Today, after forty years of service, the Westland Lynx took to the skies for the very last time – making a final farewell flight before they officially retire from service at the end of this month.
Four helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron took off from RNAS Yeovilton, the Lynx’s home for much of its four-decade career, for a five-hour flypast across Southern England taking in sites most associated with the helicopter.
At 10:20 the flight cut through grey skies above Clifton Suspension Bridge on its way to Filton, where the Lynx’s specially designed Rolls-Royce Gem engines were built, giving Bristol’s aviation enthusiasts and former Lynx men and women a chance to say a final farewell to the much-loved helicopter.
“fast, sleek, agile and sporty”
Over forty years ago, on 1 September 1976 the first Yeovil-built Lynx entered British military service, joining 700L Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton.
Described by the Navy as “fast, sleek, agile and sporty”, the Westland Lynx went on to prove versatile and dependable machine which saw service across the world – from the wastes of Antarctica to the heat of the Gulf – and was involved in operations in the Falklands and in Sierra Leone.
But the limitations of the aging air-frame eventually meant it was time to upgrade. A formal decommissioning ceremony will be held later this month before the squadron converts to the Lynx’s successor – the more modern AugustaWestland Wildcat.
The 4 Lynx helicopters making a final fly past before they go out of service just went over the Mansion House – quite a sight pic.twitter.com/i6Dmboz8gR
— Bristol Lord Mayor (@brislordmayor) March 17, 2017
— Prolific Solutions (@ProlificSW) March 17, 2017
— Macks Aviation (@MacksAviation) March 17, 2017