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SAR: Search & Rescue Ops [Archive Copy]

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SAR: Search & Rescue Ops [Archive Copy]

Old 15th Feb 2006, 08:23
  #761 (permalink)  
 
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Wiretensioner (slightly irrelevant and sorry to nit-pick but can't resist):

What was going on in the "pre madonna" world of Chivenor? I think the Hawks were there in those days!

Ta!
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Old 15th Feb 2006, 22:43
  #762 (permalink)  
 
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SirVivr

Possibly the Govt might reconsider when they realize that all the bases, housing etc, are not owned by the Govt, but by Bristow.

How many off the Class 3 and 4 Winchmen are willing to switch?

Is CHC going to find the pilots that have the extensive experience that the local pilots have?

Stirring the pot.

C. Alexander
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Old 16th Feb 2006, 14:53
  #763 (permalink)  

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the bases, housing etc, are not owned by the Govt, but by Bristow.
That may apply at the moment, Bristow may even keep their facilities at Sumburgh, for aircraft passing through to the ESB, but I doubt it. There is always the old BIH hangar across the pad, if it's still useable!!
Can't see them keeping anything for Stornoway. They have no need for staying there at all. Would imagine the hangar is leased.

Did any of the CHC pilots have an in-depth knowledge of Waterford or Sligo before moving there? No, you just get on and learn the area! Doesn't take that long, maps are available!!
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Old 16th Feb 2006, 15:00
  #764 (permalink)  
 
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Isn't there meant to be a bit of exploration going on in the Atlantic off Stornoway??

Local area knowledge for Shetland - the sea/land* is either on the right/left* depending whether you are going North or South

*delete as applicable
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Old 16th Feb 2006, 19:58
  #765 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
So why did the S61 form Lee get called ahead of the Sea King from Chiv for the sinking tanker in the channel 2 weeks ago? And why did it take an hour to get 6 people off the boat before deciding that the rest would be better recovered by climbing down a rope ladder (from a boat listing at 30 degrees and worsening) and into the Lifeboat which sustained bow damage as it successfully and very skilfully manoeuvred under the overhang and into the vessel. And why was this plan pursued when the Chiv Sea King was hovering, waiting for an opportunity to quickly recover the remaining crewmembers?
Brixham CG were running the job - is that why they requested Lee first? The MCA are allowed to task their own assets within 30 nm of their location without asking ARCC - is that what happened here?
Could it possibly be because the S61 was not prepared to sit committed in the hover? The crewmembers of the vessel were far more likely to get hurt scrambling down a ladder and jumping into a pitching lifeboat.
Got to answer you - there are some flaws here.

It was a French job, in French waters. Cross Joburg telephoned Portland and requested helicopter assistance. They had none available.
Portland spoke to Solent and ARCC. IJ was launched.
The task was to pick up 22 persons from the water who were about to abandon ship.
We wondered how heavy the crew would be, 22 fat wet Greeks are much heavier than 22 dry Vietnamese. It was also at longish range and the helo would be in the hover for a while. Weight/fuel/range/time ????
Therefore we asked for a second helicopter. R-169 was tasked from Chivenor. IJ got there first and began to winch from the deck.
The master of the Ece had changed his mind, he did not want the crew to leave. The boat listed to 30 degrees, the master changed his mind again. After lifting about 6 the lifeboats from St Petersport and Alderney arrived and the tanker was abandoned. 12 by helo, 10 by lifeboat.

Communications were a problem. This was French job, coordinated by Cross Joburg, on the french side of the channel. It was at the limit of vhf range. The higher helo R-169 was able to relay comms. The helos were having difficulty getting responses from the french and were having to work back to Portland then we got on the phone to the french.


When we launch stuff we launch it on the information we have at the time, which is always incomplete, sometimes wrong.
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Old 16th Feb 2006, 20:35
  #766 (permalink)  
 
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Send'em - you are right, my info was based on a 60 second debrief from our crew who were still frustrated that the job took so long when it needn't have. Hence my figures were less than exact but you have to question the wisdom of sending guys down a ladder onto a lifeboat when a perfectly serviceable helicopter was waiting to lift them off. I gather the Master of the vessel compounded the problem by changing his mind about whether or not he was going to let his crew off at all.

JKnife - why should the MOD pay towards the civilian SAR contract? If in 2012 the whole SAR force becomes civilian then I can see the treasury moving cash from one pot to another.

You have answered my question regarding capability - you get what you pay for so unless the MCA pay more for the 2007 contract, they will get the same capability from CHC as they do from Bristows, just in a more swept-up aircraft. If the plan is for civilian SAR to move to NVG ops for overland work (which will need to happen if the 2012 civilianisation happens) then 1.5 hours per shift isn't going to be enough to keep all the skills up to a safe level.

Out of interest, how much night flying training do the CG crews do (obviously not NVG but decks, wets, sits etc)?

Wiretensioner - the SAR aircraft are not in Iraq or Bos but there are lots of 4 - 6 month heli-ops jobs that have to be filled and the SAR force is an easy target because we are otherwise no-deployable. One guy has just been given a 4 month det with 3 weeks notice causing all sorts of shift plot hassles as he was taken from an already strapped flight.

Cyclic - If I had known it was commercial in confidence I wouldn't have broadcast it - it was just a bit of crewroom gossip that probably shouldn't have been but live and learn.

The only reason this thread turned into a p8ssing contest is because many posters can't resist the urge to make personal insults when they disagree with someones opinion. Lots of name calling doesn't make for much of an intellectual debate.
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Old 17th Feb 2006, 10:22
  #767 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

The only reason this is turning into a ****** Contest is because some people jump into print before they find out the CORRECT FACTS . Some people seem to think that they are better at the job they do than others and take every opportunity to undermind others. Both side are to blame, Mil/Civ and please remember, Mil, you have to leave at some time and the Civ will be doing the interview. Civ, you will get old one day and somebody has to replace you. Should not everyone have the same intention and that is to
'Remove the person/s from the place of danger'
Come on boys and girls get a grip.
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Old 17th Feb 2006, 11:20
  #768 (permalink)  
 
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Crab.
Facts are often different when viewed in the cold light of day and when the red mist has gone.(was that an apology?)
Your crewroom gossip was started by someone with privileged information who should have kept it and her opinions to herself until no longer in a position to influence the award of a vital contract. Her opinions of Bristow are no secret either but then that is a two way street.
As some one who has more time with BHL than I really care to remember, I can assure you that one company is just about as good/bad as the other. At the end of the day, it will be down to the same crews to make do with whatever is thrown at them, good or bad. Only the 'Cap Tally' wiil change!
A question for you. Would the RAF/FAA accept into frontline service an aircraft type that had not had intensive trials in all roles first? If so
then things really have changed since I left all them years ago? This is exactly what you are expecting us inferior,geriatric civvies to do, only with TWO types.
Artic Warrior.
Couldn't agree more. The bloke at the bottom of the cliff, injured on a boat or whatever doesn't give a stuff what the colour of the helicopter nor the age of the plumb-bob, just as long as he is got out safely. That is what it is all about!
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Old 17th Feb 2006, 14:01
  #769 (permalink)  
 
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Crab

Surely the whole reason of the MOD giving up SAR is that the money they allocate to the service can be re-allocated to the front-line units who desperately need more equipment (in all 3 services)? Maybe it isn't, but if not why take SAR away? I suspect that the Treasury may have a different view to yours as well.

With regard to NVG, that clearance will have to come from the CAA and presumably the S-92 and AB139 will have NVG cockpits. However, the MCA is generally not responsible for overland SAR AFAIK, so I do not know who will have that responsibility other than the Police. If the aircraft are to be NVG equipped for overland SAR, then will the MCA be paying extra? I, like you, do not know the answer. A good one to pose to those "in the know".

Like the military SAR units, MCA units have night flying training requirements to be carried out, just not so many hours as you have.
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Old 17th Feb 2006, 20:51
  #770 (permalink)  
 
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3D cam and Dillonthe dog - the person you suspect to be crabette is most definitely not so casting aspersions about her is worse than posting with incomplete information as you may damage the reputation of an innocent party.

Jknife - why do you think the MOD is giving up SAR - everything I am told by those in the know is most definitely the opposite to this position? So if SAR is civilianised and the MCA don't do overland SAR (not strictly true) who will rescue people in the mountains at night? Not the police I bet. Sounds like a reduction in capability to me that directly affects the punters mentioned by Arctic Warrior.

3Dcam - as to accepting an aircraft without sufficient trials see the Merlin for details - or even the Apache. Both were promised to deliver great new capability but both have cost lots more than they should and still don't deliver the capability they promised.

Wait and see if the contract under CHC really is the same as Bristow - I don't believe so, thanks to the involvement of the MoD the service provided will be superior whoever crews it.

The bottom line is that however much you bitch about the amount of hours we get to fly and how much we seem to cost compared to CG, the capability we are required to provide is greater - all weather, day or night, overland or sea, 1st and 2nd standby- that is not arrogance or boasting, just a statement of fact.
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Old 17th Feb 2006, 21:30
  #771 (permalink)  
 
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Crab

Does your capability include serviceable winches? A story that must be told or just crewroom gossip?
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Old 17th Feb 2006, 22:25
  #772 (permalink)  
 
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Crab.
I will take your word for it that Crabette is not who I thought and offer my apologies to her and yourself. My point still remains, confidential information should remain just that. It came from somewhere!
With reference to your points about the Merlin and Apache. Totally agree. Only now read A139 & S92.
Just how will the change, BHL-CHC, improve things? Is the MOD going to give the MCA more money to enable a similar budget to yours?
Your units are crewed for main and standby, the MCA will not pay for that! We also are 24hr. all weather capable, contrary to your opinion. We even venture out over land and mountains. The only MCA unit that is not 24hr. is Portland, and that is also because of lack of funds from the MCA. Or is that the improvement in service you mention? Careful, because if that happens Chivenors' jobs total will take a tumble. A serious question though, is it right that you have three aircraft per unit to produce two serviceable ones?
Once again, apologies to you and crabette.
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 05:40
  #773 (permalink)  
 
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3Dcam - Thanks.

I never said the S92 and 139 were great SAR aircraft - they may or may not be now or in the future great SAR aircraft. But, given a choice between staying with the venerable S61 for another umpteen years or spending a couple of years sorting teething problems on a new aircraft (S92) and modifying (if required) the 139 to get them to give you a better overall capability for the future, then I know what my choice would be. I won't be surprised if military SAR ends up using the same aircraft at some time in the future so you guys can get them sorted before we fly them.

I never said you weren't all weather capable but in poor wx at night I suspect you won't go into places we will because you don't do NVG ops. Venturing out over land and mountains is not quite the same as regularly training there so there is a capability difference.

If Portland went 24 hour - they wouldn't venture all the way to S Wales would they? That is where a huge number of Chiv jobs are. They might get a few in S Devon but I still think we could get there quicker

I have no info on the funding, MoD or otherwise, of the MCA budget but I am assured that the service will improve under CHC - we'll just have to wait and see I guess. Whether you are a BHL fan or not, they have been doing the job a long time and now a decision has been made to give that job to someone else - why?

We only have 2 aircraft per flight but at any one time there will be 4 or 5 in deep servicing/modification/trials, the OCU at St Mawgan has another 3 and there are 2 in the Falklands. But our 1st amd 2nd standbys are produced from 2 ac, 8-10 pilots, 3-4 Radops and 3-4 winchmen - our manning levels, especially among the rearcrew are creaking a bit.

Cyclic - I don't think there is any secret that we are not winching on training sorties at the moment as a sensible precaution following a hoist malfunction at Chivenor this week. Operational winching for lifesaving is continuing as normal.
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 13:29
  #774 (permalink)  
 
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As I have mentioned before, the capability of Civvy SAR is dictated by the requirements laid down by the MCA/DfT. If they wanted NVG, 2nd Standby crews, more aircraft, more training etc etc, they would ask for it and get it. This time around it seems(?) that the MOD has had a greater input into the Civvy SAR contract. This might have two effects. One, the new SAR contract was bid to a higher specification which might convert to a better capability,(yes better aircraft and kit but probably the same training budget (45hours), No NVG, etc etc). Two, the MOD get an inside look into the way Civvy SAR works.

Now if the MOD are wanting to hang onto SAR as Crab has been reliably(?) informed, but are still going to have to save money, then what shape is harmonisation going to take? Perhaps the MOD will have the aircraft provided by contractors (2 per base), engineering provided by contractors, no 2nd Standby crew/aircraft, reduced training budget and reduced back up infrastructure. In other words, realigning military SAR closer to civillian (although still 24/7/365 all weather SAR, overland if deemed necessary).

The issue here is who decides what the UK SAR capability should be - the Rolls Royce(?) the RAF/RN provides or the Ford Transit(?) civillian option. Now looking at the military budget cuts of late, which way do you think this is going to go? After all, a Ford Transit does pretty much the same as a Rolls Royce albeit without the looks and expensive running costs.
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 13:59
  #775 (permalink)  
 
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Crab.
Just a quick reply.
Portland has already been to South Wales on a job. Summer before last, girl down waterfall, dad followed. (Featured on BBC Seaside Rescue last year.) Portland was already in your patch (North Devon somewhere) going to someone trapped in rocks with an incoming tide I believe. Resolved as they arrived on scene. However retasked to the Brecon Beacons as your main machine had gone u/s at a hospital landing site after a job I am informed. I think your standby was having an engine change as well. , these things happen.
You would be surprised just how fast the old Sticky can go when you throw some good quality coal on the fire. ( Race you to Start Point.) Not really.
I'm glad you are happy for us to prove the S92& A139 before you possibly get them but my point is still the same. SAR is not the place to be trialling aircraft. How long had the Sea King been in service before the RAF deemed it fit for SAR? Ten years or so I think. (That is not a dig at you.) Who rescues the rescuers??
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 14:04
  #776 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hard to imagine I know, but many of the S61 Commanders in Ireland are R22/H300 self improvers. (we also have some excellent ex mil pilots!)
We train for 240 hours per month....We routinely do aux off, partial panel sorties into the mountains at night with all four of the crew wearing Ray Bans and Foggles ..... No prob with a bit of practice!!!
If youre there we'll find you on the sh*ttiest of dark nights !!!!!
Guess what...It seems to be going just fine. When our client is prepared to pay for the appropriate kit then we will routinely go into the mountains at night or do whatever is asked of us.... They pay...we do as we're told.
(Note to self.... stop reading this drivel and worse still posting!)
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 15:14
  #777 (permalink)  
 
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Decks - I guess you must be on a day off and just come back from the pub
I think you might still see a Mk 3 or 3A Sea King refuel in Ireland and head off to points West since we do have a better RoA. We'll wave next time we're passing.

3D cam - what would you prefer as a SAR cab then - I think 2 types makes sense since not every flight needs long range/big lift capability. Yes the RN had the Sea King in service for a good while before we took it on (and they forgot to tell us about the stn 290 cracks as well). As I understand it the 139 is not an unproven aircraft, it is just that some people don't think it is suitable for SAR - if this is proven to be the case then CHC will have to address any shortfall in capability or, I suspect, face contract penalties.
As for the 92 - every helicopter has to start somewhere, I hope Nick's faith in it is justified.

Crash on deck - since the MoD has stated that there will continue to be military SAR pilots, then the likely outcome is military flights with civilian aircraft (probably flown to military rules like at Shawbury) and civilian engineering. How the MoD finance this I don't know but after the fiasco of introducing the 412 into Cyprus as a SAR aircraft, they will probably be much more careful about the terms of the contract and the aircraft spec. I don't think anyone would condone a reduction in capability, especially NVG since it is a core military pilot skill. So where does that leave harmonisation? In about the same place as it has stayed since it was first mooted - an aspiration that can't be achieved when you have 3 different service providers (RAF,RN and MCA) with different command chains, funding, SOPs and, at the moment, different aircraft and capabilities.
As to the future, I'd like to stay military and stay SAR but like everyone else I will have to wait and see.
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 15:50
  #778 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Smile

[email protected] cares
The way your posts have been going a lot of people will be happy with your last line.
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 17:00
  #779 (permalink)  
 
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Crab,

I hope you are right and that future SAR capability is not degraded. But can you put your hand on heart and say that the training budget, crewing, equiping of MCA aircraft will ever match the military? This is not just about capability, it is value for money. If the MOD (or more likely the politicians above) look to the MCA and think that that is the level of training, manning and equiping that is fit for purpose for half of Scotland and the South Coast of England, why not apply that to the eight other bases? With NVG capability, why shouldn't the future of SAR be run on the same lines of the MCA contract?

Originally Posted by [email protected]
Cyclic - I don't think there is any secret that we are not winching on training sorties at the moment as a sensible precaution following a hoist malfunction at Chivenor this week. Operational winching for lifesaving is continuing as normal.
I am not going to dig at this one, rather just question the wisdom of posting such an admission. Is it right to use a winch at all if its servicability is suspect?
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Old 18th Feb 2006, 18:14
  #780 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Crab,
This is true but you'll also note that it happens very very seldom. The additional cost to go that extra mile is not in the view of our client worth the cost plain and simple. They prefer to spend the money on hospital equip to make sure the ones we do bring in from <200 nm are well looked after.

I am no SAR antique but I do watch carefully the inland taskings we get. At times we will attempt night mountain evacs etc though its a secondary role. I cannot remember one instance in the last ten years when the time benefit of getting a casualty out by helo would have saved a life. As a matter of fact more often than not its difficult to justify the risks taken by day. If our client was really serious about mountain rescue then they should provide us something like an EC145.... like Swiss Rega use. They seem to have that stuff really figured out and guess what...they're a civvie op.

Now back to the pub to wave at the Seakings flying by!!!!
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