Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Helicopter Training

At the end of this month the Rescue Team has a training exercise with an aircrew from HMS Gannet ( based in Ayrshire ).  We try and train with helicopters at least once a year, mainly to give new members the experience of being winched and get a full safety brief. 
Today it was reported that HMS Gannet is likely to close, with operations being transferred to Glasgow Airport.  It was also announced that the Search and Rescue capability provided jointly by the RAF and the Royal Navy is to be privatised in 2012.  This isn't really news - it has been known for some time that this was going to happen.  But have been involved for over twenty years, I suspect it will feel a bit like the passing of a friend.  The RAF and Navy Sea Kings have been a feature of the Scottish mountains in much  the same way as rain is.  I guess the new "service" will be just as good, but privatisation is usually associated with profit, and, I suspect, it may not feel just the 'same'.  Can't really explain it. 

But hats off to the aircrews.  They are real unsung heroes.  Unlike the politicians.

Photo courtesy of Allan McGee.  Taken on a casualty evacuation in the Moffat Valley.  Note the curvature on the blades.  No photoshop trickery there.


helicopter training said...

Military training and maintenance has always been world class. I don't know about privatizing all of that.

Rob said...

Hi "helicopter training"

It's likely that the majority of the aircrew will be existing or ex services aircrew, so the same high standard is expected to be maintained. The privatisation has been on the cards for the last four years at least. In the North West of Scotland, CHC Helicopters provide a privatised service for the Coastguard, which has also been used in Mountain Rescue. Some issues have been encountered with the rotor wash from the larger aircraft causing issues for guys on the ground, and for winching stretchers.
The bottom line is that the politicians have decided. We'll just have to wait and see.