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UK SAR 2013 privatisation: the new thread

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UK SAR 2013 privatisation: the new thread

Old 19th Oct 2014, 22:38
  #1121 (permalink)  
 
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LZ, maybe it was just the crew change, in which case I apologise but they are obviously still hampered by some of these regs, hence only carrying 9 pax on the precautionary down grade
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Old 19th Oct 2014, 22:41
  #1122 (permalink)  
 
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I am fairly clear about HM Gov being determined that an equivalent service will be provided.

We do not yet know what a service under the MAIN contract for the UK SAR Helicopter Service and CAP 999 v2 will be like in practice and we will not know until next April. Detailed technical requirements are greater in that contract than in any other contract awarded for this type of work in the UK.

It is not clear to me what effect that watershed will have on operations out of Sumburgh, Stornoway, Lee and Portland. These are still on the GAP contract until 2017.
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Old 20th Oct 2014, 08:52
  #1123 (permalink)  
 
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P3 - I want the new SAR service to be a success for many reasons, not least because it is what the British public deserves and I have a lot of good mates who will be operating in it.

However, rather than believing every bit of spin, PR and glossy sales-brochures, I prefer to remain cynical in the hope I will be proved wrong and that some of the shady practices that were the reality of commercial SAR many years ago are consigned to history.

Don't forget how the 139 was introduced to SAR service with trumpet fanfares by the MCA whilst the reality was that it had next to no night overwater capability because the lighting was poor and the SAR modes of the AFCS hadn't been certified.

I hope the decision not to employ me wasn't just pettiness or spite - that would not be the hallmark of a professional organisation and would rather confirm some of my worries about how things might be run in the future.

If the ethos is that you should keep quiet when you know things aren't right - how does that set the stage for honest and open reporting and any form of credible Safety Management System?

The question is - how long will it take the new SAR service to get to its steady state with mature SOPs and all the right people in the right place? On the roadshows the senior people were talking about 5 years so what will it be like on day 1 when it is supposed to be at least equivalent to that which it replaces?

It was always going to be a big challenge and, as I said before, I hope it works but I'm not going to stop taking the reality pills just because other people have vested interests.
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Old 20th Oct 2014, 09:05
  #1124 (permalink)  
 
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but they are obviously still hampered by some of these regs, hence only carrying 9 pax on the precautionary down grade
I like to get the job done as much as the next person, and have never considered myself a jobsworth - but you could argue that the rules as they apply to a precautionary situation are there for a reason!
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Old 20th Oct 2014, 14:33
  #1125 (permalink)  
 
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Wrong, wrong and wrong P3 - 'people like me' are quite capable of wanting something to be a success because it is the best thing for those involved and those that the Service will rescue.

'People like me' are not convinced that a for profit organisation is the best way to provide UK SAR but 'people like me' are quite happy to be proved wrong.

If the new SAR service isn't as good as advertised then I (and people like me) won't be high-fiving or celebrating - I know I would just be disappointed.

Most of what I have 'spouted' on here over the years has been factually correct and I have acknowledged when I have made a mistake - just because some parties didn't like what I had to say, doesn't make me wrong.
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Old 27th Oct 2014, 14:45
  #1126 (permalink)  
 
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From Bristow AW189 thread but more appropriately placed here.

Originally Posted by shetlander View Post
Care to expand further? Re. Attitude of the MCA.

The clue is in the name really: MARITIME and COASTguard. The current four bases were established on the basis of the maritime need, only one does mountain work and it's far enough from Hampshire that they can imagine it's not happening, taking on a service with 70+% Land SAR jobs without any thought of needing a Land SAR skill set, failure to report publicly details of helicopter SAR work (as concluded in reports of 2001 and 2006), only in 2010 did the flights truly become part of the UK SAR fleet and come under ARCC control, they behave toward SAR partners as though the MCA was part of MI6, the secrecy is forced upon their contractors in spite of the contractors entering the contract process with the belief that SAR is a team game, centralisation is an ongoing feature of MCA planning, MCA media and communications people can't even acknowledge things that are in plain site in public areas. (Abridged version.)

Don't take my word for it. Check out the "officialCoastguard" line. Watch the video "Why we are here" and then tell me that this is an organisation ready to take the central role in the provision of SAR aeronautical support across the UK SRR where 70+% are Land jobs.

https://twitter.com/MCA_media/status/512921828759994368
http://www.bristowsar.com/



Great work lads but your customer is a pain.

Last edited by jimf671; 27th Oct 2014 at 16:19.
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Old 27th Oct 2014, 17:48
  #1127 (permalink)  
 
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And that centralisation relies very heavily on IT and comms working seamlessly - we know neither of those ever goes wrong, goes wrong, goes wrong......

To be fair, a certain amount of what the MCA deals with is already outside their remit ie above the high tide line overland which is technically police primacy and no-one seems to worry about that.
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Old 27th Oct 2014, 21:08
  #1128 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
... ...
To be fair, a certain amount of what the MCA deals with is already outside their remit ie above the high tide line overland which is technically police primacy and no-one seems to worry about that.

CAN OF WORMS WARNING!

The high water mark has long been offered as a marker between SAR jurisdictions. However, I and others have searched for a statutory provision supporting this idea but have found none. Another result of those searches is a failure to find any statutory authority for the Coastguard.

Although the police in Scotland acquire authority directly through the provisions of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, the Coastguard acquires authority only secondhand through the authority conferred on a Secretary of State by statutes or conventions.

A significant worry for some SAR partners during the contract process for the new UK SAR Helicopter Service has been the police taking their eye off the ball. In England, NPAS, the threat of mergers, payments from Murdoch and framing cabinet ministers has distracted them from minor issues like public safety. In Scotland, the long-term navel-gazing of the police unification process has taken the same toll.
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Old 27th Oct 2014, 21:38
  #1129 (permalink)  
 
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This was put out by HM Coastguard today:

Nothing new, although the date in the first line looks suspicious, more than one year after the Sea King has gone.

By summer of 2017 there will be 10 coastguard helicopter bases around the UK.

All of these bases will be operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard at:
  • Central southern England
  • Northern England
  • Northern Scotland
  • North Wales
  • Shetland Isles
  • South east England
  • Southern Scotland
  • South Wales
  • South west England
  • Western Isles
Bristow Helicopters Ltd already provides helicopters and crew to our two bases in Shetland and the Western Isles. Over the coming months, seven more coastguard helicopter bases will open and our current base at Lee on Solent will move over to the Bristow contract. As the new bases open, the military helicopters which currently carry out civilian search and rescue will finish their civilian obligations.


The new crews will be highly experienced, many will be existing crew who are currently working in search and rescue either for the military or coastguard.
The helicopters will provide search and rescue many miles out to sea and all the way around the 10,500 miles of UK coast. Our coastguard helicopters will also operate extensively inland.

Last edited by TwoStep; 27th Oct 2014 at 21:40. Reason: Paragraphs askew...
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Old 27th Oct 2014, 22:39
  #1130 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by TwoStep View Post
... the date in the first line looks suspicious, more than one year after the Sea King has gone. ... ... ...

No worries.

2017 is when the GAP contract bases change over to the MAIN contract.

This is how it is supposed to work.

01 April 2015 - Lossiemouth to Inverness (RAF to Bristow), Lot 2, 2 x AW189. Training Base: 1 x Aw189.
01 April 2015 - Leconfield to Humberside (RAF to Bristow), Lot 1, 2 x S-92.

01 July 2015 - Valley to Caernarfon (RAF to Bristow), Lot 1, 2 x S-92.
01 July 2015 - Wattisham to Manston (RAF to Bristow), Lot 2, 2 x AW189.

01 Oct 2015 - Chivenor to St Athan (RAF to Bristow), Lot 2, 2 x AW189.
01 Oct 2015 - Boulmer (RAF) discontinued.

01 Jan 2016 - Prestwick (RN to Bristow), Lot 2, 2 x AW189.
01 Jan 2016 - Culdrose to Newquay (RN to Bristow), Lot 1, 2 x S-92.

01 April 2017 - Sumburgh (Bristow: GAP to MAIN), Lot 1, 2 x S-92.
01 April 2017 - Lee-on-Solent (CHC GAP to Bristow), Lot 2, 2 x AW189.

01 July 2017 - Stornoway (Bristow: GAP to MAIN), Lot 1, 2 x S-92. Training base: 1 x S-92.
01 July 2017 - Portland (CHC GAP) discontinued.
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 07:51
  #1131 (permalink)  
 
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So they have 5 months to get the first 189 flt up and running and there are no crew trained on it yet!!!!!!!

Let's see when Lossie actually closes.
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 08:54
  #1132 (permalink)  
 
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5 months.

[email protected] So they have 5 months to get the first 189 flt up and running and there are no crew trained on it yet!!!!!!!

Let's see when Lossie actually closes.
A bit of "Posh hovering" and a First Aid kit for the cabin attendant can't take more than a trip or two surely?
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 10:22
  #1133 (permalink)  
 
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Crews

Are you sure about the lack of crew? Or is it a case of making the rabbit look all the more impressive when it comes out the hat?
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 10:26
  #1134 (permalink)  
 
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Jimf

Jim your posts are driving wedges between the new service and the majority of MRTs. Me thinks you think your an absolute authority on ALL matters re land sar.
Out of curiosity, how long you been MRT?

New playing field, new ball and whilst I'm not saying the previous ball game was rubbish and far from it, I am saying it's here and no amount of blah blah blah about Sea Kings is going to change it. I remember the exact same fears when the Sea king came in to replace the Wessex.
You appear to be very disrespectful of Helo crews in your area? Have you pi**ed some one off and they no longer play ball with you?
To be honest in my opinion your swimming against the tide!
How's that for a nautical theme!
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 11:34
  #1135 (permalink)  
 
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So they have 5 months to get the first 189 flt up and running and there are no crew trained on it yet!!!!!!!
Even if it's fact that there are no crew trained on it (is this true or just The Gospel According To St Crab?), it won't take 5 months to train experienced people on the 189, especially if they already have 139 experience. By way of comparison, how long does it take SARTU to convert Sea King folks onto the Griffin ready for 84 Sqn? No more than a month?

Let's see when Lossie actually closes.
I suspect Lossie will close at the planned time, irrespective of exactly what capability/proficiency the Inverness 189 has achieved. As long as there is a shiny new helicopter and crew on show at the Bristow base, the neighbouring mil SAR flt will close without delay - possibly even earlier than expected.
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 11:57
  #1136 (permalink)  
 
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sonas, are you sure?

Here is an example of a typical MRT full of experienced people talking about the change in aeronautical support.
Privatising search-and-rescue service and closing bases 'will cost lives' | Politics | The Guardian

Here is an example of another MRT full of experienced people wanting a helicopter based in a location with very poor aeronautical conditions and no existing aeronautical infrastructure.
Fresh plea for rescue chopper | Lochaber News | News

Here is the Scottish Government sounding off about the change.
SNP condemn search-and-rescue helicopter changes - The Scotsman


In contrast, here is a BBC article based on a press release from me.
BBC News - Kintail MRT seeks early training with new air rescue crews

Here is the address of the emagazine page of the Scottish Mountain Rescue website
http://www.mountainrescuescotland.org/online-casbag/
where you will find articles written by me about the new service appearing at p6 of Edn 28, p16 of Edn 31 and p21 of Edn 34.


Explain to us how "This has the makings of a world-class service" is driving a wedge?

Explain to us how "this is the first entirely planned aeronautical search and rescue service for the UK" is negative or disrespectful.

What probably sums up the whole thing is the photo on page 7 of Edition 28 of Casbag showing a well know winchy hauling me into CG100 that is captioned "Your new best friend".

============

Crab, crews are half-expecting to be operating out of Inverness in S-92 at first. Some people even suspect that your pals will get the first AW189 at St Athan.

Last edited by jimf671; 28th Oct 2014 at 12:40.
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 12:31
  #1137 (permalink)  
 
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There is no sign of the base at Manston yet. Because of the fight to reopen the airfield, any planning application is scrutinised. There are proposals for 4000 houses if the developers get their way...
mmitch.
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 12:32
  #1138 (permalink)  
 
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Jim

Jim - YAWN. Time for bed
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 15:24
  #1139 (permalink)  
snaggletooth
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Great and informative reply Jim. What is sonas's beef I wonder?
 
Old 28th Oct 2014, 15:32
  #1140 (permalink)  
 
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A reflection on the transfer of SAR duties from the services to industry, taken from today's Royal Aeronautical Society 'commentary' email.

Three More Cheers for Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Search and Rescue

With less than one year to go now before the beginning of progressive change in how UK helicopter-based Search and Rescue (SARS) activities are undertaken, it is, I hope, right that we should stop a while and reflect on the absolutely brilliant and ongoing work still being performed by highly trained and dedicated armed forces personnel within the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and by members of the civilian helicopter service who are under contract to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). First, though, a reminder of what will soon take over from military-operated Search and Rescue services.

Jointly managed by the MCA and the Ministry of Defence and with the Government having abandoned an earlier plan that had envisaged bringing rotary-based Search and Rescue into a single entity using both civilian and military aircrews, in 2011 the Coalition Government decided that future UK Search and Rescue activity would be based on a totally civilian-based and operated service. To that end, military-based Search and Rescue activity will be progressively drawn down through 2015 to 2017, during which time the current 40-plus strong fleet of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Sea King Mk V helicopters would be stood down and retired. Completion of the Sea King withdrawal process is planned to be completed by March 2016.

With responsibility for the new Search and Rescue (SAR-H) facility passing from MCA and MoD responsibility to the Department for Transport, the newly privatised service is intended to be managed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and run by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. Bristow will take over operation of the service from the military on a progressive basis starting in 2015 using a fleet of 22 new helicopters - 11 Sikorsky S-92s plus 11 AgustaWestland AW189s.

The value attached to the Bristow Search and Rescue contract was, I believe, put at around £1.6bn and the number of new jobs likely to be created was, I believe, put at 350. Balfour Beatty was appointed by Bristow Helicopters as its infrastructure partner responsible for delivery of infrastructure at nine sites, including seven new-build search and rescue helicopter bases at commercial airports in Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, St Athan, Humberside and Newquay. Existing facilities at Stornoway were to be refurbished and Bristow will also make use of an existing MCA facility at Lee-on-Solent.

The current plan envisages that the new service should be fully operational across the whole country by summer 2017. Clearly, many existing and former highly-trained members of the current military-based Search and Rescue SARS service have already and will be employed by the new service operator but over time the new operator will need to train a new breed of search and rescue operatives who will not have had the benefit of military training and disciplines.

So much for the planned new operation, time now to reflect on a military-based Search and Rescue operation that is still very active. As in previous years, 2014 was to prove no exception in terms of the amount of work presented to Royal Navy and Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter crews on a day by day basis. Operatives crewing Sea King helicopters are, of course, skilled individuals who well know the risks and dangers of the work that they do. These are highly trained military professionals for which there is nothing within the limits of the capability that they have that they would not be prepared to undertake. The list of missions undertaken by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force crews over the past 70 years of rotary-based action would need volumes if it were to be listed as opposed to a single book and it is also worth recording here that this is one aspect of overall UK defence in which the admiration that the crews and the helicopters receive from the public knows absolutely no bounds.

Together with members of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) who volunteer and who put their own lives at very considerable risk to help save the lives of others, members of Her Majesty’s Coastguard and the volunteer Mountain Rescue and Air Ambulance service we are indeed very fortunate to have such extraordinary teams of professionals working 24 hours each and every day of the year to help save lives. I would like to believe that the new privatised search and rescue operation will provide the same level of dedication and resolve that has been part of the enduring service provided by military-based search and rescue over very many years.

Watching footage of the Royal Navy Sea King Mk V hovering over the beach at Mawgan Porth in Cornwall during the recent surfing tragedy that cost three people their lives was, to me a timely reminder of the brilliant job that our rescue services perform. Bravery knows no bounds and to observe some of the previous mission footage and photographs and the risks that they endured in the attempt to save lives is quite amazing.

To the above list of those that provide an excellent service to the public should be added the Lifeguards who, through the main summer holiday months, ensure responsible use of our beaches so that they are safe for all to use and safely enjoy.

Having played a part in fighting the attempt to privatise UK Search and Rescue and accepting that there can now be no turning back the clock, I am left to hope that what is planned to replace military search and rescue will be every bit as good as what it will replace. I count myself very fortunate to have flown several times over the years with both 771 Naval Air Squadron Sea King Mk V search and rescue (SARF) helicopter teams from their base at RNAS Culdrose and also with members of Royal Air Force 202 Squadron SARF (D Flight) from their base at Lossiemouth on a similar Sea King Mk V. The teams that fly these venerable yet very well maintained helicopters are as remarkable as they are truly professional and the like of which I doubt we will see again.

For the record Royal Air Force Sea King Mk V helicopters of both 22 and 202 Squadron operate from six locations (22 Squadron from RMB Chivenor (A Flt), Wattisham Airfield (B Flt) and RAF Valley (C Flt) and 202 Squadron from RAF Boulmer (A Flt), RAF Lossiemouth (D Flt) and RAF Leconfield (E Flt). Sea King Mk V Search and Rescue operation by the Royal Navy is conducted from both RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall and from HMS Gannet at Prestwick in Scotland. For land-based rescues, such as the mountains of Scotland for instance, the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy can also call on the services of five Mountain Rescue Teams each of which are manned by core permanent staff supported by around 30 volunteers.

My intent today was not an attempt to analyse the proposed new search and rescue service that will begin operation next year against that of the current hugely successful Sea King-based operation. I may regret the change but I accept that it is about to happen and it will, just as the current military-based search and rescue arrangements have over many years, receive my full support and backing. In a world dominated by issues of affordability that is foremost to requirement, we may hope that the right decision has been made. We will have to wait and see and we must, of course, not only provide what assistance and support that we can we must also give the new service time to bed in.

I may also hope that many examples of the superb Sea King helicopter, and which members of the public are so attached, find themselves retired to museums where the public can repay the huge debt of gratitude that these very fine machines are justifiably owed. Three cheers then for Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Search and Rescue crews and for the venerable Sea King helicopters that they fly!

Howard Wheeldon FRAeS
I/C
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