Saturday, 28 December 2013

Interior - SAR Equipment

Included in this post are several pictures showing the search and rescue equipment. Hopefully the pictures will give the reader some ideas as to how the equipment was stored and an idea as to what some of the equipment looked like. Unfortunately, as has been the case throughout this blog I frequently do not have the names of the photographers and thus hope I do not offend anyone by including the pictures in this post. My apologies to the photographers for not having the information for providing credit. Should I find the names of the photographers, credits will be applied or pictures removed as required when I update the document?

A quick note, the theme and intent of this blog is rapidly reaching the point originally conceived as the end, however as the posts were being entered, there are other ways that the blog can and will go that will benefit the modeler, so stay in touch.

Billy Pugh Rescue Net and Stokes Litter

In 1976 when I arrived at my first SAR squadron, we regularly practiced with the Billy Pugh and Stokes Litter. Over time the Billy Pugh, like the front door pickup fell out of favour and by the time the Labrador and Voyageur were retired, the procedures were only occasionally used. The Litter on the other hand was a mainstay in the equipment used in the full extreme of rescue scenarios. It is my intent to show some pictures that may become the inspiration for a 113/113A diorama.

413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based in Summerside, Prince Edward Island practice recovery of personnel using the Billy Pugh rescue net. 301 Pictured above in Summerside harbour is pre-SARCUP and still equipped with the Swedish boom.

The Billy Pugh folded an stowed mid-cabin on the starboard side of the fuselage ceiling. Note the aluminum coloured Stokes Litter further aft in the cabin.

Note the location of the Stokes Litter ahead of the Billy Pugh. The stowage location of the litter and the rescue basket is unique to 424 Trenton aircraft. Note there is no cutaway knife at the end of the last equipment box on the right. Note as well the roller tracks without rollers and the hydraulic hand pump handle.

Another look at the Billy Pugh. The two orange bags are not unique to the aircraft at this unit, but are uni, the que in that they are both orange whereas they could also have been red or green. The bag on the right is inflatable vests (Mae Wests), the bag on the left is passenger used head sets.

While the use of the rescue net was primarily a marine procedure, it could and was used during land training or rescue. The picture above was taken during an international SAR exercise in Florida in the 1970s. While the black and white picture does not make it obvious, the foam bumpers on the top and middle of the net are yellow, whereas in later years the bumpers were orange.


SAREX 1976 at a USAF airbase in Florida. In the above scenario, the rescue team on the ground is having additional equipment lowered to them.

Here the rescue net (or if you like, basket) is being lowered to a rescuer in the water. The rescuer would have entered the water by doing a front door entry or the basket itself. The drogue used to stabilize the net once it was in the water, is trailed below the net and can be seen in the shortened version. The longer length (approximately doubled) would be used in rougher water conditions.

The basket on its way back to the helicopter with one person safely tucked inside. The net was capable of carrying two average sized adults.

Because the early CH-113A Voyageurs were not fitted with an external hoist, the Billy Pugh rescue net was not carried and therefore not used by green or early pre-SARCUP Voyageurs. The Stokes Litter on the other hand was carried by SAR 113s and 113As. To use the Stokes in training or operationally, the straps on the litter were relocated more towards the head of the litter so the net could be recovered into the aircraft making for a very precarious ride of patients. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of this strap arrangement. Once external hoists were mounted to Voyageurs, the straps on all litters were identical.


Note the use of the orange "SAUVETAGE" on the right side of this Labrador. The picture is the only picture I have that shows the early style Stokes Litter. A couple of additional noteworthy points. The basket wire is very similar to "chicken wire". The broad red strips to the right of the picture on the right are floatation devices, thought to be necessary to keep the patients head up should the litter end up in the water. This innovation was eventually not deemed practical given the odds of such a circumstance happening. The practice did not survive beyond the late 1970s, although still very much under consideration in the early 1980s. The last thing to note is the guideline attached to the foot of the Stokes litter indicating the Para Rescueman is guiding the litter from a position towards the rear of the aircraft. Depending on the conditions, the rescuer on the ground guided the litter into the aircraft from the rear, the side or the front so any scenario for a diorama is possible.

The Stokes Litter, while stowed in the aircraft held other equipment. From the left is the guideline (A repurposed Sky Genie rope dyed blue to warn rescuers that the rope was no longer acceptable for deploying persons). The rope was white up until about 1978 or 1979. Wrapped in the orange patient covers on the outsides of the basket are wool blankets. Inside the blankets in the middle of the litter are long rigid splints (orange) and the Kendricks Extraction Device (green). At the foot of the litter is an electric blanket (28 volt) used for hypothermia patients. The straps were always dark khaki green. This litter is orange, whereas in my experience they were typically aluminum painted metal.


A typical SAR arrangement for 442, 413 and 103 aircraft. Note the location and colour of the Stokes Litter. Other interesting points, includes the method of stowing the passenger seat belts...the greem medical kit below the Billy Pugh and the red pouch below the stokes that holds aircraft emergency cards typical of commercial aircraft. At the end of the box seating is the aircraft survival equipment, stored in an unusual location possibly to accommodate other equipment in their normal location.

Clearly a CASARA training exercise, note the colour, style and storage location of the Stokes Litter in this 424 Trenton Voyageur.

Note the location and angle of the stokes...indicating the rescuer is standing to the front of the aircraft in what is likely a training exercise...the height suggests the exercise is for an airshow or other demonstration as we usually did not conduct this exercise with such a high hover.

A fairly typical training exercise, being conducted at Summerside. Most exercises of this nature would be practiced on land, from a ship, the side of a mountain or amongst trees day or night.

The rest of the SAR equipment...

Left side forward litters showing the top litter stowed, the lower litter in use. On the litter is a crewmember's green helmet bag. Underneath the litter is the orange oxygen kit and red AMBU kit.

The orange Flynn oxygen kit, military anti-shock trousers (yellow box), red AMBU kit and the AVIOX chemical oxygen kit (black) with a spare AVIOX bottle in the middle. All the equipment is stowed under the front left side litter.

The black and yellow lower dutch door extension and the centre hatch hoist are stowed aft of the oxygen equipment in the previous photo on the left side beneath the litter. The orange bag above contains the tent poles of the crew survival tent.

An early example of the explosives box behind the right side spotter seat of this Voyageur. Note the early green coloured crew harness. Later harnesses were blue. The explosives box typically held cold smokes (3 minute orange) and SDN marine smokes...the numbers of each for the modeler is irrelevant. Ammunition would have been stored in one of the seat boxes.

Later version of the explosives container in the same location as the previous photo.. Note the blue crew harness.

In the next post, we will discuss the aircraft survival equipment, the cockpit and where the future of this blog lies.

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