“As a result of the discussions we have had with the team developing the plans for the national service, we believe that the latest proposals would deliver savings in Cleveland of around £250,000 a year.”
4.4 Ensuring operational coverage both in terms of time and non-time critical incidents remains a concern with Colerne given its topographical and geographical location. NPAS commissioned a meteorological study approximately one year ago due to concerns about poor weather which may lead to an increased loss of service. The study has been completed using comparative data from RAF Lyneham and Bristol Airport and it is known that NPAS are in possession of that report but they keep delaying the publishing of that report.
The difference between Colerne and Filton is not just any difference between the met at the two locations.
It is also a difference of the PAOM rules. Because Filton is so close to Bristol city and there is a carpet of ground lights all the way, then lower weather/vis limits can be used for night flying. Makes a big difference for jobs in the Bristol city area. Colerne is in a black hole on a hill.
Also the weather at Filton is VERY likely to be the same as the weather over Bristol city, so there is less uncertainty over go/no-go decisions.
Finally, the weather at Bristol Lulsgate airport has all sorts of reasons for being different from the weather in Bristol city area, despite being fairly close. There are major topographical features at Lulsgate tending to create poor vis, which do not apply in the same way at Filton or Bristol city.
Comparing the weather between Colerne/Lyneham and Lulsgate will tell you very little of interest: that could be the intention of course.
NPAS commissioned a meteorological study approximately one year ago due to concerns about poor weather which may lead to an increased loss of service. The study has been completed using comparative data from RAF Lyneham and Bristol Airport
The Lyneham data is free, setting up equipment and collecting data reliably at Colerne would have taken some effort...and cost.
The Met office used to have a great little on-line sim that alowed the user to input any lat/long position in the UK and run a defined period (year/3 year etc) run of historical cloudbase and viz. The user just set the amsl line to get the percentage day/night out of limits data according to operating criteria. Might still be available?
Certainly showed that a choice of base some years ago in East Anglia would lose a predictable amount of night shifts, but other concerns won out in that choice Guess what.............
Local media carried a story about 2 weeks ago, to the effect that CC's of Avon & Somerset & Wiltshire had agreed with NPAS that Colerne was not suitable for all weather operations, and as a result it had been dismissed as an option
The two helicopters currently operating from Filton ( One Police and one Air Ambulance) would remain in situe for the forseeable future. Current activities for the Police, surround working closer with the co-located Charitable Trust "Great Western Air Ambulance" to make better use of facilities.
It was also confirmed that the local authority had indicated their "In principle" support towards any application designed to establish a permanent emergency services air base on the soon to be closed Filton airfield site.
'Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think that you don't know what you are talking about, than to open it and prove it !'
Perhaps that's why there is an NPAS forum on a website available only to those with a .pnn account and only when it has been verified that a particular individual is in the pnn helicopter world are they allowed to see what is in it. All that's then needed is to to add small print saying anything discussed there is not to be mentioned in the outside world and we have a nice little conspiracy going on.
One question I'd like to see asked would be, 'of all the people working in the 'does it actually exist yet' NPAS, why is it only one post has ever been advertised?'
I guess that must be one busy informative forum. I've even heard it called a 'Doublethink tank'
From the good news about Colerne (if it proves true), it would appear you cannot be certain about much in what has been "planned".
Perhaps non-aviators have decided what they would like, but at some point there needs to be an aviation reality check. That's why you need a chief pilot or flight ops director or similar. The plans were provisional, in practice, pending the arrival of someone who knows what they were talking about.
Pretty obviously there will need to be an overall comms setup and a status board equivalent, to monitor aircraft safety and availability. Whether you need a CONTROL room, taking the initiative to make deployment decisions is quite another question.
Was there any info as to whether self-deployment will be allowed in what is planned? (Consider this a rhetorical question) Otherwise, you will get significant/substantial delays in time-critical tasking.
Helinut, I agree with your "If correct " You will note it was a media quote and we all know how accurate they can be. However there is some local evidence to suggest that they might be correct this time.
You are also spot on re the Importance of self deployment in Police Air Ops.
Normally and quite correctly shunned in other areas of Police operations as being ill disciplined, and uncontrolled. Air support is different, and it is different for one very important reason Speed!
The whole secret of success in Police Air Operations is the ability to get overhead quickly, and before the culprit has left the scene. That ability is seriously challenged by any delay in getting airborne. If the crew have to wait until the control room wakes up and thinks "Helicopter" vital minutes may well have elapsed and the culprit escaped. That has been proved time & time again.