Intro from the old Skyweaver website plus some bristow archive pics.
Bristow Base: Manston, U.K.
After the RAF withdrew 22 Squadron helicopter detachment from Manston a contract was placed with Bristow Helicopters Ltd. for the provision of Whirlwind Series III helicopters to operate for a trial period from June 1st, 1971 to December 31st, 1972. This being the first civilian Coastguard Heli-copter Unit operating under the direct control of H.M. Coastguard.
Agreement with the RAF on provision of base facilities, both operational and domestic, was reached. The domestic side (i.e. hangar, office, storage, crew room and safety equipment spaces) fell short of expectations, but had to be accepted, with reservations, in order to meet the planned start date.
On the operational side, however, the Air Traffic Control facility, fuelling arrangements and use of equipment were found to be highly satisfactory.
The operation was linked by a direct line to Dover Straits Coastguard and on the third day of operations, with a scramble time of two minutes, a child was rescued from the sea in the Folkstone area some 16 miles from Manston.
The contract was to have available, from twilight to twilight, a WS55 Whirlwind fully equipped with radio facilities to keep in touch with land based SAR facilities and mobile units such as lifeboats and ships.
Another Whirlwind was held at Redhill as a back-up machine G-AYNP I believe.
Compared with the multitude of avionics fitted to current SAR machines the list of equipment, fitted to the SAR Whirlwinds, gives an interesting comparison:
Decca Mk8 Navigator, 1 x VHF AM Homer,1 x VHF FM, 1 x PA, 1 x VHF AM,1 x ADF
The very Mrs Biles has dug into her distant memories of shorthand and reckons it's something like "Naval pilots were taught not only how to fly a Whirlwind whilst attempting a rescue, but also had to play guinea pig as part of their training".
Excellent video Rosh. Brought back a few memories of earlier times at Kerteh. I spent a total of six years there, the first being when the operation moved to the new airport from Kuala Trengannu and then a longer spell, married accompanied, when MHS was finding its feet and trying to break the bond with Bristows.
My son was born in Kuantan, while we were there, seventeen years ago so the following pictures are probably around twenty years ago from an earlier tour???
Couldn't agree more about the curry breakfast! Remember well, going to the terminal for Roti Chanai??? after the early morning flights were on their way.
Actually the Das Island at the time of the above photo wasn't so bad! Excellent food, good medical support, a tavern/pub styled on an English pub selling v.cheap booze, bungalow accommodation and a small golf course! Four months on and one month off. AUH and BAH were, by comparison, quite primitive.