Monday, February 13, 2012
The wide geographic nature and equipment of SAR assets should give pause as exactly what solution is sought to address the shortfall of coverage. Particularly for very remote Labrador. While Helicopters are universally acknowledged as the best solution, they also have downfalls.
As well one must consider the activities of likely candidates for SAR services. And equipment sized for range and capability required. One must recall Labrador has an immense maritime fishery. As well as Alpine venues which may require large group rescues. Somethings that would require very large and expensive to operate helicopters.
Further one must recognize fixed wing assets have unique advantages in lower operating costs. More availability. Some are Marine environment capable. Offer much long range. Have much faster transit times. And can often portage larger loads given an equal capital outlay.
This is not to say Helicopters are not needed. They definitely are. They are UN-equaled in Alpine settings. Can access very small areas planes sometimes can't. And given forward basing can offer good coverage.
My point in this post is we need to look with clarity as what will be needed and find a long term and durable solution to support all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. As well as design financial support for equipment, personal, training and real operating costs likely.