Royal Navy helicopter winches man down to rescue remote control plane

A Royal Navy helicopter stepped up a training exercise by winching a man down to rescue a crashed model airplane.

The Merlin chopper was called out on Wednesday after Roger Bath accidentally crashed his radio controlled toy on top of a massive Victorian chimney in Cornwall.

The helicopter circled the site before lowering Lieutenant Donell Fairweather on a winch line in what turned out to be an especially tricky exercise.

The plan's operator Roger, a member of the RC Cornwall Flyers club, said he didn't know how else to get his plane down so called Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Helston, Cornwall.

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Roger, from Camborne, Cornwall, said: "We were having a competition of spot-landing. I had the perfect spot-landing alright, you could say.

"I am a novice pilot anyway and last Sunday was windy. How the heck it got in the top of the chimney I don't know.

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"Even if you tried to get it in there you'd be banging into the sides. It was unbelievable."

Although it wasn't an emergency situation, luckily they were on a training exercise at the time and were glad to help.

A search and rescue training sortie was already planned by members of 824 Naval Air Squadron, which trains Merlin helicopter crews.

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Lieutenant Commander Steve Thomas, the senior pilot and instructor, said the opportunity test out their skills in a real life situation was too good to miss.

He said: "We had a three and half hour training sortie booked for the afternoon and this was a genuinely valuable training opportunity for a student pilot who had been given an unusual search and rescue scenario, and staff rear crew who had the task of conducting the rescue.

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"The task was far from simple and we spent a great deal of time and effort planning and considering all possible options, plans and dangers.

"Everyone gets more out of doing something like this than they do just training at the airfield."

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