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The future of UK SAR, post SAR-H

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The future of UK SAR, post SAR-H

Old 16th Feb 2012, 22:58
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B50& lionc- Fair comments. It happened in my last year of flying seakings before I retired from flying at the end of 2008,I am fairly confident because the year before I was in Florida flying Jayhawks. I will have to find my logbooks to provide a name, of which there are many! I didn't ring the unit, we were told by ARCC that the S92 considered the weather out of limits.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 05:38
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ARCC informed us the S 92 couldn't do the job due to thick fog. Which did surprise us. So we did the job, so it isn't twaddle!!
Anyone who even considers flying in thick fog is an idiot.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 07:06
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Tallsar, as you were involved in the last competition and seem to still be involved in the new - your opinions of what the bidders did is somewhat biased.

Try talking to the guys who actually were the SMEs and ask how far they had to dig into performance charts and specs to validate or invalidate claims by bidders to meet the contract specifications. I am sure that some elements were just errors but others were not. If there is no scrutiny of the bidders claims we run the risk of repeating the S-92 saga with claimed RoA not being true (until finally a tank was installed) and the AW139 fiasco of being introduced into service without night overwater capability.

The 139 is a space-age aircraft, perfect for what it was designed for - which isn't UKSAR. It is just too small to fulfill all the roles required - as mentioned can't carry a MIRG team, can't carry 2 stretchers and couldn't carry a baby in an incubator from Jersey to Southampton the other night. If that is what you propose for UK SAR you had better make sure there is another, bigger aircraft on standby somewhere close to do all the jobs it can't.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 07:40
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can't carry 2 stretchers and couldn't carry a baby in an incubator from Jersey to Southampton the other night.
SAR/EMS AW139's in Australia do this every day. Offshore AW139's can carry 15 oil workers in the cabin so I don't know what your problem is but it is not the AW139.

Last edited by Epiphany; 17th Feb 2012 at 07:51.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 08:42
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I am aware of a number of dry jobs in the north where communications of one form or another have not been of a good standard. This means communications at a number of levels and by a number of agencies.

For a start, not having the MCA aircraft under direct ARCC control until April 2010 was a mistake. Therefore, we know that anything told to 202 by ARCC in 2008 about the Shetland or Stornoway aircraft was passed through ... an extra filter.

Throughout most of the 2007 contract, aircraft capability, training availability and a number of other matters have been shrouded in unnecessary obscurity. On the MoD side, there have been problems with comms and aircraft availability during the same period. A lot of work has been done fixing this stuff.

What I look forward to is a time when a document like CAP 999 is in place that acknowledges all the players and gives them their proper place, the contract requirements are publicly available and widely understood, aircraft capability and availability is an open book, all aircraft are controlled operationally from ARCC, the MCA authorise wet jobs (and invoices), the police authorise dry jobs, and all in the world is safe and wonderful.

One day soon?
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 09:59
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Winchman/Winch Operator Stornoway/Sumburgh

Hi All,

Anyone have any information on this job(s) advertised on CHC's website?
Would it be a good career move to apply at this point in time? For winch operator position, any elaboration of the medical technician qualifications would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. LHSboy
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 10:20
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"Anyone who even considers flying in thick fog is an idiot."

That's me then, (and instructor, Flt Lt N. R...H)

When we positioned for first take off on my 2 day FHT (final handling test) on the RAFSAR Seaking course, at Culdrose, we had to ground taxi as there were insufficient references to air taxi, due very thick fog.

(with diversion fuel for Heathrow)
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 10:28
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Anyone who even considers flying in thick fog is an idiot
Er, you don't know much about SAR, do you? Or are you just being a twunt?
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 12:25
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I know enough to know that anyone who knowingly plans to fly into thick fog at destination is an idiot. Superman SAR God (or even a Flt Lt instructor) or not.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 12:58
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Epiphany - I suspect that you are not a SAR pilot. The ability to cope with adverse weather is essential and this most definitely includes fog. A properly trained crew in an appropriately equipped aircraft should be able to deal with thick fog. Whether this be in making your way to a fishing vessel with a patient in sea fog or hover taxying up the side of hills to a seriously injured walker. This is the current capability of UK SAR and long may it continue. Additionally I can assure you that in these cases the aircraft captain utilises all of the expertise of his crew to ensure that the risk is appropriate to the situation.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 13:13
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I know enough to know that anyone who knowingly plans to fly into thick fog at destination is an idiot
Please elaborate. I'm sure we'd all be fascinated to find out why this is so wrong, seeing as SAR crews have been doing it without a problem for decades. Maybe you could also write to OC 2 Group and ask him to amend SAR Force orders to remove our clearance to do so.

SAR/EMS AW139's [sic] in Australia do this every day. Offshore AW139's [sic] can carry 15 oil workers in the cabin so I don't know what your problem is but it is not the AW139.
Well then Crab must be lying.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 13:16
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I am no longer a SAR pilot. When I was I seem to remember that we had weather limits and zero visibility was below those weather limits. However I am glad to hear that these days you operate helicopters that can operate effectively without actually seeing anything and that if an accident were to occur whilst flying in those conditions that the crew are absolved from any kind of legal repercussions or judgement from their peers.

You might not be aware but SAR is not an exclusively UK military based practice. Civilians do it and also foreign civilians - quite well.
.
Well then Crab must be lying.
I don't recall saying that Crab was lying. It is just a fact that AW139's (sic) regularly do what he says they cannot do.

Last edited by Epiphany; 17th Feb 2012 at 13:27.
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 13:41
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Epiphany - at the risk of stating the obvious - just because your in fog does not mean that you can't see anything. The RN, RAF and MCA use properly authorised procedures utilising radar to make approaches to ships. By hover taxying you are able to maintain visual contact with the surface and control your forward speed so that you don't hit anything. Same applies for climbing up mountains in hill fog - you keep visual by hover taxying up the mountain utilising visual references and appropriate Conn/VM from the crewman. We'd be a pretty useless SAR organisation in the UK if we could'nt fly in fog!!

Additionally as far as I can see this has nothing to do with whether you are Military or Civilian - both are able to fly in these conditions in the UK
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 14:10
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Civilians do it and also foreign civilians - quite well.
Perhaps - but they clearly don't do it very well if they are unable or unwilling to fly in thick fog.

I am no longer a SAR pilot. When I was...
Things have clearly changed somewhat since those long-ago days. Did you know that we also fly at night these days? There are these new-fangled things called Night Vision Goggles, but then you wouldn't want to know about them...no doubt anyone who flies at low level overland at night is an idiot, too...
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 15:02
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Epiphany: perhaps it's worth clarifying - no self-respecting pilot, SAR or otherwise, would transit overland below MSA in thick fog (ie cloud). The exception to this, however, would be if he/she and the crew had deliberately got themselves into that situation starting from a position that was clear of fog and he/she was able to maintain visual references with the surface sufficient to maintain accurate aircraft control. This would normally mean a low hover, but (as jungliebeefer states) it could also be horizontal distance from a steep hillside arising from an ascent into the cloudbase. There are obviously other considerations as well, such as having an option open in the event of an engine failure. The end needs to justify the means, as the risk obviously increases, but it's not idiocy. (It had better not be, 'cos I've done it often enough.)

Over water, the pilot doesn't even need external references (until you are 'short finals' to the target eg ship) as long as he/she has a) a suitable AFCS and b) a radar to act as the aircraft crew's eyes. Again, there's no idiocy, just good training, good SOPs, common sense and practice. It's not even an exclusively SAR thing - the RN was doing this in the Wessex 3 years before the Sea King came along, and ELVAs are, by definition, intended for dealing with thick fog.

What type did you fly on SAR? Was it a Wx 2/5, without AFCS? If so, I can understand your point of view (to a degree).

E99
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 17:03
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However it is not the RAF's fault that the AW139 is not fit for purpose as a SAR aircraft.
Really? So who did the contract evaluation on the AW139? I think we all know...
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Old 17th Feb 2012, 17:46
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As I recall the 139 was not the weapon of choice of the SMEs but the politically and commercially preferred option.
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Old 18th Feb 2012, 09:44
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You have just reminded my why you were so loved and admired when you were in uniform
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Old 18th Feb 2012, 21:06
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Have I missed something here? Has a post been removed? Someone slagging someone else off? Never!!!
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Old 19th Feb 2012, 09:08
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Has a post been removed?

Yes from Tallsar
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