"RAF Search and Rescue Sea King Helicopter"
Original watercolour 30cm x 15cm
The era of the all familiar yellow RAF Search and Rescue Helicopter, built by Augusta Westland, has sadly come to an end. Amongst the many brave pilots, Prince William served two and a half years as a search and rescue pilot at RAF Valley on Anglesey. Now the mainland responsibility will fall to a civilian government agency and private contractors.
These cadmium-yellow paraffin parrots might be an analogue-affront in a digital age; a noisy, wappety, kerosene-smelling dipsomaniac machine that’s been deafening crews for more than half a century. But they’re also the thing you pray for when all hope seems lost. On nights when the rain spatters against the windows like gravel, the wind moans like cantankerous wolves and you snuggle under the blankets, the Sea King crews will be out there, rescuing people.
I have seen the search and rescue helicopters flying along our coastline and totally understand what Andrew says - what a relief it must be to see one when all hope seems lost! In painting them, I enjoy trying to capture the motion - next on the list to paint are an Apache and then a Chinook, both hopefully in the not too distinct future.
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