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Coastguard Rescue Helicoper



The Coastguard Helicopter

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The Portland Coastguard Helicopter, based at Portland in Dorset, is a SIKORSKY S61N. It has a crew of 4, consisting of 2 pilots, 1 winchman, and 1 winch operator. All the captains and winch crew must have had military or coastguard experience, and have previously served on a dedicated search and rescue unit. The helicopter has a maximum speed of 131 knots (150 miles per hour), an endurance of 4 hours, and can seat 19 passengers, although it can carry up to 35 survivors for short distances.

Included in the state of the art specifications is auto hover, the ability to fly complex search patterns using advanced navigational equipment, and a Forward Looking Infra Red camera, known as FLIR, which is unique to the Coastguard helicopters. The FLIR equipment is invaluable for searching for persons or vessels at night and in all weather conditions.

The Portland based helicopter is responsible for assisting people in an area from Poole Bay in the East, to Start Point in Devon to the West. This area extends out to the mid-point of the English Channel incorporating an area of approximately 4000 square miles.

The helicopter is operational 12 hours a day (0900 to 2100), 365 days a year, and is typically airborne within 3 minutes of a request for its service. The area is covered at night by a helicopter based at Lee On Solent in Hampshire. The helicopter is controlled by either the Coastguard for maritime incidents, or the Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Kinloss in Scotland for civil aviation or military incidents.

The type of emergencies attended are wide and varied. These include searching for people lost overboard from ships, vessels on fire, divers with the 'bends', people stuck on cliffs, evacuating people with various injuries from all types of vessels, and transferring critically ill patients to specialist hospitals. As Poole is home to the major Accident and Emergency hospital for East Dorset, and also the main decompression chamber for the area, the helicopter is a regular visitor to Poole.


Aircraft Data - Sikorsky S61N

Maximum Speed :131 Knots (150 mph)

Endurance : 4 Hours

Range : 400 Nautical Miles

Seating : 19 survivors (can carry up to 35)

Crew : 2 pilots, 1 winchman, 1 winch operator

Length : 22.2 metres

Height : 5.7 metres

Width : 6.1 metres

Weight : 9.3 tonnes


Specialist Equipment includes :

FLIR 4000 (Forward Looking Infra Red) Video Camera

Variable Speed 300' Electric Winch

Colour Search / Weather Radar with GPS

Navigational Interface

Multi - Frequency Radio Direction Finder

Fully Coupled Auto Pilot & Auto Hover System


First Aid Equipment includes :

Heart Monitor & Defibrilator

Oxygen Therapy Equipment



Intubation and Infusion Equipment

Splints & Burns Pack

Comprehensive First Aid Equipment


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In an EMERGENCY dial 999 and ask for the COASTGUARD without delay!!!!
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Last modified: January 24, 2006
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