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  • SAR Topcover

    Ironic the Casa can make it to Bray, no top-cover available from the AC last night 200nm off Shannon.
    Although I have walked in the valley of the shadows of death I fear no evil...

  • #2
    Of course not, after 5pm on a friday??


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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SARMAN View Post
      Ironic the Casa can make it to Bray, no top-cover available from the AC last night 200nm off Shannon.
      200nm without top cover? Definitely more newsworthy than a bit of sand being blown up by a helicopter on a beach.

      Given airline availability and utilisation rates for aircraft there is certainly no excuse for this from a military organisation.

      I dread to ask was it a crewing issue?

      At 200nm low level off the coast, definitely out of radar range and I assume you are out of VHF range??

      If so how long are you in the black hole of no comms with the Shannon ATC? Tense times I would imagine.

      Is the S-61 equipped with a HF radio box or is this even usable from low level?

      Now that the comfy reliance on Nimrods is no loger possible you would assume the Air Corps would have contingency plans in place to step up to the vacant plate.

      For one State agency to allow another State agency to fly in hostile isolated conditions unassisted, without the provision of a vital lifeline which it is within their capability to provide is shameful.

      Sickens me to hear of crews having to operate without support being made available.

      Airmen are airmen, regardless of the colour of the machines we fly in.

      For what it's worth I flew parachute ops not far from Shannon and it was always reassuring to know you guys were not too far away if I had to aim a plane at the mountains and jump out myself-not an uncommon event in jump flying. Likewise your colleagues in Waterford whenever I flew a light single over the Irish Sea.

      Sorry to drag off topic. Irish SAR Ops is definitely worth a thread, even a sticky.
      Jetjock
      Commandant
      Last edited by Jetjock; 25 July 2010, 00:44.

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      • #4
        It's a 'state of the economy/public service' issue.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jetjock View Post

          Sickens me to hear of crews having to operate without support being made available.

          Airmen are airmen, regardless of the colour of the machines we fly in.
          I agree totally.

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          • #6
            It's a 'state of the economy/public service' issue
            Certainly agree with the second half of the statement. As for the economy, the aircraft exist, the crew exist and theres enough fuel for aircraft to fly to not only Bray but air shows in the UK. Money is not a factor.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Scorpy View Post
              It's a 'state of the economy/public service' issue.
              That is really no excuse, this will be the next sevice (top cover) to be privatised in my opinion. Another case of the AC shooting themselves in the foot. When it does happen (privatisation) we will hear all the reasons why it shouldn't go to a private company.
              Sorry guys but this just isn't good enoungh. Sorry for hilacking the thread.Hope all enjoy the airshow today.
              Last edited by Helihead; 25 July 2010, 10:09.

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              • #8
                Top Cover

                Following on the same theme why not sub out all IAC functions given that it does not operate any full time dedicated armed airspace protection ops. The ICGU could do inland SAR/mercy missions and a private outfit could do the MATS/pdf transport para ops?

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                • #9
                  1. Do SAR helicopters have SATCOM? Is such a comms facility available?

                  2. Was there a Naval Service patrol vessel anywhere in the vicinity?

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                  • #10
                    Do SAR helicopters have SATCOM? Is such a comms facility available?
                    No but the new ones will, however SATCOM cannot search for the target vessel or persons in the water prior to the helicopter arriving. At extreme range every drop of fuel is important. the top cover machine should be on scene PRIOR to the heli to assist in a speedy search and or recovery. Its not just a comms relay. SATCOM also cannot drop liferafts (Although neither can the CASA most times because they couldnt be bothered carrying them)

                    Was there a Naval Service patrol vessel anywhere in the vicinity?
                    Dont know but surface vessels are too slow to assist the casualty or heli crew in an emergency unless they are ontop of the event. In any case why relie on the Naval service when two CASAs are sitting staring at the inside of a hanger.

                    Helihead is right, watch this space, in a few years there will be more top cover then you can shake a stick at, it just might not be a CASA......or the Air Corps.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Answer to no 1, No
                      Answer to no 2, don't Know.

                      Reading SARMAN's thread it looks like the duty crew requested to have top cover, as they deemed it nesessary on a long range job, something that was previousily provided in the majority of case by the RAF, yes RAF. The problem here is retired members of the AC use different branches of the media to tell us they can talk the talk and that is fine,but you have to be able to back that up when required.

                      You have to think worse case scenario here and god forbid, but should a heli have to ditch on a long range job and it is found that no top cover was available for what ever reason, well there will be a lot of people running for cover. If funding is the problem for this it shouldn't be. But if it is, well then it is a matter of managing how those funds are used and in my opinion top cover when required should be up there at the top and well ahead of airshows.
                      Last edited by Helihead; 25 July 2010, 14:41.

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                      • #12
                        It's very simple to properly crew an aircraft.

                        The industry standard for 16-18 hour daily continuous operations is roughly 4 crews per aircraft.


                        2 x CASA is eight crews. How difficult can it be to train eight crews? That is 16 pilots.

                        Is there some sort of elitism attached to being a CASA pilot that precludes proper crewing levels being achieved?

                        3 crews to cover a weekend, one operating 12 hour morning shift, one operating 12 hour night shift. One regular patrol crew operating the other aircraft. A further crew on standby.

                        You work every second weekend. You're in the military and you still get 26 weekends a year off. Whats the big deal with applying something like this?

                        I will not accept that it is a maintenance issue, given the airline like availability rates that the Air Corps techies should be getting out of the CASAs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scorpy View Post
                          It's a 'state of the economy/public service' issue.
                          €500 million was just made available for the new SAR contract. You would properly crew the available assets and ensure backup during maintenance downtime for €1-2 million per anum. A lot of that cost would include salaries that are already being paid. The additional cost to operate a 24 hr on call top cover is negligable. The money is there for something vital like this.

                          It's a case of just get it done. No excuses. Fix the problem.

                          Such a pity that an individual sitting in a comfy office has more interest in barrell rolls over Bray. Where's the glory 200nm out in the Atlantic? That may be the problem. Being visible rather than being effective may be the priority.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jetjock View Post
                            It's very simple to properly crew an aircraft.

                            The industry standard for 16-18 hour daily continuous operations is roughly 4 crews per aircraft.

                            2 x CASA is eight crews. How difficult can it be to train eight crews? That is 16 pilots.

                            Is there some sort of elitism attached to being a CASA pilot that precludes proper crewing levels being achieved?

                            3 crews to cover a weekend, one operating 12 hour morning shift, one operating 12 hour night shift. One regular patrol crew operating the other aircraft. A further crew on standby.

                            You work every second weekend. You're in the military and you still get 26 weekends a year off. Whats the big deal with applying something like this?

                            I will not accept that it is a maintenance issue, given the airline like availability rates that the Air Corps techies should be getting out of the CASAs.
                            I don't know if the problem was servicability or aircrew.
                            IMHO it should but:

                            Not sure what it is now but in 2003, CASA availability was 75% (up from 51% in 1998). CASA annual maintainance alone takes 20 days, so for example during that time the other aircraft would need to be 100% servicability for those 20%, the only way to guarantee that would be to keep the aircraft on the gorund for callout on emergencies only.

                            I remember reading around 1997, that the important aircraft like the GIV and Casas received priority in maintainance and that maintenance was performed 24/7 on them. In 2003, over 12.5% of AC maintenance personnel weren't deployed on tech work.

                            Don't forget you are talking about an organistation where people are currently not being replaced when they leave and is undergoing cuts.

                            There could have been people on leave, on courses, on other duties, mandatory resting etc etc.

                            The available aircraft could have been completing an air ambulance mission.



                            But my most important point is this:

                            As is well known, the AC has never provided an on-call CASA for top-cover (or any other duty). It is done on an opportunity basis and it isn't a declared asset to IRCG.


                            However, having said all that IMHO a CASA should be available on call and should always have been (but the lack of Nimrods has now made the situation even more serious).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "As is well known, the AC has never provided an on-call CASA for top-cover (or any other duty). It is done on an opportunity basis and it isn't a declared asset to IRCG".

                              If that is the case fine. Let the IRCG get their own fixed wing assets to provide this important service.
                              Lets remember that in the not too distant past the AC supplied a heli asset to IMES on a opportunity basis as it wasn't a declared asset to IMES/IRCG, we know what the end result of that is. At this rate of going the AC will spend most of their time on the ground looking at one another.

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