Wednesday 7 December 2016

Air Corps to survey damage immediately

Greg Harkin

Published 29/12/2015 | 02:30

A Defence Forces plane flies over flooded bogs beside the River Suck in Ballinasloe earlier this month
A Defence Forces plane flies over flooded bogs beside the River Suck in Ballinasloe earlier this month

The Air Corps is on standby to survey damage from Storm Frank, the Defence Forces have said.

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Statistics released by the Army yesterday show the growing array of duties undertaken by the Air Corps this year.

Crews based at Casement Aerodrome were involved in 21,000 aircraft movements, amassing more than 8,500 flying hours.

Duties included 277 maritime patrols, more than 430 medical flights and 31 wildlife surveys.

"Following Storm Desmond, the Air Corps were tasked to support the Office of Public Works in surveying the damage from flooding in the Midlands region," said a Defence Forces spokesman.

"The Air Corps remain on standby to provide further flood relief assistance."

The flight crews were involved in a number of high-profile missions this year, including the deployment of both helicopters and fixed-wing PC-9s to protect Britain's Prince Charles during his visit to County Sligo.

Crews also completed Operation Baseline - an Ordnance Survey project to accurately map Ireland's coastline, including the area of sea covered by Irish law.

The Air Corps say it supported this mission by providing access for Ordnance Survey personnel to the most extreme points of our coastline and by winching teams onto tiny promontories so that they could obtain their geological data to construct this national baseline.

In March, the CASA Maritime Patrol aircraft, while carrying out a routine patrol, provided a scientific research platform for physicists from Trinity College Dublin to study the total solar eclipse, and, in April, an AW139 was deployed to Killarney National Park to combat a wildfire.

The aircraft was fitted with a 'bambi bucket' capable of carrying over 1,000 litres of water in support of the local fire service crews on the ground.

Irish Independent

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