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Helicopter thrill for students as an old friend says “Goodbye”

28th January 2016

It was 15 minutes in the air but for most it was the trip of a lifetime.

Last Wednesday 60 lucky cadets and 4 staff from Trinity School were treated to short trips over Teignmouth and Dawlish in a former Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter, which had called in on the School’s thriving Combined Cadet Force.

771NAS based at RNAS CULDROSE was the Search and Rescue Helicopter Squadron up to a few weeks ago, but their role has now been taken over by HM Coastguard. By March this year the squadron will no longer exist, nor will their famous old red and grey helicopter, which has been in service around the South West of England since the early 1970’s.

As leader of the School’s CCF contingent, Lt Cdr (CCF) Geraldine Poulet-Bowden, RNR explains : “As a CCF Contingent we are very lucky to have close ties with RNAS CULDROSE and at the suggestion of one of our pilot friends Lt Cdr Mike Luscombe, we submitted a bit of a cheeky request to be considered for a 771NAS farewell visit- after all a 771 helicopter visited Trinity as recently as 28 Sep 2015- but we knew that this would be an amazing one-off opportunity and it would give our CCF cadets such an exciting experience”. And so it turned out. A rare day of glorious sunshine and clear skies meant that our young people were able to benefit from benign flying conditions and superb views. Non CCF pupils including those from Nursery, Prep and Senior departments were able to view the inside of the helicopter as it was stationary on the school pitch over lunchtime. It was a fantastic experience for all - the day could not have gone better - and we would like to record our thanks for the tolerance shown by local residents whose peace may have been disturbed for a couple of hours.