About Me

Ben Stonehouse

I am from Scarborough, North Yorkshire. I am a business owner and self confessed helicopter enthusiast, I am currently training to become a commerical helicopter pilot at Middlesex University. I am the founder of Moonlight Drive-in Cinema which now operates across the UK. I originally saw the Sea king chassis and wanted to turn it into an office/man cave, however as its such an iconic piece of RAF history I felt it would be better suited in the public eye and turned into something where people could still enjoy its unique apperance. This is where it all started.

XZ598 History

From what I have found out already, XZ598 - HAR.3 Westland Sea King was a serving Search and Rescue Helicopter based at RAF Leconfield (near Beverley). She was built in 1978 and was decomissioned in June 2015 following a display at RAF Cosford Airshow. She was then sent to be stripped down for parts and later passed onto Witham Specalist Vehicles to be sold at auction on the 4th Janaury 2017 @ 7:30pm, that's when it all became real.

Auction Day

4th January 2017

On the day of the auction I was understandably worried that I would be outbid within the last few seconds, luckily I had the winning bid. At this moment in time I do not wish to disclose the final purchase price; lets just say she was worth every penny. Following the auction I started to immediately source some of the missing parts. I managed to get ahold of four of the main rotor blades and collected them on the 10th Janaury 2017. At this moment in time, I am still in search of the fifth.

Logistical Nightmare

9th January 2017

Following the auction, I had 7 days to organise the transport of the Sea King from Witham (near Grantham) just off the A1 back up to my home town of Scarborough. After a few hours of high stress levels and lots of man power we finally loaded XZ598 onto the semi-low loader. The 142 mile journey took 4 hours to complete, but was worth every second. Chris at Leicester Heavy Haluage did an awesome job and is highly recommended for anything unusal upto 350 tons. I thought the transport would be a nightmare but actually it turned out to be pretty straigt forward. Note: I had a custom built frame made to sit the 3 ton helicopter on. Leicester Heavy Haulage Website

The Build

Week 1 - 16th January 2017

Over the coming weeks I will be updating the site regularly as possible around my day job and other commitments. You can also keep updated on the Facebook page where I will be taking pictures and videos of the renovation of The Sea King Cafe (XZ598).



Week 2 - 23rd January 2017

This week I have been parts sourcing, I've got hold of the 5th rotor blade, I have kindly been donated to last two tail rotor blades. The build is slow this week but I have sourced both working platforms for the gearbox I will get them fitted this weekend. I have also had the logo designed for the cafe, this will help with promotional aspects of the project.



Get in touch

Email: info@seakingcafe.co.uk

Facebook: Sea King Cafe

Twitter: Sea King Cafe