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Lynx final farewell flypast

20 March 2017
Four Lynx Mk8 flew across Southern England on 17th March 2017 to bid a fond farewell as she bows out of service on 31 March 2017

Thousands of people across Southern England waved goodbye to the last Navy Lynx from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton when the helicopters conducted a five-hour farewell flypast.

After 41 years’ service in different models and variants – and paint schemes – and a combined 490,000 miles the helicopter which has been mainstay of Royal Navy destroyer and frigate operations around the globe retires.

The fliers of 815 NAS at Yeovilton, the Lynx home for most of its Fleet Air Arm career, are performed a ‘farewell tour’ of sites in the UK most associated with their helicopter.

I will be truly sad to say goodbye to a trusted aircraft that has become part of me.

Commander Phil Richardson RN

Lieutenant (Lt) George Thompson RN is a Lynx Pilot flew in the Flypast today said as he landed his Lynx for the very last time; “I cannot think of a more fitting end to such a fantastic aircraft than to fly around the South of the UK to say thank you to all that have supported and been involved with the Lynx’ extremely successful and busy 41 year career. 

“With this being my final flight in the ‘sports car of the skies’, I will both relish the time airborne today whilst trying to suppress the poignant emotions after flying this wonderful and steadfast chariot for over 13 years. 

“As we bid farewell to the Royal Navy Lynx, its successor the Wildcat will have some pretty big shoes to fill but, as always, we look forward to continuing the legacy.” 

The weather was kind and two flypasts– a morning one in the South West, then over Southern and South-East England in the afternoon was punctuated with a short refuelling stop at RAF Odiham.

Schools, workplaces, former Lynx men and women, enthusiasts and supporters turned out to wave the formation of helicopters as they passed overhead.

Commander Phil Richardson, Commanding Officer of 815 NAS himself taking his last flight in the left hand seat said: “At the end of an era of Lynx flying in the Royal Navy, we are privileged to conduct a flypast flight around the key areas of the SW of England where the Lynx has operated for many years when ashore. 

“However, its other home is in the challenging environment on-board a Royal Navy Frigate or Destroyer deployed in support of UK interests overseas.  

“The Lynx has had continued success on operations for over 40 years; highlights include its role in the Falklands and the two Gulf Wars although it has had a presence in every ocean or area of conflict. 

“Hugely successful, this all British helicopter is operated by many nations across the world as it has ensured safe maritime aviation operations at sea have been achieved in the most challenging environments. 

“I will be truly sad to say goodbye to a trusted aircraft that has become part of me.”

A formal decommissioning ceremony will following at 815 Naval Air Squadron RNAS Yeovilton on 23 March 2017 before 815 converts into a Wildcat squadron, providing the Lynx’s successor for destroyers and frigates.

Farewell Lynx you will be missed!

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