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SAR Meet 2015   |   NAS Nordholz   |   Germany

The German Marinefliegergeschwader 5 (Naval Air Wing 5) was host to the 8th international SAR-Meet. Aircraft and aircrew from five nations met from August 13th to August 17th, 2015 at the Naval Air Station Nordholz to discuss new developments, procedures and international co-operation with respect to Search and Rescue operations. Key part of the SAR Meet was the Flying Challenge, consisting of three different tasks:

1) The navigation challenge was to follow a route with three waypoints at a speed of 90 KIAS (knots indicated air speed) in 500 ft above ground. The crew was given 30 minutes to prepare the route and to calculate the time over each waypoint. Electronic devices such as smart phones or computers were not allowed. This had to be done the old fashioned way with maps, aeronautical aviation charts, ruler and protractor. The challenge was to be exact at the calculated time over the respective waypoint and at a specific landing spot.

2) Next was the hover challenge, starting with landing in an assigned area. There the crew was given a rope with a bucket attached to it. Then they had to hover a course with moving the bucket between two goalposts without touching the ground and not exceeding a certain height. After finishing the course the bucket and the rope had to be dropped in an area marked by a circle, followed by a precision landing on a certain spot.

3) Precision landing was the last challenge. Within five minutes from take-off the pilot had to fly to an assigned area and land as precise as possible at a given spot. The first contact with the ground counted.

Eleven crews took part in the Flying Challenge. The winner was the Austrian Team with their SA 316B Alouette III.

The MFG 5 is flying the Seaking Mk41 since 1975 and has 21 in its inventory, primarily being used for Search and Rescue. However, the Seaking is also used for tactical troop lift, vertical replenishment and MEDEVAC/CASEVAC. It can operate night and day, and in adverse weather conditions. When scrambled the crew with its helicopter is airborne in not more than 15 minutes during daytime and a maximum of 60 minutes at night. The area of responsibility of the MFG 5 is the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the northern part of Schleswig Holstein.

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