/ SAR Helicopter Service contract: implementation phase, part 2

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Jim Fraser - on 06 Jan 2016
Yes. Another helicopter thread. Without a page system, 400+ posts is a bit heavy for the UKC forums, so here is Part 2 as we enter the post-military era.


Previously:

Helicopters: Civilian versus MOD
by ScraggyGoat - on 28 Nov 2011 (Date of Contract Notice and announcement.)
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=484374

SAR Helicopter Service contract: implementation phase
by Jim Fraser - on 31 Jul 2013 (4 months after contract award.)
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=558507


Where we are now.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=558507&v=1#x8206160
Jim Fraser - on 08 Jan 2016
Jim Fraser - on 08 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

'Poignant moment for rescuers as HMS Gannet Sea King heads to great hangar in sky'

http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2015/12/14/poingant-moment-for-rescuers-as-hms-gannet-sea-king-head...
Jim Fraser - on 12 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Just another day at the office.
http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/just-another-day-at-office.html

Caernarfon out there doing it. Some names I recognise there! A very experienced crew.
Lapis Cambrensis - on 13 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

AW189 G-MCGM has been reported arriving at St Athan using the c/s "COASTGUARD GM". Progress!

Nick
wercat on 13 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

will we still be hearing the new ones on 5680?
Jim Fraser - on 13 Jan 2016
In reply to Lapis Cambrensis:

> AW189 G-MCGM has been reported arriving at St Athan using the c/s "COASTGUARD GM". Progress!


Not the first visit of a 189 to the area. If it gets them out of Norfolk and near some contour lines then that's good!

Hopefully, the 189 team and the operational 139 crews will work together to advance the 189 situation. My limited interaction with 139 aircrew has focussed on a desire for more floor space so a common purpose may not be difficult to find.
Jim Fraser - on 13 Jan 2016
In reply to wercat:
5680 is SAR day primary on HF.

The aircraft have HF, satphone and Airwave for Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) comms.
Post edited at 21:17
Jim Fraser - on 14 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Sea King flight bids Scotland farewell
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-35303937
http://news.stv.tv/west-central/1339065-royal-navy-search-and-rescue-helicopter-crews-say-goodbye-to...
http://www.forces.tv/34502734


https://heavywhalley.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/farewell-to-the-royal-navy-sea-king-rescue-177-at-pres...


Posted previously.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=558507&v=1#x7989505
"It is 62 years and a few days since the Fleet Air Arm and their Dragonflys rescued 840 people across East England and the Netherlands in feats of outstanding flying in tiny rudimentary helicopters. Those feats are still admired today in this age of highly trained specialist crews in large complex and powerful machines. Those events stamped the mark of helicopter search and rescue into the public imagination forever."


And ...
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=558507&v=1#x8037007
"I expect that anything resembling a farewell will be robed in grey and red rather than yellow. Sadly, the Royal Air Force has been intent on causing itself significant reputational damage over this. Fortunately, the Fleet Air Arm appears to have no reservations or neuroses about marking the end of service in a way that makes proper recognition of decades of outstanding service.

The RAF management have until the end of SK service in the Falkland Islands on 31st March 2016 to grow a pair."
Post edited at 18:16
skog on 14 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

I heard about the flypast this morning, and got out briefly to watch from Bannockburn as they flew by Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. Glad I did.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=632561
Raskye - on 14 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

I thought it quite amusing that Stornoway transmitted routine traffic usually sent on channel 0 on channel 16 today while searching down at Arisaig... Is it me? Or were they advertising that they're the biz now?
Jim Fraser - on 15 Jan 2016
In reply to Raskye:

Well they're not the biz until they transfer to the Main UK SAR contract on 1st July 2017 with NVG, CAP 999 regs and all the bells and whistles.


16 might seem unusual. However, I have been there myself so I know there are a number of possible reasons. One is a mistake of course. Also that a party to the conversation might not have had access to ch0. When push comes to shove, 16 is an emergency channel.

Then there is the status of the repeater network, the aircraft's advantageous position and what else is happening on ch0. Other things might be happening that stations on the ground might not be aware of.

Another aspect is that when you are recruiting help from mariners during a SAR op, they will be contacted on 16 and should change to a SAR channel. Like 67, 23, 10 or at another level maybe 6. What you may find is that nothing will persuade them to change to a proper SAR channel (Coastguard channel! Aaarrgh!) and you are stuck with 16 or the locally preferred intership. In MR, we have only a restricted number of marine channels. In a helicopter, you have the same effect because you have a ridiculously complex tactical radio that has been set up with a number of expected presets. Then some smart 4r5e refuses to change to 67 and wants you to use channel whatever.

Let me see: am I going to fly this thing safely or am I going to fiddle with that effin radio?

Ch16.












Raskye - on 15 Jan 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

All points taken Jim, and agree that they're valid but this was a conversation between the helicopter and Stornoway Coastguard. Most likely a mistake, or possibly to let Mariners know what they were up to....
I was a bit tongue in cheek above, but as you know, they're not averse to a bit of self promotion and the devil in me was amused at the coincidence
robhorton - on 15 Jan 2016
In reply to Raskye:

As the shore station it's up to the coastguard to nominate the working channel, not the aircraft. I presume they were there looking for the missing kayaker - it's pretty common to hear the coastguard handle all the traffic related to an active incident on 16, even for obviously non life threatening stuff.
marko-99 - on 18 Jan 2016
In reply to Raskye:

> I thought it quite amusing that Stornoway transmitted routine traffic usually sent on channel 0 on channel 16 today while searching down at Arisaig... Is it me? Or were they advertising that they're the biz now?

If I remember correctly the Arisaig Mast has a duel watch on it, so as the coastguard search teams on land would be doing all comms on channel zero, that would leave only one other channel to use. As there was 2 lifeboats and several search teams and a helo all keeping the radios busy I am not surprised they broadcast on 16, as this line would need to be watched anyway.
If it got busy with normal traffic then Belfast would take over with routine traffic on another channel.

If someone is in trouble then advertise is what you want to do, but for the benefit of those needing rescued and not PR for the service which I think is what you were hinting at.
Jim Fraser - on 15 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

2 x AgustaWestland AW189 SAR being packed to "fly south for the winter". BIH making ready for an Antonov to take these from Newquay to Mount Pleasant on the Falkland Islands where they are expected to be the first AW189 to enter SAR service.

https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/t31.0-8/12716277_10153250865446481_254687753756004...



Come on Bristow. Let's get moving.
Rich W Parker - on 16 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The vibe that I am getting so far is that Bristow's are not quite as 'can do' as the military crews - training and emergency.
Jim Fraser - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Murko Fuzz:

Once upon a time, there were people who would say that either the Fleet Air arm or the RAF were more 'can do' than the other SAR provider. Battles played out in the press or service websites about who was the best. It still happens every day on pprune.org, and will do for a decade or two yet. As I posted on the previous thread "Learning outcome: YOU DON'T NEED PRIVATISATION TO GET COMPETITION!"

In the background, largely unseen and little understood, the Military Aviation Authority responded to military accidents (including some pretty shocking use of helicopters) by incrementally improving the regulating, planning and recording of military flying. As I quoted on the previous thread "It has to be faced that the supposed 'best' mountain flying you have ever seen was probably an immensely stupid thing to do."

Around the country today, flyers from all backgrounds are settling into their new roles, in new aircraft, and under new rules. We have taken the well-known tool out of the box and replaced it with a new one. It is going to be a while before everyone understands how to make best use of it. On top of that, the new tool, in spite of its power and sophistication, is a bit big and chunky. On the other hand, a number of flyers already had substantial S-92 mountain experience and reports from some districts reflect this.

So a lot is new to the flyers. Also, "No civilian operator has ever had a contract like this operating in a regulatory framework like this before. The CAA has never regulated operations like these before." (Casbag 36.)

Overall, I think that some months ago we already had an equivalent service. If you look at the number of jobs this service is doing then there is absolutely no way that this is a sub-standard service.

Some folk are wound up about having no live stretcher winching in training and there have been problems with landing sites. I think those are fair exchange for the standards of flying safety and reliability that we have acquired. Some will moan and groan about whether a particular job could have been flown differently. To those people, I'm afraid I have to tell them that if they had paid more attention at school then perhaps they too could have been a SAR helicopter pilot. Even then, they wouldn't be qualified to judge if they were not the one sitting in that seat holding the levers, on that day, in those conditions and with that load. And if people cast their minds back honestly, they will remember moaning and groaning about jobs by military helicopters as well.

From here, it only gets better. The flyers learn and adapt. They get a smaller and more agile aircraft (AW189) at Inverness, Prestwick and elsewhere, which can only help in a mountain environment. The CAA learns and adapts (so far so good). The insurers will hopefully learn and adapt (not holding my breath!). The SAR partners learn and adapt, ensuring that they provide opportunities, in both training and operations, for this service to develop to its full capability and maturity.

In my little corner of craggy bits, we are always looking for more training, more engagement , more understanding.




La oss gå flyr
Rich W Parker - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> As I quoted on the previous thread "It has to be faced that the supposed 'best' mountain flying you have ever seen was probably an immensely stupid thing to do."

That's quite interesting and I must admit made me smile a little. I remember a RN Sea King nosing carefully inside a gully with absolutely no wriggle room, and other bits of flying that were very impressive to me.

As you say, it's early days.

Thanks for the informative post.
Snowdave on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> > From here, it only gets better. The flyers learn and adapt. They get a smaller and more agile aircraft (AW189) at Inverness, Prestwick and elsewhere, > La oss gå flyr

Err NO!

Inverness has the S-92 as I see it flying over head!

The AW189 is delayed,
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/bristow-details-aw189-contingency-for-uk-sar-contrac-4063...

(it's old news)

They have the AW189 in the UK here basically as a "test mule" for SAR:-
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/bristow-puts-first-aw189-into-service-401906/

But from what I hear (won't say how but direct, cough cough) these aircraft can't stand the daily punishment in this role & spend most time in the hanger being strengthened etc, & Bristow's recon they won't stand up to SAR, so are in talks with the Gov to alter the contract so they can use more of the reliable S-92.

There you have it, a private contractor telling the Gov that what it asked for is not "reliable" & proof of it too, also trying to do the best for the job!

Rich W Parker - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

In my modest opinion based on no hard knowledge at all I'd have thought EC135 or EC145 was the business for the popular mountain areas. Small, powerful, short duration flights from base to location..
Jim Fraser - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Murko Fuzz:

> In my modest opinion based on no hard knowledge at all I'd have thought EC135 or EC145 was the business for the popular mountain areas. Small, powerful, short duration flights from base to location..


If you are PGHM then a EC145 really IS the business for nipping up there and picking guys off a rock face at 3000m. Most things in the Alps are about altitiude.


This is a small island in the north Atlantic. When you are doing MR it is easy to start thinking that your bit is really really important. It is important but as a small part of a very large picture. There are the bridge jumpers, major road accidents, major rail or air accidents, the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, lost sea kayakers, kids drifting away in inner tubes and airbeds, yachties on google maps, injured trawlermen, sick seamen on passing merchant shipps and the occasional shipwreck. You could have a specialist helicopter each of those and it would be ridiculously expensive and mind bogglingly chaotic.


Back in 2010, one well known MRT came up with a proposal that, since they were the most important people in the world, they should have their own helicopter waiting at the bottom of the hill (in an area with poor aeronautical conditions and no pre-existing aeronautical infrastructure). The lowest cost for 24 hour cover, with a EC135, was twice the cost of MRT for the whole country. The cost of 24 hour cover with a medium weight aircraft with LIMSAR scale of capability was four times that again. Fantasy.
Welsh Kate - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The delay in the arrival of the more powerful 189 is disappointing but the S92 can get down here from Caernarfon pretty quickly. We finally have our training on the 139 coming up - in a few weeks.
Jim Fraser - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

> Err NO!
> Inverness has the S-92 as I see it flying over head!
> The AW189 is delayed,

> But from what I hear (won't say how but direct, cough cough) these aircraft can't stand the daily punishment in this role & spend most time in the hanger being strengthened etc, & Bristow's recon they won't stand up to SAR, so are in talks with the Gov to alter the contract so they can use more of the reliable S-92.

> There you have it, a private contractor telling the Gov that what it asked for is not "reliable" & proof of it too, also trying to do the best for the job!


http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=558507&v=1#x8160610
AW189 situation: "Wait until you hear Bristow people talking about this! The next few months will be very revealing. Don't take any notice."

Snowdave on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:


> AW189 situation: "Wait until you hear Bristow people talking about this! The next few months will be very revealing. Don't take any notice."


My direct knowledge of the situation re the AW 189 & Bristow's in a "story".

Imagine you have to buy a good small utility 4WD vehicle & it has to have certain features/attributes, so you go shopping & end up purchasing brand "X", because it meets the requirements according to the brochure & discussions with the sales rep.

You decide initially to not use it fully, but do some drives in light weight conditions (compared to what it will be really used for). You discover to your horror that the car flexes like mad, with the chassis & bodywork flexing/twisting more than it should. So you go around to the dealer & have go. The dealer sends the car to the bodyshop & they have a conversation with the manufacturer, & they decide to add strengthening panels to the chassis etc to stop the flexing.

You then get the car back some time later & do the same drive again, noticing that although the flexing is less, it is still there, & how can this stand up to the real driving that you will later do in it? So again you go back to the dealer to try to sort the problem out.

Current situation? you are left with a car which you do not think will cope with what you need it to cope with (& were lead to believe to would cope with) & the manufacturers are still unresolved in fully sorting the car out.

To be continued...
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jim Fraser - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

A couple of problems there.

1. Every helicopter ever built, from Robbies to Chinooks, is like a delicate half-completed dolls' house. Why? Because otherwise it would be too heavy to get off the ground.

2. Two AW189 SAR for the Falklands are complete and on schedule to be loaded onto an Antonov THIS WEEK to fly to Mount Pleasant to start their work-up period for a MoD contract that is the last component of the transfer from military to civilian SAR by the British Government.
Snowdave on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> A couple of problems there.

> 1. Every helicopter ever built, from Robbies to Chinooks, is like a delicate half-completed dolls' house. Why? Because otherwise it would be too heavy to get off the ground.

> 2. Two AW189 SAR for the Falklands are complete and on schedule to be loaded onto an Antonov THIS WEEK to fly to Mount Pleasant to start their work-up period for a MoD contract that is the last component of the transfer from military to civilian SAR by the British Government.

I do understand that everything in life is a compromise!! & isn't it AAR & not Bristow who is doing the Falklands contract?

Basically we might see more S-92's in the UK SAR Bristow contract (which is why they are in talks to redo contract as one soloution), as their AW189 "cars" spend more time in the garage than flying! Not good for a vehicle which is supposed to be all weather 4wd utility car!
Rich W Parker - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Ah yes, I think I remember that idea...
Calski - on 17 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
That was for real?! I presumed it was some urban myth or April Fools Day joke.
Jim Fraser - on 18 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

> ... & isn't it AAR & not Bristow who is doing the Falklands contract?

Indeed they are. So please draw a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence that a DfT contractor fails to procure a working solution in a very extended timeframe using a particular airframe while a MoD contractor succeeds in procuring a working solution on time using exactly the same airframe from exactly the same supplier.



> Basically we might see more S-92's in the UK SAR Bristow contract (which is why they are in talks to redo contract as one soloution), as their AW189 "cars" spend more time in the garage than flying! Not good for a vehicle which is supposed to be all weather 4wd utility car!

And a bunch of Grade 5, 6 and 7 Civil Servants from the DfT who have been behind this £1.6bn contract from the beginning are going to listen to this are they? With another bunch of public servants, some in uniform, whispering in their other ear about the aircraft for AAR in the Falklands, they are just going to bend over and let Bristow shaft them and shaft the British tax payer?

Frankly, if it were me, I'd have had a quiet meeting with Bond some time ago and said "With oil and gas in the doldrums, you probably have the capacity to give us the Lot 2 solution we talked about in early 2013."



Don't for a moment think that the S-92 is without problems. Worst, in its early days, 17 people died because of a nonsensical choice of material on a regularly-maintained component that combined with its archaic lack of gearbox run-dry time (on-going issue) to bring tragedy. Chinook travel makes one realise how dreadful the noise and vibration in a S-92 really is, with associated wear and tear on airframe and crew alike. And I do tend to dwell on the rather 20th-century-size of those escape windows when flying over water without a lifejacket.


(The Bristow Group Inc [BRS] stock price has been riding just below the oil price during the last 18 months and is at a 16 year low. A major blow on a headlining world-class government contract could put them in as bad a place as CHC.)
Snowdave on 18 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> Indeed they are. So please draw a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence that a DfT contractor fails to procure a working solution in a very extended timeframe using a particular airframe while a MoD contractor succeeds in procuring a working solution on time using exactly the same airframe from exactly the same supplier.

AAR run other helicopters mainly Sikorsky & those AW-189 are the only ones in their fleet. Methinks they just bought them off the peg. Bristow's was looking at using the AW-189 to replace other older existing aircraft, so chose to buy a couple first (& was the AW launch customer for the AW-189) & run them in a non-SAR role to see how they performed. Unfortunately they spent quite a bit of time in the hanger due to problems with the lightweight airframe . There has been a lot of to-ing & fro-ing between AW & Bristow's to sort these problems out, you could say that Bristow's has been doing the continued development of the AW-189 to make it SAR ready, & only now can they be delivered as a SAR which is why those 2 for the AAR contract are only just leaving! Considering Bristow's is set to buy & run quite a few more than that they are now taking a bit longer to doubly make sure they are now suitable!

Also I have linked to another NON-Bristow reason for the delay from AW :-

In June 2015, it was reported that slow development of the ice-protection systems that is to be offered upon the AW189 had delayed the introduction of Bristow Helicopters UK-based SAR operations using the type, at the time being in a state of "operational evaluation".[13][14] In September 2015, AgustaWestland announced that EASA certification of the AW189's limited ice protection system had been granted, and stated that the rotorcraft is the first in its category to receive such certification.[15] In Autumn 2015, AgustaWestland conducted icing trials in Alaska to provide flight within full icing conditions certification as part of efforts to qualify the type for the SAR role; validation of the full-ice protection system is scheduled for mid-2016.[16][13]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AgustaWestland_AW189

> Frankly, if it were me, I'd have had a quiet meeting with Bond some time ago and said "With oil and gas in the doldrums, you probably have the capacity to give us the Lot 2 solution we talked about in early 2013."

Bond ? Hahah you must be joking! With the problems they have been having (even when this was up for contract) forgotten the three big accidents they had since 2009?

> (The Bristow Group Inc [BRS] stock price has been riding just below the oil price during the last 18 months and is at a 16 year low. A major blow on a headlining world-class government contract could put them in as bad a place as CHC.)

EVERY business connected with the oil industry has had value taken of them, bloody obvious that, seriously!?

It seems to me you like bashing Bristow's just for the sake of it. Me? don't care in names just get the facts straight when they are out there!
Post edited at 09:22
Jim Fraser - on 18 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

You are suggesting that I am bashing Bristow for no reason. Meanwhile, many others maintain their long-held beliefs that I am soft on Bristow and privatisation generally. Either one or both positions is wrong. Those who have followed this matter carefully will know that both are wrong.

FIPS was never a certainty for AW189 SAR at contract start: not enough winters in the programme. Any realistic assessment would have resulted in a plan for entry into service without it. SK did OK for an old bag of rivets without any deicing systems. A LIPS equipped AW189 SAR can do -10C at normal transit altitudes and unlimited snow flight clearance. That is an advancement in capability and a good fix for the vast majority of Highland or Falkland situations.

Bristow have simply not got a grip of the substantial list of technical problems that have haunted the AW189 SAR project. They started late (having not really expected to get Lot 2/3) and did not throw the necessary quantity and quality of dyed-in-the-wool SAR rotorcraft engineering talent at it. This is serious specialist world-class stuff and plank flyers and O&G guys just don't cut it. No amount of Powerpoint and SAP talent will help.

No reflection on the front line service providers at Bristow or the poor sods who have been handed the 189 poison chalice without the appropriate resources and management support.




[And I have been flown places by Bond during the last 30 years that most people wouldn't believe there were places. Happy to travel that way again.]
Snowdave on 18 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> Bristow have simply not got a grip of the substantial list of technical problems that have haunted the AW189 SAR project. They started late (having not really expected to get Lot 2/3) and did not throw the necessary quantity and quality of dyed-in-the-wool SAR rotorcraft engineering talent at it. This is serious specialist world-class stuff and plank flyers and O&G guys just don't cut it. No amount of Powerpoint and SAP talent will help.

> No reflection on the front line service providers at Bristow or the poor sods who have been handed the 189 poison chalice without the appropriate resources and management support.

So you acknowledge that the AW-189 has major problems, so therefore not Bristow's fault then! Bristow's DO have the necessary staff to handle what is required, just that the AW-1289 has problems which are BEYOND what they are required to sort out!

When there are problems with the air frame which is composite/Carbon fibre then that is specialist tools etc., can't just rivet on a sheet of alu'.

I'm sorry but an aircraft which is "supposed" to cope with certain conditions & can't resulting in "upgrades" which the operators are only allowed to do certain stuff, & the main frame alterations require it going back to the factory at AW is NOT the fault of Bristow's!!

Like any aircraft/car/truck fleet company, they buy a product based on specs & info from maker, they make sure that their staff have the tools/training etc to carry out all the day to day running repairs/servicing, BUT major stuff always requires the vehicle to go back to the maker! Just in this case the AW-189 still requires work which is maker only stuff!

& Yes maybe Bristow's has got brassed off with it, & who could blame them when you feel that you have bought a lemon???

Maybe the "development work" at AW should have carried on longer instead of using the customer, but that happens more & more in any field these days, & maybe at the end of it the AW-189 will be a fully capable aircraft, but please lay blame at the correct people!!!
Jim Fraser - on 18 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

OPERATOR 1
Up to eight AW189 SAR helicopters are thought to be languishing in a hangar somewhere. Their owner wasn't even ready to order them when they were awarded the contract on the 26th March 2013 and took until August 2013 to get that sorted. Having started late, they have since failed to bring to bear the necessary pressure on their supplier to resolve problems that exist with software, electrical power systems and mechanical components. A range of solutions appear to remain inexplicably just outside their reach. They have been engaged in this project since the 28th November 2011 and were the launch customer for the oil & gas variant of the type in 2014. The contracted date for commencement of service was 1st April 2015. No date is available for entry into service.

OPERATOR 2
Two AW189 SAR helicopters were loaded into an Antonov hold today in preparation for transport to their new home. These are working aircraft with a respectable recent availability figure during test flying. There are some software, electrical and mechanical upgrades in the plan that stretches out across the next few months. These aircraft are part of a project coming from a standing start on the 2nd August 2013 and the contract was awarded on 19th January 2015. First of the two aircraft was accepted from the manufacturer on 20th November 2015. They are currently on target to commence service on time in April 2016.

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

We know what AW are like because we have witnessed a dozen or more iterations of a 'Westland Affair' across 60-odd years of helicopter manufacture. So that's not the issue. Which of the above paragraphs is about Bristow?

Snowdave on 19 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> OPERATOR 1 (must be Bristows the way you word it.)

>, they have since failed to bring to bear the necessary pressure on their supplier to resolve problems that exist with software, electrical power systems and mechanical components. A range of solutions appear to remain inexplicably just outside their reach.

> OPERATOR 2 (must be AAR)

> These are working aircraft with a respectable recent availability figure during test flying. There are some software, electrical and mechanical upgrades in the plan that stretches out across the next few months.


As I previously stated & you acknowledge, that there has been loads of to-ing & fro-ing between AW & Bristow's regarding the problems with the AW-189. The fact that it APPEARS that Bristow's has given up & that AAR have managed to get two AW-189 shipped out can also be explained thus :-

Maybe AW & Bristow's are at logger-heads as maybe Bristow's is seriously brassed off at AW & maybe AW is digging it's heels because it thinks Bristow's is being too "picky" over the problems. It also looks like AAR has decided to accept the AW-189 from AW "as is" & will accept the necessary rolling "upgrades" to these same problem areas as Bristow's (which you mention) over the next few months. The FACT that these upgrades are still not available to even AAR mean they are not available to Bristow's.

This proves that AW has not sorted the on going problems with their AW-189! This still proves that Bristow's has been used by AW as a "developer" & that Bristow's is not prepared to accept a "half baked vehicle", where as AAR are accepting a half baked one & the necessary upgrades in the next few months, hopefully! BUT what if AW still can't find solutions to the problems & AAR has to wait longer for the "upgrades, then they will be in the same boat as Bristow's! having AW-189's not fully sorted!!

Although you like to deny that you are not bashing Bristow's, then you must like having an argument, & like to twist anything I say. I know the facts (directly) & have tried to put then down in plain English, if you want to twist it to have a go at Bristow's that's your problem, but you will be arguing with yourself & not me!

Post edited at 09:17
Jim Fraser - on 19 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:
When I predicted this sort of thing on the previous thread back on 29th October 2015, even I never imagined that get a well-digger this persistent on here. If you were a well-informed Bristow insider then you'd have had the sense to just drop your bomb and turn for home a while ago.

It's been fascinating Snowdave but I have to ask you to be quiet for a bit because I think it would be valuable for others reading this material to tell us what they think (and before it gets far too boring and they all go away).



Please, another take on this?

Post edited at 15:45
Jim Fraser - on 19 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
ADB's Antonov AN-124 UR-82072 with the BIH aircraft on-board left Newquay twenty minutes ago and is heading out across the Atlantic.

I hope it continues to go well for them. They will be operating a long way from substantial aeronautical infrastructure so anticipation, planning, contingencies and spares will be considerably more important to their success than they are for those operating in the density of British airspace and infrastructure. Fortunately, there is an existing twenty year old BIH operation out there, MoD infrastructure and another British helicopter company with whom they can collaborate if necessary. ;-)
Post edited at 16:29
Profile Removed on 19 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Do you know if the Antonov will be refuelling at Ascension Island - only slightly intrigued so don't go to any lengths if you don't know.
Jim Fraser - on 19 Feb 2016
In reply to Eeyore:
No idea about Ascension but I don't think a standard AN-124 will go all the way there unless they have a trick with internal tanks. Not only that but to be flying a load to such a politically sensitive and isolated location, you would want a HUGE fuel margin that would give you lots of options. Your underwriters are going to be on the edge of their seats anyway.

So there's a 3000m runway half way there with no political complications? You would, wouldn't you?

The Caribbean might provide some options and Antonovs are regulars in French Guiana.
Post edited at 22:26
Profile Removed on 19 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Thanks Jim. Good to know that I can still work out what is happening in the world.
Jim Fraser - on 20 Feb 2016
In reply to Eeyore:

ADS-B showed a record of the Antonov over Brazil this afternoon and descending and slowing as it approached Rio.

It will be interesting to see what emerges from the next six weeks of AAR and MoD activity at Mount Pleasant. We know that Bristow's S-92 LIMSAR O&G operation (Falklands version of Jigsaw) can be relied upon to pick up the slack if there are any delays! There is little doubt that would generate a few column-inches.
Jim Fraser - on 21 Feb 2016
Snowdave on 21 Feb 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> When I predicted this sort of thing on the previous thread back on 29th October 2015, even I never imagined that get a well-digger this persistent on here. If you were a well-informed Bristow insider then you'd have had the sense to just drop your bomb and turn for home a while ago.

> It's been fascinating Snowdave but I have to ask you to be quiet for a bit because I think it would be valuable for others reading this material to tell us what they think (and before it gets far too boring and they all go away).

> Please, another take on this?

I prefer to gently point FACTS out. You were intimating in your posts that Bristow’s were the reason that the AW-189 SAR aircraft for the UK were delayed, & I tried to point out that this view was incorrect. With direct knowledge of the situation I have no wish to state anything other than what is already out in the public domain.

To all other readers on this forum, here are the correct FACTS (that are already in the public domain) regarding the delays in the introduction of the AW-189 SAR helicopter in the UK.

1. LIPS (Limited Icing Protection System):- 12 July 2015, Daniele Romiti (C.E of AW) stated that LIPS for the AW189 “It is going to be certificated within weeks. He also blamed EASA about paperwork delays “As soon as technology enhances capability of the products, so it impacts on certification,”. Final/full LIPS certification for the AW-189 was announced on the 28 September 2015 by AW on their website.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/key-approvals-near-for-aw169-and-aw189-414615/

http://www.finmeccanica.co.uk/-/aw189-lips-certification

2. FIPS (Full Icing Protection System):- Reported June 2015, Jonathan Baliff (Bristow C.E), delays to the introduction of the AW189 appear to stem from slower-than-expected certification of the required full icing protection system (FIPS) on the helicopters. “The FIPS is the primary thing we are waiting for and AW is doing everything in its power to do its testing and get the aircraft ready for service on the contract,”. Again from the flightglobal July 2015 article, Daniele Romiti (C.E of AW) says, “FIPS however, will not be ready until “mid-next year” (2016). Initial tests of the system were conducted late last year “and there are the last few points we need to confirm next winter”. From a heliukexpo article 23 September 2015 “The AW189 does not yet have sign-off for its full icing protection system (FIPS), and Bristow will not put them into service on the SAR contract as a result.” Also reported in ainonline 17 October 2015 in more detail.

http://www.heliukexpo.com/news/bristow-uk-to-import-four-more-sar-s92s-in-place-of-aw189s/

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/bristow-says-no-date-yet-for-aw189-sar-service-entry-4139...

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2015-10-17/full-anti-icing-gear-coming-soon...

3. General delays:- Bristow’s were the launch customer for AW & ordered 11 of the AW-189 SAR helicopters back in March 2013 with a phased-in starting period between 2015 & 2017. Flightglobal reported 13 March 2015. “All 11 AW189s for use on the contract were due to have been built at the manufacturer’s (AW) Yeovil facility in the southwest of England. Development and certification delays meant that the initial example, which was handed over in late/mid 2014 and is currently being used for training at Bristow’s Norwich base, was fully assembled in Italy. However, the first UK-built model is “ready for customer acceptance” says the airframer which will take place “in the coming days”. So that is number 3 out of a batch of 11 & we are in March 2015!!

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/delivery-nears-for-first-uk-built-aw189-sar-variant-41015...

4. Cracks in the airframe:-Again from flightglobal 13 March 2015 “The manufacturer has, meanwhile, played down a problem affecting AW-189s operated by Bristow on oil and gas missions. Cracking of internal panels in the cabin led to the helicopters being temporarily removed from service in early March while the affected parts were replaced”. Apparently these were found during routine inspections, cracks, as big as 18-24inches long were found in the cabin & others found on the engine mounts due to vibrations. This was apparently within the first 1000hrs of flying over 189 operations. These issues had to be sorted by AW & NOT Bristow’s due to the composite/carbon construction of the airframe etc.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/delivery-nears-for-first-uk-built-aw189-sar-variant-41015...

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/512963/north-sea-helicopters-grounded-cracks-foun...

http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/451377-aw189-8.html

5. AW has been trying to get it’s customers to accept the AW-189 “as is” with the condition that they promise to rectify the “faults” later on in terms of “upgrades”. Reported 6 August 2015, “Era ordered 10 of the AW-189 in 2013, cancelled one of them & had not reached a contractual decision on 5 others & of the remaining 4, Era accepted them but with “technical acceptance issues”. Basically a similar position as AAR accepting the 2 AW-189SAR with planned “upgrades”.

http://www.aviationtoday.com/rw/topstories/Era-Group-Working-AW189-Problems-for-GOM_85735.html#.VsjP...

Basically AW promised a nice aircraft of a certain specification to Bristow’s in a certain timeframe & have failed to deliver. The fact that Era & AAR are accepting the AW-189 into service right now, but with “technical acceptance issues” & “planed upgrades” just qualifies the facts these helicopters are being delivered “not fully sorted”, & other customers are having problems with AW!

What has Bristow’s done about it? They have put into place a contingency plan to run extra AW-139 & S-92 in place of the AW-189 (at it’s designated bases). (reported helihub May 2015). In September 2015 helihub reported Bristow’s have registered 2 more S-92SAR’s & possibly ordered a further 3.

http://helihub.com/2015/05/20/more-aw189-questions-as-bristow-uk-considers-extra-coast-guard-s92s/

http://helihub.com/2015/09/23/bristow-uk-to-import-four-more-sar-s92s-in-place-of-aw189s/

The final 10yr contract was announced in March 2013 & Bristow’s accepted the last of the 11 contracted S-92SAR in May 2015. So 2yrs & 2 months for Sikorsky to fully deliver & AW is still messing around.

Is that a big enough “bomb” Jim Fraser??,

What I find very perplexing is that in the previous threads you have posted links to the same correct information I have, which prove AW are at fault & NOT Bristow’s, so why state “Bristow have simply not got a grip of the substantial list of technical problems that have haunted the AW189 SAR project.” when it is clearly AW who are at fault! Unless you like to stir?!

Oh & telling someone who is only trying to pass on the correct FACTS regarding the Bristow’s situation re the AW-189, “to be quiet” is exceedingly ill-mannered, & NOT befitting someone with your job positions etc at Kintail MRT, SMR, RAF etc, etc,.
Jim Fraser - on 22 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

Well done.

Now find a modern helicopter design without a similar start in life. NH-90 anybody? AW139? S-92?

Brent's not $115 a barrel any more, is it. That changes a lot of things. When the S-92 and EC225 entered service the oil price was soaring and doubled across the next 3 years: easy ride!

It still comes down to the situations with Operator 1 and 2. BIH currently appear to be doing the 'Talk quietly and carry a big stick' thing. In the current climate, it is a very very big stick.
Jim Fraser - on 22 Feb 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

> Oh & telling someone who is only trying to pass on the correct FACTS regarding the Bristow’s situation re the AW-189, “to be quiet” is exceedingly ill-mannered, & NOT befitting someone with your job positions etc at Kintail MRT, SMR, RAF etc, etc,.


There is too much of me on this thread and now there is too much of you as well. Diversity required.
marko-99 - on 27 Feb 2016
In reply to marko-99:

Jim / Snowdave

Of all the SAR 189 that Bristow have at the moment, how many are routinely training, if any?
It has been my thought for a while now that we will not see the AW 189 arrive at all its promised bases, but if Bristow are reducing the training with it, then is it not a thought that the 189`s role in UK SAR could be shelved completely?
Jim Fraser - on 03 Mar 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

[url=http://www.insidemoray.com/tribute-as-moray-based-rescue-centre-prepares-for-closure/]Tribute as Moray-based rescue centre prepares for closure. - Inside Moray - News[/url]

"The switch was announced in March last year – now the transfer is under way, with the final closure of the Kinloss centre to be completed by the end of this month." :{
Jim Fraser - on 03 Mar 2016
Jim Fraser - on 16 Mar 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The world's first Agusta Westland AW189 all weather SAR helicopter service (including NVIS) has been approved by the UK CAA at Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands.

More progress toward operational status is expected during this week.

The contractor is not expected to make any press announcements until fully operational.
Jim Fraser - on 18 Mar 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2016/Helibrief

"17 March 2016 - Offshore, police and emergency response helicopter pilots will receive fast and flexible access to weather-based information, helping to improve safety

The Met Office is today announcing the provision of the first regulated weather briefing service to emergency response helicopter operators, including UK Search and Rescue (SAR), Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) and England and Wales National Police Air Service (NPAS)."
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jim Fraser - on 23 Mar 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Decommissioning of 771 Sqn Fleet Air Arm at RNAS Culdrose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqgnaUJ8Ujw
simonridout - on 23 Mar 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
A sad day, but time marches on. I served as Principal Medical Officer at RNAS Culdrose 1988-1992 and flew some 50+ SAR missions and numerous training/ familiarisation flights with 771 Squdron. A great bunch of guys, especially the divers, who always looked out for me when I was required to be winched onto ships, fishing vessels or yachts. The divers were solid, tough dependable men. While I had a few hairy moments, there was nothing like the hazards endured during the rescue of MV Muree in 1989, following which POACMN Wallace and Wright were awarded the George Medal. It was a great inspiration to work alongside such men. The pilots, observers and winch operators always inspired confidence, but it was the divers that inspired me.
Jim Fraser - on 23 Mar 2016
In reply to simonridout:


And just previous to that period, Larry Slater GM.
Post edited at 22:08
Jim Fraser - on 29 Mar 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

An interesting week.

Thursday afternoon and Friday morning:

- Last British SAR Sea King stands down (1564 Flt)

- ARCC Fareham flies solo



Those events do not occur in isolation. A few ripples reach out across the SAR world whose reflections we will be seeing for some time.
Jim Fraser - on 01 Apr 2016
marko-99 - on 09 Apr 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Jim / anyone :
Any news on the AW189?
Are any still flying on Bristow fleet?
The 189 is now over one year late for its entry in to SAR service, not sure what is going on with it or Bristow right now.
Is Stornoway no longer the dedicated training base for the S92?
Snowdave on 10 Apr 2016
In reply to marko-99:

> Jim / anyone :

> Any news on the AW189?

> Are any still flying on Bristow fleet?

> The 189 is now over one year late for its entry in to SAR service, not sure what is going on with it or Bristow right now.

> Is Stornoway no longer the dedicated training base for the S92?

Please read my post above ^^^^^ from the 21st Feb...

Excerpt :-

2. FIPS (Full Icing Protection System):- Reported June 2015, Jonathan Baliff (Bristow C.E), delays to the introduction of the AW189 appear to stem from slower-than-expected certification of the required full icing protection system (FIPS) on the helicopters. “The FIPS is the primary thing we are waiting for and AW is doing everything in its power to do its testing and get the aircraft ready for service on the contract,”. Again from the flightglobal July 2015 article, Daniele Romiti (C.E of AW) says, “FIPS however, will not be ready until “mid-next year” (2016). Initial tests of the system were conducted late last year “and there are the last few points we need to confirm next winter”. From a heliukexpo article 23 September 2015 “The AW189 does not yet have sign-off for its full icing protection system (FIPS), and Bristow will not put them into service on the SAR contract as a result.” Also reported in ainonline 17 October 2015 in more detail.


So that's mid 2016 BEFORE the AW-189 has FIPS cert all going well....we are not "mid 2016" yet....
Jim Fraser - on 10 Apr 2016
In reply to Snowdave:
Unfortunately for Bristow, HM Govt know that:
- At no time was FIPS a certainty for entry into service of the AW189
- LIPS on the AW189 is good down to -10C and flight in continous snow with no time limit
- All ice protection is an advance on the previous service capability
- AW189 SAR entered service on the 1st of this month
- AW189 SAR did its first operational task on the 2nd of this month
- Ice protection is a relatively minor matter amongst a long list that Bristow have failed to get to grips with
- A management team with 24-carat rotorcraft experience, including SAR, can make this stuff work


No idea about the Stornoway training situation but G-MCGG which was the training aircraft there is now in service at Prestwick alongside G-MCGL.


14 Sikorsky S-92A SAR are delivered and in UK SAR service with Bristow. All of these aircraft are registered to Bristow. No further S-92A SAR appear in the published Sikorsky production list.

9 AgustaWestland AW189 SAR are on the register. 2 are registered to BIH for Falklands service. Of the remaining 7, all are built for Bristow for UK SAR. Only 3 are registered to Bristow and the remaining 4 are registered to AgustaWestland. It was recently reported elsewhere that all the UK SAR aircraft were laid up in a hangar at St Athan.
Post edited at 22:47
Snowdave on 11 Apr 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
I posted loads of correct & linked to info in my post 22Feb, please read it above in thread. Relevant quotes:-

> - At no time was FIPS a certainty for entry into service of the AW189

Reported June 2015, Jonathan Baliff (Bristow C.E), delays to the introduction of the AW189 appear to stem from slower-than-expected certification of the required full icing protection system (FIPS) on the helicopters. £The FIPS is the primary thing we are waiting for and AW is doing everything in its power to do its testing and get the aircraft ready for service on the The AW189 does not yet have sign-off for its full icing protection system (FIPS), and Bristow will not put them into service on the SAR contract as a result.£

> - LIPS on the AW189 is good down to -10C and flight in continous snow with no time limit

guaranteed coping with-10C ain't that good in Scotland when trying to pick people of the mountains in the full depths of winter....& you of all people should know that being in MRT in Kintail.

> - AW189 SAR entered service on the 1st of this month
> - AW189 SAR did its first operational task on the 2nd of this month

The fact that Era & AAR are accepting the AW-189 into service right now, but with £technical acceptance issues£ & £planed upgrades£ just qualifies the facts these helicopters are being delivered £not fully sorted£, & other customers are having problems with AW!

> - Ice protection is a relatively minor matter amongst a long list that Bristow have failed to get to grips with

So huge frame cracks, UK factory production line built late etc etc are Bristows fault?

> 14 Sikorsky S-92A SAR are delivered and in UK SAR service with Bristow. All of these aircraft are registered to Bristow. No further S-92A SAR appear in the published Sikorsky production list.

11 are the original "Gov contract" the other three are the ones which Bristows ordered as part of a contingence plan to take the place of the not delivered AW-189...eg at Inverness/Dalcross

Seriously, bashing Bristows AGAIN & basically stirring it up AGAIN when I posted loads of info in YOUR request for a "bomb" ...you trolling?

You told me to "be quiet" on 19 Feb, then basically admitted on the 22nd Feb "There is too much of me on this thread and now there is too much of you as well. Diversity required. "

Take your own advice for once...
Post edited at 09:39
Jim Fraser - on 11 Apr 2016
In reply to Snowdave:
"weapon fails to fire,
cock, hook and look,
rounds in the magazine, no rounds in the chamber,
working parts forward,
carry on firing, ... "



(cue - drunken monkey)
Post edited at 13:01
marko-99 - on 11 Apr 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

So I am to believe that only 3 SAR 189 have been registered by Bristow, and as Snowdave quotes "mid 2016" for FIPS certification, and as you said "It was recently reported elsewhere that all the UK SAR aircraft were laid up in a hangar at St Athan" is it not strange that Bristow have stopped all training with them? Mid 2016 is 2 months away!
marko-99 - on 11 Apr 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

Is it possible that Bristow will replace only the AW139 that are in service now and keep the extra S92 at the bases that they are at now?
Snowdave on 11 Apr 2016
In reply to marko-99:

> Is it possible that Bristow will replace only the AW139 that are in service now and keep the extra S92 at the bases that they are at now?

Depends if the Gov will allow the contract to be altered...TBO I think that "unofficially" (cough cough I never said) S92 at all AW-189 bases was mooted, but AW had to be given a chance to "fix/sort" the AW-189...

Too much up in the air (pun intended) to crystal ball gaze, if FIPS cert in June & everything else sorted then AW-189 for all bases where it was supposed to be is a good bet (but like you say, your option is also "mooted" again I did not say that..), so Inverness/Dalcross would lose the S-92 & retrain on the AW-189... however I feel they might not like giving that up!

Only real downside with the S-92 is the noise/downwash on hover...flipping blows you around....not good for picking someone off a snow covered cliff...so have to use a longer winch drop...

Main contractual considerations is if the AW-189 can meet all certs then the Gov contract can be fulfilled....just late, but contingency plans of more AW-139 & S-92 to cover for late AW-189 were put in place & acted upon as a "stop-gap"...
Jim Fraser - on 12 Apr 2016
In reply to marko-99:

An important aspect to remember is that AW139 went through similar trauma as a very new type entering SAR service with CHC eight years earlier. Now it is presented as the rock solid saviour.
Jim Fraser - on 12 Apr 2016
In reply to Snowdave:
> ... so Inverness/Dalcross would lose the S-92 & retrain on the AW-189... however I feel they might not like giving that up!


Really?

Ten helicopter Captains would retain their hearing.
Post edited at 00:38
Snowdave on 12 Apr 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> Really?

> Ten helicopter Captains would retain their hearing.

You obviously missed the line below the one you quoted from my posts so I'll rephrase a newer line...

It's a flipping big Helo, noise & downwash problems...no sh1te Sherlock....some people actually like the S-92 compared to the AW-189, however they both have advantages & disadvantages which have been discussed ad-nauseaum on this thread & others.

Anyway they won't get a choice, it will be decided from much higher up as to whether they keep the S-92, or have to retrain & get a AW-189.
Post edited at 09:36
Jim Fraser - on 13 Apr 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

> ... it will be decided from much higher up ...


You're right Snowdave, the key people at the DfT, still having a clear memory of the struggles with the AW139, the collapse of SARH25, the sleepless night during development of the GAP contract, developed the UK SAR contract to a world-class standard, and watched the AW189 enter SAR service for another department, can't wait to be p155ed all over by Bristow's management.

Snowdave on 13 Apr 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> You're right Snowdave, the key people at the DfT, still having a clear memory of the struggles with the AW139, the collapse of SARH25, the sleepless night during development of the GAP contract, developed the UK SAR contract to a world-class standard, and watched the AW189 enter SAR service for another department, can't wait to be p155ed all over by Bristow's management.

TBO even Bristows management will not know for certain as yet the final outcome as everything rests on AW & the FIPS certs & the other problems. I know that certain people were pushing for all S-92 to replace all the AW-189 because of the continued delays by AW ...BUT the stop gap plan has worked & the AW-189 is near to full cert sign off.

If the AW-189 meets the full certs etc, then I see no reason for the contract to be fulfilled...even Bristows would be happy for this as that is what they are allowed to spend the money on & that is what they have budgeted the contract bid on.

I really cannot see the reason for your statement that Bristows management is P155ing all over the DfT....
Dave B on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Bristow-s-Search-Rescue-return-Manston/story-29105418-detail/story.ht...

Search and Rescue will remain at Lydd.

Colleagues had a good familiarisation exercise with one of the Helicopters and crew last week, but I was on holiday... Next time!
Jim Fraser - on 02 May 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Most of you will have seen news of the tragic helicopter accident near Bergen. This does not have any direct influence on the UK SAR Helicopter Service. However, it is notable that during the current withdrawal from service of Norwegian and UK Super Pumas the AW189 is back in service with Bristow on O&G flights out of Norwich. The AW189 may yet become an important part of creating a more mixed resilient fleet in the North Sea. The current situation also serves to underline the need for a resilient mixed fleet in the UK SAR Helicopter Service.
marko-99 - on 08 Jun 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KxTJgPAhkA

This arrived in the UK this week, could it be put on the UK SAR fleet?
Snowdave on 08 Jun 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Looks like 3 of the Bristows helicopters, funny that they have obviously come from Italy & NOT the English factory..

Shows they still have problems there!
Snowdave on 08 Jun 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

> Looks like 3 of the Bristows helicopters, funny that they have obviously come from Italy & NOT the English factory..

> Shows they still have problems there!


Can't edit post, as just realised that they are 3 S-92 & not AW-189 whish are the ones having problems. too much alcohol ruins posting.....hehe

Anyway one SAR & two for the offshore fleet, & still no word yet on the FIPS for the AW-189 which should be around now for cert date....
Snowdave on 09 Jun 2016
In reply to marko-99:

I remembered a conversation with a certain person, so found the info on the web, clearer head now...

Those three S-92 are from the Falklands, the reg numbers in the video match those listed here:-

http://helihub.com/2016/05/06/bristow-ship-three-s92s-out-at-end-of-falkland-contract/

Also of note is that fact that Bristows has brought one S-92 from Brazil & another S-92 from Nigeria. Both to cover for the extended grounding of the EC225 fleet.

info here:-

http://helihub.com/2016/06/06/bristow-moves-one-s92-from-brazil-to-uk/

http://helihub.com/2016/05/24/bristow-brings-s92-back-from-nigeria-for-north-sea-cover/
The Ex-Engineer - on 09 Jun 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Sad news from the Cairngorms despite the best efforts of Rescue 951.

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/941730/climber-dies-after-50ft-fall-in-the-cairn...

Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) leader Willie Anderson said they received a call for assistance at around 10.30am.

...

He added that Rescue 951 had managed to recover the casualty in “very testing flying and winching conditions”.

Mr Anderson said: “The weather conditions were very misty and the location of the fallen climber was very difficult to access.

“I’m very familiar with the immediate area where this incident took place and it would have taken some remarkable flying and winching.

“Because of this the helicopter crew were able to give the man the best chance of survival.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jim Fraser - on 09 Jun 2016
In reply to marko-99:

G-CIHP is, in spite of appearances, NOT a SAR version of the S-92. It is the standard aircraft that was converted for a LIMSAR (LIMited Search And Rescue) role in the Falklands oil and gas fields.

On that basis, and the additional basis that O&G operators across the world are screaming out for large helicopters that not Super Pumas, the chances of this aircraft continuing in SAR are slim unless it finds its way into another LIMSAR role replacing a Super Puma.

G-CIHP coming back to the UK also means that BIH are out there completely on their own. There is NO BACK-UP. I think we can take that to mean that the MoD has complete faith that the AW189 SAR operation by BIH is a success and the AW189 is a viable and successful SAR aircraft.

Additionally, the Super Puma situation means that interest in the O&G AW189 is now renewed after the recent period of low oil price when nobody gave a damn about it. One might speculate that more AW189 ops in the O&G sector will have some spin-off in UK SAR since the operational and maintenance knowledge base for this aircraft model is now growing by the day.
Jim Fraser - on 09 Jun 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Good work from Rescue 948 (Stornoway, GAPSAR) during this operation.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-36469640
Unfortunately, the missing person has not yet been found.

We should recognise that in the hot conditions that have been the norm in the NW Highlands for many days, the old-school Sea Kings and S-61 would have struggled massively and we would have had trouble deploying teams by helicopter.
Jim Fraser - on 09 Jun 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

> ... still no word yet on the FIPS for the AW-189 which should be around now for cert date....

FIPS is not the main issue. It's just a distraction to make you, and your mates in the ops room, think that it's not a management cock-up after all. Only on very rare occasions would the spec for the LIPS fitted on the FI SAR machines not be sufficient for Scottish conditions.
marko-99 - on 10 Jun 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Thanks Jim, I knew it was brought here from the Falklands but just wondered if it could be kitted out and added to the UK SAR fleet, I noticed it had no FLIR ball on its nose so it must have been a LIM SAR airframe, but as Snowdave mentioned the gap left by the H225 means it will probably be filled by it and the other two that arrived with it.

If the AW189 gets its FIPS in the next couple of months is it not strange that Bristow still has them all sitting up in a hanger and not out there training with them?
Jim Fraser - on 10 Jun 2016
In reply to marko-99:

The next few months could be really interesting at Bristow. There are a few signs here and there that the honeymoon may be over. Not all bad news though: I didn't have to walk off the hill on Wednesday!

The training load for three types will already have stretched resources. The additional S-92s will have cost a bob or two. We're over a year in now and to bring AW189 into service may mean some people repeating training. Then one might speculate that there will be lessons learned and reconfiguration of role equipment based on the feedback from the BIH experience (through AW or otherwise) followed by testing and more training load. Additional transition team costs inevitably result. This is at a time when the oil and gas downturn and 225 grounding are hitting hard and the corporate themes for 2016 have been cost cutting and financial flexibility.

It is possible that at some stage they convinced themselves that they'd get away with using AW139 permanently and slope shoulders onto AW. If they did then that was definitely a mistake now that the AW189 SAR is an established SAR aircraft in British jurisdiction (FI). I can't see how the DfT are not going to demand the specified and contracted service level. Fortunately, according to Mr Baliff's numbers, there is $115 million waiting to be spent on the remaining AW189s. I expect (!) there may be a few changes in the timetable and some people will get shifted around to make the whole thing work.

Bristow are currently doing SAR in six territories around the world but this is the only territory where they have public sector contracts. UK SAR is a flagship operation and big enough to be very significant in the accounts (11% of FY2016 revenue?). (The UK as a whole also remains the largest fleet in Bristow.) In spite of all that has been put in their way recently, and a share price that has followed the oil price toward the gutter, these guys are still making money. Their financial forecasting expects "Declining FY17 capex requirements as U.K. SAR implementation completes". As O&G revenue sinks, their other activities are expanding to fill a portion of the gap. They are not going broke. I don't need to feel guilty about not walking off. ;-)



Snowdave on 17 Jun 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> FIPS is not the main issue. It's just a distraction to make you, and your mates in the ops room, think that it's not a management cock-up after all. Only on very rare occasions would the spec for the LIPS fitted on the FI SAR machines not be sufficient for Scottish conditions.

Funny that from what I know from the "inside" & all the press releases state other problems such as AW factory delays, AW frame cracks, AW FIPS cert delays...

here's a link to a March 2016 article

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/finmeccanica-helicopters-clarifies-aw189-sar-compens-4228...

"Finmeccanica Helicopters has clarified it has compensated Bristow Helicopters for the late service entry of the search and rescue (SAR) variant of the AgustaWestland AW189"


Jim Fraser - on 17 Jun 2016
In reply to Snowdave:

Yes Dave. AW are stumping up. I posted about who was paying for the AW139 stand-in aircraft 19 months ago and it was confirmed by the entries in the UK aircraft register .... ...

marko-99 - on 21 Jun 2016
Jim Fraser - on 22 Jun 2016
In reply to marko-99:

It is reasonable to expect that a solution available around the end of this month will result in an implementation later in 2016.

> Posted on UKC, 25 Apr 2015
> "The plan for introduction of the AW189 is that it will be deployed first at a base with a relatively benign environment and be deployed at Scottish bases last. Aircraft will deploy with all major systems such as FIPS and AFCS SAR modes fully operational. The priority is to have it right rather than early. This means that we may be waiting for the AW189 for longer than we would like."

Probably means Lydd first.

Maybe St Athans.

Will they or won't they? Lee-on-Solent on time in April 2017? Or later?

If Lee is on time then will they slip the changeover of Sumburgh and Stornoway from GAP to MAIN back three months to smooth the resource curve? Lee is currently CHC while Sumburgh and Stornoway are already within the Bristow fold.

Last but not least, hard core SAR, Inverness and Prestwick, once they know it works. It will be interesting to watch how the whole training team and transition team dynamic pans out for the training team to end up at Inverness, as planned.


All guess-work of course.

Any better guesses?
marko-99 - on 22 Jun 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

You are right Jim, it is all guess-work. At this moment I dont think even Bristow know the full plan.

Im still not convinced we will see it in Scotland at any base. The bases that are using the AW139 at the moment (CHC and Bristow) will be the only ones that get the new chopper.
Jim Fraser - on 22 Jun 2016
In reply to marko-99:

No Marko. The muppets at the sharp end who have been sold the idea of no AW189 by middle management and have been declaring that since the autumn; as I predicted on here that they would; are not the ones who get to decide this. Neither are the middle managers whose job it was to get the team focussed on S-92 and AW139 when it was necessary.

No, this is decided by the contract and the DfT who will make Bristow stick to it. Jonathan Baliff, CEO of Bristow Group and his team in Houston have openly declared to investors and public that they have put aside $115 million for buying the other eight AW189 and have even published when those big financial hits will happen.

It's all sitting there waiting to be read on the Bristow website. Now, in the current climate where hundreds of helicopters are being mothballed across the world due to the O&G downturn, who is going to tell their investors that they will put that sort of money into new aircraft without a very very good reason?
marko-99 - on 05 Jul 2016
Jim Fraser - on 06 Jul 2016
In reply to marko-99:

Yes. Right on time. Or should that be 'as expected'. Just as Bristow are expected to accept and pay for another two AW189 SAR.

Let's take a look at the previous AW programme for an aircraft that went into SAR service and had a few problems.

Actuals for AW139
First flown: early 2001
Entered service: 2003
SAR entered service: 2007
FIPS approval: 2010
Problems: Tail rotor ice protection system, weight and running cost of ice protection, gearbox, auto modes, electrical power management, frame cracks, exhaust cracks, windscreen cracks, ...

Now if we look at what should have happened for the AW189.

Plan for the AW189
First flown: 2011
Certification: 2013
Enter service: early 2014
SAR enter service: deliver mid-2014 and commence UK SAR service spring 2015
FIPS approval: spring 2015

What could possibly go wrong?

What has actually happened is more like this.

Actuals for AW189
First flown: 2011
Certification: early 2014
Entered service: mid-2014
SAR certification: late 2014
SAR entered service: spring 2016 (AAR/BIH/ARS, FI SAR for MoD), [UK SAR: late 2016 through to mid-2018]
LIPS approval: autumn 2015
FIPS approval: mid-2016
Problems: ice protection winter development time, weight and electrical power and running cost of ice protection, auto modes, extra drag of SAR role equipment, electrical power management, frame cracks, ...




From a ppruner wit in 2008.
[Small print: Helicopters can go down as well as up. Your home may be at risk if you do not keep up to date with the certified RFM. RW&B is governed by the Authority. You should always take sensible legal advice before flight. No warranty given or implied on any free advice herewith.]
marko-99 - on 09 Jul 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

At least things are moving now, but I do wonder when training will restart on the 189 cabs?
Will Prestwick and Inverness be the last to get the AW189 cabs in 2018?
Jim Fraser - on 10 Jul 2016
In reply to marko-99:
Yes. This will be a long wait.

As quoted above and originally posted last April ...
"more benign environment"
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=558507&v=1#x8034778

Because of the requirement to have crews at Inverness and Prestwick who are ready for this, there will be a lot more moving about of aircrew during the next two years than would normally be necessary. So you might see flyers from Inverness or Prestwick down at St Athans or Lydd for six months or more during this period. You can then expect them to return as experienced AW189 flyers and ready to take a leading role in the introduction of the new aircraft when it finally makes its way north. The HR job at Bristow just became a bit harder.

The world is still watching since this is still the world's most ambitious SAR helicopter contract.

I estimate that the absolutely earliest possible time that you will see an AW189 permanently deploying to a Scottish base is October 2017. However, it would be so so easy for that to slip to October 2018.

The iSAR CBT for AW189 may not be far away since they will need training tools for Lydd and St Athans. I imagine that there might be occasional opportunities for Scottish SAR partners to see the aircraft briefly during the next 18 months. Half a dozen guys might get to put a couple of ticks in their Stage 1B. Don't hold your breath.
Post edited at 18:31
Jim Fraser - on 14 Jul 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Bristow have announced at Farnborough that Lee-on-Solent will start as per the original plan in spring 2017 with the AW189. This will be the first AW189 base.

It will be followed by
- Prestwick (!!!)
- Lydd
- St Athans
- Inverness

Limiting factors are transition team (many of whom will already be off doing other stuff!) and instructors.
Post edited at 18:14
Jim Fraser - on 29 Jul 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Oh, and that last post should have read that the announcement was by Russ Torbet who was recently appointed as Bristow's UK SAR Director.

Retired Air Commodore Torbet was a fighter pilot originally and a former RAF Lossiemouth Station Commander. He is therefore well-versed in aviation with unusual risk profiles and was part of the command chain of the previous provider.
Jim Fraser - on 07 Aug 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Iroquois mythology

Da-jo-ji, the mighty panther spirit of the west wind.
Ga-oh, spirit of the wind.
Ne-o-gah, the gentle fawn spirit of the south wind.
O-yan-do-ne, the moose spirit of the east wind.
Ya-o-gah, the destructive bear spirit of the north wind who is stopped by Ga-oh.
S-92A, great big motherf8cker wind spirit
Post edited at 00:18
Jim Fraser - on 18 Aug 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Rescue 912 out there doing what they do in part of BBC2's documentary 'Skies Above Britain', Episode 1, 'Flying Into Danger'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07pmx1q/skies-above-britain-1-flying-into-danger

Available until mid-Sep 2016.

Flying Into Danger: no kidding.
Jim Fraser - on 24 Aug 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Which helicopter?

Rescue helicopter callsigns have found their way out into the public domain as always. Those who have to use these callsigns still occasionally struggle to get a grip of which is which and maybe ARCC doesn't always send the one you expect! Anyway, this is how they are arranged. A bit messy just now but after the changes of the next 18 months it should all look ridiculously simple.

Prefix RESCUE is used during SAR taskings.

Prefix COASTGUARD is used during training and routine flights.

They are numbered by contract Lot (and therefore final aircraft type) starting in the extreme north-east and working clockwise around the UK adding 12 to the number each time. Spare callsigns in brackets.

UK SAR Lot 1 Bases (S-92A permanently)
- Sumburgh 900 (901)
- Humberside 912 (913)
- Newquay 924 (925)
- Caernarfon 936 (937)
- Stornoway 948 (949)

UK SAR Lot 2 Bases (AW189 by 2018 but S-92A and AW139 temporarily)
- Inverness 151 (152) but currently S-92A so using 951 (952)
- Lydd 163 (164)
- Lee-on-Solent 175 (176) but still on GAP-South contract with CHC using 104 (105) and due to get a Bristow AW189 next year
- St Athan 187 (188)
- Prestwick 199 (190) but currently S-92A so using 999 (990)

GAP-SOUTH
- Portland 106 Still on GAP-South contract with CHC and due to be withdrawn next year.


Additional aircraft for operational conversion use the prefix COASTGUARD with the last two letters of the aircraft registration. Thus the AW189 G-MCGM would use COASTGUARD GOLF MIKE.
Post edited at 18:09
Jon Wickham - on 11 Sep 2016
marko-99 - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Wickham:

I wonder where the extra money came from for this? Maybe Bristow asked the MOD/Gov if they had any spare Nimrod frames left? ..........We know the answer to that.
I dont think there was anything like this in the original contract specs, but it should be a good addition to the fleet.
Jim Fraser - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to marko-99:

Eastern is a Bristow subsidiary. They have been engaged in flights between the major oil and gas centres around the north sea and also ferry flights in support of crew-change helicopter flights. Since the bottom has fallen out of that market, this may well be an ideal time to go looking for an aircraft of a certain size in eastern England.

A small fleet of Cessna 400 are operated by Reconnaissance Ventures Ltd under the HM Coastguard brand for MCA Aviation as part of their pollution control operations. Since 2010, we have been told that the Cessnas are also one of the options for SAR top cover. The Jetstream appears to be an experiment in expanding the role of SAR top cover from its current low base level. This is happening at the same time as our friends in the Royal Air Force are engaging with their friends in the United States Navy to prepare for the introduction of nine Boeing P8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. As I write this, ex-Nimrod aircrew in all corners of the Empire are experiencing itchy feet in their earth-bound roles.

So, it may be that in the north and west, we may have to wait for old friends to come and watch over us from above (!) while in the south and east the Jetstream will soon be out there doing some part of that role.


"Constant Endeavour"
Post edited at 16:50
Jim Fraser - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

There are a few indicators of the process moving forward with the AW189.

There are now four aircraft registered to Bristow Helicopters Ltd and a fifth expected soon. This should have been complete a couple of months ago by some accounts. That sort of delay may not be a big hit for an operational start on 1st April 2017 as announced at Farnborough a couple of months ago.
Jon Wickham - on 29 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

A few pictures of the new HM Coastguard Jetstream.
https://www.facebook.com/CoastguardRescue900/posts/970352673110306

A bit of waffle about the AW189, with April 2017 still as the start date.
http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/eyes-to-skies-for-hm-coastguards-new.html
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jon Wickham - on 29 Sep 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

A few pictures of the new HM Coastguard Jetstream.
https://www.facebook.com/CoastguardRescue900/posts/970352673110306

A bit of waffle about the AW189, with April 2017 still as the start date.
http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/eyes-to-skies-for-hm-coastguards-new.html
Jim Fraser - on 01 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Still a bit sketchy on the CAA register about the Bristow 189s. Still looking like BHL are taking on GR and GS from AW/Leonardo which would have fitted with the financial plan. However, the change for GR does not appear to be fully processed. Could be just admin. Or not.

Still seven of them on the register, four of which are now listed as owned by BHL and the other three by AW/Leonardo.

To recap on where this is going,
- 1 required as a training aircraft, eventually for Inverness,
- 2 required for Lee-on-Solent in April 2017 so on-site for work-up from January or February,
- 2 each required for Prestwick, Lydd, St Athans and Inverness (8 a/c),
- completion expected in early 2018 (est.).

Jim Fraser - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Good work by the guys from Stornoway and news of the other type of top cover.

http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/uk-coastguard-successfully-co-ordinates.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7jBxc-ZTHk

On this occasion, top cover was provided by a Lockheed Hercules from the Royal Air Force. This is the arrangement cobbled together in the closing days and hours of Nimrod cover in 2010.
Jim Fraser - on 19 Oct 2016
Dave B on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Had a good training exercise with Lydd about a month or so ago. Simulation of casualty recovered from sea onto the beach with helicopter coming in to land on hard sand and loading as if to fly to hospital.
V noisy and good old downdraft. Had to keep hold of our equipment.
drunken monkey - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
You've probably seen them, but couple of US P8's at Lossie just now for JW. (As well as other MPA)

Probably being kept busy (As well as QRA) by the fact that Admiral Kuznetsov Carrier fleet is currently transiting south.
Post edited at 08:45
Jim Fraser - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to drunken monkey:

> You've probably seen them, but couple of US P8's at Lossie


Seen and touched mate. Briefed on SAR potential.
Jim Fraser - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Dave B:

> ... good old downdraft. Had to keep hold of our equipment.

This usefully demonstrates that high downwash is pretty much universal for modern rotorcraft. 139 is so much smaller than a S-92 but can still blow you off your feet.
drunken monkey - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Jim, as an aside - do you know what the capability of the new CG fixed wing asset is? (Think its a Jetstream 41)

Saw the presser from the CG, but it didn't have much detail over what it'd actually be capable of doing, equipment, range etc.

Cheers
Jim Fraser - on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to drunken monkey:


Not known.


Speculation?

I can't imagine anyone is going to fly a JS41 around at 120 kn and chuck liferafts out of open doors.

I don't know what comms they will fit but it won't approach Nimrod/P8 sophistication.

Location, location, location. Top priority is WHERE is the incident location. Fly out to a distant vessel and identify it before guiding a helicopter onto it. Beyond helicopter range, guide a ship onto it.

Circling above, it is much easier to deal with radio traffic with a distressed foreign crew than if you are hovering at 100' and calculating how many milligrammes of fuel will be left for a landing at a hospital pad.

I think we can sure that the extra sensor resources and comms facilities of military assets, that would enhance both land and sea SAR, will be absent.
Jim Fraser - on 24 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Interesting to see that the previous thread has had nearly 8000 views since it was archived!
Jim Fraser - on 25 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

MCA and Bristow will be at the upcoming Scottish Mountain Rescue General Meeting. Lot's of really good work has been done in the air since the last time anyone came along.
Jim Fraser - on 28 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Recently, AW189 SAR, G-MCGS changed ownership and instead of owned by AgustaWestland is shown on the register as Chartered by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. This chartered status probably reflects the internal accounting within Bristow Group.

So there are now four AW189 SAR in Bristow's hands. That is the first of the four planned stages of helicopter acquisition, shown in Bristow Group's 4th Quarter Earnings Presentation (p29) in May, complete.

3 - Already owned by Bristow
2 - June-16
2 - Sept-16
2 - Sept-17
2 - Mar-18

The current registration status is as follows.

G-MCGM - BHL (First aircraft. Milan-built. Others all Yeovil, so far.)
G-MCGN - BHL
G-MCGO - AW
G-MCGP - BHL
G-MCGR - AW (Might be next to change ownership. Might.)
G-MCGS - BHL
G-MCGT - AW

G-MCGU - Not on register. No information about build status.
G-MCGV - Not on register. No information about build status.
G-MCGW - Not on register. No information about build status.
G-MCGX - Not on register. No information about build status.

Two aircraft will be commencing service at Lee-on-Solent in April. The Lee callsign then changes to 175.

If we are to believe Russ Torbets announcement [ http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=631925&v=1#x8347003 ] then the next two aircraft, rather surprisingly, commence service at Prestwick. That should put a smile on Craig's face: right up until he has to go back to working out the logistics of the training schedule. (c/s 199)

It is not known whether the workload of changing Stornoway and Sumburgh to the MAIN contract will be sufficient to upset the AW189 programme.

The financial programme means that money is available now for the 5th and 6th aircraft but the 4th one has only recently been sorted out. Back at the office, I'm sure they're on the case.

And so it will continue, until probably summer 2018 at Inverness. The big question for me is whether I'll be too old for this by the time there is an operational AW189 at Inverness and doing jobs in Kintail!


Jim Fraser - on 30 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

At yesterday's Scottish Mountain Rescue general meeting, Russ Torbet from Bristow and Dougie MacDonald from MCA Aviation came along to talk about the helicopter provision and ARCC. There were good discussions about the service so far and news of the plans stretching across the next two years.

The ARCC changeover has been particularly pain-free. Good work by the DfT, RAF and MCA people who managed the transition arrangements.

AW189 introduction will be broadly as described above. Stakeholder engagement becomes a feature of the programme during the next few months.
Welsh Kate - on 05 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

There's an AW189 at St Athan now down for night training. The helicopter's apparently expecting to go operational in January.
Jim Fraser - on 07 Nov 2016
In reply to Welsh Kate:
> There's an AW189 at St Athan now down for night training. The helicopter's apparently expecting to go operational in January.

Well, now that's interesting. Especially since that is in line with my thoughts on this earlier in the year. See above. http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=631925&v=1#x8328336

However, last week their Director was telling me something different, so I am inclined to think that St Athans, having been a storage location and easy for access to both sea and moderately high ground, may be a work-up location for Lee-on-Solent. Since Lee is a contract changeover from another contractor, I would speculate that there may be a typical three month changeover period and they can't get into Lee officially until January.

Anybody heard anything else? Is it transition team aircrew who are flying it? Lee-on-Solent aircrew? Which aircraft?

(Unknown MMSI in the same range used by Bristow SAR a/c on AIS at St Athans late yesterday afternoon. All Bristow SAR a/c seem to be deleted from ADS-B database.)
Post edited at 10:01
Welsh Kate - on 07 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The St Athan's 139 came out to play with us on Saturday morning, and they (the St Athan's) aircrew have been doing training on the 189 for some time, and said something about going operational in January, but don't know if that was aircraft stationed at Saints or somewhere else.

The lack of undercarriage clearance on the 139 is a PITA, and with the heavier 189 it's going to be more of a problem especially on ground that isn't nice and hard. Which is quite a lot of bits of the hills!
Jim Fraser - on 07 Nov 2016
In reply to Welsh Kate:

So the ground clearance thing means landing on the hill and staying 'light on the wheels' which means a bit of power still on and us working under more downwash. Same scenario with the S-92 much of the time. The ground clearance was little different on the Sea King but it was only low along the narrow keel and power, well, there wasn't a lot and it was applied through rubbish rotors. On balance, SK to 189, there will be little difference once you are used to it since at least you don't need to lead VDiff to mantleshelf in the door of the 189 once it's landed!



Jim Fraser - on 07 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Looking at the latest Bristow Group financials, the schedule for paying for AW189s has changed.

2 aircraft in December-16
2 aircraft in September-17
3 aircraft in March-18

One aircraft is shifted out to the end (3 a/c in March 2018). This makes perfect sense since that will be the 11th, training, aircraft for Inverness. September's money for 2 a/c now delays until December 2016. This too makes some sense since they were going to end up having paid for a lot of aircraft that would not be deployed for a long time. They will end up with 6 a/c shortly as they start the programme, whittled down to 4 then 2 then zero by the time they have done St Athans (?). They then pay for the last 3 aircraft as they get ready to roll out 189 at Inverness. But by that time they know how to do it.
Welsh Kate - on 07 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Ha! I thought of it as more like doing a good impression of a walrus! I flew once on a RN SK, which had a STEP to help you get into it. How much more civilised than our canaries down here.

As for landing on - yes, they stayed light on Saturday. It means we're going to have to think more carefully about where to do the walk through prior to winching with our newbies because they do need to land on properly for that.
Jim Fraser - on 07 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

I have mentioned this previously, but at Morvich there is a line of little rises in front of the main hillside and in there is a gap where we sometimes do helicopter training.

At present, we are trying to charge through the standard tick-in-the-box training tasks. Once that's sorted, we'll do another maximum downwash one.

(Remember Max Headroom? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt56RMbpq_0 If anyone is good at animation, we need a new character called Max Downwash.)

Get the helicopter hovering over a piece of sloping ground that channels the downwash and then practise the winch, stretcher and hiline drills until everyone is so tired they can barely stand (and it's difficult to stand to start with). Once you have done that you have covered the worst case scenario and there will be no surprises during operations. (Full PPE and no rocky protrusions. Wind-blown humans rolling around are expected.)
Jim Fraser - on 09 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:
One of the Bristow winch ops who has been working at Stornoway is now newly working at St Athans with the AW189 G-MCGS (the newest of the Bristow aircraft).

He has posted a picture of GS on the ground in the hills (looks like Brecons to me: over to Kate!)
https://twitter.com/glendog74/status/794575815384174592
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CwbmdJ_XEAEg6m7.jpg
Post edited at 22:54
Welsh Kate - on 10 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Yep, looks like the bwlch between Pen y Fan and Cribyn. We saw a Coastguard AW flying around on Friday morning when out hiding for SARDA assessments, I wonder if that's who it was!
Jon Wickham - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

"Lt Lightfoot now planned to put the aircraft itself into the branches of the trees, enabling the aircrewman to be lowered directly through the branches using the aircrewman's own weight to force a way through"

http://www.bristowgroup.com/bristow-news/latest-news/2016/bristows-bullock-and-speed-recognized-prin...

That is ballsy!
Jim Fraser - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Jon Wickham:

That'll be where the expression winch-weight comes from.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Jim Fraser - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

In a strange twist, the first Yeovil-built AW189, s/n 92001, originally an SAR aircraft, G-MCGN on the UK SAR contract, was re-registered a few days ago as G-CJNV and has appeared in O&G guise at Aberdeen.

Of the six remaining AW189 SAR, only three are registered to BHL and the other three still AW/Leonardo.

Lee-on-Solent work-up starts soon followed shortly thereafter by Prestwick (two per base) so presumably another handover is due soon.

(Yeovil has produced a helicopter for a normal commercial operation. Whoa, scary!)
Jim Fraser - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Welsh Kate:

> ... ... I flew once on a RN SK, which had a STEP to help you get into it. How much more civilised than our canaries down here.


The navy, civilised? I think you mean convenient Kate.

Civilised is getting into an RAF Sea King with a prepared thermal mug, grabbing a seat up the front and using the water boiler to make a nice hot cup of tea on the flight back to base.




Jim Fraser - on 07 Dec 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

By the time the AW189 is fully in service, it will be time to think about the next contract. Lot 2 transition out is programmed to start at Inverness in March 2023, just 5 years after the planned aircraft enters service there.

I expect they'll use the contract extension clause (up to two years).

Somebody at the DfT has probably been thinking this stuff through already. It would not surprise me if discussions with Bristow about the 189 have included the options for transition out.

One of the subjects that arises once we start thinking about this stuff is whether the spec and regulatory framework need updated for the next contract.

- Does the two-type format produce the desired capability and flexibility?
- Are there sensor, avionics and radio comms advances that need to find their way into the spec?
- Is the CAP 999 solution and its implementation producing the best operational results and can we expect that to continue?
- Should SAR Technical Crew be a licensed aviation trade?
- Would it be a good idea to mention DOGS in the contract this time? (Duh!)

Jon Wickham - on 10 Dec 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Search and rescue helicopter statistics: July to September 2016 released

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/search-and-rescue-helicopter-statistics-july-to-september-2...
Jim Fraser - on 17 Dec 2016
In reply to Jon Wickham:

One of the really good things about the new regime is the quality and comprehensiveness of the publicly available reporting. The MoD-DASA stuff was good but defence orientated and although a small amount of MCA information occasionally appeared in DASA reports, nobody ever took responsibility for delivering the full picture. That was in spite of the NAO and others raising the issue as far back as 1998 and 2001.

The new reports seem to be settling down now in terms of content, presentation and periodicity.

Jim Fraser - on 25 Dec 2016
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The money for two more AW189 is available from Bristow Group this month. What one might expect to happen is that during the early months of 2017, as the work-up for Lee-on-Solent and Prestwick moves forward, G-MCGO and G-MCGT will be accepted into the ownership of Bristow Helicopters Limited. This will allow the four aircraft already accepted to be assigned to Lee and Prestwick while having two aircraft available for on-going aircrew training in preparation for deployment at Lydd and St Athans.

The next tranche of money for two helicopters will be available from September 2017. There is no detailed indication at this time of how this will relate to the deployments at Lydd and St Athans. No aircraft for this yet appear on the register. Leonardo (AW) might be expected to be working on those during the spring and summer of 2017 after having finished upgrade on existing aircraft. (We should remain suspicious about how British the remaining aircraft will be!)

What is clear is that Lee will change to Bristow with AW189 before service is discontinued at Portland at the end of June 2017. That puts Lee in a good position to take on some of Portland's workload. St Athans will be taking on most of the remainder while facing a change of aircraft in the succeeding months. Of course, the change from AW139 to AW189 is nowhere near as great a change as that faced by Prestwick and Inverness with their S-92.



Jim Fraser - on 05 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air (QCBA)
(Royal Air Force service)
Neil Clements (now Bristow Caernarfon)
Sean Proctor (now Bristow Inverness)

Queen’s Gallantry Medal (QGM)
(Fleet Air Arm service)
Alan Speed (now Bristow Inverness)

http://bristowgroup.com/bristow-news/latest-news/2016/uk-sar-crews-honoured-queen/


THE FUTURE?
Written to a cabinet member in April 2013.
"FLYING AWARDS. At this time, when we are changing all UK SAR helicopters to civilian aircrew, perhaps it is time to review the awards that are available in the case of outstanding acts by SAR aircrew. I am aware that the George Medal has previously been awarded to civilian SAR aircrew and that the Queen's Commendation for Bravery in the Air may be awarded to civilian aircrew. However, I would be grateful if you would ask someone to review these matters so that, as a nation, we are no less able to express our appropriate gratitude and admiration to SAR aircrew in this new age."
Name Changed 34 - on 07 Jan 2017
drunken monkey - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Hi Jim - I'm hearing from a mate that all S-92 have now been grounded to the recent tail rotor incident offshore.

Not had this confirmed 100%, but this will have massive impact offshore. Not sure if SAR will be affected.
Welsh Kate - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to drunken monkey:

Doesn't look like it'll have a huge impact:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-38568615
Jim Fraser - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
A mandatory inspection has been ordered in a manufacturer's Alert Safety Bulletin requiring a global fleet-wide inspection of the Tail Rotor Pitch Change Bearing. Increased monitoring of the data from the aircraft's Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) is also required. The mandatory inspection takes several hours and is causing delays across the world today.

SAR IMPACT?
All S-92 including SAR aircraft are affected. However, statistically, Tuesday is a very slow day for helicopter SAR in the UK and peak callout time is not until the afternoon. The overall impact is therefore likely to be very low.

The effect on SAR helicopter provision is exactly the reason that the Department for Transport wrote the contract in such a way that two helicopter types were required. Because of the long delay in AW189 deployment, this morning, only Wales and the south coast of England had full SAR helicopter provision (AW139). 106 has been out around the Plymouth area this afternoon.

BACKGROUND
An Emergency Airworthiness Directive concerning the Tail Rotor Pitch Change Shaft and bearing had been issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration in November 2016.

I heard of two safety incidents with S-92 in December 2016. Most notably, an incident on 28th December 2016 involving a S-92 belonging to CHC which landed spectacularly, but without injury, on an offshore platform after loss of tail rotor control.

The Super Puma used to do most of the work in the North Sea fleet. Because of that it had most of the accidents. The Super Puma is currently out of the picture and the pressure is very much upon the S-92. So guess what? The S-92 was built by fallible human beings too and it was always going to be the case that if it was forced to do most of the work then it would end up having most of the accidents. Hopefully, we can see some Super Puma's back in the air before that scenario plays out to its fullest extent.

What the press are happy to ignore when in search of a story is that previous generations of large helicopter types killed hundreds of people over the years and H225 and S-92 are the leaders of a brave new world of rotorcraft safety.
Post edited at 15:31
Jim Fraser - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The Sikorsky document has not yet escaped into the wild and the exact protocol for lifesaving flight is not yet known.
Jim Fraser - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Here is the AAIB report on the S-92 accident of 28th December 2016 that has prompted the current inspection requirement. Makes interesting reading.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/587640a9ed915d0aeb00013f/AAIB_S1-2017_G-WNSR.pdf

If at first you don't f3ck up then try try try again.
1. HUMS data showing that the limits for this bearing had been breached were available the night before.
2. The flight crew experienced a control failure at the previous rig but attributed it gusts and kept going.
3. The operator, regulator and manufacturer have taken two weeks to get their act together.

All's well that ends well?

Eh, well, similar events were taking place about a decade ago.
Jim Fraser - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) yesterday issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) concerning the tail rotor pitch change shaft (TRPCS) assembly bearing.

DATE: January 13, 2017
AD #: 2017-02-51

The bearing concerned is a double row angular contact bearing supporting part of the mechanism that controls the tail rotor pitch in response to pilot rudder pedal inputs. The purpose of the double angular contact features of the bearing is to allow for some slight mis-alignment between the tail rotor pitch change controls and the tail rotor gearbox output shaft. It is inside the assembly illustrated in the photograph at the following internet address.
http://www.b-domke.de/AviationImages/Cyclone/Images/S-92A_OY-HKA_29051.jpg

Here is a illustration and description from a far smaller and simpler type of helicopter with a slightly different type of bearing that performs a similar function.
http://enstromhelicopter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Enstrom-Tail-Rotor-Pitch-Change-Bearings.pdf

This bearing, and one of the related part numbers (92358-06303-041), was also the subject of a FAA AD issued in August of 2007 (AD #: 2007-17-05) requiring one-time boroscope inspection. The priorities were slightly different in that earlier AD. However, this is clearly far too long a story.


Jim Fraser - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
This week in some very summery Falklands weather a little bit of British helicopter and SAR history played out. Yellow SAR Force Sea King XZ593 was flown from Mount Pleasant to Stanley where it will eventually be cared for in a museum.
http://www.falklands-museum.com/sea-king-har-mk3-.html

XZ593 (HAR3 of 1978 vintage) is thought to have been involved in the earning of one GM and two or more AFC during its long SAR career. It is a veteran of Ascension, Leconfield, Lossiemouth (and on extended display in Coire an t-Sneachda), Valley, Mount Pleasant and more.
http://www.airfighters.com/photo/149746/L/UK-Air-Force/Westland-Sea-King-HAR-3/XZ593/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/6332881.stm

Though probably the last time a yellow SAR Sea King will take to the air, it did not make the journey under its own power. With rotors removed it was slung underneath none other than 'The Survivor', Chinook Bravo November, ZA718 (1981, now upgraded to Mk4), that has at least four DFCs to its name and believed to be the most decorated aircraft in RAF history.
Post edited at 16:51
drunken monkey - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Did they buy it off Ebay Jim ? (Sneachda special)
Jim Fraser - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The trade in yellow Sea Kings during the last year or so has been quite interesting. A few going to museums and displays of one sort or another. Three of the 3A's have gone to Norway to provide spares for the Mk 43 aircraft that are still providing SAR cover at Norway's SAR bases until the new Merlins arrive (in progress).
Jim Fraser - on 17 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
AW189 UPDATE

As expected, two aircraft were newly accepted by Bristow during the last few weeks. G-MCGO AND G-MCGR.

G-MCGM - BHL (First aircraft. Milan-built. Others all Yeovil, so far.)
St Athans.
Not seen for weeks. Hundreds of hours on this aircraft though.

G-MCGN - BHL
Re-registered as G-CJNV, stripped of SAR equipment, and in regular use for O&G crew change, probably until late 2017.

G-MCGO - BHL (to BHL on register on 6th January 2017)
St Athans.
In recent use around airfield and Bristol Channel.

G-MCGP - BHL
St Athans.
In recent use around airfield and Bristol Channel. Based on recent activity, and its hours, this is a possible candidate for deployment at Lee-on-Solent.

G-MCGR - BHL (to BHL on register on 13th December 2016)
Flown from St Athans to Yeovil a few days ago.

G-MCGS - BHL
St Athans.
One of the aircraft destined for use at Lee-on-Solent from 1st April 2017 and in regular use for work-up training. Out over the sea off the Isle of Wight and Shoreham in darkness at 300 feet this evening and landed at Lee a few minutes ago.

G-MCGT - AW
Yeovil.
Still belongs to Leonardo Helicopters (AgustaWestland). Been flying out of Yeovil in recent days. Not expected to transfer to BHL until the later part of this year.
Post edited at 20:06
Jim Fraser - on 30 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Two years ago, one S-92 had deployed to each of Inverness and Humberside in preparation for the commencement of service in April, and AAR with the assistance of BIH and ARS had just won the Falkland Island SAR contract with the AW189.

Look how far things have come.

Yet a few still think there is not an equivalent service. It's true though. No hydraulic oil dripping in your lap, no rotor brake faults, no starting problems, no helicopters lifted off hills by Chinook, no long trips round Cape Wrath or Ardnamurchan to avoid icing, no cabin filling with smoke, no days with one serviceable aircraft in the fleet, and who doesn't miss the smell of leaking AVTUR when you are weary and already a bit air-sick.

It could be nearly another two years before every aspect of the UK SAR contract is implemented. Meanwhile, a huge amount of good work is being done.
The Ex-Engineer - on 30 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser: Nice post Jim. Always good to have a bit of perspective.

Whilst it is always good to be worried about changes for changes sake or purely ideologically driven changes, with SAR that was never really the case. The aircraft were clapped out and modern SAR had no relevance to the military meaning major upheavals were inevitable.

My concern these days is certainly not about the helicopters, it is more about the ever increasing workload on major MR teams. There have recently been another selection of highly questionable decisions by climbers and hillwalkers as well as "tourists" leading to rescues.



Jim Fraser - on 31 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

And something else that should be said about 2015 is the manner in which SAR Force and the Fleet Air Arm SAR flights performed in the closing days.

In the spring of 2010, I wrote in a letter to Danny Alexander that "No Sea King pilot is likely to tell you the complete truth about aircraft capability. They will make the old heap fly even if they have to flap their own arms to do it".


END OF ACT ONE
On the morning of 1st April 2015, Rescue 137, with Stu Reeks (OC D Flight) in command and Ian Campbell AFC as co-pilot, was still engaged in an operation with Lochaber MRT on Ben Nevis. Rescue 951 arrived on-scene and a hot handover took place before 137 headed back to Lossiemouth for the last time.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/59398793@N03/16999943042/

THE FINAL CURTAIN
The Fleet Air Arm marked their end of service by earning a QGM and an AFC during a rescue operation on their second last day. Note that these awards are for the guys in the back: the AFC is for the Observer and the QGM for the winchman.
http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/hm-coastguard-winchman-paramedic-alan.html

Welsh Kate - on 31 Jan 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Worth reading the citation.
Jim Fraser - on 01 Feb 2017
In reply to Welsh Kate:

> Worth reading the citation.

Not a dry eye in the house.
Paul Evans - on 01 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Only just noticed this. That's deeply flipping impressive, thanks for posting Jim, I missed this at the time.
Jim Fraser - on 03 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:


Former POACM Alan Speed QGM states his job on his facebook page as "Air Hostess at Bristow Group" which is somewhat reminiscent of my 'Trolley dolly in drysuit' stab at the CAA's approach to rearcrew ('SAR Technical Crew').
Post edited at 00:01
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jim Fraser - on 09 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

G-MCGO off out to play in the hills this morning perhaps. Look up Kate!
Jim Fraser - on 20 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> G-MCGO off out to play in the hills this morning perhaps. ...

Out to play around Lee-on-Solent most of the time now so we can see how that's squaring up. GO and GS.

It usually takes a few months before the pattern of crewing has settled down. Less for 139 transferring to 189, so by the middle of this year we might guess the entire transition process will be complete for Lee-on-Solent. By then the focus will have changed to Prestwick and 189 will be getting its first taste of bigger hills.
Welsh Kate - on 20 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Met some Coasties at a public event at the weekend and sounds like hands-on training with the 189 is starting soon for them. Not sure when we'll get to play yet!
Jim Fraser - on 21 Feb 2017
In reply to Welsh Kate:

Maybe more 189 news in the next few days.

Regarding the Coasties, it would be interesting to learn if the training tasks for our maritime friends are any different from the 6 cabin briefing tasks and 4 live flying tasks that MR do. Is there a CG Rescue Service or Lifeboat training person out there who could put us right on that.
John2 - on 22 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

I'm a coastguard, and familiarisation with the new helicopters has been very basic - along the lines of, 'Don't approach from behind otherwise the tail rotor will get you'. We had a joint session with the local lifeboat where a couple of lifeboat people were winched into the helicopter from a field and lowered down again, but that was the extent of it.
Dave B on 22 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Have 2 familiarisation exercises last year. One it landed and we had a look round. The other was sim cas rescue from beach. Dead Fred didn't survive ;-o
Lifeguard not boat.

Local Boats have both had exercises.
Big day/night exercise last year. With both boats doing search patterns with helicopter assistance.
Post edited at 17:20
Jim Fraser - on 26 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:


AW 189 SAR, G-MCGS, visited Birnam on Saturday and met with attendees at the Scottish Mountain Rescue General Meeting during periods throughout the day.

It was great to see this aircraft and its crew in a mission-ready state and get a hand-on feel for how things are going to work. Blackhawk-sized cabin without the obstructive kit you normally see in Pavehawks and Jayhawks.

https://www.facebook.com/ScottishMountainRescue/videos/1245801252124031/

Some of us will be meeting up with GS again later this morning.



(To say I am pleased to have been part of making the dots join up on this one is an understatement.)
Post edited at 01:52
Jim Fraser - on 03 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

MCA reporting for Q4 2016 showing the first full year of an all-civilian service.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/search-and-rescue-helicopter-statistics-october-to-december...
Welsh Kate - on 10 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

MCA video of callout with us last Sunday
https://www.facebook.com/MCA/videos/1290185564352556/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

Great flying and heck of a winch - and they did it twice.

We are also managing to get some training exercises in with St Athan, not just familiarisation and the live flying tasks. It may help that we have a base just down the road and so have the face to face meetings we struggled to have when the RAF was the other side of the Severn, but, it's generally going pretty well down here.
Jim Fraser - on 15 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Yesterday's S-92 crash near Blacksod in County Mayo will have hit many in the SAR community hard. Several of the aircrew serving with Bristow on UK SAR Helicopter Service contract have worked on the Irish contract and many will know the crew of R116 well. (Aircraft EI-ICR previous served at Sumburgh as Oscar Charlie (G_CGMU) from 2007 to 2013.)

The aircraft was Back-up/Top Cover for another aircraft during the rescue of an injured crewman from a British fishing boat out in the Atlantic. As often happens with rescues far out in the Atlantic, by UK or Eire assets, refuelling at Blacksod was being used before heading out to sea.

Reports indicate that the aircraft was on approach to Blacksod when the accident occurred. An AIS track is available and shows departure from Dublin, crossing the country and turning around as if to head for Blacksod. The signal is lost just after quarter to one this morning near a small island called Black Rock.

The S-92 is subject to a special inspection regime related to a tail rotor bearing problem. Specialist SAR aircraft undertake challenging flying missions but generally do not undergo the intense usage often associated with rotorcraft mechanical failures.

Although the recent worries about tail rotor bearings might seem to point to mechanical failure, it is far too early to tell. In the circumstances of this flight, at night in imperfect visibility, a common mode of accident is CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) when pilots become disorientated, or fail to monitor automated systems thoroughly, when getting nearer the surface of the land or sea and simply fly into it. This was the mode of error in the Sumburgh accident with the Super Puma 332L2 (G-WNSB, 2013) and in other North Sea accidents. There are no indicators for loss of directional control in the AIS track and no aircraft Mayday. ADS-B picked the aircraft up rather unreliably as it crossed the country (full ADS-B kit not fitted) and last recorded it as it crossed the Ballycroy hills at about 3500 feet but there is a no track at the accident location to give more aeronautical indicators of the circumstances. NVG is a recent addition to the Irish S-92 SAR fleet and I have no information about goggles during this flight.

A very large proportion of recent accidents to large rotorcraft in nearby territories have happened with CHC aircraft. It is possible that this is pure coincidence. Other companies have had really bad runs of luck in the past.

CFIT looks more likely at present than a mechanical fault and therefore no additional risk to SAR users is currently indicated.
Post edited at 14:29
Snowdave on 15 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> Yesterday's S-92 crash near Blacksod in County Mayo .The S-92 is subject to a special inspection regime related to a tail rotor bearing problem. Specialist SAR aircraft undertake challenging flying missions but generally do not undergo the intense usage often associated with rotorcraft mechanical failures.Although the recent worries about tail rotor bearings might seem to point to mechanical failure, it is far too early to tell. . Other companies have had really bad runs of luck in the past.CFIT looks more likely at present than a mechanical fault and therefore no additional risk to SAR users is currently indicated.

I know from my direct inside friend that the CHC S-92 which had a "spin" on the oil rig platform, was due to the CHC mechanics NOT carrying out the required checks after each flight...

There is the HUMS which logs all sensors etc inc the tail rotor etc, & is supposed to be checked after every flight/day (can't remember exact). I can't remember EXACTLY, but either they did not check it after the previous day or did & ignored it, but the upshot was that the "recall" notice was reiterating the basic checks, eg check the HUMS, & for a one off visual inspection just incase somebody had ignored a HUMS message & wiped the log.

This logging shows a big spike in the readings when the tail rotor starts to play up

http://www.offshoreenergytoday.com/report-sikorsky-grounds-all-s92-helis-after-rough-north-sea-landi...

CHC are the ones with problems....not the helios...
Jim Fraser - on 15 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

It is reported that the main wreckage of EI-ICR, including data recorders, has recently been discovered very near to Black Rock. A vessel with heavy lift capability is making its way to the scene.
Snowdave on 15 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Copy in open circulation on the web of the "inspections" required after the S-92 "spin"

An FAA Emergency Airworthy Directive has been issued for some Sikorsky S-92As. It is limited to all models with tail rotor pitch change shafts that have less than 80 hours time in service. The AD also requires that any such shaft assembly with less than five hours time in service since new or overhaul be removed from service.
The Nov. 18 issuance follows a report of an operator losing tail rotor control while hovering. Signs of excessive heat were found in a preliminary investigation, which helped determine that binding in the tail rotor pitch change shaft assembly’s double row angular contact bearing was the cause. As required by the emergency AD, all tail rotor pitch change shaft assemblies that have five or more hours time in service receive a one-time borescope and visual inspection of the area in question to determine the condition of the bearings.
Such inspections should for items like damaged bearings and seals, purged grease with any metallic particles from the bearings and radial play in the bearings. Correct installation of the white Teflon seals, snap rings, and cotter pin should also be checked, as well as determination of whether there is free rotation in the angular contact bearing.
These inspections are required within 20 hours time in service or before reaching 80 hours (whichever comes first) for pitch change shaft assemblies with more than 15 hours time in service. All defective tail rotor pitch change shafts should then be removed before aircraft are put back into service. Alternate methods of compliance may be proposed.

http://www.rotorandwing.com/2016/11/22/faa-issues-s-92-emergency-ad/

Found the info I stated previously on the open web:-
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/587640a9ed915d0aeb00013f/AAIB_S1-2017_G-WNSR.pdf

Quote:- "The HUMS used by the operator for this helicopter was the Integrated Mechanical Diagnostic HUMS (IMD-HUMS)2. A routine download of the HUMS was performed on the evening of 27 December 2016 and the helicopter was released to service. A detailed analysis of the data, conducted after the accident, showed that the Tail Gearbox Bearing Energy Analysis limit had been exceeded on 27 December 2016. ""

So WTF is CHC doing???
Jim Fraser - on 16 Mar 2017
In reply to Snowdave:

I think I covered the AD, ASB and AAIB report for G-WNSR here back in January.

Remember that the tail rotor problem is not entirely new. This is a ten year old problem. One might speculate that the traditional Sikorsky teflon coating, plus an extra teflon coating from their untouchable new masters Lockheed Martin, has been protecting them for some time.

CHC certainly could come under some scrutiny. In the USA they working through the bankruptcy procedure, though CHC Scotia and CHC Ireland are partially insulated from that, they are still affected. Having said that, there are few helicopter companies heavily involved in O&G crew change that are in a happy place at present.

Jim Fraser - on 22 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Searches with underwater cameras have positively identified the main part of the wreckage of Rescue 116 at Black Rock today. It might be expected that this will soon lead to the recovery of the CVFDR (Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder) that in turn should give more clarity on the root to this tragic accident.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0322/861598-mayo-helicopter-crash/
Toerag - on 23 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Not sure if it's related, but there was supposed to be an exercise here in Guernsey with a UK coastguard chopper which has been postponed:- "Regretfully Thursday’s helicopter visit has been cancelled. The MCA have stated that the aircraft require some urgent modifications before they begin service at the beginning of April."
Toerag - on 24 Mar 2017
Jim Fraser - on 24 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Just one week to go before the AW189 enters service at Lee-on-Solent as Coastguard 175/Rescue 175.

This is not a date chosen by Bristow but one long since cast in stone by the end of the GAP-South contract with CHC. The remaining part of the GAP-South contract is the operation of a CHC AW139 at Portland until the end of June 2017.

Toerag's post of an MCA reference to modifications is more than likely not very significant. We know that the AW189 has been getting lots of development love and care from Leonardo Helicopters at Yeovil and this will be more of the same. Could be as simple as a software update (it's not on Google Play!!). Some hardware bits and bobs are quite new concepts too and need a bit of tweaking here and there.

So at the end of next week GO and GS will become Coastguard 175/Rescue 175, or secondary callsign 176, operating out of Lee-on-Solent on the same contract as the seven existing Bristow main contract bases. At the same time, the Bristow GAP-North base at Sumburgh will change fairly seamlessly to the main contract.

Sumburgh and Stornoway already operate in the manner of the MAIN contract, with CAP 999 regulatory standards and NVG.
Welsh Kate - on 24 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Fingers crossed that all goes well as the 189 comes into service. We've had some superb flying from the 139 crews in our area and having a slightly larger airframe will certainly help them with the Bell!
Jim Fraser - on 24 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

SUMMARY 2017

1st April 2017
Lee-on-Solent
End of service for CG/R104(105): two AW139 operated by CHC on the GAP-South contact, 2013-2017.
Commencement of service for CG/R175(176): two AW189 operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd on Lot 2 of the MAIN contract 2015-2026. This is a significant step up in capability compared to the GAP provision.

1st April 2017
Sumburgh
Transfer of service for CG/R900(901), two S-92A operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd on the GAP-North contact, 2013-2017, to the Lot 1 of the MAIN contract 2015-2026, also operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. There is no change in capability involved with this change. During the AW189 roll-out, four S-92A with a newer specification will become available from Prestwick (GG & GL) and Inverness (GF & GI) and two of those will transfer to Sumburgh.

30th June 2017
Portland
End of service for CG/R106: one AW139 operated by CHC on the GAP-South contact, 2013-2017. No replacement service willbe present at this base. This is a controversial step in the Dorset area. However, St Athans is 60nm away and Lee-on-Solent is 50nm away. Newquay is 100nm away and Lee is backed up by Lydd which is a further 80nm east. The numbers make sense and I am not seeing a problem. The reality is that not everybody can have a helicopter in their backyard and if they did then there would be even more complaints!

1st July 2017
Stornoway
Transfer of service for CG/R948(949), two S-92A operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd on the GAP-North contact, 2013-2017, to the Lot 1 of the MAIN contract 2015-2026, also operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. There is no change in capability involved with this change. During the AW189 roll-out, four S-92A with a newer specification will become available from Prestwick (GG & GL) and Inverness (GF & GI) and two of those will transfer to Stornoway. Stornoway was due to be the training base for S-92 and G-MCGG was originally used for that purpose. The future of the training aircraft plan is not known.

Summer 2017
Prestwick
Transfer of service for CG/R999(990) to CG/R199(190): two S-92A operated as part of the stand-in programme at Lot 2 bases are replaced by two AW189, as originally contracted for this base. Operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. G-MCGG & GL will be redeployed to one of the former GAP-North bases.

Autumn 2017
Lydd
Transfer of service for CG/R163(164): two AW139 operated as part of the stand-in programme at Lot 2 bases are replaced by two AW189, as originally contracted for this base. Operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd.

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

UK Search and Rescue Helicopter Services, 2011/S 233-377518
Lot 3 (Lot 1 and Lot 2)
Estimated value excluding VAT: Range between: 2,000,000,000 and 3, 100,000,000 GBP
Award value excluding VAT (Bristow Helicopters Ltd: 1, 600,000,000 GBP
This £1.6bn represented an estimated 80% of total costs at the start. The drop in the price of oil (jet fuel 30 to 50% drop) during 2014 and 2015 may have changed the original outlook for total costs by a few bob.
Post edited at 21:30
Jim Fraser - on 24 Mar 2017
In reply to Welsh Kate:

> Fingers crossed that all goes well as the 189 comes into service. We've had some superb flying from the 139 crews in our area and having a slightly larger airframe will certainly help them with the Bell!

The cabin is both longer and wider. No doubt the best way of operating with this configuration will emerge through time but the way things look right now is that two stretchers (part of the requirement in the contract specification) can be placed in the cabin in either orientation. And yes, there is room for typical MR stretchers. So door open, slide them in, door shut, gone, job done. Easier than both 139 and S-92.
Jim Fraser - on 31 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Bristow have commenced service at Lee-on-Solent with the Leonardo AW189 today at the 1300h shift change.
http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/lee-on-solent-starts-flying-with-new.html?view=classic
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/aw189-helicopter-finally-enters-uk-sar-service-435765/

CHC on the GAP-South contract now only have Portland with one AW139 (CG104) which discontinues service at the end of June.


As I write this, G-MCGS is in the air off Hayling Island and the Southsea area sqauwking 0023 which is SAR operational. The squawk implies it is c/s R175 on its first real job.



Post edited at 15:00
Toerag - on 31 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

>PortlandEnd of service for CG/R106: one AW139 operated by CHC on the GAP-South contact, 2013-2017. No replacement service willbe present at this base. This is a controversial step in the Dorset area. However, St Athans is 60nm away and Lee-on-Solent is 50nm away. Newquay is 100nm away and Lee is backed up by Lydd which is a further 80nm east. The numbers make sense and I am not seeing a problem. The reality is that not everybody can have a helicopter in their backyard and if they did then there would be even more complaints!

It will be interesting to see how this goes - Dorset / Solent areas are mentally busy with both leisure & commercial shipping and I can foresee a lot of calls on the neighbouring choppers mentioned in summer. It could actually be these choppers' 'home' areas that lose out- it'll take a while to get back for a shout if they're in mid-channel. There are also French SAR choppers but I don't know what the coverage agreement is for those - as the Lee-on Solent chopper was down here on exercise I suspect UK choppers are expected to cover UK waters including those in the Channel Isles.
Jim Fraser - on 31 Mar 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

CORRECTION

In the post above, the Portland callsign should be ... CG106 ... and not 104.


Jim Fraser - on 31 Mar 2017
In reply to Toerag:
In the assessment documents for the 10 base solution, the south coast hotspots are the most intense with respect to the number of jobs. That is why there is 230nm between Lydd and Newquay and then you have Lee-on-Solent in the middle of it.

Compare this with the east coast. Colder water. Thousands of people at work every day on fishing boats and offshore installations. Lot's of mountainous and wild country inland. Yet, there is 270nm between Inverness and Humberside bases.

Let's be realistic about those south coast jobs. R175 has spent the last hour (it's 1600h) out there flying a pattern off Portsmouth harbour and that's 6nm from base. CG106 just made a quick visit to Lee a few minutes ago: ADS-B clocked it at 163 knots. Many jobs are coastal, or not far out, and easy to re-deploy if something else that is scored more important comes in. We now have super-fast and reliable aircraft that can make their way to the next base in a few minutes.

No south coast 189 is going to be refuelling at lighthouses and flying out into open ocean for 200nm like Newquay or Stornoway.

There used to many many more bases years ago (50s to 70s) but that was because helicopters couldn't go 30 miles without breaking down.
Post edited at 16:08
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Jim Fraser - on 16 Apr 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

SPRING REVIEW!

Leonardo AW189
G-MCGO - BHL - Operational at Lee-on-Solent (CG175/176)
G-MCGS - BHL - Operational at Lee-on-Solent (CG175/176)

G-MCGM - BHL (Milan-built.) - St Athans
G-MCGN - BHL - Temporarily re-registered as G-CJNV and doing crew-change out of ABZ.
G-MCGP - BHL - Usually St Athans, but flew to Yeovil on Thursday
G-MCGR - BHL - St Athans
G-MCGT - BHL (Reg'd Feb 2017) - St Athans

G-MCGU - Leonardo - Registered 2017-03-28 (Build date listed as 2014.)
G-MCGV - Leonardo - Registered 2017-03-28 (Build date listed as 2014.)
G-MCGW - Not on register. No information about build status.
G-MCGX - Not on register. No information about build status.

The recent earnings presentation from Bristow Group shows the following schedule of aircraft acquisition for UK SAR.

2 aircraft in March-17
2 aircraft in September-17
2 aircraft in March-18

So I think we can estimate that GO and GT are the March 2017 acquisitions. Then GU and GV will be the September 2017 acquisitions followed by GW and GX in March 2018.

We're supposed to be into the work-up period for Prestwick (CG199/190). However, all the aircraft are still down in equatorial britain. GP has gone to Yeovil, probably for some updates. GU and GV have not appeared on AIS or ADS-B as yet and are probably still at Yeovil being polished. There is a currently no indicator for which aircraft will go to Prestwick but there are four available.

Whoever it was at MCA Aviation that decided that Prestwick was next, be frightened, be very frightened. Check you're pension statement every night before leaving the office. This is where it gets serious.

The deployment of two AW189 to Prestwick will free-up G-MCGG & GL for redeployment to one of the former GAP-North bases. This is part of a move to ensure that the latest aircraft spec is available at all Lot 1 bases. Sumburgh moved from GAP-North to the MAIN contract at the beginning of the month and Stornoway follows in July.

At the end of June 2017, SAR helicopter service will end permanently at Portland and the GAP-South contract with CHC will be over.

A substantial number of highly specified SAR helicopters will become available as a result of all these musical chairs this year. Although some of the aircraft may lose their winches and find their way into O&G crew-change fleets, I expect that SAR operators around the world will be paying close attention and one day somewhere in the world somebody's life will be prolonged as a result of all this British muddling through.
Jim Fraser - on 17 Apr 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

The AAIU's preliminary report about the Rescue 116 accident is now available.
http://www.aaiu.ie/node/1067

There are no technical implications for the Sikorsky S-92 and the accident is fundamentally CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain).

There are possible implications for the presentation of route information for rotorcraft, automation use, and SAR aircrew CRM.

https://www.caa.co.uk/Safety-initiatives-and-resources/Working-with-industry/Human-factors/Crew-reso...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN41LvuSz10


Jim Fraser - on 18 Apr 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Based on the numbers currently available (from the AAIU report and the Irish SAR Framework), the fishing vessel that Rescue 118 and Rescue 116 were going to help when R116 crashed was not in the Irish SRR at the time of the call. It was about 11 nautical miles into the UK SRR.
Jim Fraser - on 26 Apr 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Large Rotorcraft Accidents

A further preliminary report on the Super Puma LN-OJF accident near Turoy in Norway is due to be published tomorrow,.
https://www.aibn.no/Aviation/Investigations/16-286

Since that accident led to that type being taken out of service in several territories there have been several accidents with Sikorsky S-92. These include the West Franklin accident in the North Sea, the Rescue 116 accident at Black Rock in Ireland and the Macae accident in Brazil.

I therefore tend to believe that the following principle is pretty much proved.
"If a type does all the work then it has all the accidents."


Jim Fraser - on 26 Apr 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

AW189 - Prestwick

Still no sign of an AW189 at Prestwick. However, lots of activity at Lee-on-Solent. All the AW189 have piled in there during the last few days. Not a bad plan I suppose to get them all down to the only operational base to see how things are done. Arran, the Firth of Clyde and Ben Nevis are difficult to simulate in Hampshire and the Solent though.

Also still no sign of G-MCGU and G-MCGV out in the real world.
marko-99 - on 30 Apr 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

AW189 - Prestwick

I was told that the new cabs will arrive in Prestwick at the start of May for a 2 month work up, expecting to going live the first week of July. Both S92 cabs are going to Stornoway.
Jim Fraser - on 01 May 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Yes. At about nine this morning, G-MCGT left Lee-on-Solent heading North. It did a bit of a goodbye tour of Wales before heading north over the Lakes and through the Galloway hills to arrive at Prestwick just after four this afternoon.
Jim Fraser - on 04 May 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

G-MCGT has been out in the hills two days running now and I think this may be a good indicator. Pilots who have flown this aircraft typically express an interest in getting it into the hills and getting stuck in. Add to that the background of many of the Prestwick crews and one has a recipe for success.

Ground clearance will always be a problem for both aircraft but as somebody posted elsewhere, you don't have to put the lever all the way down (landed light on the wheels).

I have tried to join up the dots on this one for SMR teams and I hope that during the next two months as many SAR partners as possible get quality time with the new aircraft.
Jim Fraser - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

And the fun continues. G-MCGT continues to prepare for the mountain task by visiting Ardgour and its future home-from-home at Carr's Corner outside Fort william. Then off for a look at the BenN on the way past and over Etive and Trossachs on the way back.

Hopefully, as resources are gathered and the hours build up, SAR partners will get a chance to work with it or its partner aircraft in the next few weeks.

Welsh Kate - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

There's been a 189 flying around down here, it was buzzing around Cardiff the other day, possibly sussing out the landing pad at Blackweir.
Jim Fraser - on 30 May 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

AW189 G-MCGT from Prestwick appears to have spent about 4 hours at Penrith on Sunday. Presumably, somebody in LDSAMRA can tell us something about this?

Jim Fraser - on 30 May 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Another Bristow Group earnings presentation was published recently and the aircraft acquisition plan remains as previously shown in the following post.
https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=631925&v=1#x8542972

What has also been announced is that they intend to buy four more O&G AW189 later in 2017 in addition to the two they already have. I assume that means G-CJNV can return to the fold as G-MCGN during the same timeframe.

Still no sign of G-MCGU and G-MCGV.

G-MCGP may be about to reappear (from Yeovil?). No indication of which will be the second aircraft at Prestwick along with G-MCGT.

Dave B on 30 May 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Another interesting familarisation exercise last week with CIJX...

Good chat with crew and training on their equipment...

Welsh Kate - on 30 May 2017
In reply to Dave B:

We had a training ex with the St Athan's 139 last week; the 189 should be coming in the autumn, we're all looking forward to it - a bit more room! You're right, the crews are great for a chat about the helicopter, their kit and things generally, the transition's gone really well done here.
Nbrain - on 31 May 2017
Jim Fraser - on 31 May 2017
In reply to Welsh Kate:

> ... a bit more room ...

It's one of the things I was hearing about back in the CHC era 2007 to 2012 that there wasn't much room in the 139 to do serious work on the patient.

The 139 has become a valued part of the SAR fleet worldwide but not all territories have the same sort of equipment spec and crew skills. The AW189 has the floor space and storage space for a different level of medical support to the patient. It's not a Chinook or a Merlin but is still a significant improvement. With no internal tank of the kinds seen in S-92 or HH-60, there is unobstructed floor space.
Jim Fraser - on 11 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

At the same time as working on upgrading some of the existing AW189 fleet and finishing off GU and GV, Leonardo Helicopters at Yeovil are working on the NAWSARH (Norwegian All Weather SAR Helicopter) contract for the Norwegian Justice Department in collaboration with the Health Department and Defence Department.

Here is an example of the AW101 rescue helicopters being supplied.
https://www.facebook.com/AW101SAR/photos/pcb.1375387795842365/1375386972509114/?type=3&theater
This one is displayed at the air show at Sola (Stavanger airport and site of JRCC South).

The contract is part-way through delivery and the first aircraft are being assessed and trained on before replacing the Luftforsvaret's ageing Mk43 Sea Kings (currently kept in the air using spares from some UK SAR Force Sea Kings!).
Note the position of the twin winches. The Norwegians have some special tricks using two winches on their massive vertical cliffs that are unlike anyone else's procedures. I expect that the in-line layout is to suit those procedures as well as providing redundancy.

Big aircraft. Maybe too big. However, I am sure our neighbours will be doing some amazing work with them in years to come.

And, like in the UK contract, but under a different contractual arrangement, there are new bases as well. Here is the Sola base under construction.
http://img.gfx.no/1876/1876020/Fasademedledelsesbygg.jpg
Sola also gets a new headquarter building for 330 Skvn Luftforsvaret. An AW101 simulator also to be installed at Thales Sola facility.

Jim Fraser - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

G-MCGT from Prestwick is regularly out and about in the hills, over the sea and visiting sites like the QEU Hospital pad that will become regular part of its working life.

G-MCGP in the air again around Yeovil, presumably after a lot of updates.

G-MCGM, which was the first aircraft and Milan-built, went to Yeovil recently and we can expect that it too will be getting the treatment.

Just eleven days to go and we'll start to see what the AW189 can really do. Prestwick is not Lee-on-Solent!
Toerag - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Slightly related to this topic, but the German SAR UH-1D Hueys formerly based at Penzing near Landsberg have been moved due to closure of the airbase recently:-
"Still present on base was the SAR detachment of THR30 (formerly 2./LTG61) for SAR duties in the Bavarian mountains. There were two UH-1Ds on duty with SAR markings, of which one (71+69) was a specific lightweight version with some equipment removed for higher altitude SAR duties. The UH-1D will continue to be operated in the SAR role by the three SAR detachments of THR30, the two other ones being at Nörvenich and at Holzdorf, until a replacement is in place which will not be before 2019. Two further UH-1Ds in standard Heeresflieger tactical colour scheme were present in a hangar.
The SAR detachment at Penzing has in the meantime (December 2016) moved to Niederstetten, the home base of THR30. This location is not ideal because of its much longer distance to the alpine area of operation."
I had the pleasure of a guided tour of the base a few years ago. The hueys were interesting as they had cablecutters fitted above and below the cabin roof in case they flew into the many cablecar or material cableways in the mountains.
Jim Fraser - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Toerag:

Ancient death traps.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/Bell_UH-1D_SAR_%28Ltg_63%29.jpg/800px-Bell...
This design is older than the Sea King and well past its sell-by date. Being a legend doesn't count for much if all souls on board are likely to be turned into red paste.

Cable-cutters are pretty standard for anything expected to be down below 500' a lot of the time like SAR and air ambulance.
http://www.b-domke.de/AviationImages/Huey/Images/UH-1D-10109.jpg
Sometimes they even work.
And sometimes they don't.
http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/luftfart/filmet-helikopterulykken-det-var-helt-forferdelig/a/1014...

Not too bad at altitude for an old bird but by 2000m things are getting very fraught unless the air is very cold and moving (and Bavaria is not Scotland!). There are flight stability problems with terrain-following with rotorcraft of this configuration which is probably not helpful. All systems on a UH-1D are extremely basic by the standards currently seen in the UK and several other West European territories. Give these guys a medal just for turning up to work with that kit.

Thanks for reminding me how lucky we are.
https://www.helis.com/spotters/varias/aw189_g-mcgt_fort_william.jpg
Post edited at 23:39
Jim Fraser - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

AW189 Golf Romeo has just flown to South Wales from Lee and was last seen heading into the Brecon Beacons a few minutes ago. A bit bright for NVG training even down in equatorial Britain? Anyway, have a good one guys. Fly safe.
Welsh Kate - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

It's been a very pleasant evening here, a lovely cool 16c and few midges on the breeze
It wasn't properly dark as I was driving back from Merthyr about 11pm, so they'd have to wait around for a bit if they want to play with the NVGs.
Jim Fraser - on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Coastguard Golf Romeo made its way from Lee to Prestwick yesterday to complete the new line-up. G-MCGT & G-MCGR.

In just a few days they are expected to enter service. Note that there will be a callsign change. They change from 999/990 which are S-92 callsigns to 199/190 which are AW189 callsigns.

No rush. We've waited this long, so a few days will make little difference. The important thing at this point is that the crews are ready.

Then it's good news for Stornoway who will be getting the two S-92A to replace their current aircraft that have a slightly older spec and a different cabin layout. Stornoway changes from the GAP contract to the MAIN contract at the beginning of the month. Sumburgh already changed in April. Sumburgh will get two aircraft from Inverness next year.

Portland discontinues service at the same time. This brings both GAP South and GAP North contracts to an end.
http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/15138356.Portland_Coastguard_Helicopter__39_s_last_day_of_oper...

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=631925&v=1#x8524663

Jim Fraser - on 30 Jun 2017
Toerag - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
South coast mariners already getting upset the day after the Portland chopper stopped operating:-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-40472908
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Jim Fraser - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to Toerag:

My comment on the BBC South Today facebook page.

"1 July 2017 marked the full implementation of the DfT's 10-base solution and the UK's first entirely-planned SAR helicopter service. If we consider that dedicated SAR helicopters have been around since the first RAF SAR sqn in 1953 and civilian Coastguard contractor helicopters since 1971. I reserve my anger for successive governments who allowed this service to be a shambles for 40+ years. Part of that shambles was that 50 years ago, helicopters couldn't go 30 miles without breaking down, so there were SAR bases all over the place. In parts of the country with many military bases, everybody could have a base on their door-step. These were bases for aircraft that were no faster than a car and would be as likely to break as arrive for the job. Yesterday a UK SAR helo was tracked at 176 knots ground speed on the way to a job and they routinely easily beat the contract's 98% availability requirement. One or two highly-equipped paramedics are in the aircraft instead of a Loadmaster with battlefield first aid training. This is one of the world's most highly-developed SAR helicopter contracts. If you want even higher standards of helicopter support then I suggest that replicating the Scottish Ambulance Service's Air Wing across England and then have air ambulance control rooms and ARCC coordinate their tasking is the way to go."
Jim Fraser - on 08 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

It's back.

http://www.caa.co.uk/News/Restrictions-on-H225LP-and-AS332L2-Super-Puma-helicopters-to-be-lifted(1)/
http://www.tv2.no/a/9233710

The regulators in Norway and the UK have lifted restrictions on the Airbus Helicopters Super Puma.

In a period of low O&G activity, we can expect little take-up during the next year or so unless there are problems with one of the other types in the large and super-medium categories.

What it means for UK SAR is that the H225 now becomes a potential type for the bids for the next contract (transition-out was originally due to commence in 2023). MCA Aviation are already thinking the big thoughts about that process and it is likely that several operators are already thinking how they will position themselves. H215 might also feature in the bids.
Jim Fraser - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

RTE making it pretty clear why Rescue 116 came to impale itself on Blackrock.
https://www.rte.ie/player/gb/show/prime-time-extras-30003379/10750839/

Not a happy picture of CHC management.

The IAA not looking too great either.



Jim Fraser - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

One of the welcome, though unexpected, highlights of the transfer from military to civilian SAR helicopter provision has been the standard of reporting. The DfT have provided quarterly reports containing key data from the service provision that is well-presented and easy to read.

The DfT now plans to further improve reporting and seeks feedback from users of the reports. The initiating primary stakeholder and more detail about the type of incident (mountain, waterway, ...) will be available.

A copy of their document on 'Forthcoming changes to the data series' is at the following address.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/search-and-rescue-helicopter-statistics-year-ending-march-2...

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