View Full Version : Bespoke SAR Helicopter?
17th Jul 2012, 14:03
In this thread http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/444007-future-uk-sar-post-sar-h-29.html ericferret asked "If you did build a helicopter purely for SAR how much would it cost and how many would you sell?"
This led me to wonder what a bespoke SAR helicopter might look like. What features are essential to the SAR role on land and sea?
18th Jul 2012, 09:30
On the same thread crab@<hidden> answered ericferret
Eric ferret - the problem is that no one has tried, despite the push for SAR aircraft around the world. It is not rocket science, you just need to start from the concept of a rear crew work place and a stable hover platform - then you add the bells and whistles. A Wessex with modern blades and engines would still give you 140 Kts and a brilliant winching platform - add decent avionics and glass cockpit and you are most of the way there - a modern version of the Sea King would be pretty splendid!
Sadly the model that is currently fashionable (apart from the S-92 which would be great if the MRGB was redesigned) is one of corporate cockpit and cabin design which is 'reimagined' as a SAR aircraft and it doesn't work!
18th Jul 2012, 12:09
How about for starters......
A stable platform
Low blade loading
Excellent auto-hover capability
Spacious stand-up cabin
A cabin door and winch as close to the Pilot as possible
And hot coffee on tap
18th Jul 2012, 15:16
You forgot "space for a big nutty box".
18th Jul 2012, 21:55
Doesn't matter as long as it's yellow...
18th Jul 2012, 22:24
You forgot "space for a big nutty box".
Ain't the 'nutters' part of the steering wheel assy?
19th Jul 2012, 07:49
Tet - the nutters are the boys and girls who step out of the door, attached only by a thin piece of wire, into some fairly inhospitable conditions - but SAR wouldn't work without them and many people owe them their lives.
As for the aircraft - all of hilife's suggestions above plus - a full wet fit floor designed in rather than added on; 2 of the S-92's facilities, namely the ramp for patient/stretcher on and offloading and the inbuilt oxygen system; indestructible undercarriage with excellent ground clearance for sloping ground landings (beach, mountains etc); excellent hover/flood lighting including tip and tail clearance lights and, of course, a 360 (or as near as you can get it) radar!
19th Jul 2012, 21:58
:eek: Oh and maybe the many millions of spondolees to make it happen and the 10 year development project, which will be subject to at least 50% added time and money despite "accurate" manufacturer's predictions. The result that any customer will only ever afford 10% of what they want.
Doubt that? look at any other bespoke design manufactured for a limited market. Soz - better you take some workable compromises that will only effect your mission performance in a minority of missions and end up with enough aircraft to meet the task. In some cases, you may at least end up with a programme that goes ahead at all.:E
22nd Jul 2012, 11:55
Reading the debate as it continued in the other thread it seems the consensus is that a bespoke SAR aircraft wouldn't offer the kind of advantages you'd want to merit the big bucks it would cost. More of a nice idea than a necessity and the current compromises are workable anyway?
22nd Jul 2012, 15:48
Boeing Chinook (H-47)
The yanks almost had it, in the form of csarx. To bad legaleeze and politics toppled the whole show.
Why the 47 you may ask:
Range: Beyond anything short of a useless (for SAR) V22
Speed: Currently the fastest helicopter in the US ARMY inventory, max cont cruise at SL near 170 kts, real numbers as per FM for ch-47d. Try getting a s-92 ec 225 etc etc beyond 150...
Altitude: Nothing beats it as far as performance hot and high.
Maneuvrability: It really does not care where the wind comes from. Extremely useful in most SAR scenarios, and quite unique for the tandem rotor design.
Interior space:Say no more...
Add on whatever bells and whistles (and rotor de-ice) and there you have it!
The best SAR aircraft money can buy.
Downwash you say?
The 47 has less weight per rotor size than most of the alternatives, hence less downwash than say a 101.
Footprint in confined spaces you say?
The 47 is actually less wide than a Sea King (rotor diameter) although a bit long with a D-Value of 100 feet. But then again, if the thing is to big to land, use the hoist.
24th Jul 2012, 07:17
Mr Whirly - you can dress any helicopter up to look like a SAR aircraft and make all sorts of claims about your capability but there will be compromises.
Those compromises don't impact the management or PR or HR or any of the bean counters - they impact those that have to struggle to make a half-arsed attempt at a SAR helo work, often in very difficult conditions.
Believe me, when things get tense on dark and shi**y nights, the last thing you need is to have to overcome a poorly designed piece of equipment or an ergonomic disaster of a cockpit or cabin.
24th Jul 2012, 08:21
That's what I was thinking crab. Charter business flights have a whole other set of requirements from SAR. It's not just about what's needed in the cockpit, it's about flying even (especially) when the weather's bad, beside cliffs and above massive waves and ravines and between mountains. It's about saving lives which ought to be more important than profit margins (but I'm not sure everyone sees it that way). What worries me is whether the people in charge of making the decisions about the aircraft they'll be using once the mil step out of the SAR role are people with the experience to understand what's really needed. I do hope so. :hmm:
25th Jul 2012, 07:29
Well the military is involved again in assessing the various bidder's claims about the aircraft's capabilities - Dft and MCA have no subject matter experts so they came to the SARF for assistance.
Trouble is, you can only score on what is presented to you and the supporting evidence rather than making valued judgements on what is actually on offer, how it compares to other platforms available and how suitable it is for real world SAR.
25th Jul 2012, 08:32
(Sounds like you're involved in this yourself crab?)
Is there any way of making those comparisons and judgements in a real-world process that can give the information that's actually needed to come up with the right aircraft, and if there is why isn't it happening?
25th Jul 2012, 19:28
.......because life is a compromise and the country is broke. So that means despite the reservations, very qualified people like Crabb and the boys and girls in civy SAR will look at the new platform compromise and make it work. Will it be perfect? No. Will it work? Probably. Will the SAR force attitude make it work... You bet ya. And when I say SAR Force I mean mil and civil SAR.
Is this right? No. Is it what is happening? probably. can it be changed. Nope. Back to plan A, make it work. If it doesn't work. Don't do that bit. Just make sure we know what that bit is!
26th Jul 2012, 05:47
Mr Whirly - no not personally involved otherwise I wouldn't comment on it.
However, I won't be surprised if the same aircraft that was planned for the previous SARH will turn out to be the favoured one - simply because it is the nearest to a purpose built SAR cab there is.
26th Jul 2012, 06:30
Of course not crab, I should have realised that. But cheers for the opinion mate, it's reassuring to know that your guys have a say in where it's all going. As SARREMF says, Plan A is going to have to be good enough and it sounds like maybe it will be.