New Aircraft Blessing
This month the Service will take delivery of a new purpose adapted Britten Norman Islander aircraft which will replace the aircraft lost in the accident five years ago.
The new aircraft features a new red and white colour scheme in line with the internationally recognised colours for search and rescue services. It will be blessed at Jersey Airport by the Dean of Jersey and the Dean of Guernsey on 13th April 2019 at a ceremony to be hosted by Gama Aviation. The Lt-Governors of both islands will also be in attendance.
The previous aircraft was 30 years old when it was lost and had served Air Search for twenty years and flown a total of 3000 hours of which 1900 hours had been with Service.
In March 2014 we were able to sign a contract with Britten-Norman to buy a new BN2B Islander and enter into arrangements for the supply of an interim aircraft during the build process.
The interim aircraft, a BN2A Islander G-BEXJ, has served Channel Islands Air Search well but it was missing the all important FLIR camera.
The new aircraft will carry the registration 2-CIAS and retain the name Lions’ Pride to acknowledge the continued support of the Jersey and Guernsey Lions Clubs.
2-CIAS is equipped with the latest avionics linked to an autopilot, a FLIR camera with greatly enhanced capabilities all connected together and controlled by navigation and mission management software.
The FLIR camera, as well as having more stable and powerful cameras offers additional features such as a laser rangefinder and has the ability to blend the images from the different cameras to give the crew an enhanced view.
The search software was subject to an upgrade donated by the manufacturers. We are most grateful to all involved for their tremendous support.
Channel Islands Air Search now looks to the future with confidence and continuing to help save lives on land or sea on a 24/7 basis as the ‘lifeboats’ eyes in the sky’.