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SAR: Search & Rescue Ops [Archive Copy]

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SAR: Search & Rescue Ops [Archive Copy]

Old 16th Dec 2005, 00:45
  #521 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Contract value ??

CHC recently posted their 2nd Quarter results. Within the report is the following

" - a five year contract from the United Kingdom Maritime and
Coastguard Agency (MCA) for the provision of commercial search
and rescue helicopter services from four bases in the U.K.
commencing July 1, 2007. The contract requires the deployment
of four Sikorsky S-92s and three Agusta Bell AB139s and is
valued at approximately $215 million over the five year period;"

So at todays exchange rates that makes about 105mln pounds.

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Old 16th Dec 2005, 01:59
  #522 (permalink)  
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FWIW, Flight International reported

"Although the interim five-year contract is expected to be worth only about GBP50 million ($86 million), the competitors saw it as an important stepping stone to the larger SAR Harmonisation project, which envisages replacing all the UK's existing civil and military SAR helicopter fleet from 2012."

Link and picture, here.
John Eacott is offline  
Old 16th Dec 2005, 06:53
  #523 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 66
It seem the topic go to a battle CHC versus Bristow. Well change has never been easy. I heard pilot complaint about aging A/C for years. Well finally they will have the latest and the greatest. Financially is not the first time CHC had prove wrong to many people, (look at their share- 1996= around 6.00 CDN, now after split= 26.33) and many term of the contract with are not aware of, what you can recharge, taxes, etc... At the end it come to have the job done, so good luck gents.

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Old 16th Dec 2005, 07:15
  #524 (permalink)  
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ALANBRISTOW - since todays cojoes are tomorrows Captains, I hope they are capable of more than just breathing and grunting - after all, that is the winchman's jobspec
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Old 16th Dec 2005, 21:48
  #525 (permalink)  
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Does anyuone have anything sensible to say?

CHC won the contract. Let them get on with it. Let them see how the aircraft develop. Look to the future instead of giving it a kicking before it even happens.
The Mil SARF is in a bit of a state serviceability wise. If CHC can point the way forward - good on them.

Bitching about things like aircraft selection now will not change anything so why waste your keyboards.

Rant over.
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Old 17th Dec 2005, 09:33
  #526 (permalink)  
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Saint Evil,

Why can't we discuss the suitability of the aircraft about to be used for UK SAR.

If anything it might prove that they are a good choice.

Surely that's what PPRuNe is all about!
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Old 18th Dec 2005, 18:12
  #527 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
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The choice of aircraft is critical for the task. An aircraft that is financially advantageous to the operator is not necessarily the best aircraft for the job.

The good old S61 - bless its cotton socks - had many advantages:-

1. Large cabin - 35 survivors on one job, room for euipment
2. Slow, large diameter rotor (downwash, hover stability etc)
3. Powerful tailrotor
4. Frugal fuel burn - 1050lb/hour
5. Reliabilty
6. Big cockpit
7. Amphibious
8. Twin wheel main undercarriage and tailwheel - maneouverable
9. Big cargo door
10. Good C of G range - weight on winch etc
11. Good operating range

Can any of the contenders match up?
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Old 18th Dec 2005, 18:26
  #528 (permalink)  
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You have made an impressive list, and it shows how good the S61 has been, but many of those items are shared with a more modern helo. In addition, the next generation can add value (perhaps at the cost of other virtues) here:

Crashworthy structure and absorbing seats to pretect crew and survivors

Crashworthy fuel system to prevent post-crash fires

Floats for Sea State 5 or 6

Tail rotor aurhority for winds at 45 knots

Excess power to support substantial vertical climb in nil wind at maximum SAR weight

All structures, including rotor heads and blades tolerant of significant flaws without crack initiation

Integral electronic maintenance thru HUMS, maintenance computer, onboard diagnostics and pubs with on-line update

Full flat panel symbolic displays with checklists

Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System integrated into displays

Advanced nav-coupled FMS/autopilot

Protection from turbine bursts

Full Electro Magnetic Interference protection

Full lightening strike protection

30% reduction in maintenance and operating costs

That the original has stood so long is a testament to its great design. Imagine how the 61 looked to those who stepped out of the piston aircraft when it was fielded back in 1961!
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Old 18th Dec 2005, 18:29
  #529 (permalink)  
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The USCG has used the 365 for years...I would suggest the 139 will be far better than that for SAR. Granted the USCG also has JayHawks (Seahawk derivative) for longer range flights.
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Old 19th Dec 2005, 08:23
  #530 (permalink)  
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The USCG has used the 365 for years
True, but look at the problems they had when they introduced it. It was several years before they got the performance out of it that they were looking for. Didn't help by putting in a different engine instead of the original Aerospatiale spec. That alone caused major problems and, if I recall correctly, several fleet groundings to change the engines to a better spec.
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Old 19th Dec 2005, 11:32
  #531 (permalink)  
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They are doing yet another engine mod or change as we speak as well.

The size/capability of the aircraft itself is relevant only in comparison to the mission tasks being specified by the buyer. Or...it would seem to me.

If the USCG could be happy with the 365....and the machine was capable of performing the mission it was chosen for....then what is the problem?

The better argument is whether the mission spec set forth in the contract is the correct set of specs.....thus the burden is for the CoastGuard to justify the mission specs being used to evaluate the various aircraft.

The decision on aircraft is done by the specs...not by the Peanut Gang passing judgement upon what they would like to see flying the mission.

A proper case in point is the Osprey procurement in the USA....the guys flying the missions prefer big Sikorsky helicopters or Chinooks to Osprey's.....but the powers that be are shoving the Osprey down the throats of the guys in the field doing the flying.
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Old 19th Dec 2005, 20:02
  #532 (permalink)  
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One issue you do not mention is rotor downwash strength. Compared to the S61 the 92 can have much higher disc loading (ie small disc diameter, high AUW). This becomes very relevant during SAR, for example pushing down/away a floating object, and most importantly the possibility of the crewman, stretcher entering a high-speed rotation when on the wire, which is at best debilitating and at worst, I am told, potentially fatal).

I have to admit I am not sure whether there are SAR S92s actually in service yet, but if there are has anyone had any experiences of the downwash problem?

And Nick, before you say it, of course the 225 is likely to have exactly the same issue!

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Old 19th Dec 2005, 20:33
  #533 (permalink)  
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And it won't be as bad as the Merlin.
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Old 19th Dec 2005, 20:41
  #534 (permalink)  
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Didn't I read in the early days of S92 vs EC225 comparisons, that the S92 is a very power-hungry machine in the hover - Something to do with all the lift being degraded by the huge slap roof of the 6ft square cabin. Is it going to be up to the job of winching at max all up weight on a still wind day.

I'm sure it has been checked out and all the hoops jumped through, but the S-92 is such a new machine, and I don't even think there is a SAR variant yet - How can we possibly be bidding for commercial contracts with it - Let alone the UK Coastguard !!

And in the same regard, don't even mention the AB139 - Is it actually flying yet, let alone ready for this sort of work in 18 months !
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Old 19th Dec 2005, 20:50
  #535 (permalink)  
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The down wash argument has being going on for years.

The Seaking will have too strong a downwash compared to the Wessex which will have too strong a downwash compared to the Whirlwind was the mantra from my time on SAR

We coped with no real problems - increased the hover height to 50 ft and away you go. I would have always preferred to go on a SAROP in a Seaking than a Whirlwind. Who remembers the slow winch and having to use canvas tapes to increase the winches capability during cliff winching on a Whirlwind.

This is progress and I am sure that the S92 will turn into a very capable a/c once the SOPs have been written to best use its abilities.

Anybody for night winching in a Whirlwind rather than a S92

Don't think there will be many takers


(The Seaking had a boat shaped hull because if you had an engine failure in the hover over water you usually became a boat very quickly )
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Old 19th Dec 2005, 21:13
  #536 (permalink)  
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If I were to check off SARowl's list for the S-92, I would find most items quite nicely met, including downwash. Recent work by the USAF in evaluations found that the hoist/door was excellent, and litters and people were easily hoisted with the system.

Change is never easy, but when we set concrete, we stifle innovation. The S-92 is a far safer and better helicopter than the lovely, venerable S-61, just as my 2003 car does so many things so much better than my old 1963 Chevy did.

Nostalgia is not a design constraint.
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Old 19th Dec 2005, 21:28
  #537 (permalink)  
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If it was good enough for Wellington,Nick....it was good enough!

When did the 61 evolve into a SAR configuration? Did it evolve over many years....with updates and improvements as techology improved? Would not any other aircraft have to do the same morphing to become a "SAR" bird?

Is there exactly one unique SAR configuration?
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Old 20th Dec 2005, 02:29
  #538 (permalink)  
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Special25, I'm not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that the AB139 is not even flying yet!
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Old 20th Dec 2005, 04:27
  #539 (permalink)  
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There are as many SAR configurations as there are Scotch whiskies.

The most prolific dedicated SAR bird is the USAF HH-60, with about 105 in service, I think. They share nothing in common with the S-61 and SARowl's list except the name on the pedals, but they can penetrate 350 miles of contested airspace, pick up a downed pilot and fly back, all in pitch black conditions. They have rescued crewmen in the middle of the Atlantic, 850 NM from shore, in December, at night, in sleet and iceing conditions.

I'll bet those guys could build a list of the "best" SAR aircraft, too.

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Old 20th Dec 2005, 11:10
  #540 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
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The S61 had been in service for many years before it was considered for the SAR role. Most of the procedures, equipment fit and operating data were based on its near cousin, the Sea King. Therefore, the S61 was not an 'out of the box' SAR machine, some thought and experience had gone into the decision.

Nick Lappos:

Everything you say about the 'venerable S61' is true. It is old, the performance is poor and its avionics fit is antiquated. But, as you will see from my reply to SASless - see above - some thought and experience went into its selection. Some operating data has been gathered about the S92, the EH101 and the EC225, the one that really concerns me is the AB139. Reading some of the flight test histories available on the net - admittedly hearsay - there seems to be a few problems with this airframe. Also, is it big enough, can it carry the kit and the personnel?
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