Search and Rescue Training Unit
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|Search and Rescue Training Unit|
AW139 Helicopter on Search and Rescue Exercise
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
The Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) of the Royal Air Force is located on the southern side of RAF Valley on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales. SARTU operates three AgustaWestland AW139 and other Bell Griffin HT.1 helicopters to train pilots and winchmen before progression to active Search and Rescue duties. With FB Heliservices (part of Cobham plc) contracted to provide the aircraft, engineers and flight line for the Unit it is often that one of the HT.1 helicopters be replaced with a HAR.2. This is a fully SAR capable aircraft that 84 Squadron uses in Cyprus on SAR duties.
SARTU is also used as the base for many other air courses. Most notable is 60 Sqn, from DHFS, RAF Shawbury send each of their Ab-initio pilots and crewman to SARTU for a 3-week detachment to learn the basic skills needed for Search and Rescue missions and Mountain Flying. For a brief time (2010-2012) the Royal Navy sent ab-initio Fleet Air Arm pilots to SARTU to complete a bespoke SAR training course. During this time 6 pilots gained the coveted Royal Navy Pilot Flying Badge (Wings) at SARTU, with 2 more completing the course having already gained their Wings. Each of these pilots went on for conversion training at 771 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Seahawk, RNAS Culdrose.