A great move, however it is tragic that the type to be introduced are the same type selected by the Air Corps some years ago, in a contract that was subsequently cancelled as there had been a bit of two stepping by the US ambassador at the time, the recently departed Mr Egan. One wonders how many lives were lost as a result of the decision to cancel that contract, and not re-commence. Instead the DoD shelved it, and Minister Smith spent the money on a new Government jet instead.These Helicopters will improve the capacity, range, speed and capability of Irelands search and rescue service, states Dempsey.
New type Sikorsky S92A Helicopter on display at ceremony.
The Minister for Transport Mr Noel Dempsey, T. D. today signed the contract awarding the provision of Helicopter SAR services to CHC Ireland. Transition to the modern helicopters will start in July 2012, and will run for ten years; with an option to extend for a further three years on a year by year basis. It represents a marked improvement in the capacity, range, speed and capability of Irelands search and rescue service.
The contract represents a continuation of the existing level of service with the principal change being the replacement of the Sikorsky S61N aircraft, with the new generation Sikorsky S92A aircraft. These aircraft will operate out of Waterford, Shannon, Sligo and Dublin.
Minister Dempsey said: I am delighted to sign this contract which will provide for the delivery of a top-class SAR service operating out of Bases in Waterford, Shannon, Sligo and Dublin up to 2022. There are over 130 jobs in this service and we anticipate that over 20 new posts will be created. CHC Ireland has an excellent record in delivering SAR services to our Coast Guard. The contract provides for helicopters that will fly to the scene of the mission faster. They find the vessels or persons in the water more efficiently using better search, surveillance and tracking tools. This will provide better medical facilities onboard and return people in danger to safety in the shortest possible time.
Minister Dempsey added: I am also aware of the other supports that these helicopters can provide to the emergency services. These include Medevac for our Island and remote communities, mountain rescue, and emergency aeromedical transfer in support of the HSE. Last winters flooding response provided a practical example of the value and diversity of our SAR Helicopter service.
The main role of the IRCG helicopters is to provide Ireland with 24/7/365 days a year maritime and coastal SAR rescue service. The helicopters will locate persons in distress or imminent risk, providing immediate medical treatment where required, and evacuating them to an appropriate place of safety. The helicopters are available to assist the other three blue light services (Garda, Ambulance Service and Fire Services) during major national emergency situations on land. They are also used to investigate possible marine pollution, support communities on the islands off Ireland and assist in evacuating the seriously ill or injured.
Press Office Department of Transport: (01) 604 1090 / (01) 604 1091.
Notes to Editors:
CHCI will provide five Helicopters that are four Prime Helicopters and a Back Up Helicopter based initially at Shannon Airport. The first S92A will be commissioned at Shannon in the second half of 2012.
The Helicopters are maintained at a state of readiness of not more than 15 minutes from 0830 to 2200 local time, and not more than 45 minutes from 2200 to 0830 local time for each and every day of every year.
Possible Taskings include:
Undertaking SAR operations by day and night, including landing at remote inland areas and hospital landing sites for the purpose of lifting and delivering casualties.
Providing Paramedic-trained and accredited rear crew to assist and evacuate casualties and potential casualties from the sites of appropriate major emergencies on land, including flooding and providing an onboard emergency medical service.
Delivering trained Fire Brigade personnel and trained fire fighting teams with their equipment to ships at sea to direct the fighting of fires. The standard team consists of six personnel and six bags (a total of 900 kg) and must be carried in a single lift.
Delivering trained Health Service Executive (HSE) Marine Ambulance Response Teams (MART) or a similarly equipped and trained medical response team to ships at sea while equipped with Standard Role Equipment and relevant Carry-On Equipment.
Delivering a contractor-owned and maintained pump to vessels that are taking in water faster than their own pumps can handle.
Delivering a normal mountain or cliff rescue team to remote areas throughout Ireland and working with them in the search and rescue of stranded and/or injured people.
Recovering casualties from and operating with RNLI and other rescue boat operators.
Providing an emergency service for the communities on the islands off the west coast. As well as evacuating sick and injured people where life is at risk. The Helicopters may also be tasked to provide assistance in the event of major emergencies such as a fire, flood or deep snow.
Visually assessing, videoing, photographing and sampling marine pollution to assist the containment and dispersion process and to contribute evidence for prosecution and attending court if required.
Carrying loads within the Helicopters capability, such as equipment to counter marine pollution and flooding.
Carrying ships pilots and IRCG coordinated search, response, emergency or investigation personnel to and from vessels, installations, incident sites and islands as required.
Assisting the Principal Response Agencies (Garda, HSE, and local authorities), Defence Forces and other Government Departments as required in emergency situations.
Delivering Garda, Navy or similar Water Unit Minimum Dive Teams and their equipment in a single lift to a land destination near the scene of water rescues.
Provide a distress monitoring, and when necessary a communication and coordination service on VHF marine frequencies when airborne.
Total helicopter hours 2500 hours
Hours in command of multi-engined helicopters 1000 hours
Hours on type 250 hours*
Hour in command on type 100 hours*
Total helicopter hours 750 hours
Hours on multi-engined helicopters 350 hours
Hours on type 50 hours
At least one years experience as a Winch Operator on a dedicated military or civilian SAR unit and at least the EMT qualification accredited by PHECC.
At least three months experience as a Winchperson on a dedicated military or civilian SAR unit and at least the Paramedic qualification accredited by PHECC.
The S92A will:
Hover in strong wind up to 35 knots crosswind and tailwind.
Land, shut down and start on ground sloping up to 10 degrees nose up or down, 13 degrees laterally.
Active Vibration Control to provide better patient care and reduce crew fatigue.
Composite Blades providing optimised cruise and hover performance at reduced fuel burn rates.
Modern Cockpit Display System (CDS) affording pilots with greater amounts of available information, allowing for greater safety and situational awareness.
A 4 Axis Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) with Flight Director and Auto Hover capability to assist aircrew by providing automated search patterns and pinpoint transitions to and from the hover targets of interest regardless of day of day of weather conditions.
The S92A has one of the largest cabins of any helicopter in its class. At twenty feet long (6.10m) 6 6 inches feet wide (2.01m) and 6 high (1.83m) the cabin is high enough for the crew to stand, move, manoeuvre patients without injury and deliver patient care effectively.
The aircraft standard range is in the region of 270 nautical miles that can be extended to over 300 nautical miles if required that allows for 30 minutes on scene and can lift over 20 survivors at maximum range. At 60 nautical miles 33 survivors can be recovered.
Maximum speed is in excess of 150 knots.
The Rotor Ice Protection System allows flight in icing conditions up to a maximum of 10,000 ft. The system also includes engine anti-icing through electrical and bleed air heating.
Watching Clodagh McKenna(for cooking tips) the other night, she spoke to a West cork fisherman, whose boat, Discovery had sunk. It happened off the south west coast, out of the range of Irish SAR helicopters. Luckily a passing cargo ship came to their aid, before they were finally rescued by a UK based helicopter.
Bad enough we are inward looking, mostly ignoring the fact we are surrounded by water, but we couldnt even rescue those of us who had gone to sea to earn a living.