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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 23rd Dec 2012, 20:19
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Vie, I appreciate your views and knowledge. I'm afraid I can't answer your question though. I agree with you when you talk about the RAF, RN, CHC and Bristow being at the frontline of SAR cover in the UK. I would have thought that knowledge/experience worldwide would play a bigger part of the bid than just locally. I may well be completely off the mark as I've never been in the SAR business, I'm just interested and want to understand why people seem narrow minded about Avincis (Bond) and were taken back with this latest news of CHC.

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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 21:30
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Appreciation of SAR worldwide is useful but northern Europe is quite a specialist region because of the latitude, terrain and sea conditions. I have only dipped my toe in the international pool but there seem to be some common themes amongst the Brits, Norwegians, Icelanders, Swedes, Irish and Poles.
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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 22:52
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Appreciation of SAR worldwide is useful but northern Europe is quite a specialist region because of the latitude, terrain and sea conditions
What utter nonsense.

Do you really think that there aren't other parts of the world (northern and southern hemisphere), aside from northern Europe, that don't have similar or even more challenging latitude/terrain/sea conditions?

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Old 24th Dec 2012, 00:06
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Do you really think that there aren't other parts of the world (northern and southern hemisphere), aside from northern Europe, that don't have similar or even more challenging latitude/terrain/sea conditions?
Well, actually, having sometimes had my head in wave resource studies for weeks on end, I know there are other places with very similar conditions. About half a dozen of them actually. None of those are adjacent to significant populations. Numbers, numbers, numbers!

About 80 million people face the wrath of our wild side of the North Atlantic, many of whom will be served by the contract in question, whereas a little over 1.5 million live in the Atlantic provinces of Canada and 60 thousand in Greenland. The entire permanent population south of 45 degrees south is about the same as Iceland.

It is not the case that I do not want us to learn from other territories, indeed I presented on what we can learn from other territories last weekend. The first places I'd look though would be Norway, Ireland, Iceland and Sweden.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 05:11
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Unfortunately Avincis have a bit of work to do to erase the memory of this example of their international SAR experience.

http://www.fomento.gob.es/NR/rdonlyr..._002_A_ENG.pdf

Just a quick thumb through the findings and recommendations would be quite startling even for the layman.

Of particular interest, considering the discussion regarding flying hours on the other thread

The pilots had undergone very little flight hours in the last three months: 25 and 23 h.

Last edited by onesquaremetre; 24th Dec 2012 at 07:13.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 08:01
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there seem to be some common themes amongst the Brits, Norwegians, Icelanders, Swedes, Irish and Poles.
yes, we all drink too much! But it is Christmas so crack on
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy (and safe flying) New Year to all
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 08:14
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I agree that the military overtrain,
based on what? the number of hours flown or the number and diversity of exercises.

Note that not all military SAR train the same way or the same amount - some don't see the need for night wets or PLB homings for example and have a basic set of currency requirements whilst others have a broad spectrum of training requirements proven over many years to yield the right levels of training for even the most demanding SARop.

I've been doing this for a few years now and I know when I haven't done enough training and certainly, through examining, when others haven't done enough!

You can write your training system to be as lean as possible and then ensure that the standard you require is relatively low so everyone can achieve it with minimal training - it's just like dumbing down O levels so more people pass and you can convince the world your education system works!

Geoffers in cornwall has highlighted his concerns on other threads that the quality of training in some areas of the commercial world is falling - is that the way we want to go with SAR?
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 08:31
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Sadly as is so very often the case with UK plc doing things cheaply seems to trump doing things well. The price of everything and the value of nothing.

CHC won't be 20% out of line by accident. They will bid because they need to bid to show willing. As their own press release states turning a profit means they can 1) do the job that is expected 2) survive into the future.

Aviation is full of businesses and individuals that all too often try and do something for nothing. It never lasts very long.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 09:30
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Everyone is talking about a 20% lower offer.... But where are the numbers? The economic facts? Maybe we should be discussing why a company offered a bid 20% more expensive. Sometimes more money doesn't necessarely means more quality....



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Old 24th Dec 2012, 10:09
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onesquaremetre

Unfortunately Avincis have a bit of work to do to erase the memory of this example of their international SAR experience.

http://www.fomento.gob.es/NR/rdonlyr..._002_A_ENG.pdf

Just a quick thumb through the findings and recommendations would be quite startling even for the layman.

Of particular interest, considering the discussion regarding flying hours on the other thread

The pilots had undergone very little flight hours in the last three months: 25 and 23 h.
I going to give some "fresh" info about how Inaer-Avincis manages his Spanish SAR contract:

- Maximum annual working hours is 2,000 in Spain. Inaer-Avincis is scheduling most of SAR pilots over 2,200 hours.
Pilot's union has reported it to the Work Inspection Administration.

- Average flight hours (including training) for a SAR pilot is 110-125.

- Inaer-Avincis is about to reduce salaries (about 3500/year).


- About two weeks ago, a woman died in the north coast because SAR helicopter takes 40 minutes to reach the scene.

The reason?
Increase on times of response from 10 to "30 day/45 night" minutes due to lack of pilots.
Pilots are at home with a mobile phone waiting for a call.
The woman fell off a cliff and she was floating ALIVE 30 minutes!

- Most of our salary is "per day". If for any reason your helicopter is out of service during your days on...you'll earn almost NOTHING! (about 1300-1400 for a captain)

IMO, Avincis is importing the "Inaer way of life" to the other companies...

I hope, I'm wrong....
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 10:33
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Perrito,

You quote some disturbing headlines there which no doubt will cause some on here to jump to a conclusion that they are all doomed in the UK.

What you don't mention is what the regulator/authority is doing to hold Avincis to account. Surely if the contract allows the company to make such changes to its operating procedures, or if it doesn't, they are not being penalized for it, then it is as much the fault of the contract/authority. Its not new news that a commercial outfit will wish to make profit out of its operations - that's business in this world, and is not restricted to aviation companies.

From what I have read on here & the DfT website (assuming one believes either ) the future UK SAR contract would not permit such a reduction in service once the contract is in place.

SW
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 10:41
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A note about training quality

I must point out that as a member of a large team dedicated to providing quality training we are also the victims of the regulators and the customers who both seem to think that in some weird variation of the laws of physics that LESS is somehow MORE.

The regulators apparently fail to notice that we are two generations of helicopter on since they wrote the licensing syllabuses and drew up their ideas for recurrent training.

Customers have a habit of promising the best training then never writing the cheques because they find out that having been awarded the contract at a skinny price they can no longer meet their promises because they overestimated the reliability of their hardware and the vagaries of day to day life in the helicopter business.

One wonders quietly whether the operators will be do their usual trick and cut back on training and spare parts which have traditionally not been well defined in operating contracts. Is that in error or by design? mmmmmm....
conspiracy theories are two a penny but as long as the job gets done........

The most frustrating thing in the world for any teacher is to be handed good students who are hard working and keen as mustard only to find that you have to pass them on with the job half done. The next most frustrating thing is to be handed students who have had such poor basic training that you don't have a hope in hell of getting them to where they need to be. Unfortunately I see too many of the latter and not enough of the former.

I can't help feeling that one day we will pay the price for this.

As far as the SAR predicament goes if you have well trained personnel then to a certain extent you can pinch a bit on the recurrent training but what worries me is the poor training levels that precede their arrival in the SAR world. My focus is a global one and not necessarily relating to UK but I can't help feeling that UKSAR suffers from the same malaise. Less than ideal but we will fumble through. We always do.


G.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 12:15
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... conspiracy theories are two a penny ...
One should not propose conspiracy when coincidences of incompetence provide a perfectly satisfactory explanation.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 13:27
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I wasn't trying to be harsh and other than biting back at the poster who said Bond Pilots (ie ME!) were useless, I wasn't trying to be personal.
I did 25 years in the RAF and am approaching 10 years of police/hems operations, this allows me a valid opinion on this thread. Not all will agree, but I was exposed to financial pressures in both jobs. The simple facts are that you need to accept how governments work. It really is that simple........ They don't care how much better or worse a system is, they don't care about peoples lives. There are 2 things that matter ABOVE ALL ELSE,

Primary: Will the public care and still vote for them?

Secondary: The cost.

For instance, one layman in a roomful of experts. A minister asks a question on how much a service will cost. If the layman shouts out a figure lower than rest, guess which 'expert' the minister will listen to?
Bond understand the system, they cut costs everywhere they can, the service may be the silver solution, but it WILL be fit for purpose. Crab, I understand EXACTLY where you are coming from, however that just isn't going to happen in a million years. I said earlier, you all need to accept it and move on, give the new service some support, even if it should be better. A reduced service is better than none at all.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 13:49
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A reduced service is better than none at all
Tell that to the family of the woman off the north coast of Spain that Perrito Piloto refers to.

Thanks for your perspective Perrito Piloto. It can't be easy to have a tragedy so close to home held up as an example of systemic failings but your insight into the current way of things in Spain is very revealing.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 15:21
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A reduced service is better than none at all
jayteeto - I agree, but it is all about how much reduced that service is - otherwise we end up with a shiny veneer of capability with no substance to back it up and the first time it is tested it will fail.

If that isn't a vote-loser I don't know what is - it is the same sort of thing as the Labour opposition banging on about how the Govt aren't doing the right things to recover from the mess they (Labour) put us in. Who wants to lay claim to having created a f*cked-up SAR system from a very good one?

I agree the Spanish regulators have a lot to answer for but they doubtless bowed under political pressure to keep up appearances at minimum cost.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 16:25
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Devil

TBH, the ethos of operations in Spain scares the life out of me. Just look at the findings after the Almeria 139 crash, in CRM and training terms. Avincis limited SAR experience regardless of where is not a beacon of success and high standards. Agree with Crab on this one, not a happy bunny.

On a lighter note, Merry Christmas to all the SAR peeps out there, be you observers in the wings, at home or those on duty holding the fort at any of the bases during the hols.

Last edited by Hedski; 24th Dec 2012 at 16:26.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 18:51
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Onesquaremetre, there will always be a job where a little bit more capability would have worked, even with the gold standard. When you do this job you quickly realise that you can't save them all, please dont try the guilt trip with me, it doesnt work. The fact is that there is no money in the pot. Police aviation in the uk has been decimated, literally. The answer is to make the most of what you have and stop whining. You can chain yourself naked outside 10 downing st and the outcome will not change. Live with it.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 19:53
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"I really am not a fan of Crab, but I do fear this decision. If the sole driver behind this is cost, then it is bad for the UK and SAR in particular. Whilst I fully appreciate SAR(H) would have been a very sensible and reasonably economically sound programme with excellent platforms, this decision makes me think of a poorly funded and supported contract that will be regretted in the future. How can a company with CHC's experience be out by 20%? The DfT also do not have a good record- East Coast Mainline for example." Are the operators alone this time or have they all bid with partners (RBS, Thales, Lockheed, VT last time)? Sometimes in a contract like this there are other costs involved - particularly financing costs.

For example, Siemens won out over Bombardier for the Thameslink train contract because the Siemens train division were able to obtain much cheaper funding from the Siemens Group (Siemens have a bank licence) whereas Bombardier had to seek external financing. No big difference between the bids otherwise - just the financing aspect.
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Old 24th Dec 2012, 20:05
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jayteeto - a career in management beckons. You sound ideal.
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