PUPILS at a Fareham school received a special visit from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter.
The aircraft crew swapped their normal surveillance duties at locations such as Afghanistan and the Gulf with a visit to the children of West Hill Park School.
Headteacher Alastair Ramsay said: ‘It is very exciting for the children as they normally only get to see a Sea King helicopter in a book or on the television.’
After it landed on school playing fields the students were able to question the crew and experience what life is like working on the aircraft.
‘It is fantastic for the children to get so close. The students can go inside and see just how the helicopter works,’ added Mr Ramsay.
Year 4 student Tom, nine: said ‘You could feel the wind from the propellers when the helicopter landed. It was really exciting. I would like to be a helicopter pilot when I’m older.’
Classmate Edward, also nine, added: ‘The best bit was getting to go inside and look around the cockpit and learn about all the different parts.’
After speaking to female crew members classmate Izzy, nine, said: ‘It was fun to look round the Sea King. I would also like to be a pilot one day.’
The aircraft is part of the last UK Sea King squadron.
Senior pilot, Lieutenant Ian Chudley, 41, said: ‘These visits are important. There is a huge naval base in Portsmouth and from a career perspective it is great for the children to see what we do and get up close and personal to the aircraft.’
The event was organised by science teacher Bobby Pearson, 38, who has served as a Royal Navy Commando Education Officer.
‘This school has huge naval links with a lot of military families. This is a really nice way to reinforce that connection,’ said Mr Pearson.
‘You can see the fun and excitement on their faces which enthuses the children and really helps them learn. Knowing about our armed services and how they operate is really important for our children as part of their education.’
The children will write an account of their experience and looking at the science behind how helicopters work.
Mr Ramsay said: ‘My career in education was inspired by an inspirational headteacher. If today inspires a child to go and become a pilot then it has done its job.’