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Old 13th Feb 2006, 21:18
  #746 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Up north
Posts: 687
As usual this tends to develop into a them and us scenario

As someone who has operated both sides of the divide perhaps I can bring the thread back on track.

As I see it both sides have their advantages and disadvantages.

The military have the following:-

1. An excellent training and selection system for their crews as they can pick and chose due to SAR being a popular posting. The civil world has to rely on its crews wanting to go where the jobs are and as far as I can see the S coast is popular and the 2 Northern bases are not. (I have declined the offer of S92 SAR )

2. Training on the job. The military allocates more training hours than the civil companies do. This is fair enough if the civil training is enough but I can think of 2 occurrences where disorientation has led to civil incidents and one helicopter was lost ( Stornoway 1989ish). I rescued that crew and it wasn't easy to do the night hover due to turbulence off the hills on the coast but having done maybe excessive night training with auto-pilot in and out it was not beyond my experience.

3. The military can afford to have 2 machines and crews on standby at each base.

The civil SAR has the following:-

1. New machines. The S92 and A139 should be head and shoulders over the S61 and Seaking in both performance and reliability. However, the A139 still has a perceived question mark over its suitability. I hope that they have better radar than the wx radar we have at present.

2. It is easier and quicker to get new kit into the civil world eg FLIR. I will not bore you with the effort to get a suitable winchman's radio that the civilians would have gone out and bought on the high street.

3. The ability to hire ready trained and experienced crews from the military though this source may dry up in the future and the cost of a training school may have to be factored into the costings.

4. Civilian a/c are not over serviced and tend to be serviceable for longer periods though in my experience carrying snags that may well have been fixed sooner in the military.

Therefore, who is best. Neither but taking the best of both would produce an excellent SAR service. This would be IMHO.

The new a/c the civilians are getting but 2 at each base with the training hours that the military do and the procurement methods of the civilians.

Hummingfrog is offline