771 NAS

771 Naval Air Squadron

For nearly half a century, 771 Naval Air Squadron - known as the Ace of Clubs - has lived up to its motto non nobis solum - not unto us alone, or in 21st-Century speak, 'for the greater good'.

Add to favourites

Our Sea Kings were scrambled at least 200 times a year.

2013 marked the 60th Anniversary of Royal Navy helicopter Search and Rescue saving lives, until it was stood down on the 31st December 2015. 

One example of their previous role was on the 31st January, 12 Dragonfly HR1/HR3 helicopters from 705 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Gosport (HMS Siskin) responded to urgent requests for help following extensive flooding in east Anglia nad the Netherlands. 

Over 840 people were saved, with one pilot accounting for 111 rescues in seven hours of flying, whilst another saved 102; thus was born Royal Navy helicopter Search and Rescue.

771’s helicopters, which feature the squadron’s unofficial Ace of Clubs logo, provided search and rescue cover for the Western Approaches: that’s the Cornish peninsula, the Isles of Scilly and the Atlantic/Channel to a distance of 200 nautical miles.

That can meant mariners in distress (such as, famously, the Fastnet race of 1979 or the MSC Napoli, almost wrecked by Hurricane Kyrill in January 2007) or holidaymakers, walkers, climbers, divers and surfers in difficulty around the Cornish coast.

The helicopters were also called upon to ferry patients/injured people to hospital in the West Country.

SAR Sea Kings fly away for the last time

SAR Sea Kings fly away for the last time


771 Naval Air Squadron Latest News

End of an era – and an end of the 771 story as rescue squadron disbands

End of an era – and an end of the 771 story as rescue squadron disbands

Life saving Sea King to go on display

Life saving Sea King prepares for public display

See all news for 771 Naval Air Squadron
prev next

Unit History

World War II1945

771 NAS traces its history back to the eve of World War 2 when it was formed at HMS Daedalus as a ‘fleet requirement unit’, responsible for evaluating aircraft, at HMS Daedalus.

Signature Manoevres 1961

After disbanding in 1955, the squadron re-formed in Portland in 1961 as a trials unit for Whirlwinds and Wasps, practising many of the signature manoeuvres of search and rescue.

Search and Rescue1988

When the Whirlwind HAR3 entered service, 771 NAS became a dedicated search and rescue unit. It moved to Culdrose in 1974, swapped the Whirlwind for the Wessex, then the Sea King in 1988.

Stood down2015

On the 31st December 2015 771NAS was stood down from its Search and Rescue role.

Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers Future

An island nation needs a powerful navy. A simple fact, often forgotten. Go behind the scenes of the new aircraft carrier and discover its true scale and ambition.

Read about the new carrier

Commanding Officer Richard Calhaem

Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Lieutenant Commander Richard Calhaem joined the Royal Navy in 1996, he assumed command of 771 Naval Air Squadron In January 2015.

Previous units

Download full profile

771 NAS Motto

non nobis solum - not unto us alone

RNAS Culdrose

Learn more

771 Naval Air Squadron Affiliations