I spent 38 years as a crewman in helicopters, 13 in the Royal Navy and 25 in the Isle of Lewis with Bristow Helicopters and then CHC.
This is what I did, just call me lucky!
Helicopter Search and RescueAmong Stephen Branley's albums
Loch Coir' a' Ghrunnda
We'd just uplifted a fallen climber and transported him to a local hospital. This is us picking up the last of three groups of mountain rescue team members to get them back to base. This point is a mountain bowl about 2300' above sea level, it's surrounded on 3 sides by steep mountain slopes and Loch Coir' a' Ghrunnda is out of view behind the aircraft.
A Search & Rescue Sikorsky S-92, in my former life, working out of Stornoway airfield. This was the first SAR S-92 to be delivered in the UK in 2007.
G-CGMU, a Sikorsky S-92, also known as Coastguard 100. I took this photograph from the second aircraft, G-SARB, during a training exercise at the mouth of Broadbay in the Isle of Lewis. Unlike the previous type S-61, this aircraft creates an incredible downwash which makes it difficult for the winchman when working beneath the helicopter.
A short sequence of 4 images showing a winching exercise, carried out on a regular basis, known as 'wets'.
The winchman is lowered into the water up to his knees, he can then set himself to be 'trawled' towards the casualty (the person in trouble). This is where the handling pilot and winch operator work together to manoeuvre the winchman through the water.
Once with the casualty, he places two lifting devices, known as a 'strops', one beneath the knees and the other under their arms. This brings him/her up in a modified foetal position, keeping the blood in the core of their body. The downwash created by the power of the S-92 can clearly be seen in this image.
......at 13:30 we were scrambled to a fishing vessel east of the Isle of Rhum to uplift a sick crewman. This is us at 15:38 at Broadford hospital Skye, after handing him to an ambulance crew. The life I used to lead, I enjoyed it immensely, but I don't miss it one bit!