Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Aviation Rescue Course prepares Emergency Medical Sciences students for live sea rescue


CPUT’s Emergency Medical Sciences Department recently held a successful five-day Aviation Rescue Course for its second year students.

The course took place at various locations that are relevant to the Emergency Medical Sciences industry and culminated in an intense practical exercise at Melkbosstrand in which students performed a simulated sea rescue under realistic physical conditions.

Key role-players included the South African Red Cross Air Mercy Services (AMS), National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), South African Police Services Air Wing, the 22nd Squadron at the Ysterplaat Air Force Base and CPUT’s Survival Centre.

To kick-start the programme, on 1 March 2010, a pilot from AMS addressed students about understanding the limitations of aircraft and what information is required in managing them.

Basic understanding of rotor and fixed wing aircraft anatomy and flight dynamics, priorities of emergency procedures and principles for managing procedures and Fixed Wing Rescue capabilities were among the areas covered.

On the second day the students went to the AMS office at the Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) and later moved to the Survival Centre at the Granger Bay campus.

Part of the syllabus included information about equipment requirements, emergency aviation safety and the use for hoist operations when conducting a rescue.

The second day also covered hoist crew composition, details of crew selection and information required to activate an Aviation Rescue Operation.

For the third and fourth day, the students moved both to the SAPS Air Wing, also situated at CTIA and the 22nd Squadron at the Airforce Base, where they continued learning about Helicopter Underwater Escape and Ground to Air Signaling.

According to Robin Heneke, a second-year lecturer and a programme coordinator, the students had thorough grounding in the aviation rescue environment and overall the course was a great success.

The week-long course ended on 5 March 2010, with the practical exercise at the NSRI base in Melkbosstrand.

Each student was required to demonstrate practically what he or she had learnt about the aviation rescue environment.

For the practical, the students were expected to show theoretical understanding of the mission requirements and crew interactions for sling operations.

Besides showing an understanding to the multiple factors, which come into effect during a rescue mission, the students were also required to have practical exposure to the hoist operations.

Heneke said: “Students had exposure working with various aviation rescue organisations that are currently offering services in the aviation environment.

“The whole course was very informative, but the last day was great. The feedback we got from the students was amazing, they really did not just learn to cover the course outcomes, but they enjoyed themselves too.”

By Andiswa Dantile

Photograph: Students participated in a realistic sea rescue at Melkbosstrand on the final day of the Aviation Rescue Course.

Written by CPUT News