Author Topic: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend  (Read 5868 times)

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Offline airmich

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Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« on: February 05, 2007, 07:35:35 »
http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=f44d4fe1-5abb-4e74-8675-f787f89b5984&k=25895

Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
 
Jennifer Taplin
CanWest News Service; Halifax Daily News

Sunday, February 04, 2007

HALIFAX- Canada's four-decades-old Sea King helicopter fleet was temporarily placed on an "operational pause" over the weekend, the military said Saturday.

A new study from the original equipment manufacturer, Sikorsky International, re-evaluated the life-span of major components of the helicopter's main rotor head, pegging it 'significantly lower' than previously thought.

The operational pause was put into effect on Thursday and lasted until Saturday afternoon.

The military made it clear the rusting Sea King fleet was not grounded - only non-essential flights and training missions were cancelled during that time.

"The flying operations are resuming. The operational pause has been lifted," said Capt. Jennifer Faubert, Department of Defence spokeswoman, Saturday night.

The life-span revision came after examining how the Sea King has been flown during its operational life. Canada's crop of Sea Kings - which has been plagued with problems - was put into service in 1963.

"That's why we initiated the operational pause was because there was concern after we received this data from the original equipment manufacturer, so we always take prudent measures to ensure that our crews are never in danger when they fly the Sea King," said Faubert.

It was determined the components are still within their new revised life-span and most of them will be replaced in the coming week.

"The good news is we do have enough parts in our own supply system to do this quickly and efficiently."

Maj.-Gen. Charlie Bouchard, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division said in a statement the pause was a "prudent precaution" while they conducted further engineering tests on Canada's 27 remaining Sea Kings.

Col. Alan Blair, commander of 12 Wing Shearwater, in the Halifax region, said the air force conducts hazardous missions but only in safe, well-maintained aircraft.

"The Sea King is no exception and the current situation and our reaction to it is an example of our concern for the safety and security of our aircrew," he said in a statement.

An operational pause is not an uncommon practice said Lisa Brooks, another spokeswoman for the Defence Department

"At the same time, we conducted an operational risk assessment to determine the level of risk involved for various manoeuvres and develop litigation procedures where necessary," said Brooks.

The Sea Kings were limited to essential operations one year ago when one of then crashed into the sea off the coast of Denmark, injuring the five crew members.

The choppers have been involved in more than a dozen crashes over the years - four of them fatal.

The Canadian military purchased 41 of the helicopters in 1963, when they were state of the art but recently they have been notorious for breakdowns, stalls, flameouts and gearbox problems.

The military has undertaken numerous updating and repair programs to keep the Sea Kings flying, but critics say that after more than 40 years in service, the air frames are now simply at the end of their lives. Sea King crews spend 30 hours maintaining the helicopters for every hour they spend in the air.

Ottawa has ordered 28 Cyclones from Sikorsky International - a contract worth $5-billion - to replace the Sea Kings, but they aren't expected to be operational until 2009.

The first of the helicopters are expected to be delivered starting in late 2008-early 2009, with the rest due to arrive at a rate of one a month.

The replacement of the choppers was put off for more than 10 years under the Liberals after the 1993 election victory of Jean Chretien. He followed through on a campaign promise and cancelled a $4.8-billion contract to replace the rusting Sea Kings with a new maritime fleet.
© CanWest News Service 2007
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Offline geo

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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2007, 08:07:42 »
Quote
It was determined the components are still within their new revised life-span and most of them will be replaced in the coming week.

"The good news is we do have enough parts in our own supply system to do this quickly and efficiently."
Hmmm - why is it I do not get a warm and fuzzy feeling with this statement. 
Well within it`s revised life span AND we'll be changing them all this week.........
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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2007, 08:20:49 »
Here's the CF statements....

Flying operations paused for CH-124 Sea King
CF news release #07.001, 2 Feb 07
Article Link

SHEARWATER, N.S. – Essential life saving missions will continue while the fleet of CH-124 Sea King aircraft are undergoing a temporary operational pause.

“A recently released study from the original equipment manufacturer has indicated that the life-cycle of certain major components should be revised based on how the Sea King has been flown during its operational life,” said Major General Charlie Bouchard, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division. “This operational pause is a prudent precaution while we conduct a further engineering assessment of these components.”

The affected components are in the main rotor head of the aircraft and the revised life-cycle recommendations are significantly lower than those used previously by the Air Force.

“The Air Force is called upon to conduct hazardous operations on a regular basis, but it will only do that with safe, properly maintained aircraft,” said Colonel Alan Blair, Commander of 12 Wing in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. “The Sea King is no exception and the current situation and our reaction to it, is an example of our concern for the safety and security of our aircrew, and for the safe conduct of the tasks that they are called upon to perform.”

-30-

Sea King Flying Operations to Resume
CF news release 07.002, 4 Feb 07
Article Link

SHEARWATER, N.S. - The Canadian Forces Sea King fleet will return to normal flying operations following a brief operational pause. The pause was initiated Friday after a recent study from the original equipment manufacturer indicated a need to reduce the usage life of certain components on the aircraft.

Extensive consultations last night and this morning between Canadian Forces technical and operational authorities led Major General Charlie Bouchard, the Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, to the decision to reinstate Sea King flying operations. "A prudent approach to this situation was taken to ensure the safety of our personnel. I am now confident that this is a maintenance issue that can be quickly resolved."

The Sea King remains the operational mainstay of Canada's shipboard and maritime helicopter capability," said Colonel Alan Blair, the Commander of 12 Wing Shearwater, "and it continues to operate with an enviable safety record, due to the proactive and safety-conscious maintenance monitoring the Canadian Forces routinely undertakes."

-30-
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Offline Inch

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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2007, 16:14:19 »
Man oh man, I think I may run it up the chain and drag this journalist into the Hangar and ask her to point out some rust on the aluminum skinned Sea King.

FYI genius, aluminum doesn't rust, rust by it's scientific name is Iron Oxide, so to get rust, there has to be iron present. Anyway, if she's talking about corrosion, yes, we spend the majority of our time flying within 150 ft of salt water. Is there going to be corrosion? Hell yeah, but it's not like it goes unnoticed or there are no precautionary measures in place.

The media sure has blown this one out of the water. The Wing Commander sent out an email today detailing the problem. Knowing how the media has picked up things posted here, I'm not going to post those details here. Suffice to say, I have 500+ hrs on Sea Kings and I have absolutely no fear of flying them. This fear mongering by the media is really starting to wear thin on this Sea King driver.

One more thing, we don't fly on the weekends anyway, so how does an Op Pause on the weekend even make it into the press?

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Offline geo

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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2007, 16:43:37 »
slow news weekend?
Chimo!

Offline Ditch

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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2007, 20:05:22 »
You beat me to it Inch - there are no aircraft in the CF that have rust on them. 

Even my beautiful CC-115, born in 1967, is immaculate. 
Per Ardua Ad Astra

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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2007, 20:14:33 »
Link does this now, maybe too many people sent something asking just how does aluminum "rust"?

Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend

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Offline ch124xx

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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2007, 01:39:15 »


One more thing, we don't fly on the weekends anyway, so how does an Op Pause on the weekend even make it into the press?




That's a pretty shore-centric perspective.  No weekends at sea unless you are having a "sunday routine" (or course, the Navy being the Navy, not necessarily on a Sunday).

Offline Inch

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Re: Rusting Sea King helicopter fleet 'paused' over weekend
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2007, 04:42:59 »


That's a pretty shore-centric perspective.  No weekends at sea unless you are having a "sunday routine" (or course, the Navy being the Navy, not necessarily on a Sunday).

Yes, and being in a the sea going Sqn, there were no East Coast Dets at Sea. So maybe a couple on the west coast but that's really the extent of it.
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