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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 18th Oct 2012, 10:00
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From the RAFs very own website....

In the years just after World War Two into the early 1950s very little was thought about helicopters within the RAF. The RAF was mostly concerned with the operation of the relatively new jet aircraft, the Venom, Vampire and Meteor, which, because of their difficulty of operation and unsophisticated technology, saw a significant number of aircraft losses. Unfortunately these also led to loss of aircrew, whose operating area was no longer restricted to the English Channel area where current Air Sea Rescue forces existed. It soon became clear that an UK-wide SAR service was needed. Moreover, agreement was already in place, from 1947, for the Air Ministry to assume responsibility for operation and administration of all search and rescue arrangements for both military and civil aviation.

In the meantime the Royal Navy was evaluating the helicopter as a possible successor to the Sea Otter and as a much more economical replacement for the escort destroyer, which always followed an aircraft carrier during flying operations in case of accident. The Royal Navy was sufficiently confident to order 60 "Dragonfly" helicopters made by Westland Helicopters Ltd, a development of the Sikorsky R-5. The first of these were delivered in 1947 to 705 Squadron, HMS Siskin, Naval Air Base, Gosport, Hampshire. On the night of 31 January / 1 February 1953 extraordinary weather conditions in north west Europe resulted in devastating floods in Holland and along the east coast of England. The full operational strength of 705 Squadron was deployed to Holland to assist with the rescue of people from rooftops, flooded fields, boats and dykes and to ferry medical personnel, supplies and food to remote areas. Approximately 800 people were lifted to safety.

The RAF's interest in Maritime helicopters at this time was centred in the Air/Sea Warfare Development Unit that had evaluated the Hoverfly 1 and 2. However it discarded them when it became apparent that they had no useful function in operational maritime rescue or anti-submarine operations. It was not until the Air Sea Warfare Development Unit moved to RAF St Mawgan in December 1951 and the arrival of the new Sycamore helicopter in February 1952 that the development of maritime helicopter operations was given the impetus that led to the formation of the Helicopter SAR Force that we know today. SAR equipment at the end of 1952 comprised a rope ladder and safety lines. During a deployment of a Sycamore to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, for daily SAR cover at Patrington for Exercise Ardent, it became evident that a winch was essential for sea rescue operations. The first winch arrived in 1953 and was allocated to the newly forming 275 Squadron.
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 11:20
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An explanation for why Gazelle XW900 crashed in Germany in 1976. Obviously NVG hadn't been invented and Rick Browne and Nick Cook must have been wearing Smartie tubes stuck to their helmets.

Case closed

Maybe this is a Spartacus issue.

We invented NVG, no we invented NVG e.t.c e.t.c e.t.c

Last edited by ericferret; 18th Oct 2012 at 11:23.
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 13:14
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Spanish: thank you for that confirmation. Crab take note

Eric: I refer the good gentleman to:UKSF Gear - Night Vision
Crab take note

[I think with that Gazelle you were speaking of (from 660 Sqdn AH1), what with them being Army wallah's they most probably were flying around with Smartie tubes - having been told by the RN that they were sneaky beaky hi tech spec
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 14:05
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I think the Americans were a long way ahead of the RN when it came to helo SAR and, as Eric said, the RN weren't the first to use NVG in the brit mil - they might have been the first to use them on operations which is quite a different thing and lots of things were strapped onto aircraft without much thought in the FI.

Having used Gen 3/4 tubes in the FI (unlike most RN pilots) the nights are very, very dark and gen 1 tubes (of the sort they would have had in 1982) would have been of little use and probably lulled crews into a false sense of security.

Strange though that having 'invented' NVG in 1982, it took another 25 years to introduce them to RN SAR - is this because the RN SAR weren't as good as the junglies or just because SAR is seen as a backwater rest tour so no special equipment or training is required?

Not much of an advert for a new professional SAR service in UK aiming for a seamless transition with no loss of capability - depends on whose capability you are comparing the new service with I suppose

Last edited by [email protected]; 18th Oct 2012 at 14:09.
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 15:59
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Oooh - scrapping the barrel methinks in para 1. Aren't we all talking about the use of NVD in SAR (read: operations) no-one cares who invented it (AEG, Germans). Come on you can do better defending than that
The man who first flew the goggles into Chile in 82 was Nige North at the time - off to drop some unexpected guests thru the backdoor. He would take umbrage at them not being effective, methinks.

Atleast when the RAF use NVD in the Falklands, they are land based more or less and only infrequently do they drift far offshore - I watch the stats.

Remember the RN constantly fly to their 'home' which is a dark thing floating on dark stuff in the dark. And the dark thing is also moving too. A tad more challenging than flying to and from a ruddy big island. Ooops, nearly forgot - the RAF aren't allowed to land or take off from ships on NVD are they? Why's that then?

RN didn't need NVD because of their environment - overwater ops. It's only because of its maturity over the years that they adopted them much later.

As long as the essence of civvy ops retains its grass roots (firmly ensconced in RN overwater experience with a soupcon of overland RAF experience), they will do very well in the future thank you very much

Existing civvy ops - QED.
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 16:04
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Crab

The Americans still use baskets!!!
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 17:13
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From the RAFs very own website....
That website is well known to be utter tripe!

The man who first flew the goggles into Chile in 82 was Nige North at the time
Who is he now?
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 18:57
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Ooops, nearly forgot - the RAF aren't allowed to land or take off from ships on NVD are they? Why's that then?
Nope and neither are RN SAR! That is because of the boat drivers not the aircrew - the Mk 4s are the only ones cleared for NVD DLs.

Unfortunately that attitude to not needing NVD overwater was probably a contributing factor to the very sad mid air in the gulf. Both crews would have seen each other had they been wearing goggles.

The soupcon of overland experience means you don't watch the stats, most SAROps in the UKFIR are overland Therefore a strong base of RAF overland capability with a soupcon of RN over-water experience (which the crabs do at least as well because we train more) has got to be the template for future UKSAR Strangely, given your strong opinion of the RN SAR, the majority shareholder in UK SAR is the RAF, followed by the MCA and then, in last position.......

And don't start mentioning Prestwick as the busiest SAR flt as a defence - you know as well as I do that their stats are based on medevacs every night during the winter months which, whilst being exciting due to poor weather are not really SAR jobs, more Air Ambulance tasks.


PS you mean scraping the bottom of the barrel not scrapping surely, and you went down through that earlier

Last edited by [email protected]; 18th Oct 2012 at 19:00.
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 20:34
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Crabs V Wafu's

Well.... if its a CIVVIE future with endless crew room banter and getting on with the ex MOD oppo, then I'm afraid the CV list is as follows:
Ex RN whatever their non crab inferior skills.
Civvie willing to listen, learn and have demonstrated a life long career drive to aviate (not been handed a golden RAF bus pass @18)
Low time South Africans, Polish, Bulgarian and other EU migrant bus drivers.
Crab SH pilots
Army Pilots
RAF SAR pilots
CRAB@

Actually Crab I might move you up above the Army if Wales Jnr applies, after seeing the vid he would win the willy waving contest and the Wafu's don't like to be out done you know.
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Old 18th Oct 2012, 22:14
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NRDK - you appear to have your roots showing

If you rate bravado over professionalism then good luck to your future SAR setup.

Surprisingly, many crabs are good fun in the bar and the crewroom (even I have been described as a good egg on this thread!!!)

So in the end it is up to those in power to decide the future of UKSAR - an old RN boys club or something which melds mil and civ in a forward looking outfit with high standards who will provide the service the UK has come to love and expect.
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Old 19th Oct 2012, 00:46
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The future of UK SAR. I can see it now. Down the Legion, the crabs are in one corner and pusser's pirates in the other, sniping at each other endlessly, hoping there'll be some reservists in shortly who still have proper jobs and can buy a round. Meanwhile, overhead, there is the throb of an S-92 as its Polish, Irish or Swiss pilot heads it for the hill on another rescue.





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Old 19th Oct 2012, 09:33
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Hats off to them in the big mountains but have you got any footage of them doing it at night or in poor weather?
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Old 19th Oct 2012, 11:34
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No footage at night that i've seen, but the documentary "Die Bergretter - Unterwegs mit der Air Zermatt" is well worth a watch, although foreign. I saw it a few years ago but don't have any links - I guess for a private operator the chances of having camera team in place are slim, and of little importance when dealing with something like this.

Air Glaciers, Air Zermatt et al response to coach crash

Air Zermatt were supposedly the first to do night rescues in the mountains many years ago (certainly in the region) in Alouettes and Lamas - no autopilot/autohover/winch-man-steering/nvg. Amazing. They've just taken delivery of their first bell 429, apparently to enhance their night ops.
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Old 19th Oct 2012, 11:42
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By and large in most sane operations the ex service stuff is just a bit of banter for crewroom use only.

You do get the odd one (odd in more than one sense of the word) who still thinks he's in uniform. Most are more than happy to move on.

I only came across one operation where there was genuine nasty side to the ex service relationship.

I happened to walk into the the office behind the chief engineer and his deputy both ex crabs and was quite horrified to hear what was going on.

They were sorting out c.v's for a vacancy and the conversation went
ex army no, ex navy no e.t.c.

There was genuine animosity towards ex navy/army, which extended to training not being provided and a very nasty atmosphere.
You weren't in their little clique and they let you know it.

Thankfully a one off for me.
I find the ex service mix is all part of fun with each group including the civvies bringing their own expertise and quirky humour to the job.
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Old 19th Oct 2012, 11:46
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Originally Posted by Shell Management
The Americans still use baskets!!!
Hell, we'll jump into a Bambi Bucket if it's all that's available.

Firefighter extracted in helicopterís bucket as wildfire approached

I/C
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Old 19th Oct 2012, 12:58
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CRAB Baiting

Thought you had a sense of humour

But,that said.. most qualified service/civ pilots with ATPL level qualifications would be able to get on with the job. Are they going to be a 'good egg' in the SAR world (crewroom & cockpit) is actually Very important.
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Old 19th Oct 2012, 13:52
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Hats off to them in the big mountains but have you got any footage of them doing it at night or in poor weather?
I do have some footage of a job at night at 4000m that was partially NVG. Single pilot, EC145, 11 x HHO. However, there is currently no evidence of it being in the public domain and I don't know if I am allowed to share it. 147Mb too, so a bit unweildy.

Last edited by jimf671; 19th Oct 2012 at 13:58.
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Old 3rd Nov 2012, 23:39
  #638 (permalink)  
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What is the RoA of CHC's S-92s (Stornoway, Sumburgh, Shannon) with the aux fuel tanks ? Still air, 20 minute loiter on scene, MLA, 10% reserve.



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Old 4th Nov 2012, 06:05
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Around 300 nm I believe.
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Old 6th Nov 2012, 13:18
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Can full fuel be uplifted with the weight of the full SAR role kit?



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