A5RP wrote:Where is this info from... your personal active Air Ops operator experience?
You are aware that I flew NAVY SAR for over 8 years both out of NAS LEMOORE and NAS FALLON as well as in ANTARCTICA. All entailed mostly civilian assistance responses.
Not one "Dispatched" assist call was ever classified as a "training" evolution. They were and still are recorded as actual SAR OP. This is necessary for certification purposes amongst the crew and proper US NAVY SAR record keeping protocols
When I flew with Lemoore SAR, we had 1-2 call outs per day on avg from Spring thru the Fall seasons, to assist both the SEKI and YOSAR Units. As well as local USFS locations on the westside Sierra along with assisting NAS China Lake SAR with the Whitney/Williamson regions. Our avg op lasted 6-10 hours with most of those considered "turn times" as we never shut down. Only for fueling did we some times shut down. We would actually "Hot Pump" as often as we could to curtail our down time. If the A/C does not shut down while on the deck, it is considered flight operating time for record purpose.
Oh we dug getting called out and gave 110% for each. But I can tell, we would laugh our asses off at the Club that evening at the stupid ass shit saw and experienced for many of those call outs.
I got some of the craziest stories. One that comes to mind is being called out to the summit of Mount Whitney in Aug of 83'. The Crabtree Ranger relayed to SEKI dispatch that a young lady was bleeding uncontrollably and needed immediate extract. We burned and turned to the summit. Landed on the western escarpment, kept turning due to the altitude etc. I got out and ran to the awaiting ranger and possible victim. Bottom line, she had forgot her tampons, was doing her monthly deal and wanted to get back to her car down at the portal so as not to get embarrassed. Well, the HAC lost it when I returned to the helo to notify him of the situ. We loaded her up and took her down to Lone Pine airport. She through a fit cus now she had to find a ride to the portal. Whatever!
Got tons more along these comical yet dangerous lines....
Sounds like some crazy times back in the day, glad to hear you lived through it. I am quoting an NAS Whidbey crew I worked with on a mission in the Cascades once regarding the training hours, maybe they were paraphrasing and just trying to reassure us that the cost was negligible. As far as the operational hours for my own county's aircraft I don't think I'm underplaying or exaggerating their time in the air, they are used on a minority of rescues, the weather up here probably has something to do with that, and are extremely useful when they are. As has been stated multiple times already National Parks Service is significantly different than outside the parks and are much busier, made up of full-time paid employees, and have their costs generally factored into any fees associated with the park.
The use of military aircraft is quite a bit less than it has been in the past I expect, which I have been told is largely due to the reduced availability of many units due to deployments, except maybe in MRNP where they rely heavily on Army resources for high-altitude stuff. The MAST program for instance has been explicitly said to be unavailable more often than not in the past ten years due to deployments.
Here is a slightly paraphrased cut of the Mountain Rescue Association statement I alluded to earlier, on page 90 of the document I linked, not 88, sorry for any confusion:
A. ...In an effort to give back to the community, to defray public agencies' costs and to keep taxes down, MRA teams have been performing the bulk of all search and rescue operations for the past 35 years. These operations are done without charge to the victim.
B. The MRA firmly believes that training and education are the keystones in the solution to this issue. We believe that the individual must accept responsibility for his or her actions, and that training in proper outdoor skills and for self-rescue might be the quickest and most effective method of resolving most search and rescue situations.
C. No one, however, should ever be made to feel they must delay in notifying the proper authorities of a search or rescue incident out of fear of possible charges. We ask all outdoor groups and organizations to join us in sending this mountain safety message.
D. We recognize that the National Park Service and other governmental agencies have a need to address defraying their costs and we would welcome any opportunity to be involved in discussion of solutions or alternative to the charge for rescue issue. The expert volunteer teams of the MRA are proud to be able to provide search and rescue at no cost and have no plans to charge in the future.
E. The Mountain Rescue Association is "a volunteer organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and mountain safety education."
I believe the personal responsibility piece in this is referring to the limitations of relying on an all-volunteer group to perform SAR missions rather than professional teams such as is the case with the NPS and in most of Europe. If charge for rescue were to be implemented it would fundamentally alter the way search and rescue is performed in the US. As was noted by mountainjeff good samaritan laws as currently written would no longer apply to protect the volunteers, costs for the rescuers would go up and almost certainly deplete the ranks of volunteers, and due to most people's inability to cover a $10000+ rescue cost outdoor recreationists would likely end up paying a use fee either through a private insurer or directly to the government to defray the cost of SAR.
On Mount Adams the USFS is trying to break into the game with the volcano pass, which I was told by the USFS was primarily there to fund a climbing ranger program, and could represent the future of search and rescue on USFS land. If you like paying $15 on every visit to public land, which already has a search and rescue program in place run by volunteers at very little cost to the taxpayer, then by all means voice your support for the USFS fee-based climber-ranger program so it can expand and become the standard for SAR.
I'm all for climbers policing themselves, and think the current system is still working well and should be continued.