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Old 19th Mar 2017, 23:42   #21 (permalink)
 
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I confess to not knowing much about the P68. But I do have some relevant experience, albeit from a little while ago.

The simple facts of the matter are these. Even in the halcyon days when helicopters were operated by individual forces, and were therefore on top of incidents within 5-10 minutes. Truth is that 50% (or likely more?) of jobs benefitted little from the attendance of air support. Now the assets are based even further away from the action, I can't see that ratio improving? I also suspect a greater proportion from the 'useful' 50% could now be handled just as easily by a FW as a RW, since by definition the delay in attendance is likely to mean a more static ('colder') situation upon arrival overhead. Sad but true, and an inevitable consequence of NPAS.

IMVHO, and speaking in very broad brush terms, it was always my opinion that a FW asset, could achieve (about?) 67% of the capability of a helicopter at (about?) 50% of the price. So there is a perfectly reasonable financial case to be made, if cost cutting (or dogma?) is the only consideration.

The only true drawback that a FW had back in my day, (may not be the case now?) was an inability to utilise nitesun effectively. Combined with an obvious inability to hover, this made directing ground troops by only radio commentary, a far more difficult skill. (That's in an Islander at 40kts, I see the P68 advertises a min mission speed of 75kts?) Much easier to simply point the nitesun and watch the good guys just make their way to it.

Obviously electronic surveillance, or comms, is an easy win for FW over RW.

However....

Anyone thinking that an IFR capability, along with an icing clearance, will 'obviously' improve air support coverage, maybe being a little disingenuous, or simply hasn't thought things through. Particularly likely if they are dealing with people holding the purse strings who have no knowledge of flying.

Notwithstanding the fact that once IMC, any descent below MSA, is likely to require an IFR letdown.

I'd be very interested if anyone knows the fuel endurance of one of these birds, when fully crewed and carrying all the internal and external role equipment required. Then factor in how much fuel would be required to reach an IFR destination after a 'job', AND STILL RETAIN the ADDITIONAL fuel to divert to an IFR alternate, make a second approach there and land with IFR final reserve fuel? (Usually 30 minutes.) You may be lucky in some parts of the country, with lots of 24 hour airfields? Other parts of the country, particularly after a lengthy transit, it just may not be possible?

Just my tuppence worth.

Last edited by 4468; 20th Mar 2017 at 00:08.
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Old 19th Mar 2017, 23:45   #22 (permalink)
 
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I guess that the former Lancashire UEO Steve Fitgerald will be greatly saddened [if not devastated] at the confirmation of this closure but at least he still has his Carribean operation in the Cayman Islands to look after.
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Old 20th Mar 2017, 12:26   #23 (permalink)
 
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Devon and Cornwall Police to launch UK's first 24-hour drone unit
https://www.964eagle.co.uk/news/uk-n...ur-drone-unit/

I wonder if the following influenced their decision? In the year before they joined NPAS, D&C's Air Support budget was 1,379,610 and they flew 1000 hours, giving an hourly rate of 1380. In 2015/16 they paid NPAS 1,673,000 for 537 hours, an hourly rate of 3115.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/nf2gdpx4lir6buh/NPAS.pdf?dl=0
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Old 28th Mar 2017, 09:43   #24 (permalink)
 
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Devon and Cornwall Police to launch UK's first 24-hour drone unit
https://www.964eagle.co.uk/news/uk-n...ur-drone-unit/
I think the future of air support has arrived and the inevitable end state of the 5 base model is around the corner. Rural counties operating drones under the governance of NPAS is the way things seem to be going. I wonder how all the air support, drones and helicopters, will be funded and what chance of survival NPAS will have when there are just a few units in large urban areas and drones run by local forces.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 07:11   #25 (permalink)
 
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RIP Suffolk Constabulary Air Operations Unit which closes on Friday, another sad day. God help the officers in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire who will get a totally second class service.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 17:33   #26 (permalink)
 
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I have to disagree with you Pan Euro - I don't think they'll receive a second class service. It is likely to be much, much worse than that.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 17:41   #27 (permalink)
 
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As a resident and with a daughter in the Force, I can assure you that there is effectively no air support available in Norfolk unless booked days in advance. Plenty of drones and North Sea traffic though.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 18:12   #28 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by G0ULI View Post
As a resident and with a daughter in the Force, I can assure you that there is effectively no air support available in Norfolk unless booked days in advance. Plenty of drones and North Sea traffic though.
I agree with a previous post re the five base model, if you live in a large city, you're FAR more important than someone out in the cuds. Someone in Tottenham could look forward to almost continuous air cover, Redhil, Lippits and Boreham. Cromer? Norwich? Yarmouth? Tough shit.....
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 20:04   #29 (permalink)
 
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And the most amazing thing is how few people seem to know or care.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 06:08   #30 (permalink)
 
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Taxpayers would rather see the huge sums spent on helicopters deployed elsewhere.

Using the money saved to employ officers on the streets is a more cost effective method of fighting crime.

Missing persons can be located using cheap drones and stolen cars are best left to insurance companies.

If the reality tv police shows are anything to go by 99% of helicopter use is for chasing petty criminals.

Last edited by Jay Sata; 31st Mar 2017 at 06:23.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 06:53   #31 (permalink)
 
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Taxpayers would rather see the huge sums spent on helicopters deployed elsewhere.

Using the money saved to employ officers on the streets is a more cost effective method of fighting crime.
And just what money has been saved by NPAS to be used elsewhere?

I think you may want to check on the effectiveness of rotary air support before you make your claim about beat coppers being a better method of crime fighting, too.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:09   #32 (permalink)
 
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And just what money has been saved by NPAS to be used elsewhere?

I think you may want to check on the effectiveness of rotary air support before you make your claim about beat coppers being a better method of crime fighting, too.
The answer to your question is in this BBC report from two years ago.

Quote:
Remote-controlled drones could help Suffolk Police cut the costs of using helicopters, it has been suggested.
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore proposed the move to address the 800,000 annual bill for the National Police Air Service (NPAS).
Drones could help survey borders, monitor organised crime and combat people trafficking, he said.
Alternatively, he suggested, all the county's blue-light teams could share one helicopter to help keep costs down.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Passmore said the force's bill for the helicopter was calculated on a historic basis and he considered it too high.
Suffolk has to pay 800,000 a year for 250 flight hours but Norfolk pays less at 360,000 for fewer hours every year.

Currently the helicopter is based at Wattisham Airfield and is run by NPAS but in two years' time it will move to a new station at Boreham, near Chelmsford, Essex.
The move would mean extra journey time for operational work done in Suffolk and possibly extra cost, said Mr Passmore.
Tim Passmore believes the helicopter bill is unacceptable
"I made it quite clear that we will not be paying that money," he said.
Discussions with acting chief constable Gareth Wilson have been held and alternative ways of spending money are being sought, including unmanned drones.
Some drones, with infra-red camera capabilities could be used to help all manner of challenges the force faces, including improving border safety and monitoring organised crime, he said.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:24   #33 (permalink)

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"Border safety"? What is meant by that term?

Bearing in mind that drones need to be flown in line of sight, the effectiveness of their use will mainly depend on the operator being in the right place at the right time. Hopefully most criminals won't think to drive off.

Regarding obtaining the certification for an icing clearance for these new fixed wing, how much is the monetary cost (and how long will this take)? It can't be done in UK, or any temperate climate as far as I can see.

Last edited by ShyTorque; 31st Mar 2017 at 07:35.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:27   #34 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Jay Sata View Post
Taxpayers would rather see the huge sums spent on helicopters deployed elsewhere.

Using the money saved to employ officers on the streets is a more cost effective method of fighting crime.

Missing persons can be located using cheap drones and stolen cars are best left to insurance companies.

If the reality tv police shows are anything to go by 99% of helicopter use is for chasing petty criminals.
Jay, you're not talking to people who have gained their experience through watching TV shows. You are talking to people who, on the whole, have had many years experience on law enforcement helicopters effectively and efficiently catching criminals and helping save lives. It seems from your comments that you have not been fortunate enough to benefit from that experience.

Last edited by MaxR; 31st Mar 2017 at 13:04.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:37   #35 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Jay Sata View Post
The answer to your question is in this BBC report from two years ago.
I seriously suggest that you do some better research than a two year old article from Aunty Beeb.

Reading the copious amount of data on costs and lack of efficiency of NPAS in threads here on Rotorheads would be a good start. Boning up on "drone" use would be next.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:41   #36 (permalink)
 
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night-flying drones?
just saying
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:47   #37 (permalink)
 
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The report cited the police commissioners plans two years ago to axe the helicopter funding
which he described as too high.

He said he was not going to pay and that is why Wattisham closed.

Suffolk is a mainly rural county with a low crime rate.

The police commissioner is an elected official and has saved a substantial amount of his budget to be spent elsewhere.

Norfolk did the same and seems to have managed quite well without a helicopter.

It is worth pointing out that most policing took place without air support a couple of decades ago.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 07:51   #38 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Sata View Post
He said he was not going to pay and that is why Wattisham closed.
No, it isn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Sata View Post
The police commissioner is an elected official and has saved a substantial amount of his budget to be spent elsewhere.
No, he hasn't - well, not from air support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Sata View Post
Norfolk did the same and seems to have managed quite well without a helicopter.
No, they didn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Sata View Post
It is worth pointing out that most policing took place without air support a couple of decades ago.
No, it didn't.

Apart from that, Jay, you were spot on.

Last edited by MaxR; 31st Mar 2017 at 08:45.
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 08:49   #39 (permalink)
 
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Lets not forget that the Boreham base is living on borrowed time. The owners of the quarry want to move them off. Where do they go? Undoubtedly south to look after the big city, even less support for the boys and girls in the Fens. Now where could they move Boreham to apart from south? mmm there's an empty base at Wattisham !!!
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Old 31st Mar 2017, 20:12   #40 (permalink)
 
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The point you are all missing is that accountants look at the bottom line.

Most missing persons are found and the rest are dead as they set out to commit suicide.

Using a very expensive publicly funded police resource and personel is not cost effective.

Stolen car chases ,drunk drivers,petty drug dealers etc are also not going to deliver bang per buck with bean counters.

The incessant throb of helicopters over London is a major source of annoyance for those of us who have to spend time in the city. The regular political marches can be better policed by drones as can security issues.

The reality is that there are many situations where drones can do a better and more cost effective job than a twin turbine helicopter.

Low level power line survey and aerial filming being good examples.

The Wattisham police crew can be deployed back in the job and the five pilots can easily find work elsewhere.

Technology marches on...accept it.
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