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  1. #1
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    AgustaWestland AW139

    Renovation works begin on Skellig Michael



    Seven tonnes of material have been airlifted to Skellig Michael for essential renovation works on the Unesco world heritage site.

    Specialist Air Corps helicopter crews were dramatically dropped down on to a small landing pad some 37 metres over a sheer drop to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Pilots in an Agusta Westland AW139 were then directed into the area with its heavy cargo suspended underneath the aircraft.

    Seven tonnes of essential materials were flown from Valentia Island in Co Kerry to Skellig Michael over the course of the mission, which took several hours.

    The Office of Public Works (OPW) said the Defence Forces delivered stone which will be used for repairs to the walls on the road leading to the Lighthouse on Skellig.

    “The works will take place in 2014 and when weather conditions allow safe access to the island for all involved in the work programme,” it added.

    The jagged Skellig Michael is home to one of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland.

    It stands in the Atlantic Ocean some 12 km southwest of Valentia Island and is renowned as being one of the remotest locations in the country.

    The helipad on Skellig Michael was constructed in 1969 with reinforced concrete and is partially supported off the cliff face by three five metre high concrete columns.

    The mission was carried out as the Defence Forces celebrated 50 years since the first helicopter arrived in Ireland at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel.

    Captain Brendan O’Dowd, of the Air Corps press office, said the AW139 can carry 2.2 tonnes underneath the helicopter which allows the transport of heavy loads into remote and otherwise inaccessible areas.

    “This is the second time the Air Corps have flown cargo to the Skellig Islands for the OPW in the recent past. but they also help out with other government organisations when asked,” he said.

    “For example in October they assisted the National Parks and Wildlife Service bringing materials from the conservation area on Inishkea Island to Blacksod.”
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakin...el-615851.html

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  3. #2
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    Some great pictures on the Irish Times website.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/galle...lift-1.1613620

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  5. #3
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    Air Corps flies restoration materials to Skellig Michael

    Seven tonnes of stone slabs flown from Valentia Island to 7th-century monastic site


    Air Corps crew and OPW workers remove a delivery of stone from the helipad on Skellig Michael.

    Skellig Michael and Little Skellig

    Ground crew unhook a load from a helicopter on Skellig Michael.

    Helicopter carrying restoration materials to Skellig Michael.

    The Air Corps has flown restoration materials by helicopter to Skellig Michael, off the Kerry coast, for the third time, a month before the Unesco World Heritage site opens for its visiting season.

    Over seven tonnes of stone slabs underslung an Agusta- Westland AW139 helicopter that flew from Valentia Island to the seventh-century monastic site at Skellig Michael earlier this month at the request of the Office of Public Works (OPW).

    Air Corps helicopter handling teams were deployed at both Valentia and Skellig Michael to support the transfer, along with refuelling staff on Valentia.

    The slabs will be used to cap the monastic rock’s lighthouse wall where original stone had been lost and repaired with “unsuitable mass concrete”, the OPW said.

    Controversy

    Much of the focus of the restoration/conservation work by the OPW on Skellig Michael is on the lower lighthouse road and platform.

    The State body says it is also working with Birdwatch Ireland to ensure preservation of nesting sites, particularly for storm petrels.

    The OPW says that its works programme on the monastery, the hermitage on the South Peak and other monastic structures has “come to a close”.

    That conservation programme has been the subject of some controversy, with Unesco reporting in 2007 that “well argued and supported criticism” had been made about the extent of work on the rock’s “dramatic hermitage”.

    Connemara-based archaeologist Michael Gibbons had stated that some key features had been either constructed or removed over a seven-year period, and there is no data on the disappearance of St Michael’s holy well, the removal of an altar from the main oratory and the removal of five sets of stairs from the main monastery.

    In its 2007 report, Unesco noted that the conservation works had “dramatically” transformed the appearance of remains on the South Peak, but it said that they were “justifiable” and that the “outstanding universal values” remained intact at the site.

    Unesco recommended that a site manager be appointed, that conservation work be documented in an academic publication, and that a “durable agreement” be negotiated with the Skellig ferry operators.

    No data

    Two years ago, Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan had moved to meet Unesco recommendations by publishing a report on 24 years of excavations at the monastic complex.

    He promised a “series “of reports on the final results of the architectural, historical, archaeological and engineering works carried out there.

    However, Mr Gibbons says that there is still no data published about the scale of OPW interventions, and that there is no published record of what is “imaginary, conjectural or original” at the heritage site.

    Skellig Michael made it to the Unesco World Heritage list in 1996.

    The rock’s visitor season has been reduced on foot of recommendations of a safety review, after two American tourists lost their lives on the rock in 2009, in separate incidents.
    Link to video.
    http://bcove.me/eo0mu4oj

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/envir...hael-1.1768328

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    The Air Corps have been involved in transporting ballot boxes too and from islands off Galway, Mayo and Donegal.


    Sgt Val Murray assists Carmel McBride, Presiding Officer for Inishbofin island in Donegal
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Alpha Whiskey 279' winching personnel onto the Western side of the Blasket Islands in a joint operation with Ordnance Survey Ireland and the Naval Service.

    The video is a mix of FLIR footage from the helicopter and a CASA maritime patrol aircraft which was patrolling in the area.


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    "Take a trip on board "AW278" during a recent air ambulance flight from Letterkenny to Dublin. From this seat you can appreciate the sophisticated avionics suite on the AgustaWestland AW139 and enjoy the views along the route."


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    Carmel McBride, presiding officer for Inishbofin, waits in an Air Corps helicopter as crew member Dermot Corcoran delivers a ballot box after landing on Tory Island.


    Attached Images Attached Images

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  14. #8
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    Anyone know when the AC decided to paint the reg number in large white numbers on the green AW139s?

  15. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ias View Post
    Anyone know when the AC decided to paint the reg number in large white numbers on the green AW139s?
    They also seem to have moved the roundel and painted "IRISH AIR CORPS" on the doors aswell.
    Last edited by CTU; 26th February 2016 at 19:10.
    Well, government doesn't stop just because the country's been destroyed! I mean, annihilation’s bad enough without anarchy to make things even worse!

  16. #10
    Non Temetis Messor The real Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ias View Post
    Anyone know when the AC decided to paint the reg number in large white numbers on the green AW139s?
    They saw the spray painted numbers on the sides of the mowags and decided to do a fancier version before someone went crazy with the spray can.
    Everyone who's ever loved you was wrong.

  17. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ias View Post
    Anyone know when the AC decided to paint the reg number in large white numbers on the green AW139s?
    Banksy

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  19. #12
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    F**K sake.For a few years there it looked like we finally had the genesis of a military mindset with the purchase and roles of the new helis.
    (Green paintscheme,door guns,more Army co-op missions)
    Now they have reverted to the good ole days by the look of things.Whats next?A giant tricolour on the belly of the aircraft.
    The equipment was not bought for air ambulance as its primary role.That's what most countries use civi sponsored helis for.
    Infantry Corps - An Lámh Comhrac


    "Let us be clear about three facts:First of all.All battles and all wars are won in the end by the Infantryman.Secondly the Infantryman bears the brunt of the fighting,his casualties are heavier and he suffers greater extremes of fatigue and discomfort than the other arms.Thirdly,the art of the Infantryman is less stereotyped and harder to acquire than that of any other arm".
    -- Field Marshall Earl Wavell.1948

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  21. #13
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    because its all about the PR. they would of looked well in grey green camo. like the british lynx

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    Agreed Air Corps should not be conducting HEMS. My guess is the the Army and Navy are not employing the Aircraft for the use they were purchased, Army just don't know how to use these asset. Navy are going it alone. Tri-service concept.... it's not.

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  24. #15
    Lt General apod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heligun View Post
    Agreed Air Corps should not be conducting HEMS. My guess is the the Army and Navy are not employing the Aircraft for the use they were purchased, Army just don't know how to use these asset. Navy are going it alone. Tri-service concept.... it's not.
    I think a lot of it boils down to trust.AC trust the likes of ARW because they are a small unit and are well trained and the AC feel confidant in trusting they can do the drills.Habitual association I believe they call it.The problems arise with the the bigger units.The AC boys don't trust us with ANYTHING!!an NCO Opening a door with a crewman supervising?NO.
    Night embarking and disembarking??No.
    Even basics such as LPC's running trooping drills??Not in your unit.Come to the Don so we can ensure that the people we trained and tested to run such training are doing the job OUR way.
    And the AC aspire to serving overseas??To do what???
    Infantry Corps - An Lámh Comhrac


    "Let us be clear about three facts:First of all.All battles and all wars are won in the end by the Infantryman.Secondly the Infantryman bears the brunt of the fighting,his casualties are heavier and he suffers greater extremes of fatigue and discomfort than the other arms.Thirdly,the art of the Infantryman is less stereotyped and harder to acquire than that of any other arm".
    -- Field Marshall Earl Wavell.1948

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  26. #16
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    yep.not invented here syndrome. reinventing the wheel since 1922.....give the Army their own helis and let them off.

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  28. #17
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    Everything of course boils down to trust and yes you are prob correct in saying the AC trust the ARW because they do work close together, gaining that habitual association/trust/mutual understanding. Do the larger formations keep their LPCs and HHI's current NO. In aviation we also look at the worst case and therefore the lowest common denominator, in this case you used a NCO opening a door. Like pilots there are good and bad NCO's and all it takes is for one to make a small mistake when opening a door to either do damage or get someone hurt. In every Air Arm for helicopter operations you will always have someone correctly trained for door operations as it's not just about opening a door, it's about SA and safety. Take a night landing, said NCO has no comms with the rear crew because the Army haven't purchased the integrated system, he can't see the rear crew because lights are off (NVG insertion), how does he know when to open the door, how does he know when to dispatch troops, maybe its a hover dispatch etc etc etc.

    The AC wants to operate with the Army, the crews love it. However the Army doesn't understand that you can't just decide to throw together a exercise, add helicopter (so they tick the box and it looks good!) but don't have people current and experienced to assist. Units that do take heli Ops seriously like the ARW do get treated differently because they put the timing and effort in. So the fault is not with the AC but with the bigger units. For any units with different skill sets to operate together there HAS to be Habitual association.

  29. #18
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    Then the problem lies with timing, availability, manpower, access to airframes (a lot of drills can be done on a cold airframe in the hangar--repetitive drills is one thing the DF does well, given that it's the basis for all military training), education (here's a suggestion-go to the units and do dummy drills with simulators instead of moaning that the Army don't come to you), currency (the Army manages to keep a lot of other things licenses and ratings current so doing this is not beyond them). Also, appoint an Air Corps liaison person in EVERY Army Bn so that one voice does all the communicating and make sure that he or she has an oppo in the Don that they can contact for heli training. If heli ops is not integrated into infantry training, then make it so. I understand it is already part of the Standard NCO's course so merge it downwards and get more corporals and privates trained up. This shit isn't difficult; thousands of people do it worldwide everyday, in tougher conditions than grassy fields in Ireland, so it's not undoable.

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  31. #19
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Would the issue not be availability of hours?

  32. #20
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    A lot of the drills can be done with static equipment or simple fixed-base simulators or even rejuvenated derelict hulls. Flying around is really only a small part of helicopter work, as far as the human cargo is concerned....the ARW are more able to focus on specific training than the greater mass of the Army, who have plenty of other stuff going on. I'll bet every unit is up to it's eyes in 1916 stuff and has precious little time for actual training on other people's aircraft. As for landing site drills and behaviour, most of that tends to stick in the mind and a simple refresher course can top up the information bank. It can be done in any barracks or open space so travelling to the Don is not necessary.

  33. #21
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    in a ditty that may amuse(?), i - and the rest of the Army - got an email last month to let us know that there was more helicopter availability than we are using, and could we please put more bids in to the tasking cell...

    i had a lovely trip last week up the west coast of Scotland, we went island hopping. weather was gin clear with snow on the mountains - we even saw some whales near Colonsay.

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  35. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    A lot of the drills can be done with static equipment or simple fixed-base simulators or even rejuvenated derelict hulls. Flying around is really only a small part of helicopter work, as far as the human cargo is concerned....the ARW are more able to focus on specific training than the greater mass of the Army, who have plenty of other stuff going on. I'll bet every unit is up to it's eyes in 1916 stuff and has precious little time for actual training on other people's aircraft. As for landing site drills and behaviour, most of that tends to stick in the mind and a simple refresher course can top up the information bank. It can be done in any barracks or open space so travelling to the Don is not necessary.
    It would not be hard or particularly expensive to knock up a couple of ply mock-ups of the passenger compartment and the exit doors for every barracks especially as there are now so few barracks.
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  37. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turkey View Post
    It would not be hard or particularly expensive to knock up a couple of ply mock-ups of the passenger compartment and the exit doors for every barracks especially as there are now so few barracks.
    There is a HUET simulator in Cork. It isn't always in the water, upside down.

  38. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmití View Post
    There is a HUET simulator in Cork. It isn't always in the water, upside down.
    Good point, wasn't there supposed to be another one in DFTC?
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
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  39. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Would the issue not be availability of hours?
    Well put it like this.... for a career RDF course I was on, the CoC managed to swing getting an AW139 down to our location.
    Spent a hour or so getting the full Pln trained up on embarking/diembarking drills with the aircarft sitting on the grass
    Then wound it up, and brought us up for a short spin, one section at a time

    Two days later, for our stint on the ground, TWO AW139s arrived and embarked us all from the camp to the training area

    Will never forget it, great buzz

    So it CAN be done with a bit of planning and work

    As 'Canner says, a unit liaison in every unit would not be bad idea....
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

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