A Sea King helicopter will once again patrol the Moray area this weekend – but this time it will be carrying out its mission at ground level.
The Morayvia group, which secured a decommissioned copter to exhibit at its Kinloss base after a mammoth public campaign, will parade the £30,000 aircraft through the area tomorrow.
The helicopters roamed the region’s skies for 40 years until they were retired from service in April.
Morayvia chief executive Stan Barber said the tour was the charity’s way of thanking the residents whose support ensured the preservation of the Mk3 Sea King XZ592 aircraft as a testament to Moray’s rescue heroes.
Mr Barber said: “The purchase of the Sea King was such a feel-good story for Moray, as it should be.
“The fleet was only withdrawn in April so to get one back here already is a great achievement.
“The Sea Kings mean so much to people here and this is our way of thanking them for their support – as well as celebrating its purchase.”
He added: “Though we won’t be able to attach the tail rotors due to concerns for road safety, seeing it up close really gives an impression of the scale of these aircraft.”
Although the Sea King has landed in Moray, fundraising efforts are continuing to cover its purchase.
The helicopter will begin its tour at the Regency Garage on Buckie High Street tomorrow morning at 9am, and will travel to Elgin’s Regency Garage, on Linkwood Place, for at 11.30am.
It will then be exhibited at Lossiemouth’s Station car park from 2pm to 3.15pm, and Forres’s Lidl store at 4pm.
The Sea King will then be taken to Morayvia’s base at Kinloss, where it will be fully reassembled and prepared for permanent public display.
It will be accompanied by Morayvia’s Nimrod exhibit on its travels.
Last week the Sea King made a 620-mile trip from Gosport on England’s south coast to Fochabers, where it is being stored.
The Save a Sea King campaign launched in February and garnered support from high-profile names including Lorraine Kelly and Joanna Lumley.