CHARD-based charity Historic Helicopters is celebrating the restoration and return to flight of ex-RAF Sea King G-SEAK with an open day and flying display on Thursday, August 5.

Historic Helicopters is home to the world’s only airworthy former RAF Westland Whirlwind HAR10, a Westland Wessex Mk 5, Sea King Mks 3 & 4 (all of which have been TV and film stars) and other aircraft, including a recently purchased Lynx Mk 7.

The event will provide a safe, open-air day out for all the family.

Visitors can see aircraft in action, view several aircraft in ground display, try local food and beverages – and buy a souvenir or two in celebration of local aviation history.

The day will be hosted at Historic Helicopters HQ, Whitehouse Farm, Chard.

G-SEAK was fully restored and civil registered by Andrew Whitehouse and the Historic Helicopters team.

The former RAF Search and Rescue helicopter was built in Somerset by Westland Helicopters (now Leonardo Helicopters) in 1978. It served with 202 Squadron RAF as aircraft tail number XZ588 - conducting many rescues and saving hundreds of lives, retiring from operational service in 2018.

Following a period in storage, it was bought by Andrew and Historic Helicopters to join their heritage fleet.

After consultation with the Civil Aviation Authority the aircraft gained its permit to fly and conducted successful test flights which were completed on June 15.

G-SEAK will join the HH aircraft and Team participating in the flying display.

The open day will also celebrate the achievements of Historic Helicopters team ember and pilot Jane Gregory as the first female civilian Sea King pilot

Jane, an experienced helicopter pilot, trained to fly in the right-hand seat in one of Historic Helicopter’s nine-ton Sea Kings and achieved her qualification this March in a helicopter brought back to airworthiness by the dedicated maintenance team at the Historic Helicopters rural base.

One of the long terms aims of Historic Helicopters is to put together an all-female Sea King flying display crew.

Andrew Whitehouse has a record of bringing people into his organisation through a charity scholarship programme – and in particular supporting young women in aviation.

He said: “We are all very proud of the team’s achievement in restoring G-SEAK and Jane’s achievement; we aim to create an all-female display crew which will provide inspiration for women in aviation.

"We are really looking forwards to opening our doors to the public in August – and showing off all of the work we have completed during lockdown.”

How to obtain tickets for the day:

Threshold Aero website;

HH Website;

HH Facebook.