Weather satellites equipped to detect emergency locator transmitters helped rescue an estimated 1,500 sailors, hikers, downed pilots and others around the world last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its satellites, along with Russia’s Cospas satellites, form an international search-and-rescue system. NOAA said the 171 U.S.
Search and rescue
Air BP Aviation Services has gone on record supporting the mission of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) with financial support for CAP’s cadet and youth-development programs. The Civil Air Patrol provides leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education to almost 27,000 young men and women, ages 12 to 21.
Meanwhile, the Helicopter Association of Australia (HAA) has set up a disaster committee that will help local and international agencies quickly pinpoint the helicopter resources nearest to disaster areas.
CHC Helicopter has ordered 12 Sikorsky S-92s and 13 AgustaWestland AW139s. The contracts are worth nearly $400 million. CHC plans to use the S-92s for offshore support and commercial search-and-rescue operations. Delivery of S-92s under the new order is scheduled to begin in 2009. AgustaWestland values CHC’s latest AW139 order at “approximately $140 million.” CHC plans to use the AW139s for offshore support and EMS missions.
For those toiling for oil on the roiling North Sea, the stormy nature of that piece of water keeps the possibility of rescue constantly in mind. Traditionally that role has been filled by stationing formidably equipped rescue boats called emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRV) with each group of oil platforms.
Brazilian-based Synergy Aerospace has ordered 12 AgustaWestland helicopters, including AW109 Powers, Grands and AW139s. They will be used in corporate, executive and offshore transport. The contract is part of a 2006 framework agreement. Meanwhile, Spanish marine safety agency Sasemar has ordered two additional AW139s in search-and-rescue (SAR) configuration, to be used for SAR and water-pollution detection.
With the Feb. 1, 2009 deadline approaching to replace 121.5-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELT) with 409- MHz units, French firm ELTA is preparing to market a personal ELT that will meet the new mandate at about one fourth the cost of a unit installed in the aircraft.
Shanghai Sikorsky has delivered two Shen 3A helicopters (license-built Schweizer 300Cs) to Tianjin’s Civil Aviation University of China (CAUC). Acceptance flights were carried out at the Shanghai Gaodong Maritime Search and Rescue Heliport, located in the Pudong New District. This heliport serves as the base of operations for the port’s Maritime Search and Rescue Flying Service and is operated by China’s Ministry of Communications.
Malaysia’s deputy prime minister has acknowledged the need for the government to acquire helicopters configured to conduct search-and-rescue missions. Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Kuala Lumpur, “We recognize the fact that we do not have dedicated SAR helicopters. Instead, we have utility helicopters that are used for multiple purposes.”
SkyTrac Systems yesterday announced receipt of an order for 100 shipsets (plus options) of its satellite-based SkyWeb automatic flight-following and communication equipment from Canadian Helicopters.