Heir BNB! Prince William’s helicopter is turned into £159 a night glamping pod

Heir BNB! Prince William’s helicopter is turned into £159 a night glamping pod after being rescued from the scrap heap and given a £250,000 restoration

  • The RAF Sea King is one of three choppers rescued from the scrap heap
  • They were given a £250,000 restoration by businessman Ben Stonehouse
  • Two, one of them flown by William, have been decked out as ‘glamping pods’

It’s a holiday home fit for a king. Prince William’s search-and-rescue helicopter has been transformed into a trendy ‘glamping pod’.

The RAF Sea King is one of three choppers rescued from the scrap heap and given a £250,000 restoration by Yorkshire businessman Ben Stonehouse.

Two, one of them flown by William, have been decked out as luxurious ‘glamping pods’ at the Pinewood Park campsite near Scarborough, while a third, used by the Prince on his first rescue mission, is being converted into a seafront cafe.

‘I would have been devastated if they had been crushed. They have a special place in my heart,’ Mr Stonehouse said.

The RAF Sea King is one of three choppers rescued from the scrap heap and given a £250,000 restoration by Yorkshire businessman Ben Stonehouse

After entering service in 1978, the Sea King, manufactured by British firm Westland, saw action in the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War. A Royal Navy variation of the Sea King was flown by Prince Andrew during the 1982 Falklands conflict.

William piloted one of the RAF’s 26 yellow-liveried search-and- rescue helicopters based at RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales, from 2010 to 2013.

The Prince, flying as Flight Lieutenant William Wales, completed 156 missions with the search-and-rescue team, including one that saved a 16-year-old swimmer. The helicopters were retired by the RAF in 2015, but the classified equipment on board meant they could not be sold as working aircraft and were instead stripped for parts and scheduled to be crushed.

It's a holiday home fit for a king. Prince William¿s  s search-and-rescue helicopter has been transformed into a trendy ¿  glamping pod¿

It’s a holiday home fit for a king. Prince William’s search-and-rescue helicopter has been transformed into a trendy ‘glamping pod’

Mr Stonehouse, 30, managed to trace and buy three of the empty hulls from the Ministry of Defence and has spent the past four years restoring them with original instrument panels and rotor blades.

He said: ‘People need to experience them and see how big they are inside. A lot of the kids have never seen them fly.’

While the pilot’s dashboard has been restored, visitors paying £159 a night will find conditions on board very different to the spartan life endured by William. RAF Sea Kings had little more than padding to protect the crew from the harsh elements, but the renovated glamping pods are fully insulated and heated. The cockpit’s rubber and metal seating has been replaced by a comfortable double bed, while cupboards in the hull can be converted into children’s bunk beds.

The winch doorway now opens on to a terrace, while the winch itself has been transformed into a child’s swing. Each pod sleeps two adults and three children.

As for calls of nature, rather than making use of a rubber tube behind the pilot’s seat, holidaymakers will be relieved that the campsite has full bathroom facilities just a short walk away.

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