The following is from the Scottish Mountain Rescue Facebook page:
“Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR) welcomes the announcement by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that the contract for the UK Second-Generation Search and Rescue Aviation programme – known as UKSAR2G – has been awarded to Bristow Group.
Scottish Mountain Rescue, on behalf of the teams it represents, looks forward to continued joint working with Bristow Helicopters Ltd, who are the existing provider of rotary search and rescue aircraft in Scotland.
Also welcome is the announcement that seasonal search and rescue (SAR) helicopter bases will be opened in Carlisle and Fort William. This additional capability will increase the operational capacity of the search and rescue service provided by the MCA in the North West and South of Scotland and will relieve some of the pressures on the existing Prestwick base, which is the UK’s busiest in terms of SAR helicopter operations.
Damon Powell, SMR Chair said “Scottish Mountain Rescue are delighted that the significant engagement we have had with both MCA and Bristow Helicopters Ltd over the lifecycle of the existing SAR-H contract has led to these very positive enhancements in this new second generation contract. These positive changes to SAR aviation capability will be a significant benefit to those undertaking outdoor activities in Scotland.”
I am sure that will be a great addition to SAR in Scotland and to all the folk in the area.
Comments welcome. Jim Fraser “Fort William is part of the poorest-served area on the 2013 Bristow surge map and that is one of the shortcomings of the current SAR network (based on the 2011 10-base solution) that I have been highlighting for years. Much fuss is being made of the part-time Fort William facility but actually, across Scotland, the biggest change is the part-time Carlisle facility which takes huge workload pressure off Rescue 199 with a subsequent step up in availability across a large swathe of southern Scotland.A facility equating to about half of normal Bristow SAR base is expected to be built at Carr’s Corner. This is currently still nearly four years away. Night cover will still be principally from Inverness.How far this goes towards solving the question of HLS for other public safety helicopters at Fort William remains to be seen!Don’t annoy Bristow ops staff about any of this yet because they have yet to get the full brief from the bid team and senior management. It is an important part of a fair bid process that these functions have separation within the incumbent contractors organisation.”