Old war bird comes home to roost

PRIDE OF THE FLEET: The Sea King Shark 07 handover ceremony to the Fleet Air Arm Museum on Wednesday. OFFICIAL DUTY: From left Commander Ed Bell (Rtd), Fleet Air Arm Commander Commodore Peter Laver, RAN, Fleet Air Arm Museum manager Terry Hetherington, 817 Squadron Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Moggach RAN, and Navy Aviation Systems Program Office director, Captain Colin Lawrence AM, RAN at the official handover of Shark 07 to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.THE Sea King helicopter known as Shark 07 has been immortalised as the only Sea King to be held in an Australian museum.A ceremony at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross on Wednesday officially presented the aircraft to the museum.Museum manager Terry Hetherington said it took a lot of lobbying to secure the helicopter, as government policy aimed to get maximum return on aircraft.Shark 07 has a special place in the memories of many current and retired navy personnel.It was the first Sea King to arrive in Australia, the first to fly here and it was the last to fly here during last year’s decommissioning ceremony of 817 Squadron.“That particular one was the first aircraft to fly in Australia and the last aircraft to fly on the last day 817 did its final fly past,” Mr Hetherington said.“Shark 07 had been involved in active service in Middle East and in Timor as well as completing operations in the Solomon Islands.“It’s the quintessential war bird,” he said.“During the ceremony on Wednesday we recognised the work done by those who prepared the aircraft for the museum.“They did a fantastic job, in fact someone has commented that it looks better than it did when it was new,” he said.Retired aircraft technician and former warrant officer Glenn Harley knew exactly what Shark 07 looked like from new, because he was at HMAS Albatross when it arrived.“Shark 07 arrived in 19 boxes on May 25, 1975 and about three weeks later we had it built,” he said.“It was a little bit like building an Airfix plastic model the way it went together.“It was an exciting time, we had just spent 15 months in England operating Sea Kings with the Royal Navy.“When the decision was made to purchase the Sea King, 20 maintainers and aircrew went to the UK and we attended training courses at Rolls Royce where the engines were made,” Mr Harley said.“Then we posted to a Royal Navy airbase in Cornwall.“Following that tour of duty we returned to Australia in time for the arrival of the first of 10 Sea Kings.“Shark 07 was the first rebuilt and to become operational in the Australian fleet air arm services.“That aircraft had so many relationships with so many people in the fleet air arm, it’s incredible.“It achieved a lot in its time,” Mr Harley said.“In that first week they took the Governor General, and Chief of Navy for inaugural flights.“After that the Governor General and the high brass in Canberra always insisted on 07 if they ever needed a Sea King taxi somewhere.“I always called it the Energiser bunny, it was always on task and always doing its thing.“I’m very proud.“It’s very satisfying and rewarding to see it sitting there in all its glory,” he said.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.