated two Whirl-wind 10 helicopters in the SAR role from
the disused airfield at Acklington in Northumberland, sharing the
old wartime airfield with a prison and an open-cast coalmine. The
time came when the Nation-al Coal Board required access to the coal
underneath the helicopter enclave, so 'A' Flight had to find a new
home. After a year-long building programme, the helicopter flight
was declared operational at RAF Boulmer on 2 October 1975.
Crewrooms, bedrooms, kitchen and dining room combine to reduce fatigue and therefore promote individual efficiency. Even the eight mallard ducks, the Flight's mascots, have a pond which was donated by the building contractors, George Wimpey and Co. The Flight members are justly proud of their new accommodation, which boasts a coffee bar built of Lakeland stone by the donors, the Langdale-Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team in Cumbria.
England's most northern RAF SAR
Flight had a remarkable increase in the number of operational
sorties last year compared with previous years. During 1975 the
Flight was involved in 60 call-outs in which a total of 40 people
received assistance. Early in the year it was an 'A' Flight
helicopter which rescued the sole survivor of a Victor tanker that
had crashed 100 miles East of Acklington. Rescues of fallen Lake
District climbers were frequent in the summer, and the scramble bell
rang for the 60th time on the last day of the year!