Westland Seaking Mk.48

To replace the successful Sikorsky HSS1/S58 in the Air-Sea Rescue role the Belgian Government ordered five Westland Seaking Mk.48 helicopters in April 1975. In a first stage, all aircraft were used to train the Belgian aircrews at RNAS Culdrose before being delivered to Koksijde in November 1976. All heli's have since undergone several updates including replacement of the radar by a vastly more capable version and the installation of a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera. The most remarkable intervention of the Seakings took place after the disaster with the "Herald of Free Enterprise" off the coast at Zeebrugge on March 6th, 1987. Three Seakings of 40 Squadron were able to rescue 30 passengers from a certain death. After more then 30 years of service the Seaking is to be replaced by the NH Industries NH90 helicopter in the years to come.


RS-01 c/n WA.831
  • 191275: first flight
  • 000000: noted with test registration G-BDNH / G-17-1
  • 180676: handed over to Belgian Air Force
  • 000076: used for crew training at RNAS Culdrose
  • 081176: delivery flight to Koksijde, crew: Cdt.vl.E.De Landtsheer, Olt F.Phlippo, Kapt.H.Derechter, 1SM A.Verhelst
  • 081176: taken on charge 40 Squadron
  • 280481: Ditched into the North Sea after engine problems, slightly damaged. A Belgian navy minesweeper 'Artevelde' toes the aicraft to Zeebrugge, where the helicopter is lifted out of the water with a crane
  • 000091: noted with secial colorscheme '15 Years Seaking, 20 Years 40 Squadron, 30 Years Heli-Flight'
  • 241104: noted operational with 40Squadron
  • 000105: suffering from hydraulic problems
  • 200505: noted back operational at Koksijde
  • 171208: transferred to the Royal Army Museum at Brussels for preservation. Crew for this final flight from Koksijde were : Lt.Col.Avi. Rudy Theys (Co-pilot, Koksijde BaseCo), Cdt.avi.Karel 'Fozzy' Kinable (Pilot) and Adj.Maj.Rudy Debergh (Flight Engineer). TT 10585 hrs.

Westland Seaking Mk.48 - Belgian Military Aircraft Database RS01 arriving at Royal Army Museum
RS-01 Saffraanberg 090504 - Photo Laurent Heyligen (c) RS-01's last landing at the Royal Army Museum on 171208. Photo Daniel Brackx (c)



RS-02 c/n WA.832
  • 080476: first flight
  • 000076: noted with test registration G-BDNI / G-17-2
  • 200576: handed over to Belgian Air Force
  • 000076: used for crew training at RNAS Culdrose
  • 081176: delivery flight to Koksijde, crew: Cdt.J.Hilleware, 1Lt D.Payeur, Olt.W.Lelievre, 1SM W.Van Acker
  • 081176: taken on charge 40 Squadron
  • 000000: repainted with bright dayglo nose and tail (in stead of red) after maintenance in SABCA, it was the only Sea King painted as such
  • 270598: damage to main rotor and tail rotor during landing near the Moeskroen fire department. Upon landing the helicopter hit a lighting mast.
  • 001006: repainted with red nose, instead of dayglo
  • 001106: active with 40 Squadron at Koksijde

Westland Seaking Mk.48 - Belgian Military Aircraft Database
RS-02 Collection Laurent Heyligen


RS-03 c/n WA.833
  • 090476 or 120476: first flight
  • 000076: noted with test registration G-BDNJ / G-17-3
  • 280576: handed over to Belgian Air Force
  • 000076: used for crew training at RNAS Culdrose
  • 081176: delivery flight to Koksijde. Crew: Kapt.M.Gyssels, 1Lt.D.Kerkhof, 1Lt.A.Jacobs, 1SM P.Vandermeersche.
  • 081176: taken on charge 40 Squadron
  • 031280: emergency landing at Mont-Saint-Guibert. Due to icing both engines has stopped, but nevertheless the pilot managed to land, but with considerable damage. With the aid of a U.S.Army CH47C Chinook the Seaking is transferred to Koksijde and repaired. As a direct result FOD-deflectors were installed on all belgian Seakings.
  • 000290: emergency landing at Naninne, due to a faulty gearbox. Aircraft was repaired on site.
  • 180197: after a rescue mission after a ships collision, the aircraft had to make an emergency landing on the quai of Koksijde. No damage. Pilot : Cdt.vl.Jef De Kinder.
  • 200203: During the tragic fire in an apartment building at Mons, a Westland Seaking was called in to give assistance. Unfortunately, RS03 was slightly damaged when landing nearby, the plastic roof of a pumping station was shattered by the rotor-blast and sucked in by the engines.
  • 000105: IRAN overhaul at SABCA
  • 160605: returned to Koksijde, went immediately into maintenance
  • 000705: back operational since late july
  • 121206: first noted with special marking '30 Years Sea King' on the tail
  • 000006: active with 40 Squadron at Koksijde

Westland Seaking Mk.48 - Belgian Military Aircraft Database
RS-03 Beauvechain 150905 - Photo Laurent Heyligen (c)


RS-04 c/n WA.834
  • 070576: first flight
  • 000076: noted with test registration G-BDNK / G-17-4
  • 140776: handed over to Belgian Air Force
  • 000076: used for crew training at RNAS Culdrose
  • 081176: delivery flight to Koksijde. Crew: Cdr.R.Orbie, 1Lt.R.Raes, 1Lt.V.Nicolai, Sgt.D.Provoost
  • 081176: taken on charge 40 Squadron
  • 000791: special markings for 15 years Seaking - 20 years 40 Sqn - 30 years heli flight
  • 001205: noted at Sabca for anti-corrosion work

Westland Seaking Mk.48 - Belgian Military Aircraft Database
RS-04 Bierset 040605 - Photo Laurent Heyligen (c)


RS-05 c/n WA.835
  • 070676: first flight
  • 000076: noted with test registration G-BDNL / G-17-5
  • 020776: handed over to Belgian Air Force
  • 000076: used for crew training at RNAS Culdrose
  • 081176: delivery flight to Koksijde. Crew: LtCdr.P.Pitt (Royal Navy), Cdt.J.S'Jegers, Olt.E.Vaneecke, 1SM.W.Vereecke
  • 081176: taken on charge 40 Squadron
  • 030595: handed over to 40 Squadron after mid-life update by Sabca (1ste aircraft to be modernised)
  • 090499: on its way to Koksijde after a paradrop at Schaffen (Diest) a fire started, caused by a seized AC-generator. As a security measure an emergency landing was made in a potato field near the 'Oude Molen' of Oordegem (near Lede, East Flanders). The local fire department had been called in and they managed to put out the fire. The problem was fixed and the helicopter could continue its flight to Koksijde.
  • 000601: f/n special colorscheme 25 Years Sea King
  • 130902: last noted operational 40 Squadron
  • 000002: to SABCA for maintenance
  • 220304: arrived back at Koksijde after 17 months at Sabca for upgrade, still wearing the special colorscheme '25 Year Sea King'
  • 180504: emergency landing at Valkenburg (The Netherlands) after problems with the hydraulic system of the main rotor blades. The helicopter was noted back in operation 5 days later
  • late04: structural damage is discovered
  • 000105: under maintenance to solve structural damage at Koksijde, maintenance done by Air Component personnel and Westland technicians. 2 main ribs in the structure (just underneath the engines) had to be replaced by a specialised team from the UK. After this the aircraft (still in black special colors) needed to be repainted. During the summer they discovered that the electrical wiring was also in very bad shape, so this needed replacing as well.
  • 000206: first testflight in the first week of February
  • 150206: second testflight from Koksijde (the aircraft had some 'borrowed' plating from the RS04 who is under maintenance at Sabca, but these will be replaced by the original black plating).
  • 010706: precautionary landing during demonstration at Koksijde Airshow, pilot got a fire warning light in the cockpit
  • 210706: first noted with Defence logo
  • 001106: active with 40 Squadron

Westland Seaking Mk.48 - Belgian Military Aircraft Database
RS-05 Sanicole (Hechtel) 230706 - Photo Laurent Heyligen (c)





BELGIAN MILITARY AIRAFT DATABASE - Belgian Military Aircraft

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