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  1. #101
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenestron View Post
    It would appear the Air corp can do whatever they fancy doing. Since they dont have any real military role to do with the 5 139's they have sitting in Bal, they do air ambulance in order to make it look like there is a reason for having them now that they are not kept busy flying ministers around anymore. Of course they have done it for years but they seem to be more interested in doing it now hence the 4 sets of crews on standby. When that leitrim girl needed to go to the uk for a liver transplant it was a pity the 139's they have couldnt fly to the UK at night, - must have been cheap knock offs that were made in china cos the ones Agusta make dont seem to have a problem doing it when operated by the civilian community.
    They also take them out for a bit of fire fighting now and again. Next they will want to do the Light house contract, powerline inspections and sure why not the gas pipeline patrol as well. They wouldnt need an AOC or oversight from the IAA for any of those jobs either would they?
    If you do a very smal bit of research you will find your way-off the mark!

  2. #102
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    A new national helicopter ambulance service provided by the Air Corps and the HSE will be used to fly patients to hospital from car crashes and other incidents when time is critical in getting a patient urgent medical treatment.

    However, the new service, which will be launched after an agreement is finalised between the HSE and the Department of Defence, will not be the long sought-after HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) air ambulance service used in almost every other EU country.

    Instead it will be a limited service using a small Air Corps EC-135 helicopter based in Custume Barracks, Athlone, to cover largely the west of Ireland.

    The service, where HSE paramedics will have the ability to call in an aeromedical mission for an ill patient who needs a speedy transfer to hospital, will not be available 24 hours a day, and it will not operate at night.


    No need for NVG's if today's Sunday Independent is to be believed.

  3. #103
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    EC-135, attending car accidents etc, daylight hours only; seems pretty standard fare for HEMS TBH.

    Only questions I would have are:

    1. If serving the West of Ireland surely it should be based in the errr West of Ireland?
    2. Pretty disappointed that with the infrastructure, crew availability and as"Air Corps pilots are the only pilots within the state with the capability to fly using NVG" that they are not operating 24/7. Thats gonna leave some pretty big holes.
    3. Also odd that the smallest fleet type with the most limited payload, range and speed is also being used instead of the 135. The 135 can do the job but the 139 could do it better. I wonder are there serviceability concerns with the 139 fleet.

  4. #104
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    I agree Tadpole surely AW139 would be better suited? Is there a Hospital in Athlone? Can the EC135 do NVG?

  5. #105
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    Happyman,
    There is a hospital in Athlone but I am not sure what size or capability it is. Dont think it has a pad but TBH most of the calls although based in Athlone wont be back to Athlone. For example incident west of Athlone likely Galway hosp, North likely Cavan, East likely Dublin ish, South dont really know TBH.
    But it is in the above scenarios that the 135 will be limited, 3/4 crew plus a patient plus HEMS kit wont leave a lot of juice to get from Athlone to an incident, wait on scene, onward to the nearest suitable hospital and then back to the nearest refueling point with reserves. Compound the problem with most airfields in the west now being closed in the early evening.
    A potential scenario would be departing Athlone to the south west for an incident, waiting collecting patient, onward to Galway hosp, no fuel as airport closed, on to Shannon or back to Athlone for fuel unable to respond to a second call due low fuel. I think the 135 may have fuel issues with where it is based. 139 would be much more flexible and there 6 of them.
    Also of consideration in marginal weather in all likelihood an IFR 'punch up' option wont exist due to fuel reserve issues.

    Yes 135 is fully NVG capable.

  6. #106
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    Thats interesting, no expert but doesn't seem to make sense to me. Just one point seems like a lot of other EC countries use EC135 or at least I saw them in Austria, yellow ones,maybe they have more fuel places/airports. Seems crazy not to use AW139.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
    Happyman,
    There is a hospital in Athlone but I am not sure what size or capability it is. Dont think it has a pad but TBH most of the calls although based in Athlone wont be back to Athlone. For example incident west of Athlone likely Galway hosp, North likely Cavan, East likely Dublin ish, South dont really know TBH.
    But it is in the above scenarios that the 135 will be limited, 3/4 crew plus a patient plus HEMS kit wont leave a lot of juice to get from Athlone to an incident, wait on scene, onward to the nearest suitable hospital and then back to the nearest
    refueling point with reserves. Compound the problem with most airfields in the west now being closed in the early evening.
    A potential scenario would be departing Athlone to the south west for an incident, waiting collecting patient, onward to Galway hosp, no fuel as airport closed, on to Shannon or back to Athlone for fuel unable to respond to a second call due
    low fuel. I think the 135 may have fuel issues with where it is based. 139 would be much more flexible and there 6 of them.
    Also of consideration in marginal weather in all likelihood an IFR 'punch up' option wont exist due to fuel reserve issues.

    Yes 135 is fully NVG capable.
    With some of the scenarios you have just given there, it really makes me wonder who comes up with the bright ideas . It's now starting to look to me that the 139 just is not able to be deployed outside Baldonnel in any meaningful way. Hanger and queen come to mind.
    Last edited by Helihead; 22nd January 2012 at 17:46.

  8. #108
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    Hi Gang,

    This while a welcome step is a disappointment in my mind, they had such an opportunity to evolve into a fully usable service... and what do we get, a backward positioning (Athlone), day time ops with machines that are capable of 24/7. and finally the utilisation of crews to a worth while deployment rather than the old carrying of the ministeral bags.... For Shame Dr O Reilly and Co..

    Athlone hospital is not equipped for any high end medical interventions.... hence why any Ambulance emergency's are routed to Balinasloe or Galway or Tullamore depending on location and type of incident. The Ambulance base is n0t even on the hospital grounds, it is located on an industrial estate outside the town.

    I wonder if you read the recommendations from the 1998 crash how many of the items would be missing from the set up in Athlone.... Athlone Bks is large enough, but no room for errors either on the way in or out.

    Galway should have been an option for the A/C. Invest into the failing Airport. in turn reduce flight times to the west, have an infrstucture in place for the running of an aircraft... Fuel, fire service etc...

    its a sad day.

    Money and politics I suspect.

    DITH

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  10. #109
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    The announcement of basing a 135 in Athlone for day time VFR only is a temporary one!! The IAC are now doing the Air Ambulance role on the back of an agreement between HSE and DoD....why should they base the 135 in Athlone if the 139's are flying missions around the rest of the country??

    I would not be at all surprised if half the 139 fleet is disposed of in the not too distant future along with the agreement that is in place. I 100% agree with Fenestron, i think we are in EASA regulation no matter what way you look at this and DoD is exposed to a legal threat in the event of an incident.

    Lack of regulation, performance criteria with the military carrying out this role will all end in tears!!

  11. #110
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    A lot of talk about EASA and Jarops and how the air corps would have to stick to their regulations... what would this mean for their operations?? Are their helicopters not capable of meeting civilian standards? and if not why not?

  12. #111
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    Just one point seems like a lot of other EC countries use EC135 or at least I saw them in Austria
    The 135 is the quintessential modern HEMS machine. It is perfectly capable of doing the job but bear in mind the area that 1 aircraft is being asked to cover. Now look at HEMS operators such countries with well established services such as the UK, Germany, Austria; They have numerous bases somewhere probably equivalent to 3-4 helicopters covering Ireland. So you can now get a sense that with a much reduced AO per aircraft the requirement for transits to and from scene, to the hospital and onward / back to refuel are much reduced, perfect for a light helicopter such as the 135. Unfortunately that's not the case with this scenario. If however you look at larger contries with potential long legs such as USA, Austrailia, Canada you will see HEMS operators using a significant protaion of larger machines such as the 139, EC145, S76 or Bell 412.

    The 135 also makes sense for operators whose mission profile can be completed by a lighter helicopter as they have to be cognisant of cost. However, you can bet that if they had a choice, which in this case is available, they would go for the bigger more flexible machine.

    The IAC are now doing the Air Ambulance role on the back of an agreement between HSE and DoD....why should they base the 135 in Athlone if the 139's are flying missions around the rest of the country??
    The selection of Athlone is to allow the aircraft a quicker reaction time to people in those areas by reducing the transit time. Leaving the machine in the Don would be ineffective.
    Besides the question is why should they have 2 aircraft on call during the day when the primary operation should be the HEMS. Put the duty 139 in Athlone to look after all the HEMS and AA operations or if you want a separate machine for AA have the 135 on call 'as available' during daytime hours for when the Athlone machine is already tasked. The 139 can still cover night ops from Athlone if needed. As for all the other missions there are still another 5*139.

    I 100% agree with Fenestron, i think we are in EASA regulation no matter what way you look at this
    Ive already quoted EASA and shown it to you in black and white I can do no more.

  13. #112
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    This topic has sure attracted a few new members to the site. Welcome all.

    Now that the formalities are out of the way, it would be remiss of me not to add that one or two are bringing a whole new level of uninformed bullcrap. One has to wonder how many will be around for further discussion when all this fades into memory. Vested interets anyone?

    There are posters here making noise, refusing to accept facts. Making noise all the same. One wonders why?

    HEMS and Air Ambulance are two distinctly separate roles. Once again it has to be pointed out. That fact, along with the the self regulation of the Air Corps are being convieniently overlooked.


    Regarding the 24 hour HEMS operation. There has been a history here of following the Brits approach. If they don't do 24 hour HEMS, it won't be done here. Not in the short term. Gain some operational experience and then look at it. Walk before you run.

    Unless there is a long term plan to integrate the SAR helicopters, this will indeed be a limited service. All we can afford at this time. However, good luck to the crews involved.

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  15. #113
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    Tadpole wrote ; Ive already quoted EASA and shown it to you in black and white I can do no more.

    That is your opinion my friend....not necessarily the correct one though!

    Let the legals sort that one out in time!!

  16. #114
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    To Quote General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett VC DSO KCB

    "Thats it George, If all else fails, a total Pig-Headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through"

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  18. #115
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    DEV
    "If you do a very smal bit of research you will find your way-off the mark!"
    you might enlighten me?

    DANNO

    "Whilst you feel it is not right that the AC have a God Given right to all things here aeronautical can you make some suggestions for a workable/effective and vfm air ambo service outside of the AC.eg do you reckon the SAR helis can take up the slack or should the volutary proposal linked to Bond be availed of."

    I just think the Air Corp is a military operation and as such should be operating their aircraft in support of military tasks, or tasks that civilian operators would have difficulty doing like carrrying armed support for security operations such as the US presidential visit and the queen's visit. also with the number of cash in transit robberies that may be something that could do with some aerial support.

    Dedicated civilian operators for Air Ambulance works everywhere else so why not here? Dont think the SAR service would have the time or availability to do the job properly as it needs probably 3 helicopters full time to do it right. The SAR service would be great to have there as a backup to a dedicated service, but they need the aircraft on standby to cover the mission they are contracted for. The service they provide is great, but giving them another role i think would spread them a bit thin unless they added extra aircraft and crews and prob need smaller heli's for the job as the S92's are a bit big?

    HSE should tender for a dedicated service but need to look at the whole country and one aircraft at one base wont do the job. Prob need one in the west, one in the south/ south west and one in the northwest in order to be able to respond to calls in a short enough time. No point having a helicopter 1hr away as a road ambulance would end up being faster in those situations.

    BRAVO 20
    "The 139s were grounded as part of a world wide grounding of 139s (apparantly the tail roter fell off a few in Brazil), so in fairness I don't think you can't really blame the Aer Corps for that."

    The press reported after the incident that the aer corp helicopters were not capable of flying to London, they didnt mention that it was because they were grounded due to the TR issues. Perhaps the AC should have clarified that with them. I think the AC would have come out looking alot better if the press reported that 5 of the 6 AC 139's were grounded due to an issue with TR's and it was a worldwide issue not just here as apposed to the aircraft not being capable of doing the trip.

    Tadpole
    There are alot of countries with military helicopters yet still pay to have civilian operators do the air ambulance service. Ireland seems to be an exception. If the AC have spare aircraft to do the service then either they got too many helicopters or got them for that service. Question is does it cost us tax payers more or less by having the AC do it as apposed to civilian operators? and if civilian operators have to conform to JAA/EASA regulations and these are all there for the safety of passengers/patients then why should the AC not operate to the same minimium standards?

    NVG operations allowed under EASA for AOC holders but problem is they can only be used above 500ft AGL so not much use for operating into/out of sites. They may be of use if icing restricted operating alts.

  19. #116
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    Dirkindaherc
    "Galway should have been an option for the A/C. Invest into the failing Airport. in turn reduce flight times to the west, have an infrstucture in place for the running of an aircraft... Fuel, fire service etc..."

    I think Galway wouldnt be an option anymore. Only going to be open 5 days a week, 9 -5. Aer arann pulling out the maintenance base in a few months so the future not looking to bright there. Not available out of hours to the SAR anymore so not really suitable then for air ambulance base? Plus it aint the cheapest.

  20. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenestron View Post
    .... and if civilian operators have to conform to JAA/EASA regulations and these are all there for the safety of passengers/patients then why should the AC not operate to the same minimium standards?
    Jesus Christ nobody is saying they wont. They will operate to an equivalent standard but they wont be regulated under EASA/JAR. Like every other military in Europe.

    Care to enlighten us as to your sudden interest in this discussion forum?

  21. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helihead View Post
    A new national helicopter ambulance service provided by the Air Corps and the HSE will be used to fly patients to hospital from car crashes and other incidents when time is critical in getting a patient urgent medical treatment.
    I have to ask, will there be training given to the emergency services personnel in regards landing a heli at a place that isn't a heli pad? Any time I've seen helis landing in the DF there is always a heli drills qualified fella there to do the job. Fair enough if theres a big open field next to the road but thats not always the case.

  22. #119
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    Fenestron,
    I don't necessarily disagree with you but there are currently 3 problems with what you are suggesting:

    a. Money
    b. Money
    c. Money

    We don't have any. Remember this service is being put in place to fudge for the closure of hospital A&Es. I don't think the HSE will close more A&Es just to fund 3 shiny daytime, good weather only, single patient ambulances.
    While what you suggest is what I would love to see in a perfect world forget about it for the next 5 years at least. Until then there are 4 choices:

    1. No service
    2. AC provision
    3. CG provision
    4. Mixture of the 2 above

    WRT civil NVE you are incorrect with the 500' limit. A quick look at the CAA Police Air Operations Manual (Nearest country with civil NVG) Chapter 11 shows 2 stages of NVG:

    Stage 1: Operation not below 500'. Lower training and re currency limits.
    Stage 2: Operations to ground level.

  23. #120
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    Just a point Tadpole. Are police ops not JAR OPS exempt? Along with SAR and Fire Fighting if I remember correctly.

  24. #121
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    This air ambo issue kicked off due to the transplant debacle which made the matter topical.So far the official response is beckoning at E135 response and even if Bond got the nod the operators unlikely to be able to get the casualty to London etc in one hop.Helis appear to be only part of the solution to the defecits re transplants etc/

  25. #122
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    Tadpole

    Unfortunatly the way things are going there may not even be any money left to pay for fuel to run the AC aircraft. Maybe we should follow the Greeks lead and keep spending, that way we might get a big debt writeoff.

    I sunderstood the limit is 500ft for NVG use in the air amb/hems role, dont know about the police role but im sure someone out there knows the right answer or it might be clarified in the EASA AMc's. Since the AC have experience in the use NVG's perhaps one of the guys that fly with them could tell us what their limits are?

  26. #123
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helihead View Post
    A new national helicopter ambulance service provided by the Air Corps and the HSE will be used to fly patients to hospital from car crashes and other incidents when time is critical in getting a patient urgent medical treatment.
    Do we know that for sure?


    Quote Originally Posted by DirkinDaHerc View Post
    day time ops with machines that are capable of 24/7
    What is the international norm for HEMS ops at night?
    Not done from the scene, normally inter-hospital transfers only



    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    I would not be at all surprised if half the 139 fleet is disposed of in the not too distant future along with the agreement that is in place.
    What makes you think that?

    Quote Originally Posted by loki View Post
    A lot of talk about EASA and Jarops and how the air corps would have to stick to their regulations... what would this mean for their operations?? Are their helicopters not capable of meeting civilian standards? and if not why not?
    They meet civilian standards!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetjock View Post
    HEMS and Air Ambulance are two distinctly separate roles.
    Not according to JAROPS as was pointed out to me!

    Quote Originally Posted by fenestron View Post
    Since they dont have any real military role to do with the 5 139's they have sitting in Bal, they do air ambulance in order to make it look like there is a reason for having them now that they are not kept busy flying ministers around anymore. Of course they have done it for years but they seem to be more interested in doing it now hence the 4 sets of crews on standby.
    The military role is interoperability training with the army for overseas which the AC do, the AC has been doing air ambulance since around 1963 since the Alouettes were purchased. VIP transport is still undertake.

    When that leitrim girl needed to go to the uk for a liver transplant it was a pity the 139's they have couldnt fly to the UK at night
    It was a weekend at night (if memory serves). The duty aircraft was already on an air ambulance tasking. Also if I remember correctly the AW139 doesn't have the range without having to stop and refuel.

    must have been cheap knock offs that were made in china cos the ones Agusta make dont seem to have a problem doing it when operated by the civilian community.
    It is a worldwide Agusta Westland problem!

    They also take them out for a bit of fire fighting now and again. Next they will want to do the Light house contract, powerline inspections and sure why not the gas pipeline patrol as well. They wouldnt need an AOC or oversight from the IAA for any of those jobs either would they?
    Sure maybe they could do scheduled flights between Ireland and europe and go into competition with Ryanair, they wouldnt need an AOC for that either cause their military and EASA/JAA rules dont apply to them. I wonder how much they would charge?
    The AC undertake tasks as ordered by Government.

    Quote Originally Posted by fenestron View Post
    also with the number of cash in transit robberies that may be something that could do with some aerial support.
    Already done


    Quote Originally Posted by Jetjock View Post
    Jesus Christ nobody is saying they wont. They will operate to an equivalent standard but they wont be regulated under EASA/JAR. Like every other military in Europe.
    +1 Basically they follow the rules even though they don't have to!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vamp369 View Post
    I have to ask, will there be training given to the emergency services personnel in regards landing a heli at a place that isn't a heli pad? Any time I've seen helis landing in the DF there is always a heli drills qualified fella there to do the job. Fair enough if theres a big open field next to the road but thats not always the case.
    One would assume so but if this is replacing an ambulance who do you train?

    IRCG rescue teams, mountain rescue etc receive training

  27. #124
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by Dan The Man
    I would not be at all surprised if half the 139 fleet is disposed of in the not too distant future along with the agreement that is in place.

    Originally Posted by Dev
    What makes you think that?

    1. Cannot perform overseas UN duties.
    2. MATS will be privatised.
    3. HEMS will be privatised.

    Will be difficult to justify their existence going forward with the planned cutbacks.....but i am sure Minister Shatter will note this in his upcoming Defence review

  28. #125
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    Just a point Tadpole. Are police ops not JAR OPS exempt? Along with SAR and Fire Fighting if I remember correctly.
    Good point Jetjock, Ill see what is in the normal regs!

    This air ambo issue kicked off due to the transplant debacle which made the matter topical
    No this topic has been kicked of by protests over the closure of A&Es and hence the need to reduce patient transport time to A&Es further away.

    A new national helicopter ambulance service provided by the Air Corps and the HSE will be used to fly patients to hospital from car crashes and other incidents when time is critical in getting a patient urgent medical treatment.
    I think this quote from Helihead is actually from the paper rather then his own thoughts.

    Not according to JAROPS as was pointed out to me
    It was actually pointed out to you that while they both come under JAR OPS they are 2 distinct commercial operations with 2 distinct sets of regulations.

    What is the international norm for HEMS ops at night?
    Not done from the scene, normally inter-hospital transfers only
    Mainly due to cost and equipment, AC can do 24/7 so they should be doing 24/7. It is after all their USP.

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