The Maritime Museum in Falmouth will be waving farewell to one of its most popular exhibits on Thursday when the Sea King helicopter which has been climbed over by thousands of people over the past three years, is carefully manoeuvred from the building.

It was in February 2012 that the helicopter, which had been painted in the combined livery of both the Royal Navy and RAF search and rescue colours, was inched through the museum’s main doors to become its biggest ever exhibit.

The 70ft long, 16ft high, |six tonne Sea King will now be “squeezing” her way out of the museum’s vast doors early on Thursday with only 1.5 inches of “give” space available to manoeuvre her through. 

As the museum’s hugely successful Search & Rescue exhibition closes, the helicopter will be bidding farewell to Falmouth ahead of starting a new life at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton.

Pulling apart the Search & Rescue display and the installation of the highly anticipated Viking Voyagers exhibition involves everyone from the Ministry Of Defence to the British Museum and is one of the Maritime Museum’s most ambitious exhibitions to date.

Viking Voyagers will open on March 20 when a climb aboard 45ft Viking ship will sit in the heart of the exhibition which will invite visitors to take an epic journey into the Viking world, discover the secret to the Vikings’ success, explore the truth behind the popular myth of the bloodthirsty raiders, encounter Norse voyagers, experience Viking life over 1,000 years ago with interactive exhibits and get up close to rare antiquities, many on display for the first time in the UK.