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  • Coastguard

    Given the recent sea incidents, can anybody tell me how many coast guard helicopters to we have and who operated them (pilot wise)?

    Is there a shortage of them around the coast? Rather shamefully I don’t know anything about them.

  • #2
    Commercial contact:
    Tel. +(0) 353 1844 5366

    Search and Rescue
    CHC Ireland is the leading provider of Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopter Services to the Irish Coast Guard. CHC operates five specially equipped Sikorsky S-61N aircraft at bases in Dublin, Shannon, Waterford and Sligo.

    CHC Ireland covers the North Atlantic, Irish Sea and Celtic Sea to a range of 200 nautical miles, and responds to approximately 150 call-outs per year.

    CHC's primary SAR aircraft can carry enough fuel to stay airborne for five hours, and are equipped with rescue hoists, autohover capabilities, emergency lighting and a complete paramedic station.

    Last edited by Dogwatch; 12 January 2007, 11:51.


    • #3
      Plus I think 2 as backup for use when the others are undergoing maintainance.


      • #4
        Sligo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin. CHC operate all 4 Sikorsky S61, but may be replacing them in the future with S92s.

        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


        • #5
          More helicopters may/may not have helped in these 2 incidents as they sank very quickly.

          Yesterday, LE Orla had to turn back to Haulbowline shortly after leaving due to the weather. LE Emer had to wait untill weather improved. A CASA was available today.


          • #6
            the current fleet of S-61N's (not seakings as per todays herald )
            are crewed by a mix of ex aer corps,royal navy,and RAF crews with a few civies too

            currently there are four active machines,fully fitted with flir,autohover,hi-speed winches etc
            there is a another about to join the fleet of the same spec as the four active 61's which will serve as the main reserve machine as the current two backup choppers have a more basic hardware/electronics fit which can limit their abilities

            so i'd say for a nation of our size 7 is excellent cover,considering what we had right up to the mid 90's

            oh and i doubt we'll be getting new ones untill after the CHC takes over U.K SAR,let them iron out the bugs in the new chopper first


            • #7
              The UK has 10 helicopters on stand-by 24 hours a day. Unlike the contracted one both here and in the UK, the RAF and RN bring a second aircraft to readiness when the primary one is launched. To the best of my knowledge the contracted reserve SAR helicopters are only put into play when one of the primary ones is undergoing maintainance. Would it not make more sense to have our 4 bases with one helicopter each plus one as a reserve in either Dublin or Shannon that can be made available quickly.

              But having said that the UK's SAR region is over 7 times bigger than Ireland's.


              • #8
                Have the Irish Coast Guard got a rank structure and if so has anyone got photos of same?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by goc132 View Post
                  Have the Irish Coast Guard got a rank structure and if so has anyone got photos of same?

                  But AFAIK the CHC crews don't wear this insignia as they are not members of the Coastguard.


                  • #10
                    dev,your right the backup choppers based at shannon and waterford are there incase a primary chopper go's u.s
                    there's only ever four crews on duty,one at each base
                    a fifth "ready" chopper would require a further 4-6 people to be on station all the time very expensive for something thats not really needed,if they were ever that stuck i'm sure the IAC/RAF would be called up...
                    as the recent waterford tragedy's shown when a large scale operation takes place two choppers are sent to the one location anyway
                    i.e the dublin chopper was sent down to search while the waterford chopper returned home to refuel,change crew etc...
                    the sligo chopper would then have taken over the dublin choppers area of op's

                    i imagine they would only launch more than four if it was a national disaster or a ferry was going down etc,and they had time to ready a fifth and find a crew to fly it!

                    regards the insigna they chopper crew's badge on their jumpsuits incorporates the ICG crest and an image of the chopper into the design, they carry shoulder stripes, four for a captain/chief aircrewman etc...