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What helicopter for SAR in Norway?

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What helicopter for SAR in Norway?

Old 15th Nov 2013, 20:29
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Mi-17?



Are the number of accidents and fatallities in Mi8/Mi17 not a little excessive?
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Old 16th Nov 2013, 07:02
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Polish Air Force has them for years. The last airframe loss was in 2002 IIRC (it wasn't exactly helicopter's fault) - a lot of luck and no human losses. You just have to fly/maintain them by the book and use original spare parts. If you don't, it's asking for troubles like on any other machine.

Going back to AW101, I just wonder how the new Mi-38 will compare to it. They are wery close comparing MTOW and dimensions, but the latter is still just a prototype.

By the way, if someone is interested, the public part of NAWSARH requirements is accessible here:

http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/JD/...092011_web.pdf

Arrakis
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Old 16th Nov 2013, 09:22
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Does hovering at just 60' not present problems when rescuing people from dinghies, lilos and small vessels? How often do the Portuguese/Canadians have to do tasks like these?
It depends on the situation but generally no. Thereīs no problem at all hovering at 60 feet.
SAR missions on the portuguese SRR are actually quite often.

Regarding the long range capabilities: thereīs no match for AW101 Merlin. Not the S-92 and not the EC225 .
Of course it always depends on your country or company requirements. Portugal has a massive Search and Rescue Region (SRR). The biggest in Europe actually, so the Merlin is a logical choice for Portugal. Itīs not a "nice to have", itīs a "must have". SAR missions beyond 320 Nautical Miles (and we consider that extreme long-range, wich requires from the crew special attention to planning) are quite often, specially in the Azores.

The bottom line is: itīs expensive? Yes. A lot. But itīs an amazing machine and from my personal operational point of view and experience itīs the most safe and capable SAR machine out there.
If you have the money - and the requirement - then itīs the perfect choice.

Great weekend everybody!



Portuguese SRR region (FIR Santa Maria and FIR Lisboa)




Morsa Exercise Video, where you can see the downwash effect on a target:



Rescue of fisherman from a 18m fishing vessel:




SAREX exercise with a portuguese navy corvette:

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Old 16th Nov 2013, 22:28
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Nice videos, but they don't prove anything. The 101's famously strong downwash can only really be appreciated in the third video and it's way behind the aircraft, suggesting the wind is strong enough for the downwash not to be a hazard on this occasion.


The behaviour of the weighted orange sack in the first video is not representative of how a lightweight dinghy, lilo or small craft such as a dive boat, pleasure cruiser or small sailing vessel are going to behave when exposed to strong downwash that is directly beneath the hoist. It's therefore a bit much to claim that the 101 is the world's most capable SAR aircraft (as has been done twice on this thread) when this Achilles' heel would have a notable impact on the operating procedures adopted by the crew in circumstances such as these, not to mention overland situations where casualties may be perched on small ledges or steep slopes. Big is not always beautiful.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 06:56
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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There have been downwash accidents from ec135 to chinook in recent SAR. S-92 is a culture change in the UK and same for 101 in Norway. Is that worse than a helicopter in 8000' mountains with a 3200' performance limitation?
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 09:29
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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There is no such beast as the perfect SAR helicopter, every design will have a number of compromises. The 101 is a fantastic long range, (almost) all weather platform with a big cabin and a very useful FCS/autopilot combination. The BERP blade design gives a lot of performance benefits but increased downwash from the 'paddle' tips is the sacrifice. Not such a problem when winching over a large vessel at sea but definitely an issue when small vessels or crag-fast climbers are the customer. Clearly, the Norwegians have identified that the former is more likely to be of concern.

An interesting feature of the downwash is the 'doughnut' pattern of turbulence that is produced. It's very fierce towards the extremities but remarkably calm in the middle. If the wind on the day means you can position your target within the centre of the 'doughnut' it makes life very easy. On other days not so much!
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 12:10
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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Nice videos, but they don't prove anything. The 101's famously strong downwash can only really be appreciated in the third video and it's way behind the aircraft, suggesting the wind is strong enough for the downwash not to be a hazard on this occasion.
From my personal professional experience in SAR with the AW101 I can assure you that we never had a problem regarding the downwash. Itīs, without any doubt, very very strong, but thereīs several ways of working around it and you just have to adapt for each situation (as everybody in SAR does).

Exclude the Merlin as a SAR platform just because of the strong downwash doesnīt make sense. And I should know. I have dozens of SAR recoveries with it.

As llamaman put it:
There is no such beast as the perfect SAR helicopter, every design will have a number of compromises.


By the way, a cool photo where you can appreciate the strong downwash and the "doughnut" effect llamaman refered. (and yes, in the middle is as calm as a summer day )
Photo by Jorge Ruivo

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Old 17th Nov 2013, 17:10
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs down

Big doughnut, little hole. That downwash is horrendous.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 18:05
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Vie sans frontieres View Post
Big doughnut, little hole. That downwash is horrendous.
Sounds like the perfect donut. Coffee?

But the salient point is that we have a contributor who has had to deal with that downwash during dozens of recoveries stating clearly and unambiguously that yes it's strong, and no, it's never been an issue while he works. So not irrelevant, but apparently not a showstopper or game changer.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 18:34
  #110 (permalink)  

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When the UK military considered the Puma for SAR the consensus from the experts was that the down-wash was too intense to make it practical.

Yet we "gash" SH pilots found that it was possible to bring that aircraft to a very low hover over a ten man dinghy, trap it, and for survivors to climb directly into the cabin. No winching required.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 18:51
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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The question was asked: how often do the Portuguese and Canadians have to rescue people from dinghies, lilos and very small craft? No answer was given. Read into that what you will. To claim that an aircraft type is the world's most capable in the SAR role is misleading when it is only being used for some limited aspects of that role.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 19:21
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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The question was asked: how often do the Portuguese and Canadians have to rescue people from dinghies, lilos and very small craft? No answer was given. Read into that what you will.
Sorry for the late reply.

In 2011 the portuguese Merlins flew 608:20 hours on real SAR and/or AIREV (Aeromedical Evacuation) missions. 173 recoveries.
In 2012 more then 430 hours, with 157 recoveries.


I honestly donīt know the real proportion but itīs fair to estimate that at least 10% of those missions were recoveries from small ships, dinghies or even from the water. I can surely remember several of them. On my last 3 months I had at least 3 operational recoveries from vessels smaller then the helicopter.

I would like to emphasize this, because I donīt what to be misinterpreted: the downwash is in fact very strong, but thatīs a compromise regarding all the other specs of the helicopter. So, like all other SAR operators out there, we adapt. You apply new techniques and news procedures to minimize the effect of the downwash. And from my personal experience, the downwash has not been a factor.

In our view - and I guess the Canadians think the same - the range the Merlin brings to the table is far more important then the eventual strong downwash effect. But, then again, both of our countries have enormous SRR. If you only need to go 100 NM offshore, you have better cost-effective options, for sure.

Well, all I wanted to say was "congrats to Norway!". Great SAR helicopter.





Regards,
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 19:53
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Vertical751,

Nice post from somebody with the credibility of having actually operated the aircraft on SAR missions. In my experience, people are very quick to criticise a new aircraft, usually the most critical are those that have never flown it. As you have said, for a country with a relatively large SRR it's a good option.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 20:33
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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V751, interesting stuff: good to hear the Merlin is highly regarded by the operator.

All this is similar to the concerns when we moved from the Wessex to the Sea King, although it was just crew room chat since (fortunately) t'internet was a nightmare yet to arrive! Concerns about downwash were easily rectified by upping the hover height from 30', and any half competent crew is quite capable of getting to the half dozen lilo rescues per decade in one way or another. With so many hours as a SAR machine for the Portuguese and the Canadians, Vie SF, don't you think that you're making a mountain out of a very small molehill?
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 21:41
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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No, I don't. This is just one SAR environment, significantly offshore which for the most part experiences windspeeds strong enough to disperse the downwash. The claim was made - twice - that this is the world's most capable SAR helicopter but no amount of careful forethought can fully mitigate the effects downwash like that in most SAR environments, especially coastal and overland.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 22:04
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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No, I don't. This is just one SAR environment, significantly offshore which for the most part experiences windspeeds strong enough to disperse the downwash. The claim was made - twice - that this is the world's most capable SAR helicopter but no amount of careful forethought can fully mitigate the effects downwash like that in most SAR environments, especially coastal and overland.
Our SAR missions are not exclusive to offshore environments, in spite of being the majority of it. Even so, the conditions - wind conditions as well - are not that different. But even if you have a 0kt wind condition the operation is quite safe (I remind you we hoover at 60ft over sea, normally lower in land, depending on the operational scenario).

A big part of our rescue effort is cliff rescue and in this case we do have extra attention to the downwash effect to assure that no loose rocks can affect our operation. Once again, we adapt. We know the aircraft and we study the terrain.

In fact, and because weīre talking about "inshore" operations, in late April this year the south of Portugal was affected by some unusual strong floods. I was the captain on one rescue mission where we had an individual stuck in the middle of a flooded riverbank, with his car totally submerged. More or less 40NM from the coastline. I remember this mission well because when we recovered the guy he was worried about his car. Not his life. Go figure.
The operation went exactly like any other sea rescue regarding our procedure. Wind conditions? 10-15kts.

Hereīs a pic (at 60ft with 5-10kts the downwash goes back, as you can see):




Bottom line: based on my experience I donīt think the AW101 downwash is the key factor when evaluating the aircraft. We have 8 years of SAR experience with the Merlin with no problems so far regarding the downwash.

Best regards,
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Old 14th Dec 2013, 00:36
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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All the talking done by the looks of it. Sign here please!!




AgustaWestland awarded contract - regjeringen.no
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Old 14th Dec 2013, 08:00
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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And here was me thinking this thread had been killed by facts!
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Old 19th Dec 2013, 16:53
  #119 (permalink)  
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Good news for AgustaWestland Yeovil

AgustaWestland Signs Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter Contract For 16 AW101 Helicopters | AgustaWestland

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Old 15th Apr 2014, 15:59
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Nice video of a Portuguese 751 Squadron AW101 rescue off the coast of the Azores.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...type=2&theater

Cheers,
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