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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 28th Dec 2012, 17:58
  #921 (permalink)  
 
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the attitude you portray here to non-mil aviation is both haughty and deplorable.
as ever the crab bashing desires outweigh the reality of what I am saying - I have been very clear several times that I do not regard civ SAR crews as inferior in any way shape or form - I have criticised some of the capabilities that some have claimed for some civSAR platforms.

I have also criticised the process that has taken us through one failed competitive tendering farce and is now moving towards a lowest possible bidder for the second. Can you really believe that the way we are going is best for UKSAR?

I am too old and cynical to believe the glossy brochures and the snake-oil sales patter of how everything will be just wonderful if you trust the market to produce the right solution.

Last edited by [email protected]; 28th Dec 2012 at 18:00.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 20:38
  #922 (permalink)  
 
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I have saved lives using an RAF Puma in winch fit. They provided SAR cover in Belize for years and minefield extraction capability in Kosovo. It wasn't the best platform but it did the business. The winch lived inside the cabin and was wound out at scene. Many people owe the Puma, don't knock it.
It isn't the answer, but it shows a job can be done with non specialist kit.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 20:41
  #923 (permalink)  
 
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Plus it got places a darn sight faster, albeit with cock all fuel endurance. are the new engines more efficient?
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 21:38
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If that isn't a vote-loser I don't know what is
Eh?? Outside our tiny forum, hardly anyone cares about SAR. 90% of the population have never even seen a SAR helicopter, let alone needed to be rescued by one. Of all the problems facing the politicos (and the general population), SAR-H is a tiddler so don't expect them to care!

If there are no votes in defence, there are certainly no votes in SAR!

you just have to live with what you get
Sad but very true...
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 22:04
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Rigga
I do not think anyone at the sharp end will do anything but their best & more, but training is to be cut, trust the bean counters as said to do no more than contracted.
Are the contract terms correct, so many have been a shambles with companies running rings round government procurement, and apparently little or no will to pursue short fall.
I think people should read Crabs paragraph!
The oil and gas industry has shown how the helicopter operators will cut each other's throats to get the contract and then squeeze the pips out of the operation to make a profit - why should we be surprised if those same operators apply the same modus operandi to SAR?
Now where is the thread regarding crew remuneration ?

Last edited by 500e; 28th Dec 2012 at 22:05.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 22:17
  #926 (permalink)  
 
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I also think that Jungliebeefer has summed it up rather well.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 10:51
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I have criticised some of the capabilities that some have claimed for some civSAR platforms.
Crab, you have also criticised crews directly. This is where your reasonable argument falls down.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 14:27
  #928 (permalink)  
 
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Crab, you have also criticised crews directly
I may have done early on in the original SARH process but I also apologised for some unfounded criticisms I made.

Again, criticisms made were in reference to claimed capability vs actual training - I am cited for being arrogant but so many claims were made that we over-trained and that the same capability could be maintained with little or no training because experience was strong, that I had to call foul because it isn't true.

Give a top quality winchman 2 years of doing minimal training (especially in the water at night) and then see how poor he is - he is still a winchman and can straighten the wire but his actual (as opposed to presumed) skill levels are very much lower. If you want to accept that lower level of ability then that is up to you but don't pretend it doesn't exist.

We can all believe that we don't experience skill-fade and we can kid ourselves that we will just man up and get the job done when the time comes but in our game, the only way to reduce risks and maximise the safety of both the crews and the survivors is to train hard and smart - and that costs money.

Last edited by [email protected]; 29th Dec 2012 at 14:27.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 16:59
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Crab,

The right quality and amount of training will be crucial to the success of future SAR, a point that you have articulated on many occasions. However, what makes you think that civilian aviation will not allow the right amount of training. The amount of training available to both MCA and JIGSAW crews is certainly in line with that available when I carried out RN SAR (3-4 hours per day with content decided by a/c captain in conjunction with crew).

So the question is what makes you think that there will be a significant reduction in training available within the new SAR force - the precedence seems to point to this not being an issue.

JB
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 17:59
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JB, it's written into the contract that the hours for continuation training are 600 per unit annually. That's to include dunker and pilot IF, and it's on the DfT prospectus that's had a link posted previously.

If the current CivSAR hours were available, we'd be delighted. That's not the case, and why the concerns have been raised.

Gene
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 18:59
  #931 (permalink)  
 
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And that's without the increase in training required for the NVG stuff that isn't completed at the moment.

50 hours per month amongst 5 crews = 1.6 hours a day/night. Assume 10 of those 50 hours is IF for 10 pilots, that leaves 40 per month or 1.3 hours per day for decks, wets, sits, PLBs, NVG, mountains, radar letdowns, FCS procedures, hi-lines, RIB transfers, MRT exs, lifeboat exs, windfarm exs etc etc etc.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the problem here. And, since we are clearly at the bottom end of the price scale, there won't be any luxuries in the training package.

It smacks of something that has been cut to the bone by beancounters and those that have no understanding of the real demands of SARops.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 19:12
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Just realised, it's pilot simulator time not IF. What's left up top is blond...

Gene
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 21:25
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1.3 hours per day for decks, wets, sits, PLBs, NVG, mountains, radar letdowns, FCS procedures, hi-lines, RIB transfers, MRT exs, lifeboat exs, windfarm exs etc etc etc
Half of which will be spent in transit to and from the training location.

Where are the remaining bidders planning on locating their central training establishments? For the original SAR-H, Valley was chosen to fulfill this role but this was obviously for just one provider. If the contract is split between the two remaining bidders, can we assume there will be two separate SAR training schools? Will there be an external standards set-up to ensure they sing from the same hymn sheet? Is that the CAA's role?
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 21:46
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Vie,

If you're not planning on employing abinitio crews then there is no need for a school at all. Pilots will require some previous SAR experience and will be given type conversions as required. Rear crew the same. In the unlikely event that some basic SAR training is required then it can either be provided at the location or, more likely, out sourced to a commercial trainer. Moreover once sufficient crews are employed and trained what role would there be for any dedicated school?

The CAA will simply ensure that the providers SAR AOC defines minimum training requirements and/or experience levels. Have a read of CAP 999 for more info.

Last edited by Spanish Waltzer; 29th Dec 2012 at 21:49.
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 22:23
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You're being a little optimistic there Spanish Waltzer. If a central training school is unnecessary, why did Soteria have it in their plans?

From the look of it, co-pilots won't require previous SAR experience and the winchman a minimal amount. Merely converting to aircraft type isn't sufficient to prepare an individual for what is required on a SAR shift. For that you need a conversion course and dedicated hours doing specific flying and sortie management exercises. The inevitable turnover of staff through retirements, injuries and job changes at ten different flights would ensure there is always a requirement for a conversion course for newcomers and as we all know, the drip feed of experienced SAR operators from the military will soon dry up once the military relinquish the task. Providing sufficiently standardised SAR training locally doesn't sound possible unless it is provided by a mobile training team who ensure that all are taught identically and trying to achieve that futher robs hours from the existing crews who, as has been discussed, will be surviving on the bare minimum of hours.

Last edited by Vie sans frontieres; 29th Dec 2012 at 22:32.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 06:03
  #936 (permalink)  
 
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Vie, Soteria were looking at the 25 year contract which did require some self-generated training scheme as the pool of experienced operators would eventually dry up.

This 10 year contract could just about get away without a full-on training system and just do what was required on the flights - the following 10 years however........but that will be someone else's problem and everyone is too concerned with the short-term view.

The next question to be asked is what will be the public's reation to all the bases being changed and many communities losing their 'local' SAR helicopter? If Chivenor, Portland and Boulmer are anything to go by there will be a lot of flak in the press and many more questions in the house.

If, as rumoured, the Culdrose flight might move to St Mawgan and Chivenor to Swansea, Valley to Caernavon, Prestwick to Glasgow, Lossie to Inverness, Lec to Humberside and Wattisham to er...Wattisham, you will be replacing purpose built SAR flights with portacabins and just make life completely miserable for those that have to work there, especially for overnight accommodation.

I know, man up, it's the future and it's cheap

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Old 30th Dec 2012, 08:15
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Ten years is a long time and as you've stated, it doesn't take long for skills to fade if a chap is remaining in the military but not in a SAR role. Without a common training regime delivered by instructors subject to external standardisation, a postcode lottery of styles of rescue will surely result. This may not be such a big deal for the chap being rescued but for external agencies such as RNLI and MRTs it's a big problem. They already have to put up with the RN, RAF and MCA doing things in slightly different ways. Throw in an inquest, fatal accident inquiry or similar where a lawyer uncovers the confusion caused by different operating practices and suddenly the public's faith in SAR will be severely damaged.

Last edited by Vie sans frontieres; 30th Dec 2012 at 08:16.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 08:46
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Problem: Overnight accommodation.....Solution: live at home. Oh and bring in packed lunch so no need for full catering facilities either. C'mon crab stop comparing everything to your coveted world. It's the actual service provision that needs to be no less capable, not all the cosy extras that the mil provide with associated hidden costs. And yes that may mean if you want a job with the new contractor you may have to actually move home!!

Vie...you call it optimistic, I call it realistic . The other difference with the Soteria plan was that there was a steady throughput of mil crews that would need converting and training. The new plan does not have that complication.

Local MR, CG or RNLI teams will very quickly get experience and yes even training with their local helicopter. Different procedures may only become an issue during major incidents when more than one asset is on scene. But that's not that different today - as you already point out the RAF, RN & MCA all do it slightly different and the guys on the ground cope admirably. I think you should give them a little more credit.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 10:36
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Quote:

Without a common training regime delivered by instructors subject to external standardisation, a postcode lottery of styles of rescue will surely result. This may not be such a big deal for the chap being rescued but for external agencies such as RNLI and MRTs it's a big problem. They already have to put up with the RN, RAF and MCA doing things in slightly different ways. Throw in an inquest, fatal accident inquiry or similar where a lawyer uncovers the confusion caused by different operating practices and suddenly the public's faith in SAR will be severely damaged.
A little overly dramatic I think.

You could argue that RN, RAF and MCA being merged into one service might actually standardise things a bit more given robust enough SOPs and training directives. I don't buy the requirement for a common training regime either. The current (military) system delivers crews at a fairly basic standard; they then develop on the various flights under the tuition of QHIs and QCIs who will inevitably have their own slightly different styles driven by personality/local operating factors. I don't think that subtle differences are a 'big problem' for the RNLI and MRTs. As long as they're capable of steering a boat on a certain heading/speed or able to make a grid-reference for a pick-up then the bit where their job involves a helicopter will work just fine.

Quote:

The next question to be asked is what will be the public's reation to all the bases being changed and many communities losing their 'local' SAR helicopter? If Chivenor, Portland and Boulmer are anything to go by there will be a lot of flak in the press and many more questions in the house.
You could argue that some communities will be delighted to gain a 'local' SAR helicopter. This really isn't an issue on a national scale so long as the coverage works. The flak in the local press will soon die down and I think you'll find Cameron has far bigger questions in the house to concern himself with. I know it's a big deal to those of us directly involved and a handful of on-side locals, the other 99.99% of the population really couldn't care less. The only time any of this would become a major political issue is if there were a large scale disaster with numerous lives lost and the SAR cover was not adequate. This could have happened on any of the days in recent history where the 'on-state' picture around the UK was poor. It may happen in the future due to inadequate training. Management types call this 'risk'.

Quote:

If, as rumoured, the Culdrose flight might move to St Mawgan and Chivenor to Swansea, Valley to Caernavon, Prestwick to Glasgow, Lossie to Inverness, Lec to Humberside and Wattisham to er...Wattisham, you will be replacing purpose built SAR flights with portacabins and just make life completely miserable for those that have to work there, especially for overnight accommodation.
Make life completely miserable, really! How much do you need to be comfortable? You might even find that some comfortable beds get installed!

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a travesty that the Military are losing SAR. However, it's going to happen and it might not necessarily all be bad. Just different.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 11:12
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The current (military) system delivers crews at a fairly basic standard
That's the point. They're at the same basic standard certainly as far as the ouput from Valley is concerned. If the personality/locality driven styles that you describe are allowed to develop without basic skills having substantial commonality and an independent standards unit in place to stamp out unsanctioned deviations from SOPs, who knows what disparity in operating practices might exist after ten years. It sounds like chaos theory!
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