Author Topic: Cormorant problems  (Read 68779 times)

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Online MarkOttawa

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Cormorant problems
« on: December 21, 2007, 16:06:07 »
The "private company" is IMP Aerospace, Halifax (reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act):
http://www.impgroup.com/aerospace/sar.htm
http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=aa10f92a-f147-4446-bb7f-ca7a49c914d5

Update: I was wrong about IMP, thanks to eurowing for the correction:
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,69118.msg652164.html#msg652164

Quote
A lack of parts has sidelined most of the air force's search-and-rescue helicopters on the West Coast, forcing maintenance crews to scavenge components from other choppers.

Two of the relatively new Cormorant helicopters at Canadian Forces Base Comox on Vancouver Island have been sidelined because of the parts issue. A third Cormorant is also not flying since technicians have been stripping parts off that aircraft to keep the base's two working $38-million aircraft airborne.

At one point, the Comox base only had one working Cormorant. The base handles search and rescue on the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains.

The lack of choppers has also hindered the training of pilots since spare Cormorants have not been available for use on practice missions. Some trainees have not flown since Oct. 19.

In the case of some of the needed Cormorant parts, existing components could be serviced and used by maintenance staff in Comox, but they are prevented from doing so by a contract the Defence Department signed with the private company doing the in-service support for the choppers. Instead, maintenance crews are required to send the part away for replacement, a process which causes lengthy delays.

But according to air force spokesman Capt. Jim Hutcheson, the situation is not affecting search-and-rescue activities. He said the base can call on Buffalo aircraft, Aurora patrol planes and Sea King helicopters, all based in B.C., to perform various roles. In addition, officials can call upon Griffon helicopters based in Edmonton and Hercules aircraft in Winnipeg.

Hutcheson said the military is working to correct the situation.

"Of the three Cormorants currently in various stages of maintenance, two of these are expected to be on line by this weekend," said Hutcheson.

"An additional Cormorant from eastern Canada is now in Kelowna, en route to Comox, bringing to four the number of functional Cormorants."

Mark
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« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 16:45:38 by MarkOttawa »
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aesop081

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2007, 16:14:11 »
IMP, gotta love them

 ::)

Offline karl28

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2007, 16:22:18 »
         Just a question from a curious civy is it normal to have that many problems with a new helicopter or did the CF get stuck with a lemon ?

Offline eurowing

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2007, 16:24:03 »
The article is not quite as factual as indicated.  IMP is the maintenance company in Comox, the "private company" is AWIL, the aircraft manufacturer.  Transmissions and rotor heads can only be overhauled by AWIL.  Also any unusual snags need AWIL authority to rectify.  A process that frequently takes weeks or months. It is the same with most ac unless DND were to purchase the "data rights".  IMPs hands are as tied as mine would be.
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aesop081

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2007, 16:25:19 »
The article is not quite as factual as indicated.  IMP is the maintenance company in Comox, the "private company" is AWIL, the aircraft manufacturer.  Transmissions and rotor heads can only be overhauled by AWIL.  Also any unusual snags need AWIL authority to rectify.  A process that frequently takes weeks or months. It is the same with most ac unless DND were to purchase the "data rights".  IMPs hands are as tied as mine would be.

Thanks for the clarification.

I still have no love for IMP  ;D

Online MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2007, 16:43:42 »
Sorry for mistake about IMP--a usually reliable and well-informed source had told me.

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Offline eurowing

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2007, 20:40:37 »
         Just a question from a curious civy is it normal to have that many problems with a new helicopter or did the CF get stuck with a lemon ?
As I see it, the main problem with the Cormorant is the lack of spare parts.  it is a complex machine and like all helos, maintenance intensive.  Some of those parts are wearing faster than expected, and this is not unusual.  I'll happily fly on the Cormorant.

I have no problem with IMP, most of the IMP techs in Comox seem to be retired military and very professional.  We are a team and they are a part of our Sqn. That may make a difference.  That being said, I would rather that the whole team be military for other reasons than their professionalism.  Mostly so the Fling-wing techs could have a reasonable easy posting and rest.  Right now, to keep fling wing tech experience they get to serve in Tac Hel or the maritime community, neither of which is easy duty compared to a SAR unit.  We work hard, but, mostly we stay home unless we go on a major search or send out a Mobile Repair Party to go rescue a disable ac.  These are rarely much more than two weeks.  Tac Hel and Maritime do the 6 month tours.  To rest these folks often means they are sent to the fixed wing side and that experience goes with them and fades away over time.  Anyway, it is a moot point.  We don't have the numbers of techs required to take on Cormorants + Chinooks + Cyclone etc.
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Offline Inch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2007, 10:16:07 »
As a Sea King guy that gets saddled with primary SAR standby over more weekends than we should IMO, I have no love for the Cormorant. It's pretty sad that the newest helo in the fleet is being backed up and covered for by the oldest (and most ineffective if you believe the media) helo the CF has known. We're not without our problems either though, parts are becoming scarce for the Sea King as everyone knows but it also helps that we have 27 aircraft between 2 bases of operations compared to the 14 Cormorants between the 3 or 4 bases of ops. We should have gotten twice as many Cormorants for SAR. 
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2007, 10:21:59 »
Does anyone here that works with/on/around/etc the Cormorants forsee similar problems arising with the Cyclone, once that fleet comes into service?
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Offline h3tacco

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2007, 10:46:31 »
My prediction is that the CH148 will have its share of problems during its introduction to service.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 10:57:58 by h3tacco »

Offline kj_gully

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2007, 11:40:49 »
The common theme to several threads here is numbers of aircraft purchased. as I said b4, there weren't enough Cormorants bought in the first place. Remember, so Comox can have 5 helos (which equals about 1.75 flyers) Trenton has to fly Griffons. The guys at IMP want our shags to fly. They have to be at work anyways (no sliders for them) . Right now it is a very long dark tunnel we are looking down, with only a faint glimmer of light at the end as far as serviceability goes.

Offline Rescue Randy

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2007, 14:52:18 »
The problem is not the number of aircraft, it is a lack of support from the manufacturer.  Having more airframes to strip parts off is not a reasonable solution.  When we had 14 Labrador helicopters, we managed to provide service to four squadrons with predictable and acceptable availability.  With 14 Cormorants, we cannot even provide aircraft to three locations without cancelling the OTU.  I am not a fan of IMP, and initially their HQ was responsible for some of the problems, but now the issue lies squarely with AWIL.  The Cormorant was a developmental aircraft, and as such we knew it would take a couple of years to deliver the level of availability that we need - but after six years, that excuse is gone.  If we had parts, we would have aircraft - the number of airframes is not the issue.

Offline karl28

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2007, 16:07:55 »
eurowing

           Thanks for the reply it must be a pain that there is not enough to go around hopefully some day the gov will just give the military what it needs to get the job done .

Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2007, 16:43:41 »
If we had parts, we would have aircraft - the number of airframes is not the issue.

I concur.

I would also say that a major hurdle we are facing right now is the corrosion that is being discovered in the fuel bays and also under the APU blanket.
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Online MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2008, 12:09:45 »
Latest on problems (usual copyright disclaimer):

Report: Search choppers idled too much of time
Buy more Cormorants or cut back on inspections, Ottawa urge

http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/1088910.html

Quote
Canada should either buy more Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters or cut back on inspections in the existing fleet to meet the life-saving role the aircraft was originally expected to perform, says a new report.

A study by Defence Research and Development Canada says the existing 14 CH-149 choppers are sidelined more than half of the time because of inspections and mechanical difficulties.

The current fleet would have to double in size to meet the federal government’s initial search-and-rescue coverage goals of having helicopters available at four bases across the country, says the report.

"It was found in this study that aircraft availability at the (main operating bases) actually varied from 37 per cent to 50 per cent and that at least 28 aircraft would be required to satisfy the availability requirements" as initially outlined by the government, said the report, completed in June.

When the Cormorants were introduced in 2002, replacing the nearly 40-year-old Labrador helicopters, it was expected each aircraft would be on the flight line 75 per cent of the time.

But there have been continuing problems, including persistent cracks in the tail rotor hubs and a critical shortage of spare parts, which has meant considerably less time in air.

Researchers ran a statistical simulation that concluded the air force could get by with the existing number of aircraft, but only if there were "a 25 per cent reduction in the durations of the major, minor and out-of-sequence inspections of the aircraft."

Last winter, the Defence Department categorically ruled out buying additional Cormorants [emphasis added--no shoot, there's no money]. A spokesman refused to say Wednesday whether the researchers’ findings changed any minds.

"It would be premature to answer as the air force is reviewing the findings and conclusions of the report," said Maj. Jim Hutcheson.

Long-range planning staff at the air force are examining the report, as well as engineers, who must assess the impact of an reduction in inspections.

"It’s the implications of the report’s conclusions that we need to take a closer look at," said Hutcheson.

Canada initially bought 15 Cormorants, a variant of the EH-101, from AgustaWestland but one was lost in a 2006 crash off Nova Scotia.

The availability problems forced the air force to withdraw the new helicopters from Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., and replace them in the search-and-rescue role with CH-146 Griffon utility helicopters, which are troop transports [not really--they are "utility" helicopters; Chinooks are real troop transports (amongst other things)].

At varying times over the last year, two other bases have had trouble keeping their Cormorants airborne.

Comox, B.C., was reduced to just one helicopter last December and Gander, N.L., went without any helicopters just a few weeks ago.

An internal Defence Department team made up of military officers also looked at the availability problem and concluded last February that the air force should boost its search-and-rescue fleet to 18 of the high-tech choppers.

Hutcheson said search-and-rescue operations have not been compromised because the air force can fall back on other helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

The Cormorants were declared fully operational in 2004, but have been plagued with a variety of technical issues.

Cracked windscreens and minor structural defects were among the initial reports, but the deficiencies became more serious with the discovery of cracks in the tail rotor assembly.

The aircraft-maker provided new hubs, but the cracking persisted — a defect that was blamed for crashes of EH-101 helicopters in service in other countries.

Corrosion was also detected near the fuel tanks last year.

Mark
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2008, 12:21:36 »
Mark:

"There's no money" is an old canard that's no longer true.  There's a lack of staff to conduct procurement - true.  There's a lack of aircrews - possibly true - I don't know.  But a lack of money?  Nope.  Once the 07/08 DPR comes out take a look at DND's total appropriations and respendable revenue versus actual expenditures - and remember to identify the "carry forward" of funds from 07/08 to 08/09.

Money is not an issue.
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Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2008, 22:27:52 »
Moot point as AWIL no longer even makes our variant of the EH-101 anymore.  We can't buy new Cormorants because they don't exist to purchase.
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Offline karl28

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2008, 22:44:44 »
         So basically from what I understand from the above statement  is that the Canadian gov bought a helicopter that has some issues in the past  and now there is no way to get replacements if needed ?   If true than that was a sad way to spend limited resources .

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2008, 22:55:25 »
Moot point as AWIL no longer even makes our variant of the EH-101 anymore.  We can't buy new Cormorants because they don't exist to purchase.

AgustaWestland still makes the EH101 just under a different coding, now it is called the AW101
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2008, 23:10:57 »
Ahh... but we did not buy EH-101s.  We bought Cormorants.  There were only ever 15 made.  We have the 14 that remain on the planet.

Stupid way to spend money?  yep- but then there were not a bunch of good procurement decisions made 1993-2003, were there?

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2008, 23:19:31 »
Specs for the EH101 and the CH149 are identical (at least to me)

Specifications (Merlin HM1)
 
Crew: 4
Capacity:

24 seated troops or
45 standing troops or
16 stretchers with medics
Length: 22.81 m (74 ft 10 in)
Rotor diameter: 18.59 m (61 ft 0 in)
Height: 6.65 m (21 ft 10 in)
Disc area: 271 m² (2,992 ft²)
Empty weight: 10,500 kg (23,150 lb)
Useful load: 5,443 kg (12,000 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 15,600 kg (32,188 lb)
Powerplant: 3× Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322-01 turboshafts, 1,725 kW (2,312 shp) each
Performance

Never exceed speed: 309 km/h (167 knots, 192 mph)
Range: 1,389 km (750 nm, 863 mi)
Service ceiling 4,575 m (15,000ft)
Rate of climb: 10.2 m/s (2,000 ft/min)
Disc loading: 53.8 kg/m² (11.01 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 284.9 W/kg (0.174 shp/lb)

General characteristics

Crew: 5
1-Aircraft Commander, 1-First Officer, 1-Flight Engineer, 2-SAR Techs
Capacity:

30 seated troops or
45 standing troops or
16 stretchers with medics
Length: 74 ft 10 in (22.81 m)
Rotor diameter: 61 ft 0 in (18.59 m)
Height: 21 ft 10 in (6.65 m)
Disc area: 2992 ft² (271 m²)
Empty weight: 23,150 lb (10,500 kg)
Useful load: 5,443 kg (12,000 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 32,188 lb (14,600 kg)
Powerplant: 3× General Electric T700-T6A1 turboshafts, 1,723 shp (1286 kW) each
Performance

Never exceed speed: 167 knots (192 mph, 309 km/h)
Range: 750 nm (863 mi, 1389 km)
Service ceiling 15,000ft (4575 m)
Rate of climb: 2000 ft/min (10.2 m/s)
Disc loading: 53.8 kg/m² (11.01 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.174 shp/lb (284.9 W/kg)


So shouldn't the parts be interchangable?
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2008, 23:36:09 »
Keeping in mind that I'm not a Cormorant guy, I've been told that there is basically little-to-no avionics commonality between our Cormorants and  any other EH-101 in the world.  We bought orphans.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2008, 13:16:09 »
The CH-149 as it exists is not an EH-101.  Sure it may look the same - the user-machine interface is different enough that it is not the same.

We never got another Cormorant to replace 914 - because we couldn't.
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Offline JohnnyCanuck1977

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2008, 13:51:18 »
I remember years ago discussing the purchase of these aircraft to replace the chinooks. At first I thought great about bloody time. But after some discussion with an AVN friend of mine I changed my mind. It would have been a good purchase if the government would have bought this airframe for both search and rescue and a maritime version for the ships.  That way we could have increased our SAR capabilities and replaced the Sea Kings, in addition having a common platform decreases the amount of time spent on training repair crews.  As it stands now we have techs for Sea Kings, Griffins, and Comorants and coming on line shortly the new Chinooks and Cyclones. We have a limited number of techs as it is, by having so many different airframes you make that pool of specialized personnel even smaller.


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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2008, 14:09:49 »
The CH-149 as it exists is not an EH-101.  Sure it may look the same - the user-machine interface is different enough that it is not the same.

We never got another Cormorant to replace 914 - because we couldn't.


Fair enough, I learned something new.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2008, 15:02:48 »
I remember years ago discussing the purchase of these aircraft to replace the chinooks. At first I thought great about bloody time. But after some discussion with an AVN friend of mine I changed my mind. It would have been a good purchase if the government would have bought this airframe for both search and rescue and a maritime version for the ships.  That way we could have increased our SAR capabilities and replaced the Sea Kings, in addition having a common platform decreases the amount of time spent on training repair crews.  As it stands now we have techs for Sea Kings, Griffins, and Comorants and coming on line shortly the new Chinooks and Cyclones. We have a limited number of techs as it is, by having so many different airframes you make that pool of specialized personnel even smaller.



CH-149 technicians are civilians and is done by contract with IMP so it really doesnt affect the CF in terms of training.

Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2008, 23:40:40 »
I It would have been a good purchase if the government would have bought this airframe for both search and rescue and a maritime version for the ships.  That way we could have increased our SAR capabilities and replaced the Sea Kings,

This is exactly what the Mulroney Conservative government signed with EHI (now AWIL).  It was the idiot Cretin and his bumbling fools that canceled that contract and eventually got us our version of the LSVW.

Having civi maintainers wasn't always a part of the plan either - it just worked out this way - for better or for worse.

Bemoan the airframe if we like - it is still far superior to the chopper it replaced.  It has done SAR missions that would have turned the Lab back at the outset.  Maintenance issues aside, the operators love this machine and we are slowly fixing each issue one by one.
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Offline SteveB

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2008, 11:51:07 »
I have a question about the user interface issue.  As a pilot, I understand the difficulty different switch locations, system architectures and display systems pose.  That said, in civilian flying they are a part of life.  Recently Cargo Jet purchased 767s with the new -400 cockpit and the Pegasus FMC system.  All training and checking for the new type was conducted in Miami on simulators with the old -200/300 cockpit.  No further training was conducted and the first experience the pilots had with the new cockpit was on line.  Now, that was done with TC's full knowledge and approval.  Frequently, pilots of older fleets, such as 727s, have many different cockpits and systems to contend with as the aircraft were originally built at different times and for different airlines before being converted to cargo and purchased by the current user. 

I'm not using this as an example of a perfect world, far from it, ;) just pointing out that with some additional training one crew can operate the same basic craft with substantially differing interfaces.  Now, I know that spares and maintenance would be another kettle of fish but, with IMP  ??? doing the maintenance, that should be doable.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2008, 12:38:22 »
Cutting back on inspections to meet the flying objectives is a poor choice of words. A review of the inspection manual is possibly required to fine tune the number and frequency of inspections which could reduce the number of maintenance man-hours per flying hour.

Corrosion was also detected near the fuel tanks last year. Perhaps it should have stated 'Corrosion was found near the fuel tanks last year as
expected, considering the Cormorant was working in a salt water environment and the design of the floors did not prevent water from accumulating or draining from the fuel tank area.
 
Expecting each aircraft would be on the flight line 75 per cent of the time was realistic if the inspection manual was not so labour intensive and the the tail rotor problems were easily rectified by the OEM .

The Cormorant has many good points which all pilots and maintainers could attest too. Fix the tail rotor problems and adjust the maintenance schedule then possibly the 75 percent could be a reality.

Offline kj_gully

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2008, 11:27:51 »
I have a question about the user interface issue.  As a pilot, I understand the difficulty different switch locations, system architectures and display systems pose.  That said, in civilian flying they are a part of life.  Recently Cargo Jet purchased 767s with the new -400 cockpit and the Pegasus FMC system.  All training and checking for the new type was conducted in Miami on simulators with the old -200/300 cockpit.  No further training was conducted and the first experience the pilots had with the new cockpit was on line.  Now, that was done with TC's full knowledge and approval.  Frequently, pilots of older fleets, such as 727s, have many different cockpits and systems to contend with as the aircraft were originally built at different times and for different airlines before being converted to cargo and purchased by the current user. 

I'm not using this as an example of a perfect world, far from it, ;) just pointing out that with some additional training one crew can operate the same basic craft with substantially differing interfaces.  Now, I know that spares and maintenance would be another kettle of fish but, with IMP  ??? doing the maintenance, that should be doable.

Without "dissing" pilots of cargo jets, the skill set required to fly SAR helicopter (low level, night vision ops, poor weather)  is markedly different from flying airways. It is a task saturated environment, and there really is no place for a crewmember to have to remember which airplane he's in during critical phases of flight, of which there are many more than flying cargo.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2008, 11:49:03 »

My prediction is that the CH148 will have its share of problems during its introduction to service.
I am afraid that it will probably be worse. The only part of the 148 that is non developmental is the green airframe and that does not even include the folding tail, which is new design for that airframe. There is nothing on the 148 that has been tested. The back end will really be a challenge.
The Cormorant problems, which have been discussed to death really boil down to a flawed program, not just the procurement. There was not enough money allotted to begin with and when the decisions were made to divert spares and support money to other things with the thought that normal operations and maintenance at HQ would procure more and replenish often, the hammer came down on "traditional" ways of doing business. More parts could be ordered, maintenance could be altered and with Military folks at the pointed end, you could get things done but no, alternative service delivery was the ointment of the day and IMP was smeared on the unsuspecting butts. They could do things better right?  Well, the fact is that they could not and can not. IMHO when you pull the Military folks out of the loop, you lose the flexibility to do ops, in any theater. When the union or overtime avoidance contractor has control, it is difficult to operate a SAR unit.?

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2008, 16:52:46 »
The Cormorant is not a lost cause. It far exceeds the aircraft it replaced. Growing pains are a fact of life. Military techs or civilian techs was a question of economics and political will. This aircraft was designed for SAR operations and not military operations . A variant of this aircraft has been purchased for the US president. It has 3 engines and the ability to fily with two. Safety of the aircrew was a key factor in the selection of the aircraft. This aircraft will be inservice for 30 plus years. The project office knew their were compromises and the objective was to get the best basic airframe for the dollars provided.  A common thread in discussions about the Cormornant since it was purchased was the lack of good information and too much speculation.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2008, 10:46:23 »

Online MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2008, 11:01:43 »
Maybe we do need to get a few more. What's the alternative, given the "emotion" of the Canadian public (and the fear it evokes in politicians)?  From the full CP story (usual copyright disclaimer):
http://www.680news.com/news/national/more.jsp?content=n121565A

Quote
Canada's air force is considering whether to buy or lease more Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters because the existing fleet is too often sidelined with mechanical difficulties and inspections.

Adding to the current stable of 14 choppers at three air bases is among the proposals to resolve availability problems that have plagued the military since the aircraft was acquired five years ago, said Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt, chief of air staff.

"What we are trying to do is analyze this based on facts, because when you get into search and rescue you get into a lot of emotion," Watt told The Canadian Press in a recent interview.

"This is something that is near and dear to Canadians' hearts and when we lose a citizen as a result of a search-and-rescue incident we all take it personally."

Defence sources have suggested a plan to buy or lease as many as five more Cormorants or CH-149s is getting serious consideration at National Defence. Watt said no final decision has been made.

The federal cabinet has yet to consider such a proposal, he said.

An internal air force review last winter recommended that four more helicopters be added.

In addition to that study, Watt ordered his air staff and the department's operational research branch to conduct a thorough analysis of search-and-rescue incidents - where they happened, the time of day, what kind of rescue occurred and the type of aircraft used.

The research will help air force planners in deciding how many aircraft are needed and where...

Frequent inspections for tail-rotor cracks and other mechanical problems have meant the CH-149s have been available for missions only 50 per cent of the time, rather than the 75 per cent that manufacturer AgustaWestland promised.

Watt said flight engineers are working with the company to boost availability.

"It is not satisfactory at 50 per cent. It is not what they promised. And it's not good enough," Watt said.

Originally stationed at four air fields across the country, the Cormorants were pulled out of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., and their search-and-rescue duties handed to CH-146 Griffon utility helicopters, which are designed to transport troops and army supplies.

Although he described it as "a work-around solution," Watt acknowledged that continuing with the Griffons, but perhaps modifying them, is something else that can be considered.

"We're looking at all the options to bring the SAR (search-and-rescue) system to a level of maturity for the long term, in order to make the situation better."

Canada initially purchased 15 Cormorants, a variant of the EH-101, from AgustaWestland but one was lost in a 2006 crash off Nova Scotia. The air force had recommended purchasing more, but 15 was the most the former Liberal government was prepared to buy.

Two bases have had trouble keeping their Cormorants airborne. Comox, B.C., was reduced to just one chopper last December and Gander, N.L., went without any helicopters last summer.

Lt.-Gen. Watt (who knows helicopters) seems to be putting on a bit of public pressure himself.

Mark
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2008, 11:16:42 »
Question:

As the CF doesn't do CSAR - if we did, SAR techs wouldn't dress in bright orange - should we leave the business altogether?  Pass the airframes and the responsibility to the Coast Guard.  Close the Airborne School (as we promised to do) and buy any training we need from allies (mostly for the SOF types).

Or is that heresy?
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2008, 11:13:50 »
Good day dapaterson,
                              correct me if I'm wrong but you are asking if it's heresy that the CF close the Airborne School and leave the SAR support (I guess all of it, FWSAR and RWSAR) to the coast guard because we don't do CSAR? Why should we leave the SAR world because we don't do CSAR? I'm wondering as well, what is the end result you're looking for by doing so? Saving money?
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2008, 12:32:17 »
Question:

As the CF doesn't do CSAR - if we did, SAR techs wouldn't dress in bright orange - should we leave the business altogether?  Pass the airframes and the responsibility to the Coast Guard.  Close the Airborne School (as we promised to do) and buy any training we need from allies (mostly for the SOF types).

Or is that heresy?

I'll echo this question - at least the first part.  The SAR types around here can feel free to interject, but this seems to be almost a purely civil function; why is it the CF that does this in the first place?

As for the CFSALW (I think thats right) I believe there is still enough of a critical mass within CANSOFCOM to justify the need for a jump school - as well, the school has other functions which we still need outside of jumping.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2008, 17:41:05 »
In Canada - SAR is the domain of DFO (Coast Guard), RCMP and the Canadian Forces.  Federal responsibility covers all aviation incidents, any salt-water body of water and MedEvacs that the province can't handle.

Why the CF and not DFO?  I attribute the reasoning behind that to our training system, our pool of aviation personnel and the fact that we don't have over-time (unlike RCMP and DFO).

Our SAR RW and FW aircrew are trained beyond that of a civilian pilot - also beyond what they can legally do in the civilian world.  The CF has its own flying regulations - DFO and RCMP aircrew must abide by Transport Canada regulations.  DFO and RCMP do not train their aircrew - they do not possess the ability or facilities to do this - the CF does.

A nation's military is not just a war machine - take DART for instance, floods, ice storms, snow storms, etc...
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2008, 18:36:33 »
I'll buy that for $200 Zoomie - makes sense to me.

Cheers
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2008, 16:04:08 »
Latest on Cormorants from Aerospace Daily & Defense Report:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/CHHEL12238.xml&headline=AgustaWestland%20Tackles%20CH-149%20Issues

Quote
The availability of Canada’s CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters is improving after manufacturer AgustaWestland took action to improve spares provisioning, and inspection requirements were changed.

Earlier this year, an official report revealed availability of the 14 helicopters was less than 50 percent, well below the 75 percent expected when Canada purchased the EH101-based Cormorants in 1998.

The study said minimum operational requirements could only be met by buying more aircraft or reducing maintenance inspections. Canada purchased 15 Cormorants, but lost one, and the helicopters equip only three of the originally planned four operating bases.

The Department of National Defence (DND) denies Canadian media reports it is considering buying or leasing up to five more Cormorants [emphasis added], but says it is still evaluating the effectiveness of AgustaWestland’s recovery plan.

An operational availability improvement program instituted with Canada has made “genuine inroads” into overcoming the issues, says Jeremy Tracy, AgustaWestland’s head of region for Canada.

The program involves more attention to spares provisioning and the return of repaired and overhauled items, he says. Suppliers are being held to the provisioning times offered, and inspection intervals have also been adjusted to reduce maintenance downtime.

“As the aircraft matures we are able to reduce the maintenance burden,” Tracy says. Canada has now begun inspecting tail-rotor hubs for cracks every 200 flight hours, in common with other EH101 operators, instead of every 100 hours.

Working with the DND and maintenance prime contractor IMP, AgustaWestland has been able to get a better understanding of spares provisioning requirements, he says. “We have provided as many as we can against the target threshold.”..

Tracy says the program already has improved the availability of the Cormorants, citing recent statistics showing nine aircraft out of 14 available. This is an improvement over the 50 percent rate, but still short of the 75 percent target.

Availability varies day to day, the DND says, adding that “while the trend appears to be improving, the availability rate for the Cormorant has recently averaged six to seven aircraft available out of the total of 14 [emphasis added]."..

Mark
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #40 on: December 24, 2008, 17:51:22 »
dapaterson, CFLAWC is active enough in ensuring that suitable parachute and load/rigging training is provided to CF elements that need it, that it's doors will definitely be open for a long time to come.  SAR Tech training support is only a small part of its overall activity levels.

On the SAR issue, Zoomie has noted some legislative and institutional limitations/constraints that exist today.  Even in civil/governmental (non-CF) aviation, however, there are special operating waivers that can be requested of TC to accomplish required tasks.  NVG use has been a long time coming in the civilian world, currently only starting in Canada for MEDEVAC helicopters, but I am certain their use will expand.  The main issue remains the 'whole of Government' position that DND is the lead agency for SAR activities.  Until the government decides that TC through DFO/CCG does SAR, DND will remain the main provider.

Cheers
G2G

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2008, 18:16:47 »
The main issue remains the 'whole of Government' position that DND is the lead agency for SAR activities.  Until the government decides that TC through DFO/CCG does SAR, DND will remain the main provider.
Cheers
G2G
The National SAR response is the responsibility of the Interdeparmental Committee on Search and Rescue that reports to the Search and Rescue Secretariat that reports to the MND who happens to be the lead Minister for Search and Rescue. 

Because it can ... DND provides Joint Coordination.  Air Command is but one participant in Air Search and Rescue.  While the MND reports to Government, DND is not the lead agency.

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/index_e.asp

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/reports/nsp/2006plan/programplan_e.asp

The particular role of DND is found here:

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/reports/nsp/2006plan/annexA3_e.asp
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 19:20:36 by gwp »

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2008, 18:19:11 »
delete
« Last Edit: December 24, 2008, 18:25:09 by gwp »

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2008, 18:49:35 »
The National SAR response is the responsibility of the Interdeparmental Committee on Search and Rescue that reports to the Search and Rescue Secretariat that reports to the MND who happens to be the lead Minister for Search and Rescue.  Because it can ... DND provides Command and Control and Air Command is but one participant in Air Search and Rescue.  DND is not however the lead agency.

http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/index_e.asp

The particular role of DND is found here:
http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/reports/nsp/2006plan/programplan_e.asp

Your point was?  That a committee is doing all the work? That it's not the Department but rather Minister Mackay who sits in his corner office controlling search and rescue activities?  I believe you knew what I meant regarding DND provision of SAR services.  Perhaps I should have been more clear and said Canadian Aviation SAR response.

If you are able to point folks to all the appropriate NSS web pages, then you could have also taken the time to note that Federal jurisdiction Aviation and Maritime SAR is coordinated by primarily* through the joint efforts of DND and the CCG at the three national Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCCs) across Canada.

*Note: Acknowledgment that while DND/CF and DFO/CCG provides the material majority of SAR operational response, there is contribution from six Federal Departments/Agencies in the provision of National SAR Program services; Canadian Forces, Canadian Coast Guard, Environment Canada's Meteorological Service of Canada, Parks Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Transport Canada.

G2G

Online MarkOttawa

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2008, 21:19:56 »
Good2Golf: Quite.  An unless and until the government decides to give the CCG a real aviation component, staffed by CCG personnel, things cannot change.  Or one could get the federal government out of the primary aerial SAR role, at least inland.

CCG helicopters' role here,
http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Careers_Helicopters

pilots actually from Transport Canada:
http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Fisheries-And-Oceans-Canada-783111.html

Quote
...All Coast Guard helicopters are flown and serviced by Transport Canada employees assigned to the agency...

Mark
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Offline Bograt

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2008, 16:46:15 »
Wondering out loud if it wouldn't be more cost effective to buy/lease another 2-3 and purchase a CAT D sim for here in Canada.

How many a/c hours could be shifted to SAR if more work was done in the box?
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Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2008, 16:52:21 »
The school has their students spending quite some time in a Level D simulator right now.  It is quite the departure from the original syllabus.  The students aren't complaining - the sim is in England.
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #47 on: November 01, 2010, 12:04:51 »
Post at Unambiguously Ambidextrous:

Talk about high-level sole sourcing!/Khadr Update
http://unambig.com/talk-about-high-level-sole-sourcing/

Quote
But it just might make sense:

    Canadian Forces eye Obama’s chopper cast-offs
    Cancelled presidential helicopters could supply spare parts for Cormorants...

Mark
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Online Colin P

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2011, 14:48:48 »
The RCAF was solely responsible for SAR up till 1964, except for a few Department of Marine Transport lifeboats stations. In the 1964, RCAF stations such as Kitsolano Were turned over lock stock and barrel (crews, boats included, don’t ask me how that worked) Coast Guard had to scramble to purchase hulls to meet this new requirement, hence the R class boats. If fact they did 2 week patrols for the first couple of years around Vancouver island in the 40’ crashboats, with the crew sleeping aboard!!!! (I like those boats bu not that much)

There is no technical reason that SAR response could not be turned over to a private agency, although I doubt they would turn over the RCC’s as they have access to much sensitive information. But I can see the helicopters being privatized and with the current attitude of the CG to avoid working with other department (at least on this coast) I can also see a cash strapped government looking at a “Trinity House  model” Perhaps at least for the buoy tenders. I can see a political fight forming if they try to privatize the helicopters and the rescue cutters, similar to the lighthouse issue, but it’s still quite possible.   

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2011, 15:16:43 »
Colin P.: One of those logical approaches that I just don't think will, er, fly in Canada.  The Air Force likes the kudos and TV exposure it gets from warm and fuzzy SAR work and I think would fight hard--in public too--to keep it.  Moreover I don't think any government is willing to take the political risk of a non-governmental screw-up in a SAR effort which would no doubt happen at some point.  No gov't has even dared to abolish the National Search & Rescue Secretariat,
http://www.nss.gc.ca/site/whoWeAre/index_e.asp
set up (as you know) as a result of the Ocean Ranger:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Ranger

Whereas the much more important to have as an autonomous agency Emergency Preparedness Canada (eventually Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness) was abolished in 2004 by the Martin government and folded into what was first Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and is now just Public Safety Canada:
http://computer.yourdictionary.com/office-of-critical-infrastructure-protection-and-emergency-preparedness

Somehow I doubt emergency planning and response now gets the serious and undivided attention it once did now that the functions are just performed as part of a regular bureaucracy with rather higher priorities in many other areas (RCMP, CSIS. CBSA. CSC) that have a much higher public and political profile.

Note where the function now is and guess which has priority:

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY BRANCH
http://sage-geds.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/cgi-bin/direct500/eng/XEou%3dEMNSB-SGUSN%2cou%3dPS-SP%2co%3dGC%2cc%3dCA

Yet for some reason SAR too continues to have a very high profile.

Mark
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« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 16:54:53 by MarkOttawa »
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2011, 16:34:54 »
One of the problems to consider with privatizing SAR, aside from how it will be funded, is the cost of the liability such a company would have to pay.  If the country were to expect the same type of service they have now (SAR techs, flying in less than favourable weather, landing in extreme confined LZs) the liability cost would be astronomical.

New Zealand has privatized helo rescue services but I'm not familiar with their SOPs, how they compare to what we have and do.
http://www.helicopters.net.nz/christchurch-westpac-rescue-helicopter-nz-flying-doctors__I.122
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Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2011, 17:16:34 »
Yet for some reason SAR too continues to have a very high profile.
As it's one of the few highly, nationally-visible (rather'n coastal or Northern) continuous CF operations in Canada? Makes sense.

Just to add a few more bodies to the land-SAR mix, there's also each province's version of ground search and rescue, and, at least in BC, CASARA; the latter generally providing fair-weather air-search capabilities.

Question from volunteer Ground SAR: is the rotor (footprint? circle? length?) shorter/smaller than it should be? There's a rumour to that effect floating around, as an explanation for the tree-uprooting, rock-flinging downdraft from the things. The most developed version of the rumour claimed a design decision made to allow landing/storage onboard ship.

Offline Trunk Monkey

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2011, 20:20:20 »
As it's one of the few highly, nationally-visible (rather'n coastal or Northern) continuous CF operations in Canada? Makes sense.

Just to add a few more bodies to the land-SAR mix, there's also each province's version of ground search and rescue, and, at least in BC, CASARA; the latter generally providing fair-weather air-search capabilities.

Question from volunteer Ground SAR: is the rotor (footprint? circle? length?) shorter/smaller than it should be? There's a rumour to that effect floating around, as an explanation for the tree-uprooting, rock-flinging downdraft from the things. The most developed version of the rumour claimed a design decision made to allow landing/storage onboard ship.


IRT your questions, where are these rumours coming from?  NO, for your first one. The rotor diameter on the CH-149 is no different than any other AW101 (called that now) variant out there (61'). Helicopters push air down so the side effect is, when near the ground,  flinging rocks-dirt-shrubbery, a pickup being blown down a riverbank(Calgary Stampede, behind the Saddledome),  sheets of plywood flying randomly about, and so on.
 As for the second "rumour", it is actually true. Shocking, I know ;D
Near all helos used by Maritime forces(even those used by the AF/Army/Marines/CGs of the world) have a blade folding system, whether it is a manual system (our Griffons are capable of this, great for loading on a transport plane), or a powered system (Sea Kings as an example). Only exceptions I have seen are the Italians who use (may not anymore) a Twin Huey on their smaller ships. I'm sure others do also. Warships of size have hangars and the birds will need to be inside from time to time, hence a folding blade system.

Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2011, 21:46:00 »
Thanks!

The rumour? Not sure as to the initial source (possibly a Provincial Emergency Program type), but it came out after a Cormorant, called to pick someone out of a creek right in back of Ladysmith, tossed up some small trees, etc, one of which broke the leg of a fireman sheltering the victim; sometime in the spring of 08, I think.

Interesting.


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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2011, 23:37:05 »
The Cormorant does have an intense downdraft - much more so than the Labrador.  This is one of the reasons why rescues are perform on a longer hoist cable than previously done - to dampen the effects of the downdraft.  If you get a chance to be near one when it isn't running - take a good look at the tips of the rotors.
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #55 on: February 11, 2011, 11:53:51 »
Winching from the hovercraft used to require us to shut down, the downdraft caused us to spin complicating things for the winch operater and pilot. Downdraft from the Lab sucked. (edited grammer due to lack of sleep and coffee)

Mark I fully agree that privitizing SAR is a political minefield. However I seem to recall that they did have a private SAR helo and crew based in Prince Rupert for awhile. CG mounted a winch on their S-61 in Prince rupert, but are reluctant to use it or train the people properly. When I was doing SAR on the North Coast, most of our helicopter support came from the USCG.
The thin edge of the wedge will be to provide a commerical Federally funded SAR service in an area that does not have much coverage already, so people will see it as an improvement and not a change for the worse.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 12:05:56 by Colin P »

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2011, 11:56:54 »
Winching from the hovercraft used to require us to shut down, the downdraft cause use to spin complicating things for the winch operater and pilot. Downdraft from the Lab sucked.

Speak English!

As to the blades on the Cormorant, those things are monsters! 

Zoomie, you'd know the answer to this.  Is it actually possible to walk on them?  I recall someone telling me that when one of these beasts landed behind the O-Mess in Gagetown some years ago.
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Offline Ditch

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2011, 16:08:02 »
I haven't seen anyone walk on the blades. It would be a pretty precarious feat!
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Offline kj_gully

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2011, 10:39:44 »
I think I  what you are asking about the blade being shorter, they have a specially designed BERP    rotor, that effectively shortens required blade:( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BERP_rotor ) while concentrating downwash over smaller diameter. Like being in a hurricane/ tornado for sure. Definitely need to keep your head up.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 10:48:52 by kj_gully »

Offline rnkelly

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #59 on: June 27, 2011, 15:51:31 »


http://www.shephard.co.uk/news/rotorhub/canadians-to-cannibalise-vh-71s-for-cormorant-spares/9418/

Quote
Canadians to cannibalise VH-71s for Cormorant spares

June 27, 2011

The Canadian Forces (CF) has reportedly bought nine of the VH-71s purchased for the US Presidential 'Marine One' helicopter programme.
The airframes, which have been in storage since the cancellation of the programme in June 2009 will be stripped down by the Canadians and used as a spares source for its fleet of CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopters.

According to the Canadian press, Ottawa paid just $164 million for the nine aircraft and other additional spares, a fraction of the $3 billion the US Government ploughed into the project before the plug was pulled. The VH-71s are reportedly not in a flyable condition and cannot be used to provide additional SAR capacity.

The Cormorant fleet has suffered from spares shortages since the type was introduced into Canadian Forces services in 2001 and 2002, and Ottawa hopes that the purchase will address what it describes as 'long-standing fleet availability issues related to the availability of spare parts.'

The first components from the nine VH-71s arrived in March, with the rest of the components expected to between now and September.

By Tony Osborne, London

Great job to whoever got this done and for a bargain price too!  Hopefully this will mean more Cormorants serviceable, let the cannibalization begin soon (get those puppies here).
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 16:04:54 by rnkelly »

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #60 on: June 27, 2011, 18:56:37 »
Nicely staged pictures with one of our 41's. In normally practice the boat should maintain about 6 kts into the wind to make it easier for the pilot, at least with the labs that was the norm.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #61 on: June 27, 2011, 19:11:55 »
Even in most stiff winds, 6 kts isn't going to come close to helping...might as well be stopped.  Either go fast enough to let the aircraft stay above translational lift, or hold position in the water to provide a static target.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #62 on: June 28, 2011, 11:53:49 »
Even in most stiff winds, 6 kts isn't going to come close to helping...might as well be stopped.  Either go fast enough to let the aircraft stay above translational lift, or hold position in the water to provide a static target.

Regards
G2G

That was the standard set for the labs, according to the information we had . But normally the pilot and Coxswain would talk by radio and adjust for conditions. For the hovercraft we had to shut down, seems the SAR techs didn't like the idea of lowering down into a running plenum and prop.... ;D

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #63 on: June 28, 2011, 12:01:46 »
Single rotors don't have the inherent stability of a tandem, so that's why you'll see CH149s and CH146s more stable when the boat had good speed ahead.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #64 on: June 28, 2011, 12:06:10 »
that explains the differance, thank you

Offline beenthere

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #65 on: June 28, 2011, 23:02:04 »
In the photo the boat is passing behind the helicopter.
But not lately. If I could do it all over again I would  change one thing.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #66 on: June 29, 2011, 08:44:55 »
No its not.

First, the boat is in front of the water spray caused by the rotor downdraft.

Second, the tip of the boat's mast can be seen in white against the yellow (and therefore in front of) of the lower fuselage.

Just saying ;) .

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #67 on: April 19, 2012, 21:13:18 »
Oh Canada: The Fate of the Marines’ VH-71 Fleet

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2012/04/19/oh-canada-the-fate-of-the-marines-vh-71-fleet/#ixzz1sXRlDTTW
Defense.org

Yes, the picture above shows five of the nine AgustaWestland-made VH-71 helicopters shrinkwrapped and being shipped on a barge from Maryland to Canada. The VH-71s were delivered to the U.S. Navy years ago as part of the Marine One helicopter replacement program. If you’ll remember, that effort was scrapped shortly after President Obama took office due to massive cost growth associated with converting the helos into a 21st Century presidential ride.

The problem is, nine helos had already been delivered to the Naval Air Systems Command at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland. Four test aircraft and five production birds that were going to be sent to a Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, NY., where they would be converted into luxury helos for the president.

After the program was canceled, the brand new choppers sat on the ramp at Pax River until last year when they were sold to Canada for pennies on the dollar despite interest in the choppers from “other” U.S. government agencies.  Now, they’re going to be used for parts to support Canada’s fleet of Cormorant rescue choppers. So sad.

A friend of DT’s snapped the photo above on the show floor at the Navy League’s annual Sea, Air, Space conference in Maryland earlier this week.



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Offline uncle-midget-Oddball

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #68 on: April 19, 2012, 21:37:47 »
The article says the birds were sold to Canada, but was it to the RCAF as Cormorants, the RCAF as Cyclones, or to just a Canadian company in need of several helicopters? 


Edit: Upon  further reading of  sentences of this article which I missed... Disregard this post.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 22:10:50 by uncle-midget-Oddball »
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Offline GAP

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #69 on: April 19, 2012, 22:05:51 »
If they have not been used, why sold for parts?
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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #70 on: April 19, 2012, 22:12:47 »
The article says the birds were sold to Canada, but was it to the RCAF as Cormorants, the RCAF as Cyclones, or to just a Canadian company in need of several helicopters?

If it were to the RCAF, it would be as Cormorants.  The Cyclone isn't the same helicopter nor is it from the same manufacturer.

If they have not been used, why sold for parts?

They would be far more valuable to us as parts than as complete airframes.  Ever price a car built from spare parts?   ;D


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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #71 on: April 19, 2012, 22:15:23 »
If it were to the RCAF, it would be as Cormorants.  The Cyclone isn't the same helicopter nor is it from the same manufacturer.



Yes, see the edit to my previous post.   ;D
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Offline Don2wing

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #72 on: May 22, 2012, 20:44:27 »

 Here is an article I came across:

VH-71s for Canadian Service?

Monday January 30th 2012 - by Ken Pole






AgustaWestland will be making an unsolicited proposal to modify seven of the RCAF’s nine VH-71s bought as spare parts into the same configuration as its CH-149s. Michael Durning Photo







Last summer, the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) purchased nine Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel helicopters, in various stages of completion, from the United States government. The VH-71 is a variant of the AgustaWestland CH-149 (AW101) Cormorant search and rescue (SAR) helicopter currently in use by the Canadian military.




The U.S. Navy had selected the VH-71 in 2005 as its next-generation presidential helicopter, to replace its aging fleet of Sea Kings. But, after the projected costs for the VH-71 increased from $6.5 billion US to $13 billion, the Obama administration canceled the program in 2009. Canada purchased the fleet for a reported $164 million Cdn.




The Canadian government has stated that it does not intend to put the helicopters into operational service, but will instead use them for spare parts. The availability of spare parts for Canada’s SAR helicopters has been an issue since the Cormorant first entered service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) about a decade ago. AgustaWestland and the IMP Group’s aerospace division, the Cormorant’s in-service support provider, have been making improvements when it comes to the availability of spare parts, but aircraft serviceability issues remain a concern. The acquisition of the VH-71s is expected to significantly improve the availability of spare parts, and therefore aircraft serviceability.




“This package is considered an excellent one-time opportunity for the RCAF to address long-standing CH-149 Cormorant fleet availability issues related to the availability of spare parts,” said DND spokesperson Kim Tulipan.




The VH-71 airframes, which were delivered last fall, are not in “flyable” condition. All nine VH-71s were flown by the U.S. Navy, including two that were heavily instrumented for certification purposes prior to the cancelation of the program, but they were far from airworthy when they arrived in Canada on 25 trucks. And, the RCAF plans on keeping it that way, despite calls to increase the size of Canada’s fleet of SAR helicopters from the 14 Cormorants that are currently operated at 9 Wing Gander, Nfld.; 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S.; and 19 Wing Comox, B.C. (The Cormorant had also been operated by 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., but their aircraft were swapped for Bell CH-146 Griffons, and their Cormorants were dispersed between Gander and Greenwood to help contend with aircraft serviceability issues on the East Coast.)




The RCAF said the VH-71 parts will be dispersed between the three bases where the Cormorants are operated. All nine VH-71s are currently stored in Halifax, N.S., at IMP.




Asked whether a decision to not make the VH-71s flyable was a question of the cost of crewing and supporting them, or whether it was simply that the current Cormorant fleet is considered adequate for its assigned role, DND offered this explanation: “They neither have valid airworthiness certificates nor are they configured for SAR missions (the VH-71 cabin differs significantly from the CH-149). There is no intent to modify these airframes and to fly them in order to increase the size of the CH-149 fleet.”




An Alternative View

AgustaWestland, though, is hoping to change RCAF’s mind with a proposal to modify seven of the nine VH-71s into the same configuration as the CH-149s, at a much lower cost than new helicopters, and press them into SAR service.




“It wouldn’t take too much to convert these airframes into a similar configuration to that of the Cormorant,” Jeremy Tracy, the company’s region Canada head, told Vertical 911 during a briefing at AgustaWestland’s sprawling facility in Yeovil, England. He conceded that modifying  the VH-71s “to being as Cormorant-compatible as possible” may not be what DND wishes to do, but offered a couple of cogent arguments in favor of the idea: 1) the call/perceived need for more SAR helicopters, and 2) Canadian sovereignty in the North.




Canada’s current helicopter SAR capability is essentially located on its East and West coasts, which means much of the country’s vast northern regions — where survival can be measured in hours rather than weeks or days during the winter months — is out of easy reach for the CH-149s. Tracy said one option would be to station the modified helicopters with the aforementioned 424 Sqn at 8 Wing Trenton, which is near the northern shores of Lake Ontario, halfway between Toronto and Ottawa. This squadron, which used to fly CH-149s, now often has its Lockheed CC-130H Hercules fixed-wing transports dispatched for northern SAR missions. Said Tracy, “They [RCAF] could put the whole VH-71 fleet into Trenton, because they are a slightly different fleet from the current Cormorant, and it would give you that commonality in one location.”




To utilize the aircraft the way Tracy mentioned, though, would involve dropping out the center cabin and replacing it with one similar to that of the CH-149. The estimated cost of the conversion will of course depend on the additional avionics changes potentially needed, as well as fleet commonality issues, but Tracy feels it can be done cost-effectively.   




“This would give Canada a fleet of helicopters that are suitable for SAR and sovereignty-type operations in the North,” said Tracy.




“We’re aware that there is no appetite within government to put Cormorants up there [at a northern base],” said Tracy, but an “elegant” solution would be to have aircraft stationed at lower latitudes, but dispatched to the North on a regular basis to demonstrate that “this is Canada’s responsibility.” He noted that despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s “very clear” resistance to the concept of a northern SAR base, the federal government is determined to have a presence in the region, if for no other reason than to re-affirm Canada’s control over the region’s mostly untapped natural resources.




What also might help in that respect is the air transportation kit (ATK) that was part of the original purchase of the VH-71s from the U.S. Navy. The ATK would allow a VH-71 to be quickly loaded and then transported by the RCAF’s CC-177 Globemaster strategic airlifter.




Along with AgustaWestland’s proposal for converting the Kestrels, the Anglo-Italian manufacturer will also be proposing a simultaneous midlife upgrade to the CH-149s. “We’re currently working proactively with DND on extending the capabilities of the Cormorant,” said Tracy, by increasing the alternate gross weight by 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) and offering a twin-engine cruise capability to afford about an additional hour of endurance. The priority, however, will be various system improvements, including new avionics, and sensors that would incorporate technological advances of the past decade and enhance the SAR role well out into the projected 40-year service life of the CH-149s.

Online Colin P

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #73 on: May 23, 2012, 10:58:21 »
I suspect it would be good to slowly alter a few airframes so they are in reserve as replacement for losses and you could actually bring a couple up to airworthness so they could replace line machines due for major overhaul.

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #74 on: May 23, 2012, 11:02:47 »
Here is an article I came across:

VH-71s for Canadian Service?
..and here's the article's link   ;)
I even read works I disagree with;  life outside  an ideological echo chamber.

Offline kj_gully

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #75 on: May 23, 2012, 17:12:30 »
that's funny I was just saying today maybe we should replace the Griffons in Trenton with US 101-  similar to Voyageur/Labrador  maybe?

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #76 on: May 23, 2012, 18:39:36 »
Given the reports of AgustaWestland paying a for-profit Ornge related company $6.7M or so after the not for profit publicly funded Ornge bought their helicopters, I would be leery of directing any additional public dollars to the company until a full investigation is completed.

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Offline Don2wing

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #77 on: November 10, 2013, 22:08:09 »
Here is some news from Norway  via  defense aerospace.com

    http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/149293/aw101-wins-norway-sar-competition.html



AgustaWestland to Final Negotiations   
 
(Source: Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security; issued Nov. 8, 2013)
 
 

Like Canada, Norway has selected the AgustaWestland AW101 to meet its requirement for a Search And Rescue helicopter to replace the elderly Sea King. Plans call for the first helicopter to enter service in 2017, and for deliveries to be completed by 2020. (AW photo)
 The Norwegian Government has decided to commence final negotiations with the company AgustaWestland Ltd. for the delivery of new search and rescue helicopters to replace the current Sea King.

 "I am very pleased that we are now coming forward in the acquisition process for the new search and rescue helicopters," the Minister of Justice and Public Security Anders Anundsen states.

 The Ministry of Justice and Public Security has today informed the four bidders Eurocopter, NHI, Sikorsky and AgustaWestland Ltd. that the latter is chosen as the preferred bidder for new SAR helicopters with related equipment and maintenance solutions to replace the current Sea King.

 The aim is that the contract following final negotiations will be concluded by the end of the year. The contract includes 16 new SAR helicopters with an option for further 6, and ensures that the Sea King will be phased out across the country by the end of 2020.

 AgustaWestland AW 101 is the candidate that in total, after intensive negotiations, best meets the demands for Norway's future SAR helicopter.

 The new helicopters will be able to relieve significantly more people in distress, be noticeably faster and with longer range than today - under virtually all weather conditions.

 Additionally, search capability and the possibility for medical treatment are significantly improved.

 The acquisition process started on 21 October 2011 with the announcement of prequalification. Tender documents were released on 12. July 2012 and the offers was received from four bidders on 18 December the same year.

 Introduction of the new SAR helicopters will start in 2017. In 2020, the new helicopters will have replaced the Sea King throughout the country.
 

Offline MCG

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Re: Cormorant problems
« Reply #78 on: July 06, 2014, 12:31:12 »
Quote
DND hamstrung in efforts to convert former US presidential helicopters
CTV News
04 July 2014

OTTAWA -- Newly released documents say converting President Barack Obama's fleet of surplus helicopters for use in Canadian search-and-rescue would break a promise that National Defence made to acquire the aircraft in the first place.

Former defence minister Peter MacKay last year ordered the air force to re-examine whether any of the brand-new VH-71 helicopters, purchased to supply spare parts for Canada's Cormorant choppers, could be made operational.

He was at the time dealing with the fallout from an auditor general's report, which tore a strip off the Harper government over the state of the search-and-rescue system.

Documents show that even though MacKay became justice minister last year, he continued to champion the conversion idea, raising it with his successor Rob Nicholson last fall.

A briefing note prepared for Nicholson shows that converting the VH-71s for operational service would violate a written National Defence pledge that they would only be used for spares.

Although the air force appeared cool to MacKay's suggestion last year, it did assess the feasibility of putting some of the nine choppers back in the air and has not completely ditched the idea.