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SAR S-92 Missing Ireland

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SAR S-92 Missing Ireland

Old 17th Mar 2017, 18:15
  #161 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jimf671 View Post
What were the regulatory requirements for this flight since it was not directly lifesaving flight but top cover? Would this affect the way such an approach was planned and executed? Crab has told us a bit about how a RAF SAR Force aircraft would have handled approach to Blacksod but this was a civilian aircraft and was this regarded as SAR flight?
I think this is a very good question and I was thinking along similar lines. All this talk of letting down using the SAR modes, radar to avoid obstacles, perhaps NVGs, is all very well when saving lives but when I was CTC on the L2 fleet I did detect an element whereby this mode of flying became normal to the crews. That sort of flying is significantly more dangerous than conventional public transport IFR flying. So if you are coming to grab me out of the sea/off a mountain, I'll be delighted that you are operating more dangerously than if I was on the way back from the 40s, but if this becomes routine and the distinction between real life saving flights and other stuff is blurred, the prolonged high risk ops is only going to end in tears. Of course I speak from the experience of the G-JSAR ditching with a bunch of unseated "passengers" in the back, flown home from a platform with no significant danger - just a power cut - as a SAR flight, when of course it was nothing of the sort. I'm not a SAR pilot but I wonder if it is an occupational hazard to lose the distinction in risk levels between a life saving SAR flight and more routine stuff such as providing top cover after a while.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 18:17
  #162 (permalink)  
 
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I find the interview with Jurgen posted above by Democritus very interesting. He doesn't say there are no impact marks on the island, he says there are no significant impact marks on the island. The interviewer asks about wreckage that is on the island that could not have come from being washed up. The pinger has been located approx 60 metres offshore from the island.

I'm not saying they hit the island. There are other scenarios that would allow for wreckage to be on the island above the water line, one of which would be CFIT into the water close to shore with wreckage being scattered, but I do find his comments interesting.

That island must be one of the most inhospitable places on earth! Searching those cliffs for evidence and wreckage will take a good amount of time and will be treacherous!
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 18:32
  #163 (permalink)  
 
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HC
I think this is a very good question and I was thinking along similar lines. All this talk of letting down using the SAR modes, radar to avoid obstacles, perhaps NVGs, is all very well when saving lives but when I was CTC on the L2 fleet I did detect an element whereby this mode of flying became normal to the crews. That sort of flying is significantly more dangerous than conventional public transport IFR flying.
That is precisely why SAR was a professional specialism in my time in the RAF (1970-99). We practiced for it every shift. It was not an 'add on' to 'conventional public transport IFR flying'. I know of NO RAF CFIT during my twenty two years of RAFSAR.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 18:38
  #164 (permalink)  
 
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HC - technically they were on a call out so normal SAR rules would have applied - just because a SAR letdown is different to an ARA doesn't make it less safe. SAR crews are more aware than most of risk levels and keeping them appropriate to the task in hand - your suggestion that high risk is the norm couldn't be further from the truth. Don't forget it was an OG crew on a 'low-risk' flight that put a serviceable aircraft into the water at Sumburgh through poor crew arousal and cross-cockpit monitoring. High workload keeps your focus and concentration levels up.

Nooby - I have heard a suggestion that a vital part of the TR assembly was one of the items of wreckage found at Black Rock - I sincerely hope not.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 18:47
  #165 (permalink)  
 
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What were the regulatory requirements for this flight since it was not directly lifesaving flight but top cover?
Surely it's irrelevant what the specific role of an aircraft is in a rescue? They are all on 'rescue' callsigns and all part of the same team, so in the same regulatory framework. I think HC's comments allude to a different issue.

Nooby - I have heard a suggestion that a vital part of the TR assembly was one of the items of wreckage found at Black Rock - I sincerely hope not.
Well I'd rather it was found and can be counted or discounted as an area of concern, rather than be a missing piece on the sea bed.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 18:52
  #166 (permalink)  
 
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HC's comments seem to allude to risk-taking being the norm in SAR - his statement that he isn't a SAR pilot amplifies his lack of knowledge of SAROps. No-one flys 'more dangerously' on a job, any extra risks are assessed and mitigated by whatever means possible - if that means saying 'No' because the risks are too high then that is what happens.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 19:22
  #167 (permalink)  
 
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I am led to believe it was the TRGB amongst other parts (nothing beyond that said) that was found well above the water's edge.

If that information is correct....the presence of the gearbox is useful and in time we shall learn how it most probably got there.

At this time I can think of a couple ways it might have but none have any other evidence to support one over the others based upon any information in the public domain at this time.

What I will take from this (if true) is whatever happened did so in very close proximity to where the gearbox was found.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 19:47
  #168 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Al-bert View Post
HC

That is precisely why SAR was a professional specialism in my time in the RAF (1970-99). We practiced for it every shift. It was not an 'add on' to 'conventional public transport IFR flying'. I know of NO RAF CFIT during my twenty two years of RAFSAR.
SAR was their professional specialism. Dara Fitzpatrick had 20 years as a SAR pilot and Mark Duffy wasn't new to the game either.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 20:09
  #169 (permalink)  
 
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I know of NO RAF CFIT during my twenty two years of RAFSAR.
Retirement seems to be clouding your memory old boy. I seem to remember quite a number of RAF CFIT's in the years between 1970 and 1999. Why do the same retired 'experts' always have to introduce the same infantile remarks regarding the standards and professionalism of civilian SAR?

What do you think we practice every shift? Tiddlywinks?
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 20:14
  #170 (permalink)  
 
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The lighthouse may be unmanned but the rock is not entirely 'uninhabited'. That may have been a factor, directly or indirectly.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 20:34
  #171 (permalink)  
 
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As Crab and one or two others have posted, it seems very strange for the aircraft to have been anywhere near Blackrock lighthouse. It is 10nm further on from Blacksod and there was pretty much flat sea in between. Why on earth would you want to go to a 300ft elevation rock to let down? Doing a let down over the sea say 2nm east of Blacksod, into wind, would have been far more logical, assuming poor weather. So it seems to me hard not to believe they misprogrammed the FMS and thought Blackrock was Blacksod. But then why didn't they see from the moving map that they were approaching a rock 10 miles off the coast and not the eastern side of a mainland peninsular? A 700 iPad with a moving map programme (as many of us use as back up) would have made that obvious.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 20:39
  #172 (permalink)  
 
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I'm sure they had iPads on board, use and capability guided by SOP. In any case they have Euronav mapping available on the big screens, again subject to SOP guidance.

https://flyinginireland.com/2015/03/...-capabilities/
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 20:56
  #173 (permalink)  
 
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Something that is possibly of significance is that Black Rock does not appear on Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 mapping data. Whether this is an error or otherwise I do not know. But it certainly seems to be an anomaly since other islets, large rocks etc do appear. Even many small rocks that are entirely submerged at high tide appear, never mind a large rock with a lighthouse and structures on top.

I imagine 1:50,000 OSI mapping is one of the layers available for a moving map display in addition to nautical charts etc in this context. Hopefully, this anomaly is not of any relevance but it is certainly concerning in any case.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 20:57
  #174 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
HC's comments seem to allude to risk-taking being the norm in SAR - his statement that he isn't a SAR pilot amplifies his lack of knowledge of SAROps. No-one flys 'more dangerously' on a job, any extra risks are assessed and mitigated by whatever means possible - if that means saying 'No' because the risks are too high then that is what happens.
You can be quite thick sometimes. You conflate "risk taking" with "risk". The former has connotations of recklessness. The latter accepts that there is no such thing as "safe" or "unsafe", it is all shades of grey in between.

If you are really saying that flying an ILS into an airport (preferably coupled!) carries the same risk as transing down at night to 40' over the sea with big rocks in the vicinity, then you are a fool. But hopefully you don't really think that (God help us if you do!).

Everyone else will realise that the transing down thing carries a higher risk than an ILS to an airport simply because there are more things to go wrong, you are closer to hard stuff, and quite simply, safety margins are narrower. You could call it "more dangerous" or "less safe" as you wish. Same difference although I'll grant you that the former sounds worse to the uninitiated.

So in summary, SAR flying can legitimately carry greater risk than CAT IFR. The greater risk is entirely justified when lives are to be saved (though not, of course, to the point of seriously endangering the crew). But my point is that I suspect SAR crews become dulled to this greater level of risk (justified when lives are to be saved) and accept it for all their routine flying - at least, routinely operating with narrower safety margins than an IFR CAT flight, even when it is not really justified.

Your problem I suspect Crabbie, is that you don't understand the concept of safety margin. Safety margins are required when the crew cock up, in other words so they can make a mistake (which all humans do) and get away with it with only an erosion of safety margin as the consequence.

Of course if you are a SAR god, you never make a mistake and so safety margins are inappropriate.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 21:13
  #175 (permalink)  
 
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HC and Crab.....put down the Handbags....please.

We have had this fuss before numerous times....entertaining as it is....it does not advance the discussion about what might have happened to cause the loss of four good people.

When these tragedies occur it is hoped we can have a polite discussion about the underlying issues and in an ideal world....all learn something from it so perhaps some of us might be in a better position to ward off a repeat of what happened to this crew.

We cannot bring them back....but we can certainly lessen the pain of their loss by extracting valuable lessons learned from their tragic loss.

I have said before....If it were me that was the topic of discussion under similar circumstances, hopefully if I made mistakes they could be assessed and analyzed with the hope some good... no matter how slight would come from that discussion.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 21:23
  #176 (permalink)  
 
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HC you know I am your number 1 Fan, however, as I am sure mr CRAB will explain, SAROPS normally has two sets and of limits. 1 for training and tooling about, and a second, more liberal set of limits for SAR Live Missions.

i think at this stage there is just not enough information to make any sense of what happened.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 21:32
  #177 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DOUBLE BOGEY View Post
HC you know I am your number 1 Fan, however, as I am sure mr CRAB will explain, SAROPS normally has two sets and of limits. 1 for training and tooling about, and a second, more liberal set of limits for SAR Live Missions.

i think at this stage there is just not enough information to make any sense of what happened.
Sure, I understand there are 2 sets of limits. My point is that I question whether the 2 sets of limits are always appropriately applied. They weren't in the case of G-JSAR (although it wasn't relevant to the cause of the accident). I would question whether an aircraft providing "top cover" should be operating to rescue limits. Surely it is mostly a "nice to have" thing now that we have satphones etc, and doesn't justify a higher risk factor than normal tooling around.

I also question whether the "tooling around" limits don't have significantly lower safety margins than CAT IFR, and I also suspect (but can't prove) that crews quite like operating to SAR limits and generally seek justification for doing so, rather than having a predisposition for using the "tooling around" limits unless there is a clear need not to.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 21:35
  #178 (permalink)  
 
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The AAIU found “significant”pieces of the helicopter close to the lighthouse on a high plateau on Thursday evening,but has said there is no sign of any surface damage due to impact on the rock or markings on the lighthouse which is 83metres above sea level.
As reported in the Irish Times today.
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 21:37
  #179 (permalink)  
 
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SAR was their professional specialism. Dara Fitzpatrick had 20 years as a SAR pilot and Mark Duffy wasn't new to the game either.
I don't doubt that, nor their competence Mr 500fan - my remark wasn't aimed at them - but I doubt they had the luxury of 4hrs training per shift nor in depth NVG practice as did the military.

I seem to remember quite a number of RAF CFIT's in the years between 1970 and 1999
Please enlighten me Same Again? There were a number of crashes certainly due to mechanical failure and in one case stonefall during a winching but my memory must be clouded, as you say!

infantile remarks regarding the standards and professionalism of civilian SAR?
Same Again.
I wasn't for one minute'dissing you' or your colleagues young fellar/lady. Some of my ex colleagues are civilian sar pilots, and rear crew, and I hold them in the highest regard BUT I am yet to be convinced that an over-reliance on automation is necessarily a good thing and that civilian training hours are as generous as the ones that we enjoyed. Furthermore, I rather liked having a RADOP with a search radar. I spent eight years flying on the west Ireland patch btw - Yogi Whyte was a mate fwiw and I personally had the 'pleasure' of demo'ing the SK's night capability to the Irish Govt, after the IAC got the Dauphin (which wasn't the answer to their problem) and before the S61 got hired, so, try Uckers rather than Tiddlywinks!

Last edited by Al-bert; 17th Mar 2017 at 21:57. Reason: more rantings
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Old 17th Mar 2017, 21:52
  #180 (permalink)  
 
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In the thread about MILSAR to CIVSAR (whatever the title was...) Crab raised issues about how Standards, Levels of Training, and other effects of the shifting of Deck Chairs (sorry.....Recliners) would have upon Operations.

He did note the On-Shift Training that was done as SOP.

When filtered for Tone....he did offer valuable content....in that thread.

HC also raises good questions about Crew Attitudes and Mindset....but does so from a Non-SAR Background.

My memory of the UK Air Regulations tells me when it comes to "Life Saving Flights" even the CAA granted a great deal of discretion to the Captain of an Aircraft and I know for a fact how it was interpreted at the small Helicopter Firm I worked for....and how many nice Watches they handed out when our Crews did something beyond normal acceptable standards of flying.

So I can see both sides of the argument going on....and both sides have valid views.

Finding the happy mix is the quest....only sticking one's neck out as far as is reasonable as it does no one any good to crash during the process of a SAR Mission.
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