Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Rotorheads
Reload this Page >

German Police Squadron firefighting presentation

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

German Police Squadron firefighting presentation

Old 13th May 2020, 19:11
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Europe
Age: 36
Posts: 44
German Police Squadron firefighting presentation

Hi all, long time reader here.

Saw this presentation of the German NRW Police Wing unit fire fighting capabilities. Video is in German, from minute 5 there are a few still shots and minute 8 starts a demo flight.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBNn...LWsl68BSbywqdw

The following details were mentioned during the presentation: Aircraft will be based in Dortmund (425) feet and Düsseldorf (147 feet). Taking off with about 630 lts. of fuel for an endurance of about 2:15. During the first fills only about 500 lts. will be loaded until fuel is burned.

I have no experience with the H145 or knowledge about its performance but the two main things that strike me are:
  • The use of what seems a rather small Bambi for the aircraft (mod. 1821 with 820 lts. / 210 US GAL).
  • The use of a “Bambi operator” standing on the skids secured with a harness.
Having done a bit of firefighting myself in 350B3’s and 412’s I struggle to find the reasoning why I would have an operator in THAT position. I want to think and believe it was for demo only.

That was a first for me and I keep thinking of what could possible go wrong with such a setup.

Maybe someone in the know could share some info on this, is it going to be part standard procedures? Has someone else seen this done like that in any other part of the world?

Thanks in advance!



This is the Google translation of the description in the video:

05/12/2020 - 10:07

Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

40217 Düsseldorf (ots)

Minister Reul: "The police and fire brigade work hand in hand and with the latest equipment to protect human lives."

The squadron of the North Rhine-Westphalian police presented their new extinguishing containers today (May 12, 2020). They should help the fire brigade to extinguish forest fires from the air. “The police and fire brigade work hand in hand and with the latest equipment to protect human lives. With the new helicopter equipment, we are now the best-equipped police force in Germany in this area, ”said Minister Herbert Reul at the presentation of the so-called“ Bambi Buckets ”.

The extinguishing containers were purchased last year. These are containers that are attached to the outside of the helicopter and filled with water in order to extinguish fires from the air. The country invested 880,000 euros here, including training for the pilots. The "Bambi Buckets" were used for the first time on April 20 in a forest fire near Gummersbach. “It was literally a baptism of fire and a complete success. Only the interplay of the emergency services - the fire brigade as the command and control team in ground fire fighting, the police with helicopters, water cannons and for cordoning off the area of ​​operation, as well as the forest management with their know-how - has led to the forest fires having a good end. This showed once again that such large assignments only work in a team and have a happy ending, ”says Reul.

The number of vegetation fires, i.e. fires in heath, moor, field and forest, is almost twice as high in hot summers as in normal years. 2020 has been warm and dry so far and may be the third exceptionally dry year in a row. North Rhine-Westphalia has therefore planned, among other things, an additional “forest fire module” for each of the 24 fire services, ten water delivery systems for around 11 million euros and 109 new fire engines for civil protection for around 35 million euros. In addition, training courses for fire departments and forest administrations are held on the phenomenon. “You all know about the climatic changes to which we will have to react in the coming years. The 'Bambi Buckets' are an answer to this challenge, ”said Reul.

The squadron of the North Rhine-Westphalian police (radio call Hummel) flies an average of around 2,000 missions per year across North Rhine-Westphalia and is based at Düsseldorf and Dortmund airports. Since 2017, the entire helicopter fleet has been exchanged for six new Airbus H 145 aircraft for around 65 million euros. The crew of a helicopter consists of two pilots and an operator who operates the "Bambi Buckets" and instructs the pilots.

Questions to:

Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

Telephone: 0211/8712301

E-mail:

http://www.im.nrw.de/

Original content by: Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, transmitted by news aktuell

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 13th May 2020 at 20:47. Reason: Insert YouTube
Modtro is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 19:20
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East of Africa
Age: 44
Posts: 877
Police and Military are not doing slinging the way we do it in the commercial world.
Pilots are not looking outside, but rather "flying on instruments", controlling the helicopter according to the rear crew members instructions.


hueyracer is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 19:41
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGDC
Posts: 7,767
I think they will be doing plenty of looking outside while they follow the crewman's verbal directions.
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 20:14
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Redding CA, or on a fire somewhere
Posts: 1,765
Hate to say it, but unless they get some training, that is going to end in tears. Look at the lateral swing on the bucket as they line up........ Long lining should be done using vertical reference only....unless you are winching from a hover. And why is the guy on the ground sitting on the bucket as they lift up? All things that potentially could cause a problem.
Gordy is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 21:17
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: On top of the Longline
Posts: 304
I have to agree with Gordy here, the term “all the gear & no idea” comes to mind. The water could eventually end up on the ground, but not where the fire is.
heliduck is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 22:13
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Age: 50
Posts: 1,569
Consider me unimpressed
atakacs is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 22:14
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: USA - Mexico
Posts: 128
Gordy, I think the guy on the bucket is not a guy.
Lama Bear is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 23:23
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: The 4th dimension.....
Posts: 47
You wouldn’t want a crewman on the skids above a fire of any significance. Must be a military thing (read ‘We’ve always done it that way....)
Irish military 139’s use the same method for fires, though last year according to fire crews on the ground they never hit the target once on any fire they were called to. Though they can’t seem to ground or hover taxi at an international airport and ATC clearing them without doors open and crewmen hanging out. I’m sure the learned Germans might take some outside input if an avenue of communication was opened?
Northernstar is offline  
Old 13th May 2020, 23:44
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Age: 71
Posts: 4,212
It seems a self sustaining comedy of errors: crewie on the steps guiding the pilot (probably with a 'drop now' instruction) allowing a swing to develop so the pilot follows instructions and fails to damp the swing and so on. Quite why they want 2hr 15min fuel then limit the bucket to 500lt shows further that there's been no input from anyone with Helitak background. Operating a BK117-B2 I'd have 1.5 hours fuel and a 1,000lt bucket, limiting the first pickups to have about 800lt. An hour on task then refuel/relax for 5 minutes.

Another view of the demo here
John Eacott is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 01:15
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 833
Well,
I haven't been trained yet, but there are reasons, why things are done this way.
First, yes, you can attach more weight to a H145 - but... cycles go up exponentially with weight.
So you rather do a couple of 750 Liters drops instead of a few 1.5to drops.
Second, Airbus brought up rules about connecting Bambi buckets to the H145.
Even directly attached, the bucket could get into the fenestron - that's why a long line is needed.
The pilots have the bucket in view - with mirror and additional with a camera build in the tailcone.
The Operator on the skid drops the water.
I know, there is a lot of experience in Portugal, Spain, US and Australia - but also some in Germany.
It went a lot of effort in the procedures, working together with squadrons doing Bambi for years, as well as the fire brigades, the forrest department and so on.
We will se, how this develops

Flying Bull is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 01:43
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Age: 71
Posts: 4,212
FB,

That’s quite an unusual way of bombing, if you’ll accept some constructive criticism?

My first two suggestions would be to get rid of the pilot’s door, and to leave the crewman on the ground to look after it and get your refreshments ready for when you refuel

The crewie is 90-100kg of talking ballast, and with the door off the pilot can forget looking at a tail mounted camera and minimise glances at the mirror. If you can drop the co-pilot then that's another ~100kg that can be translated into water in the bucket: both together would add a couple of hundred litres.

We all use long line with buckets, generally 50’ to 100’ (20 or 40 metres, roughly) to give good tail clearance plus allow pickups through trees etc, and don’t need another hand to release the water at the right point. With a very little practice you’ll be quite adept at getting the bucket into the pickup point ahead of the helicopter (bit of a flare) and fill whilst flying over the top, then pull the bucket out as you depart. 8 seconds should be all you need.

Finally the difference between 500lt and 1,500lt can make all the difference between controlling a fire and simply doing the same drop every time. Depending on turnaround times and numbers in the daisy chain as well, but the greater the quantity of retardant put on the fire early, the greater chance of getting it under control for the ground firefighters to put it out. 500lt is what we carried in our JetRangers back in the 80s and 90s, but with 5 or more in the daisy chain at least they had an effect. Sheer waste of money to be doing that sort of load with a 145 and multiple crew on board.

Do you have Sacksafoam to inject retardant into the bucket?
John Eacott is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 08:37
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East of Africa
Age: 44
Posts: 877
John, your input is pearls before sows....
The way they work is that they have some "old, bold pilots" writing the manuals, and they don't have long line experience either.


​​​​​​I spent half of my flying career in the military (as an instructor as well), and worked closely with the police.

They are more looking at how they can engage as many people as possible in a mission, so each one can log "experience" rather than completing the task as efficient as possible.


Not judging, it's the way they have been doing it.

But neither the military nor the police are interested in getting things done as efficiently as possible-as they are not getting paid by the hour of by the task..
hueyracer is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 09:47
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Blue planet
Posts: 64
Originally Posted by hueyracer View Post
John, your input is pearls before sows....

But neither the military nor the police are interested in getting things done as efficiently as possible-as they are not getting paid by the hour of by the task..
I think this is the answer why they are doing the operation this way. Never doubt that any military or police helicopter operation is much more expensive than the same done by civies.

The use of a EC145 for firefightig...is also questionable, but if you don´t have to report to a financial manager....;-) i would also love to do it .
berlioz is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 14:31
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Europe
Posts: 128
My two cents:
As even Germany is getting dryer and dryer during the years because of the weather (climate change ?) and every year there are more fires in woods and elsewhere there is a louder getting cry for fire fighting helicopters.
But instead the government seting up a fund to reward "highly experienced" civil operators from - they go the way of "we bought all this fancy new equipment for our police forces now let us use it even for things they (the police) have no real knowlwdge of".
This ends in stupid "operational concepts" as you can see in the video.
No doubt Germany should keep founding this modern equipment for the various forces but they again should keep using it as they have done to date and leave fire fighting to the experts.
There are better qualified (and cost effective) helicopters (and pilots) for fire fighting than a police 145.

Maybe FB can comment further on the subject although he is in the german police force and might be prejudiced
And maybe the 145 is so complex that you need two pilots concentrating on flying not having time to press a "release button"
evil7 is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 16:29
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East of Africa
Age: 44
Posts: 877
There are companies in Germany with thousands and thousands of hours experience in fire fighting (Agrarflug just to name one of several), but like you said, I also think this is more a political thing so the police can turn around and say "look at all the things we can do"...

From my observation of police and border police pilots, and from being a military instructor, I can tell you that commercial operators do 4 to 5 times the amount of drops in the same time the government is doing 1....

But again, this is a political thing... So we should maybe leave "efficiency" out of the equation.....

But I consider it poor management that they have not approached experienced long line instructors to instruct the pilots.... Long line is nothing you just pick up yourself on the go..
hueyracer is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 17:22
  #16 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Europe
Age: 36
Posts: 44
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I do agree with many. I have always been impressed with the HEMS sector in Germany and DRF as well as ADAC's approach, but in this case, surprised would be the word.

Flying Bull, thanks for your valuable insight, I am sure a lot of effort and good will has gone into the project and I wish you all all the best. What is the speed limitation with the operator on the skids?

evil7, last year I read an open letter from Dennis Beese - Agrarflug's CEO (I am unable to find the reference now), as they were approach for help during the fires in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, basically it said that they would love to help but were unable due to the fact that their 412's were in Spain, Portugal and elsewhere in contract precisely for that, firefighting. As well as pointing out the lack of funds allocated for firefighting seasons and plans like the southern neighbors or the US, Australia...

Last edited by Modtro; 14th May 2020 at 17:25. Reason: Typing error correction
Modtro is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 18:50
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East of Africa
Age: 44
Posts: 877
Maybe that's the reason why the police is getting the equipment-because the government does not want to allocate money to have one or more commercial helicopters on "standby"....?


The way the commercial side works is "you can have it if you have the money up front-and if we have availability..."...
hueyracer is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 19:09
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 833
Well,
what different responses to the thread.

While John thought about the topic - other just think, they have wisdom and know all about NRW police operation - no - its not military and it is not NPAS

The NRW police squadron was the first police squadron to convert to a two pilot system.
While all other squadrons pointed fingers at the beginning - they now do exact the same....
The NRW police squadron had some incidents - but no accidents for over twenty years - compare that with the other squadrons which think, they are the center of police flying.... (need wood to knock on ;-))

As was pointed out, civilian operators have contracts to follow, in Spain in Portugal i.e. and just can't offer capabilities.
The question would be, how many hours firefighting can you buy for 800.000€ ? Or investing the money to expand the possibilities of the own fleet?
Sure the politicians - after granting the money - use the opportunity to sell themselves to the public ;-)

To the size of the Bambi bucket:
Within the maintenance procedures different parts of the hook system have different load factors to obtain the relevant cycles.
I.e. 300-700kg = 1 // 700-1.000kg = 4 // 1.000-1.200 = 16 // 1.200-1.400kg = 47 and max load = 116!
And evenso the police flying is government funded, money isn't unlimited.
With higher cycles you need to change parts (much) more often, bringing downtime and extra costs - so that's one of the reasons, for the "small" Bambi Bucket.

About doors - there are quite a lot of pages in the FLM covering doors / open doors and removed doors.
With the cockpit doors in the spoiler position and the Cabin door open - up to 120 kts are possible (I guess no one on the skids - that's normally limited to 50 kts).
If you want to remove the cockpit doors without airspeed limitations - you also have to clean the helicopters inside and remove the sliding doors as well as the clamshell-doors.... so not really an option.

The H145 is capable of lifting Bambi Buckets - the procedures differ from the ones with single pilot single engine civil operations.
Even so a second pilot and an operator is extra weight - its only relevant for the first two three turns - thereafter the Bambi bucket can be filled to the numbers, which hold the cycles down ;-)

Why two pilots and an operator?
Cause the normal operation isn't fire fighting and there are also low timers in the cockpit (normally a mix between a young and an experienced pilot is planed)
So - apart from the weight penalty, you have a second pilot monitoring, the chance to swap positions at refuel - and additional an operator, who can give information about distance to obstacles - the higher pitched the voice the more urgent you need to climb ;-)
The operator is releasing the water, not the pilot. He only needs to fly the path.
I will know more after receiving training - unfortunately Corona changed some timetables :-(



Flying Bull is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 19:12
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 833
Originally Posted by hueyracer View Post
Maybe that's the reason why the police is getting the equipment-because the government does not want to allocate money to have one or more commercial helicopters on "standby"....?


The way the commercial side works is "you can have it if you have the money up front-and if we have availability..."...
How many hrs firefighting do you get for 800.000 €?
200? 150?
So buying equipment and training the crews you pay already is actually saving taxpayers money ;-)
Flying Bull is offline  
Old 14th May 2020, 19:57
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: East of Africa
Age: 44
Posts: 877
Like. I said... Apples and oranges....

Yes, the police will be less efficient compared to a commercial operator....
But the police helicopter will always be there and available-at no extra "standby fee"...

So it's not really about the money....

Training-wise I must say I now disagree with either police or military in Germany saying they are "very well trained" - this is something I kept hearing from everyone within, and only once I started flying on the commercial side I figured that what we considered "experienced" flying was just a piece of cake for any commercial pilot..
(put aside the specialized flying with nvgs, or firing rockets and stuff...)..


It was not my intention to hijack this thread to bitch and moan about commercial vs governmental pilots....
hueyracer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.