The Director of UK SAR at Bristow Helicopters has provided an insight on how the operator’s long-term UK SAR contract is working
The contract sees Bristow flying 10 Sikorsky S92s and 11 Leonardo AW189s under contract to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). It calls for 98 per cent reliability and a figure of over 99 per cent was achieved.
Russ Torbet revealed that the team’s requirement for a single SAR base consists of nine pilots, five winch operators, five winchmen and 10 engineers. He said that Bristow is working with Schiebel and will launch trials with two S-100 Camcopters from the SAR base at Caernarfon in North Wales.
In this project, a typical SAR mission will be divided into two parts – engaging with the UAS upfront for the search element and bringing in a helicopter for the rescue. Torbet said that 25 per cent of their airborne time will be devoted to the search aspect of the mission; that cost savings would be made; and that crew fatigue would be reduced by replacing an S92 or AW189 with the much smaller S-100 Camcopter in that role.