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SAR: Search & Rescue Ops [Archive Copy]

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SAR: Search & Rescue Ops [Archive Copy]

Old 20th Dec 2005, 11:32
  #541 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the clarification, I was wondering what your main point is, since the S-92 was designed as a replacement for the S-61, and shares most of the size attributes directly, and some of the others indirectly.

It is interesting to see what happens when a set of requirements does not include some economics. In cars, one ends up with the US dilemma, where millions of ridiculous SUV's clog the highways, most driven by 120 lb moms.

If economics were factored into you SAR list, the choices might show that a smaller cheaper bird in the mix could handle some of the missions.
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Old 20th Dec 2005, 12:11
  #542 (permalink)  

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Horses for courses indeed. The HK GFS used to have a mix of SAR equipped S-76A++ and S-70 Blackhawks.

The CAD didn't like the S-70 being used for offshore work because they were not equipped with floats and had no automatics and amazingly, were put on a "Permit to fly". However, the Blacky had far more power, an NVG compatible cockpit and they were more stable in the hover.

The dual-qualified captains were given the choice of aircraft type for most SAR missions. Given that choice, certainly over land by night, I took the Blackhawk every time.
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Old 21st Dec 2005, 09:50
  #543 (permalink)  
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I don't think a 'pick 'n mix' approach to SAR aircraft type is the correct answer. I appreciate that on paper it makes economic sense, but there is economy in uniformity. One logistics chain instead of two, one training empire, etc... Also manning can be a problem, an S61 pilot can move from one base to another, whereas an AB139 pilot can't cover an S92 base and vice versa.
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Old 21st Dec 2005, 12:12
  #544 (permalink)  
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And what is that symmetry worth in pounds/dollars? Theory of uniformity is nice, but someone has to pay the bills. When a person who has no fiscal skin in the game lists hard, frozen requirements, he is usually standing for the biggest, most expensive solution.

Let me ask it the way it is really played:

Would you rather have 6 superwonderful fun machines, or 9 in a mixed fleet? For a fixed initial/operating dollar, which gives the most area covered, and least response time, and the most lives saved?

When someone starts listing requirements, and doesn't understand that the equation is fewer big ones or more smaller ones, that person is usually not invited to the table for round 2 of the decision making cycle. Don't get me wrong, my alma mater makes the BIG one, so I would perhaps think otherwise.
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Old 22nd Dec 2005, 13:17
  #545 (permalink)  
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Having operated for both companies in the SAR role, I reckon there's not much to choose between operators.

Regarding choice of aircraft, the S-61 is an old airframe, and surely it is time to move on. Indeed Sikorsky were looking to the Civil SAR market during development. I clearly remember about 10 years ago being handed a questionnaire sent out by Sikorsky asking UK Coastguard crews what they wanted from an SAR cab. So even back then Sikorsky were keen to develop the SAR market. It's a shame for Bristows that they didn't pusrue the S-92 which even 10 years ago looked great.

All the best to the SAR crews for the Christmas and the future.
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 11:02
  #546 (permalink)  
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Apparently CHC Scotia in Aberdeen are preparing two S61's with the LN501 Auto Hover system in readiness of taking over the Coastguard contract.

What happened to the S92's???

Have they been dropped already????
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 11:16
  #547 (permalink)  
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I believe, even Scotia are realistic enough to know that they aren't going to have SAR equipped S-92' s ready for the take-over of the contract, and have had agreement to use S-61's for the first year. - So, same bases, same crews (probably), same aircraft in the same colour scheme - Not much change really !
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 11:42
  #548 (permalink)  
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The contract starts in July 2007, plenty of time to complete the delivery of the auto approach/hover system. It has completed its company trials months ago, and behaves flawlessly, as the auto-pilot was designed for SAR from the outset.

The only reason why they might not all be ready at that time is that the line is quite sold out for a few years (but CHC has several slots in there, I have no reason to believe that they need not start out with 92's).
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 12:08
  #549 (permalink)  
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Well said Nick,
I wish Alan Bristow (as opposed to the guy using the name Alan Bristow - which I presume is a wind-up?!) would also contribute to PPRuNe occasionally - there's a guy wit a fantastic knowledge of the history of this industry.
I worked for both Bristow and CHC during my time and I think you're right. Bristow used to be the really innovative companny, but in the years since the 'Old Man' sold up they have let companies like CHC take over that role. Good luck to CHC with the contract. Whoever does it, one thing that won't change is that the crews from whichever company will do it in a thoroughly professional and dedicated manner.
I also agree with your ideas of having different helicopters for different bases. Back in the very old days where the RN and RAF covered all the SAR in UK, they used a mix of Wessex and Whirlwind at bases depending whether it was expected that rescues would be longer or shorter range. RAF Manson had the Whirlwind (S55 with Gnome gas turbine engine, for our younger readers!!) for many years. Does anyone have any information as to what the useful radius of action with an SAR loiter time is for the S92 and A139?
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 14:21
  #550 (permalink)  
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Interesting Read

What is a empty S92 weighing in at, in offshore config?
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 14:41
  #551 (permalink)  
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Are not the SAR contract submittals public information? If so, why not do a research effort and compare the submittals that were used to make the determination?
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 16:11
  #552 (permalink)  
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Cdn Driver,

Here is the tech brochure, with detailed weights and performance. I believe the delivered offshore birds weigh about 450 lbs more than the brochure, due to additional optional equipment and gear. Good idea to add that much tp the SAR to be conservative.


Page 12 has a good SAR radius chart, about 370 NM radius of action.
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 16:43
  #553 (permalink)  
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This brochure has been on the Sikorsky website for a few years now and certainly before production aircraft hit the offshore world.

How does it tie-up with the flight manual? Can you post actual FM data and graphs here and not the sales brochure, we can make up our own mind then?

Do you have the extra weights for the Sea State 6 flotation gear, reinforced cabin floor, de-iced blades, FLIR, hoists etc? Most aircraft weigh more than the sales brochure claim, lets hope the S92 does not.

Thanks in anticipation

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Old 29th Dec 2005, 17:01
  #554 (permalink)  
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Why should the 92 not weigh more in service than planned? Every helicopter ever built has had that problem....everyone!

How much did the APS weight of the 61 increase over the years due to mods....paint....dirt....grease....and the like?

Sounds like a fair question on the surface but I detect a hidden agenda lurkiing there.
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 17:38
  #555 (permalink)  
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I don't know the weight of the S92, which is why I asked. What is hidden about that?

If Nick can post any FAA approved data that would shut up the detractors. Perhaps Helicomparitor can post actual data about the EC 225 and we can compare facts, not rumours!

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Old 29th Dec 2005, 18:15
  #556 (permalink)  
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running in,
I put the 450 lbs as a shot at that correction from brochure to service weight, based on some facts that S92mech posted a few months back. I believe the weight of a good offshore S-92 is about 16,750 lbs ready for pax and fuel. I will search for mech's post to correct that.

This includes most of the goodies you list, at least as one pro offshore outfit spec'd it. the nose to nose between a 225 and an S92 is no contest, the S-92 has about 1300 lbs more payload, or 130 NM more range, depending on how you want to cash in the extra performance. The aircraft look as if they are within 600 lbs if you use the 225 brochure, but they do not add the weight of the crashworthiness they have as a yet uundesigned "option."

The "battle" between the 225 and the S92 has already been waged. Literally across the board, the 92 has won. Only at Bristow (see a pattern?) has there been any concept that there is a horserace, elsewhere, compliance with newest FAR/JAR has been required by the poor sods who must sit in the things, and the 225 was eliminated at the outset, due to its safety shortfalls.
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 18:39
  #557 (permalink)  
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Thank Nick,

Some actual hard data from the RFM would be appreciated, especially if your mate Helicomparitor would do the same.

I think CHC are buying the EC 225 as well as Bristow. So far the EC 225 has sold better in the UK than the S92, 8 - nil is the current score, against about 10 - nil to the S92 in Norway.

Perhaps it is a cultural thing.
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 20:00
  #558 (permalink)  
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Perhaps it is easier to convert to the 225 from the Tigers than convert to 92's. That certainly must play a role in the decisions. There must be some value to parts commonality and availability that might offset some performance issues.

Having fleet commonality would make training a lot easier....re-learning which foot to put forward would also be something to consider.
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Old 29th Dec 2005, 20:35
  #559 (permalink)  
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Do we really have to start the 92 vs 225 war again - I thought that had been done to death.

Oh, alright then....

I know that the heavier Bristow EC225 has an empty weight of 14112 lbs (6401 kg). That is including the 3rd generator, the 2 dinghys, floats, the "85dB trim", 4 landing lights, adelt, unusable fuel, documents, wingmirrors etc AND the crashworthy stroking seats and strengthened floor. I'll say that again because Nick has his hearing aid turned down again...IT INCLUDES THE CRASHWORTHY SEATS/FLOOR.

Add 2 pilots and you get 14506 lbs (6580kg). Gross weight is 24250 lbs (11000kg). So disposable is 9744 lbs (4420 kg). Full fuel is about 5050 lbs (2290kg) leaving a full fuel payload of 4694 lbs.

That is of course for the crew change configuration. How it would pan out in the SAR configuration I don't know. I would imagine that the extra weight of FLIR and hoists would be partially offset by taking out the seats, but it would still be heavier. The real extra weight comes from all the cabin equipment - endless medical stuff, throw-out dinghy etc but that is impossible to work out as it would depend on what the operator wishes to carry.

I know that the 92s delivered to Norsk ended up quite a bit heavier than expected. I don't know much about it but I understand that quite a bit of stuff that was expected to be standard turned out to be optional extras. Sea state 6 flotation is one that springs to mind and I think there was something about crashworthy floor which is surprising considering Nick's previous rants on the subject.

Perhaps someone from Norsk or CHC HS can enlighten us with actual figures?

Anyway I understand that, whilst we originally thought that the 92 would have the edge on payload, in fact the 225 crept ahead in the end. But of course both aircraft can take 19 pax, bags and full fuel so its a bit academic.

If you compare the RFMs (the one for the 225 I can confirm as being surprisingly accurate!) the 225 has marginally better specific fuel consumption at the faster cruise speeds, but again there is little in it. Both aircraft do a lot better at high altitude - not much use for SAR!

The story about engine variants for the 92 has changed so often that I have lost track as to what engines might be available in the future, but I know that the OEI OGE hover performance with the current engines is disappointing (though of course a lot better than the S61!). At low temperatures there is not a huge amount in it, but by +30 deg C the 225 is about 1200lbs - 1500lbs ahead (92 limits OEI on TOT from about 0 deg upwards, whereas the 225 doesn't)

But in fact both the aircraft are adequate in all the parameters I have mentioned so far. If one is 5% better or worse than the other, does it really matter for SAR?

Surely the other aspects are more important? The 92 has a clear advantage for the rear crew in terms of cabin height (about the only time its of any use, as in crew change config the pax are hopefully sitting down). But the door arrangement for SAR looks Micky Mouse. And not sure how much the sponsons will get in the way with stretchers etc?

I have tried the auto-hover on the 225. It is great with or without doppler (no more calm sea problems!). When I flew the 92 its autopilot did not seem to have autohover, and its upper modes seemed very poor compared to the 225 - but that was a couple of years ago and it might have improved since then.

Like everything, they will be as good as their weakest element, and until experience is gained in the SAR role, who knows what that will be?

Regarding the contract, as far as I am aware Bristow did not bid the 225. It was only a 5 year fill-in contract until the harmonisation thing, and I guess that didn't seem to justify the switch to new aircraft. Whether that was their mistake, or whether they would have been stymied anyway by CHCs loss-making get-a-foot-in-the-door bid, I don't know.

Anyway, I don't believe Bristow is against the S92 - as soon as an oil company wants them I am sure they be delighted to provide them. In the mean time I think the 225 has the edge in terms of performance (speed, payload etc) and doesn't seem to have the vibration-induced self-destruct feature nor so many design flaws that the 92 has. And up front the 225 has a massive advantage in terms of the grin factor for the pilots.

Bristow seems to agree as they have now ordered 6 firm. CHC Scotia will/have ordered another 2 and as someone said, no-one on this side of the N Sea has ordered a 92 yet - though I am sure they will eventually.


I don't think there will be a huge difference in terms of hours between converting to the 225 or the 92 from the 332L. Both the new aircraft have major new features such as EFIS, but in many ways the 92 is more conventional. The 225 has fundamental new ideas to grasp such as, when the engine fails you don't touch the collective. And if its in during the takeoff phase after TDP you don't touch the cyclic either - just press the go-around button.

But we were certainly delighted when JAR proposed that the 225 be a variant of the 332L - it saves a lot of hassle on the paperwork front!

However the 92 has a major advantage - its got a simulator, whereas the 225 sim will not be available until 2007! (0/10 to eurocopter on that one)

I don't think the spares have much overlap as the transmission, engines and avionics have virtually no common parts. Maybe the wheels are the same?

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Old 30th Dec 2005, 14:06
  #560 (permalink)  
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Good post, pity some of the S92 operators don't come out in the open and tell us the real story, maybe the operator on the E coast of Canada could let us know why they are sitting on the ground, come on guys, let us all know what the real VNE is, what is the fuel burn, vibration level at VNE????
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