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MAN777 19th Mar 2021 08:05

NPAS Fixed wing to be ditched ?
 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9379005/UK-police-chiefs-wasted-10m-surveillance-planes-work-built-areas.html

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-paid-10m-for-four-useless-planes-lzls7whkf

RotaryJ 19th Mar 2021 10:48

Not Even Surprised
 
To be brutally honest I am not surprised that the fixed wing aircraft are heading for the bin, we could all see this coming. Well, anyone with common-sense could, it's something that NPAS has always lacked, that and keeping people of industry within close proximity of the organisation... the bread and butter of police aviation treated like absolute crap and quite rightly fled. I instantly had a face palm moment when I first acknowledged that NPAS were proposing of replacing the MD902s with P68Rs, this could possibly be one of the worst decisions ever made in NPAS history, even the MD902s didn't spend this much time sitting catching dust in a hangar feeling sorry for themselves. It really does pose several questions: Is West Yorkshire Police in a fit state to be accountable of NPAS? Could there be a better force to take control and make NPAS a better organisation? What is the final straw for NPAS to be disbanded?

switch_on_lofty 19th Mar 2021 13:39

"They [planes] cannot hover above the ground"

​​​Daily Mail right on the money there.

Anyone shed light on the claim that it can't land at most airfields as it needs a long runway, Wikipedia quotes a TODR of 400m LDR of 600m which isn't long (unless compared to a helicopter!).

ShyTorque 19th Mar 2021 14:08


Originally Posted by switch_on_lofty (Post 11012130)
"They [planes] cannot hover above the ground"

​​​Daily Mail right on the money there.

Anyone shed light on the claim that it can't land at most airfields as it needs a long runway, Wikipedia quotes a TODR of 400m LDR of 600m which isn't long (unless compared to a helicopter!).

Not so much a problem with take-off and landing distance - but they stubbornly and stupidly choose an aircraft (initially designed well back into the last century) that uses AVGAS engines, rather than modern turbines. Most smaller, general aviation airfields where that fuel is still available are closed after dark. Larger airfields with longer operating hours often don't have AVGAS available out of daylight hours (because no-one else wants it). Filling the fuel tanks to cater for longer sorties means that only one observer can be carried, because of all up weight restraints. The previous helicopters could carry two. A high winged aircraft with small windows where the "job" is hidden as soon as the aircraft rolls into a turn to orbit was another big error.

As far as "all weather" is concerned, these aircraft had no advantage over the incumbent helicopters. They had no icing clearance so exactly the same weather limitations applied. This had to be obtained later, at the user's further cost. But the NPAS hierarchy knew best, ignoring the advice of those who actually knew what they were talking about and sacked the ones who spoke out.

It's time an inquiry is held into exactly who was pulling the strings with respect to the highly flawed decision to purchase these aircraft and the connections between them and the aircraft manufacturer.

backtothebeat 19th Mar 2021 14:15


Originally Posted by RotaryJ (Post 11011982)
What is the final straw for NPAS to be disbanded?

the original contract/agreement as I read it...
was that 50% or more of the Police Chiefs need to want to end it, before it can be wound up.

hargreaves99 19th Mar 2021 15:21

I have heard the Met are definitely taking "their" three EC145s and moving back to Lippitts Hill

I guess this could be the start of the end of the "N" in "NPAS"

N707ZS 19th Mar 2021 15:38

Wonder if Cleveland will get there's back, they had already tried the Islander and came to the same conclusion. It was said it could hover and fly backwards in a strong wind. lol

MAN777 19th Mar 2021 16:09

A fixed wing aircraft is OK for surveillance so long as you can get the height and stand off like the very successful GMP Defender routinely did. They are not very effective at helicopter heights.

Fortyodd2 19th Mar 2021 18:44


Originally Posted by hargreaves99 (Post 11012183)
I have heard the Met are definitely taking "their" three EC145s and moving back to Lippitts Hill

Hmm maybe, let's hope they don't bend one so much that it's unavailable for 6 months................

MightyGem 19th Mar 2021 20:48

Lots of interesting reading in February's Police Aviation News:
http://www.policeaviationnews.com/Ac...ary2021PAN.pdf

MAN777 19th Mar 2021 22:05

Just read Bryns summary of NPAS in the latest PAN.
God, Im now so depressed, what a cluster F***.
Speechless !!

PANews 25th Mar 2021 15:21

If I am not being wildly mislead I think it may be nearly all over.

After scrambling through the mud and brambles alongside Lippitts Hill this morning I was able to see a several work crews on site playing with a nice new set of doors on the main control room hangar and new windsocks by the pad.

April 1, All Fools Day, is beckoning. That may be Metxit, but, like the European problem, I am not sure this one has a life giving vaccine to save the virus that is WYP.


backtothebeat 26th Mar 2021 15:47

Having been one of the TFOs that was given marching orders for daring to not toe the party line at the beginning all I can say is I will dance a little jig when it finally falls.
I was literally marched out of the unit with zero notice having turned up for work that morning as usual, with the news that NPAS had rescinded my secondment with immediate effect. Ten years of ASU service ended on the whim of a Supt who knew nothing about my job.
the treasonable action I committed was to openly say what everyone new. That the only thing you get with less... is less ..!!
Hopefully the flames will lick higher sometime soon.

ShyTorque 26th Mar 2021 16:08

BTTB,

Sounds like they wanted you out because they feared that you would be proved correct with time.
Having helped set up one ASU from scratch, and become the CP (and I know we all did a very good job) I’m so glad I took my chance to leave police aviation on my terms, rather than theirs, before NPAS began.

4468 26th Mar 2021 22:02


A fixed wing aircraft is OK for surveillance so long as you can get the height and stand off like the very successful GMP Defender routinely did. They are not very effective at helicopter heights.
Why would you wish to operate an aeroplane at so called ‘helicopter heights’? (Whatever that means?) What’s the advantage/disadvantage?

Why was the GMP Defender ‘very successful’? Was everyone else’s not successful?

the_flying_cop 26th Mar 2021 22:20


Originally Posted by 4468 (Post 11017040)
Why would you wish to operate an aeroplane at so called ‘helicopter heights’? (Whatever that means?) What’s the advantage/disadvantage?

Why was the GMP Defender ‘very successful’? Was everyone else’s not successful?

it was the crews that made it successful. I loved every minute of it. We had a blank canvas to start with and we made it work brilliantly. Using our experience from helicopters and adapting it accordingly. I left at the right time though.

4468 26th Mar 2021 22:25


it was the crews that made it successful. I loved every minute of it. We had a blank canvas to start with and we made it work brilliantly.
I completely understand. But don’t you agree, nobody should make the mistake of thinking only GMP could get ‘brilliant’ results from an aeroplane!

NEASU did that many years before GMP! 1995 if I recall correctly?

Hampshire and Cheshire even earlier than that.

There’s an awful lot of blinkered and largely misplaced hubris in police aviation.

Along with the predilection for empire building which is in the police DNA, it’s all part of the problem

the_flying_cop 26th Mar 2021 22:57


Originally Posted by 4468 (Post 11017049)
I completely understand. But don’t you agree, nobody should make the mistake of thinking only GMP could get ‘brilliant’ results from an aeroplane!

NEASU did that many years before GMP! 1995 if I recall correctly?

Hampshire and Cheshire even earlier than that.

There’s an awful lot of blinkered and largely misplaced hubris in police aviation.

Along with the predilection for empire building which is in the police DNA, it’s all part of the problem

I didn’t say GMP were the only ones to make it work.

4468 26th Mar 2021 23:12


Originally Posted by the_flying_cop (Post 11017062)
I didn’t say GMP were the only ones to make it work.

Fantastic. We agree.

Fixed Wing can work in the police role. A number of forces have shown that! 👍

the_flying_cop 26th Mar 2021 23:47


Originally Posted by 4468 (Post 11017067)
Fantastic. We agree.

Fixed Wing can work in the police role. A number of forces have shown that! 👍

The only thing that doesn’t work is NPAS.

4468 27th Mar 2021 00:49


Originally Posted by the_flying_cop (Post 11017080)
The only thing that doesn’t work is NPAS.

Very fair comment.

MAN777 27th Mar 2021 12:40

GMP
 
When GMP made a case for getting the Defender it was sold to the bosses as a multi role aircraft leaning mainly towards surveillance but available to cover routine work when the Explorer was down. “Helicopter cover” worked well when we could get the height, the “helicopter heights” I was refering to was the 1000-1500 ft zone which the rotary was happy underneath the Manchester clag! The defender 4000 was more than capable of operating at those heights but it wasnt very agile and that coupled with the hi-tec (at the time) MX15 surveillance fit meant it struggled to provide true helicopter cover. However get up to flight levels over Manchester 6000-10,000 ft and it was awesome. It was possible to fly a lazy orbit or figure of 8 over the city and cover a huge area. Monitoring divisional channels it was possible to slew the camera with accuracy onto jobs in progress within seconds. The 24 hr operation was usually a force/divisional asset at night and mainly a surveillance asset during the day supporting the specialists. I didnt say other forces didnt operate successfully its just GMP took it to the next level !

Before we took delivery of our own defender we went to Hampshire and “Borrowed” their Defender to train and practice our own tactics so we were up and running for the commonwealt games.

Our operation was seen as a ground breaker which was eyed (and visited)with envy from units (civil & military) from all over the world.

The Defender wasnt perfect but it provided GMP and the wider UK agencies an amazing surveillance asset, it was struck down during austerity cuts to save GMP a £million, a figure which seems tiny by todays government spending.

I was very proud of what we at GMP and all the other ASUs provided to their forces and end users (Bobbies on the ground) that is why I look on in dismay at what remains of Police aviation in this country.

Cabby 27th Mar 2021 15:57

Police air cover - cost question
 
Re police aviation, how much would it cost to provide a new EC135, or equivelent airframe, for a single police force to operate? (i.e. helicopter, pilot, maintenance, and police officers 24/7.

How many police forces in the UK could afford their own helicopter or plane in 2021 ?

I noticed that Scotland have one police helicopter. How much does it cost to run that operation each year, and is it 24/7 ?

There is a wiki site about police aviation, but no mention of how much it costs to run an air unit in the UK each year?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police...United_Kingdom


4468 27th Mar 2021 17:38


I didnt say other forces didnt operate successfully its just GMP took it to the next level !
As I said:


There’s an awful lot of blinkered and largely misplaced hubris in police aviation.
It’s always been that way.

MAN777 29th Mar 2021 21:30

Night patrol GMP
 
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune....a85d832508.jpg
Apologies, couldn't resist. GMPs Defender on night patrol 6000 ft I think. No the prop hadn't stopped it was the camera flash that froze it.

PANews 30th Mar 2021 22:59

Cabby,

Getting an answer on costs is probably a forlorn expectation.

For recent figures there is no point approaching Police Scotland for instance.... their December 2020 FOI reply to another declared it was a commercial secret, which is understandable as they lease from Babcock and there will be many rival bidders interested in the numbers. Oddly though that same FOI reply declared that the helicopter flew only 132 hours and 50 minutes from 01 January 2020 until 01 November 2020. Numbers that suggest they do not even need a helicopter!

Another reply emanating from Wales quoted £17,000 per flying hour which will make most of us wince.... and the same article stated that sort of number was rubbish. But is it?

It depends on how long your piece of string is. By the time you add the cost of the crew [usually left out of the answer because those numbers are eye watering], the new £2.5M hangar, ground rent, rates and the like the cost of the airframe seems like small change.

Estimates suggest that a new role equipped police helicopter will be about £7.5M, and the difference between two such airframes can be £1M based only on the sensor chosen so that is a pretty woolly estimate. That's if you buy it. If you lease it the first costs goes away but the yearly cost of the airframe the police operator can never own is boosted accordingly. Your 15 year old EC135 is worth virtually nothing but you probably do not see it for a month every 4 months while the maintenance organisation attempts to stop it falling apart. Chugging around in a private EC135 and doing 50 hours a year is a league away from expecting that same helicopter to dash here and there and circle a point on the ground for 1,000 hours a year.

20 years ago you may have been able to put a ball park figure of £1M on each airframe operated and a nominal cross charging rate of £1,000 an hour but even then there were arguments over whether the hourly figure to be charged was £1,000 or should have been £3,000.

Like the operator you will need to decide what is 'cost' before you can possibly answer half the question. The true cost could easily be that £17,000 an hour.

Cabby 31st Mar 2021 09:47


Originally Posted by PANews (Post 11019529)
Cabby,

Getting an answer on costs is probably a forlorn expectation.

For recent figures there is no point approaching Police Scotland for instance.... their December 2020 FOI reply to another declared it was a commercial secret, which is understandable as they lease from Babcock and there will be many rival bidders interested in the numbers. Oddly though that same FOI reply declared that the helicopter flew only 132 hours and 50 minutes from 01 January 2020 until 01 November 2020. Numbers that suggest they do not even need a helicopter!

Another reply emanating from Wales quoted £17,000 per flying hour which will make most of us wince.... and the same article stated that sort of number was rubbish. But is it?

It depends on how long your piece of string is. By the time you add the cost of the crew [usually left out of the answer because those numbers are eye watering], the new £2.5M hangar, ground rent, rates and the like the cost of the airframe seems like small change.

Estimates suggest that a new role equipped police helicopter will be about £7.5M, and the difference between two such airframes can be £1M based only on the sensor chosen so that is a pretty woolly estimate. That's if you buy it. If you lease it the first costs goes away but the yearly cost of the airframe the police operator can never own is boosted accordingly. Your 15 year old EC135 is worth virtually nothing but you probably do not see it for a month every 4 months while the maintenance organisation attempts to stop it falling apart. Chugging around in a private EC135 and doing 50 hours a year is a league away from expecting that same helicopter to dash here and there and circle a point on the ground for 1,000 hours a year.

20 years ago you may have been able to put a ball park figure of £1M on each airframe operated and a nominal cross charging rate of £1,000 an hour but even then there were arguments over whether the hourly figure to be charged was £1,000 or should have been £3,000.

Like the operator you will need to decide what is 'cost' before you can possibly answer half the question. The true cost could easily be that £17,000 an hour.

Thanks PAN,
The figures are much higher than I expected.
I noticed another post a while ago which showed the payments made to NPAS by the different forces, and some were up to the £5k per hour figure.

J.A.F.O. 1st Apr 2021 06:26

I swear this is true. I just went to the page Benefits of NPAS (which did exist - I followed an old bookmark) and I got the following message:


The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.
Try it yourself.

ShyTorque 1st Apr 2021 06:35

Not unexpected by some!

hargreaves99 1st Apr 2021 06:48

https://www.npas.police.uk/what-we-d...-police-forces

Pan Euro 1st Apr 2021 09:01

Taken from the NPAS web site

Statement in relation to The Times Article on Friday 19 March

Friday, 19th March, 2021

T/ACC Scott Bisset, Chief Operating Officer of NPAS, said:

"The aeroplanes are providing support to operational policing as part of a blended fleet which predominantly includes helicopters. They have, and do, operate across both urban and rural areas and whilst based at Doncaster Airport do use other airfields. The aircraft have some limitations which means they cannot operate without restriction at all airfields which was always anticipated. They can however operate in weather conditions which helicopters cannot. Since January 2020 they have been effectively deployed to 1300 incidents supporting police forces across England and Wales.

"Recently, the NPAS National Board commissioned an independent review of the aeroplanes which identified that the aircraft have excellent endurance which make them particularly suitable for policing large public events, conducting missing people searches and prolonged vehicle pursuits. The costs of operating the aeroplanes are approximately a third of that of a helicopter in comparison.

"NPAS is currently restructuring to meet the revised air support requirements of the Police Service which were recently agreed by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) in Autumn of 2020. NPAS remain fully committed to providing a value for money Service to support Forces in keeping the public safe with the support of PCCs, Chiefs and the Home Office. Future collaboration and partnering options will also be explored.

"The original cost of police aviation prior to the formation of NPAS was in the region of £55m (£65m at today’s prices) and NPAS have reduced those costs significantly from the 2012 baseline. NPAS ran an efficiency programme during 2020/21 that has identified further savings. The recent budget set in February 2021 was agreed at £42.5m for England and Wales."


More smoke and mirrors !!!

Fortyodd2 1st Apr 2021 10:05

".......They can however operate in weather conditions which helicopters cannot........"

Actually that should read "The modified P68 can FLY in weather conditions which helicopters cannot". However, in order to "operate", the sensors attached to the airframe have to be able to see the ground or there is no point in "Flying".


MightyGem 1st Apr 2021 19:49


The original cost of police aviation prior to the formation of NPAS was in the region of £55m (£65m at today’s prices) and NPAS have reduced those costs significantly from the 2012 baseline.
True, but then we had 33 helicopters and two FW flying around 23,000 hours at an average £1710 per hour. Now we are down to what, 15 aircraft(?) flying 11,500 hours. NPAS went from charging for hours flown to Actioned calls in 2016/17. The year before the average hourly rate was £2400.

RotaryJ 14th Apr 2021 20:56

Anyone know what's happening with the changing of ownership to all NPAS aircraft?

I was curious about G-POLB's lengthy time away offline, I always check G-INFO to see if anythings changed... to my surprise its displaying 'Potential change of registered ownership in progress' in the 'Registered Owner Details' section and goes on to this:

Open aircraft registration cases

Case name:Change of Registered OwnershipOpen date:22-Mar-2021Review date:13-Apr-2021
It is displaying the same message for all NPAS aircraft too.

PANews 15th Apr 2021 10:12

It may turn out to be a major alteration but the entry for G-SUFK suggests that it may simply be a change from the Police and Crime Commissioner to the Chief Constable.

The May 6 elections may be the clue... according to Google .... the Office of PCC (OPCC) will transfer to the Mayoral West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The current registered keeper goes on May 6.

Coconutty 17th May 2021 06:53

I see they are still spouting rubbish like this .....

"Flying at average speeds of 138mph, police air support saves officers on the ground valuable time when it matters."

An Average of 138 "mph" eh ? - There must be times when they go MUCH faster than that then, to achieve the Average. :rolleyes:

Coconutty

handysnaks 17th Jun 2021 16:11

More NPAS news
 
So…
https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/poli...-service-npas/

OvertHawk 17th Jun 2021 17:32

So to translate:

"We know it's been a fiasco from the start, under our leadership and we know that the other forces are getting ready to pull the plug so we're bailing out so it can fail with someone else's name on it."

PANews 22nd Jun 2021 08:20

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council has written to Commissioner Cressida Dick to object to the Metropolitan Police returning their air operations to Lippitts Hill.

https://www.eppingforestguardian.co....-hill-airbase/

Some minor errors in the text.... The Met first used Lippitts Hill in 1967 and built its first facilities there from 1976. The Met ASU was officially launched in November 1980 but was already in being by then. As we know they never wanted to leave there let alone join NPAS.

The council has a 25 year lease contract on the North Weald base with West Yorkshire Police (NPAS) not the Met who continue to own and operate Lippitts Hill.

https://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/re...-base-opposed/


NPAS goes next year making it quite a sticky mess for the Met and the council it seems.


Cabby 22nd Jun 2021 14:31

NPAS next lead force?
 
With the West Yorks mayor giving a years notice to quit as the lead force, are there any favourites to run NPAS in a years time such as Liverpool or Manchester forces?

How many staff work at the NPAS HQ? Will they have to relocate?



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