By Avery Wagg
Club President Darren Rich
and Nicole Smith.
The whole group; pilots and air cadets.
SARtechs simulate crash
April's Young Eagle session at the Kingston Flying Club had 19 Air Cadets eager to go for their first flight.
Eight pilots volunteered themselves and their aircraft to host the event. A special thanks go out to those folks who rented club aircraft to help make this day special.
The 15-20 minute flights took the Young Eagles up to 1,500 feet over the city to Fort Henry and then north to Kingston Mills. At Kingston Mills we turned around to a long straight-in to runway 25.
Another round goes out to the folks at Kingston's Flight Service. On a Sunday morning filled with blue skies they're generally pretty busy, however, they took the time out for the Young Eagles and shared a glimpse of the inner workings from the Tower perspective. This viewpoint will be invaluable for them going forward in the air cadets.
The Young Eagles program takes young people who're interested in aviation and teams them up with licensed pilots such that kids get a chance to fly - just so they can see what it's all about. The enthusiasm levels are generally pretty high.
In other club news Al Baldry writes on how member Denis Doyle helped in search and rescue training exercise.
In our simulated scenario a MAYDAY call is heard by a “high flyer” and is relayed thru the ATC network to the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) in Trenton, Ontario. “Engine failure, forced landing, Wolfe Island” is all they have to go on. The search mission co-ordinator at JRCC answering the call immediately contacts 424 (Transport & Rescue) Squadron at 8 Wing, Trenton, to launch their CC130 Hercules and CH146 Griffon helicopter.
Within 30 minutes the Hercules and Griffon are airborne and heading to Wolfe Island. Although the simulated crash site is in a rural area, it is simulated to be further up north, where local emergency services would not be readily available. As the Hercules approaches the property of Denis Doyle, a long time member of the Kingston Flying Club, they start to pick up the distinct audio of an ELT. On the ground on Denis’ 40 acres, a training ELT has been placed beside his Piper Tri-Pacer.
The Hercules quickly locates the search object. A quick assessment of the situation is discussed within the aircraft and it is decided to drop a radio to try and establish communications with anyone on the ground. The Hercules sets up into wind and completes the drop at 150 feet - bang on target.
There is still no activity at the crash site. Since the aircraft is heavily damaged (and I can see why they would think that), they decide to drop an extraction kit next. The kit is dropped from 300 feet, this time and once again, right on target (these guys were on the money that day).
The next sequence will be the “live para” as the search and rescue technicians (sartechs) jump from 1,500 feet. While the sartechs are getting dressed, the Hercules remains overhead to monitor the crash site.
Once the sartechs jump, they steer their parachutes to precision accuracy beside the crash site. Safely on the ground, they can now get a first hand assessment of the situation. They find the pilot, Pte James Baldry of the Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment (PWOR’s), still in the aircraft, suffering chest pains and in and out of consciousness.
Extraction of the pilot will be complicated. He must be immobilized, in place, before he can be moved. Workspace is limited and the sartechs must be careful not to further aggravate the injured pilot’s condition.
As the sartechs prepare for evacuation, the familiar sound of the Griffon is heard. After the Griffon has landed the patient is transferred to the helicopter and is flown to the nearest hospital/medical facility.
Although this scenario has a happy ending, there is much co-ordination that takes place behind the scenes (at JRCC) to make the plan work. If the medical facility was far away, the Griffon may have to fly to an airport and transfer the casualty to the Hercules.
There are many “what ifs” in the sar business. The crews train for a multitude of scenarios, but even real life experiences will prove that no two incidents will ever be the same.
It is with the assistance of aviators like Denis Doyle who offer their property and aircraft to sar crews to make their training as realistic as possible so that they can better prepare themselves to save lives. Quoting the sartech motto: “That Others May Live.”