Air Search also recruits Observers who will fly with pilots. Observers do not need to have any formal qualification or PPL, but some flight experience and an understanding of general light aircraft environment, aircraft handling & dynamics are desirable, as is a keen interest in aviation.
The Observer will plan the flight with the pilot and also brief the pilot on the tasking at hand before take- off. During the flight they will monitor the radio, provide navigation headings, interpret aviation charts, be aware of and visually monitor for other aircraft operating in the airspace. The Observer will then play the leading role in conducting the mission when on scene and communicate with the pilot on how best to fly the aircraft so the Observer can take photographs or to keep a visual on the target to plot its co-ordinates or allow emergency services to hone in on the aircraft as a reference as it circles.
Observers will undeetake training in airfield operations and safety, aircraft familiarization and safety, basic navigation and radio procedure, learn and become competent in search patterns, team work with the Pilot, how to perform pre flight checks, how to deal with in-flight emergencies & how to take high quality photographs from a cramped cockpit whilst doing 80 knots - No easy feat!!
N.B An interview will be conducted on the suitablity of an individual to perform the role of observer as this is a safety critical role.
As such all Air Search flights are bound by current air law (the ANO, Air Navigation Order) and individual licence privileges; it is the Pilot’s responsibility to ensure each flight is lawful and it is at the pilot’s risk. This means that Air Search Pilots are never obliged to respond – it is purely voluntary and up to the pilot to decide whether to fly or not.
Air Search work is a good environment for pilots to learn new skills in our training syllabus whilst adding hours to their logbook for a worthy and purposeful cause - Not just flying around to keep current for no reason other than to get minimum required hours in or for the "£100 Ham Burger". They are taught observation & search pattern techniques and have ample opportunity to practice relatively low & slow flying and develop teamwork skills in the cockpit.
N.B. Pilots must have access to an aircraft in order to fly. Either by sole ownership, joint ownership, or fly hire at an hourly rate. Air Search does not provide aircraft.
Pilots and their aircraft are the essential asset of Air Search. Without Pilots or their aircraft, Air Search would not exist. They are the integral resource that provide the ‘eyes in the sky’ when supporting the services on the ground. Air Search needs as many pilots and aircraft as possible. Air Search boasts an impressive flight of aircraft, including microlight (flexwing/3 axis), light aircraft GA, helicopters & gyroplanes which are all suitable for the type of work we do.
First and foremost, Air Search aims to ensure safe operation and to continue its zero accident performance history. Pilots must demonstrate safe and competent flying and a check on their CAA licence will be conducted prior to being considered for a role as pilot in command. During normal flying they keep a watch and report any observed incidents to air traffic control. Air Search has confirmed with the CAA that its activities are not of a commercial nature, but rather of a private nature and that they are permitted to be carried out by NPPL/PPL/CPL holders.
Our pilots are holders of Private Pilots Licence (PPL) or higher with a wealth of expertise and experience.
Our Safety Officer is an airline pilot and our other pilots include commercial pilots. flight instructors & pilots with Instrument Ratings
Air Search has many members from lots of different walks of life. Some volunteers are retired, some still work full time, some do shift work, some have young families, some have grown up children. What ever their situation we are happy to have them and fully appreciate the time and support they offer to Air Search and very grateful they can still find time to come flying with all the commitments of this hectic 24/7 society we now live in.
Some people don't like flying or just like to remain on terra firma.....hard to believe...but true - But nonetheless, still want to help out.
At Air Search we recognise this, and, this is where our Ground Crew come in. Marshaling and taxiing aircraft, liaising with airport operations, assisting in aircraft preparation or hangerage of the aircraft, liaising with air traffic controllers, being positioned at the mobile base during a sortie to download and transmit information or pictures to the relevant agencies, helping to plan and deliver briefings, being the point of contact for liaising with emergency services or relevant authority during a tasking or exercise, attending public events to help promote the work of Air Search. Whatever it may be, there's something for everyone.
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