|His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, visited The Helicopter Museum on Monday 24th June, 2002, to officially open the recently completed Exhibition Hangar. It was the Prince's first visit since he opened the Museum itself on 3rd November 1989||Prince Andrew was shown round the exhibits by the Chairman of Trustees, Elfan ap Rees. The Prince was introduced to sponsors, operators, representatives from industry and many of the volunteers, including the Museum's restoration teams.|
|Prince Andrew prepares to unveil a commemorative plaque.|
|Left: Prince Andrew arrived at about 10.20, flying in a Bell Model 222, c/n 47031, G-NOIR. He was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Lady Gass, and a large crowd of enthusiastic school children from nearby Locking Village. Centre: Touring the new hangar the Prince paused to talk with C.T.D. 'Sox' Hosegood who, as Chief Helicopter Test Pilot for The Bristol Aeroplane Company in the 1950s and early 60s, had flown some of the helicopters on display including the Bristol Sycamore G-ALSX, alongside, which he declares to be his favourite helicopter of the many he knew. Right: Steve Whittaker, Restoration Manager, shows the Prince some of the unusual features of the Kamov Ka-26, then nearing completion of its restoration as DDR-SPY.|
|Prince Andrew points a thumb at the Westland Whirlwind, XR486, in which he flew as a child, and beyond at the Wessex, XV733, in which he flew to the Museum in November 1989 to perform the original official opening ceremony.|
|Before he left the Museum, Prince Andrew unveiled a commemorative plaque in the Exhibition Hangar and congratulated everyone on the magnificent progress that the Museum has made and on the valuable work of skilled conservation and restoration which continues. He then proceeded, by helicopter, to Bristol where he toured S.S. Great Britain, the unique iron passenger ship built by I.K.Brunel, now restored and back in the dock where she was built and launched in 1843. After lunch he visited Toshiba's telecommunications research centre in Bristol. The following day he was due to attend events in Paris, in support of British Trade International.|
Prince Andrew's career in the Royal NavyThe Duke of York joined the Royal Navy in 1979. After passing out of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Prince Andrew went on to elementary flying training at RAF Leeming, Yorkshire, and later learnt to fly the Gazelle helicopter at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, in Cornwall. After conversion to the Sea King he joined 820 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) on HMS Invincible.
In 1982 Prince Andrew sailed, with his squadron on HMS Invincible, to the South Atlantic, as part of the Task Force which was despatched to regain the Falkland Islands. Throughout the conflict he flew Sea Kings on various missions including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), casualty evacuation and Search and Air Rescue (SAR).
The Prince was subsequently appointed to 703 NAS at Portland for Lynx conversion and, on completion in May 1984, served on HMS Brazen as the Flight Pilot. In 1988 he transferred to the General List for a year before joining 829 NAS and serving as Flight Commander until 1991.
In 1993 Prince Andrew, after attending a Command Course at Camberley Staff College, was selected to command the Minehunter HMS Cottesmore for 18 months, before returning to flying duties at RNAS Portland until October 1996.
A series of staff appointments followed until the Prince finally left the Royal Navy in 2001, after 22 years service, to become a roving ambassador for British Trade International, a government organisation responsible for the development of overseas trade and inward investment.
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