Stafford Report A – 26 Mar 01 04/01

This Report A was copied from the Team’s diary that was loaned to the MRA from the MRS HQ history room at RAF Valley in 2002, Scanned and digitized by Brian Canfer


ST1 80AQ


Report A Serial N°:          04/01
Date of Incident:              26 MAR 01
Referring to Form R:       R314                     DTG: MON 26 MAR 01                  
Military callouts:              2                            Total Military Personnel assisted this year:           3
Civilian Callouts:               2                            Total Civilian Personnel Assisted this Year             3
Nature of Incident:          Crash of 2 USAF F-15C aircraft
Incident Area:                   Summit of Ben Macdui, Cairngorms.
Times:                                 Alerted:               271600MAR01
                                             Deployed:           300900MAR01
                                             On Scene:           301800MAR01
                                             Off Task:              071300APR01
Personnel on Task:          13           of Current Team Strength:            21
Total Man Hours:             2333 HRS
Total Vehicle Miles: 5587              LGV:       773        Landrover:          4814
Other SAR Forces Involved:                         Braemar MRT
Comments on Communications:               
The only method of communications between hill parties and Braemar base was with channel 53 and mobile phones. As we are not equipped with high band sets we borrowed four sets from A24. Due to the numbers of USAF operating within the crash site (up to 20 at a time) and the fact that each one required to be supervised by MR troops, I had to deploy team members without adequate communications. This could have been a major issue if there had been any other incident and indeed did hamper the recall for incident R363. The mobile phones were used extensively throughout, however the signal strength varied within the crash site and they could not be relied on. The team was issued with a satellite compatible mobile phone for trial but the battery life was inadequate for lengthy usage in such a harsh environment. The overall lack of suitable communications was again compromising the safe operation of the team.
Comments on Equipment:
GPS units.
RAF Stafford MRT has three Garmin GPS 40s. All three took up to 30 minutes to acquire and eventually came up with three different locations. This issue has been highlighted at previous MRT TL conferences.  Flt Sgt Coull of Kinloss MRT has identified a replacement however as yet no further action has been taken. The essential nature of these devices during the PCM phase was again highlighted during this operation. Fortunately Braemar MRT loaned 3 Garmin GPS 12 XL units which allowed us to log and map items within the crash site which were required to be removed by the USAF or were threatened with movement due to the weather conditions. The replacement of our old GPS units must now be considered as essential to the operational effectiveness of the RAF MRT under its PCM responsibilities.
Credit Cards.
 RAF Stafford MRTL carries a cash impressed of £250 for use during MRT operations. All other MRT’s carry a credit card, which is ultimately more flexible and much safer. The issue for credit card for Stafford MRT was raised with OC accounts. One could be issued however it would not be possible for the DTL to hold one as the minimum rank is SNCO, and there were questions as to whose budget it should be attached to. The issue of a credit card to the TL and DTL would allow the team much more flexibility when operations and remove any anxiety with regard to financing domestic arrangements, such as experienced of Braemar.
Comments on I & EC :                                   None

CT Hewkin plus 12 were tasked to assist RAF Lossiemouth in the PCM phase following the crash of 2 USAF F15-C Eagles near the summit of Ben Macdui, which at 1309m ASL is Britain’s second highest mountain. Due to the hazardous nature of the terrain and the prevailing weather conditions the USAF Board of Investigation personnel were only allowed access to the crash site under the supervision of RAF MRT personnel and with full-time helicopter support. Helicopter support came in the form of USAF Pave “Jolly Green Giants”, and an RAF Chinook, which uplifted an ISO container for use as an emergency shelter. RAF Stafford MRT personnel also assisted the RAF Lossiemouth Pol with the siting of anti-pollution booms in the Loch Avon basin and the Larig Ghru, both remote mountainous environments. Co-operation between all agencies was excellent and all members of a team operated in the most professional manner and upheld the traditions and qualities of the RAF MRS throughout. RAF Stafford MRT handed over to RAF Kinloss MRT on the night of Friday 06 April 01

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