845 Junglies Whizz into Goodwood Festival of Speed
It is not often that the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) meet thousands of members of the public in a single weekend, but that changed at the end of June when 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) took up an invite to attend this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
With an estimated 80,000 people in attendance it was sure to be a fantastic show, and so 14 members of 845 NAS took a Sea King Mk4 helicopter for a static display as part of the increasingly popular Aviation Exhibition section of the Festival of Speed.
Over the course of four days, members of the public of all backgrounds and ages came to have a look, and found the experience an unforgettable one. In excess of 7000 people climbed aboard the mighty ‘King, meeting the engineers and aircrew of 845 NAS, and getting their first taste of the inside of a Royal Navy battlefield helicopter.
It was an experience not easily forgotten, with people being surprised not only at how big the Sea King Mk4 is, and ‘how many switches and dials’ there were in the cockpit, but also the extensive operational experience of CHF crews in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade.
The Festival of Speed wasn’t all work however, with the 845 NAS team getting a chance to see the newest, fastest cars and motorbikes, as well as some vintage vehicles. The ‘Junglies’ were taken aback by the response from their fellow exhibitors who were very extremely welcoming. Lotus, the festival’s main sponsor, granted exclusive access to their F1 team set-up, and gave the opportunity to get up close and personal with their F1 cars. Other teams also offered invites to meet key team members, which saw the 845 contingent rubbing shoulders with Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Nico Prost.
Lt Sean Davenport, the 845 Deputy Air Engineering Officer, said: “We were all thrilled at the opportunity to experience the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed and see some of the cars we’ve heard so much about, but to be invited into exclusive areas, including paddocks and start lines was something truly sensational. “
The weekend was a very worthwhile experience both as a PR event for the CHF, and as an opportunity to participate in, and enjoy, an event which many of 845 would not always be able to attend. Lt Charlie Peschardt concluded: “It’s great to be able to display our helicopter at such a famous event, enabling us to meet many members of the public who have been overwhelmingly generous in their support of the job 845 NAS performs around the globe.”