AW189 - successful SAR mission in the Falklands

AW189 - successful SAR mission in the Falklands

Search and Rescue (SAR) missions require means, technologies and capabilities that guarantee rapid and flexible operability to work in particularly critical conditions. One example is the undertaking of the “Rescue 100”, a Team AAR AW189 SAR helicopter, that occurred on 15 May 2017 to the northwest of their Falkland Island base at the UK MOD Mount Pleasant Complex

“Rescue 100” was called in the early hours of the morning to rescue a critically injured fisherman from a vessel  located 130NM from the base.


The mission lasted almost 4 and a half hours, conducted in total darkness and in extremely challenging conditions with near Gale winds, sea state 6, and low clouds.  The crew of Rescue 100, consisting of two pilots and two rear crew officers , located the vessel and transferred the casualty to the helicopter via a high-line stretcher lift. The mission was supported by the base manager, who maintained communications with the SAR crew ready to provide additional assistance if needed.


The vessel, commonly known as a “squid jigger”, is notoriously dangerous and difficult to conduct this type of transfer from due to the extensive fishing equipment, lines, and equipment hanging from its hull and superstructures. 


The casualty, 48 year old male, was safely brought aboard the helicopter, medical treatment was provided by the rearcrew, and he was transferred to Stanley Airfield for onward transfer to the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Stanley. The SAR aircraft shutdown at Stanley Airfield, refueled, and then returned to Mount Pleasant.  

This recovery was in marginal conditions in the worst circadian rhythm red zone. Despite the challenges, the Team AAR aircraft and crew performed flawlessly and demonstrated the technology, dedication and skill that are typical of the service provided by this operator.


The AW189 is designed for long range, all-weather SAR and MEDEVAC missions even in icing conditions, with advanced avionics and rapid start up. The aircraft benefits from an industry-leading 50 minutes ‘dry-run’ capability on the main gearbox. Damage tolerance, redundant systems, energy-absorbing landing gear, fuselage and seats ensure unparalleled safety and survivability. Using advanced in-house developed avionics and systems, the AW189 SAR cabin and cockpit are integrated to provide a single digital environment, enabling more efficient reliable information management and reduced crew workload resulting in greater mission capability and effectiveness. 


The AW189, the latest helicopter produced and equipped by Leonardo Helicopters to undertake SAR missions, builds on the Company’s heritage and expertise in search and rescue both in the UK and abroad, while belonging to the Family of products with AW169 and market-leading AW139, mixed-fleet operators can leverage on the advantage of a common design philosophy across platforms.




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Leonardo 02/10/2017