Why are fire aero units timed

Status
Not open for further replies.

beargrylls

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
8
Location
Los Angeles, CA
I've noticed with LACoFD and possibly LASD aero units when they're transporting they'll ask the dispatcher to start the timer, who then report the total time once they land. Why is that?
 

jonwienke

More Info Coming Soon!
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
13,467
Location
VA
Flight time is also a parameter of scheduled aircraft maintenance, and is closely tracked for that reason, e.g. an engine component that requires replacement every 1000 hours of flight time.
 

ab5r

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
555
I noticed that you said, "when they're transporting ." What to you mean "transporting?" If they are just flying, perhaps monitoring a large fire, they are not counting flight time? I'm not fro your area and just curious.
 

DS506

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
83
Location
Ohio
Billing. Just as the ground ambulances (around here anyway) report their beginning and ending milage
 

beargrylls

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
8
Location
Los Angeles, CA
I noticed that you said, "when they're transporting ." What to you mean "transporting?" If they are just flying, perhaps monitoring a large fire, they are not counting flight time? I'm not fro your area and just curious.
I've only noticed it when they are acting as MEDEVAC, transporting patients to the hospital. I haven't noticed it, for example, if they're getting back to base or monitoring a situation.
 

ab5r

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
555
Billing?? Timing is not milage.....Why timing in minutes, in this case? Our helos report souls on board, amount of fuel, and est. mileage to hospital, never minutes. Hmmmm?
 

MikeyC

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
352
Location
Utica, IL
Billing. Just as the ground ambulances (around here anyway) report their beginning and ending milage
I always thought they were tracking the mileage to ensure the ambulance isn't taking a longer route to do something unsavory to the patient. I seem to recall something happening in SoCal years back revolving around that? Maybe it was a PD or CHP officer - My memory is not what it used to be :D
 

Ravenkeeper

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2016
Messages
236
Location
Antelope Valley, CA
When it comes to aircraft maintenance, all of their Preventative Maintenance Actions are driven by flight time and/or (engine) operating time. (IE, 25HR Water Entrapment Inspection, 25HR Wing Pivot Bearing Inspection) Some of their maintenance is calendar; IE, 30-Day Landing Gear Lube, 30-Day Aircraft Wash. When I was working on the F-111s, we had an engine inspection that was flight hour based, which we lined up with same interval airframe inspections.

Military pilots call their OPS Centers when they're "wheels up," and when they are "on the deck"/landed.
 

KK4JUG

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
3,855
Location
GA
When it comes to aircraft maintenance, all of their Preventative Maintenance Actions are driven by flight time and/or (engine) operating time. (IE, 25HR Water Entrapment Inspection, 25HR Wing Pivot Bearing Inspection) Some of their maintenance is calendar; IE, 30-Day Landing Gear Lube, 30-Day Aircraft Wash. When I was working on the F-111s, we had an engine inspection that was flight hour based, which we lined up with same interval airframe inspections.

Military pilots call their OPS Centers when they're "wheels up," and when they are "on the deck"/landed.
And those operating times are not determined by what the crew broadcasts on the radio.
 

Eng74

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,908
Location
Kern County, CA
It’s for tracking the aircraft. Since they are flying VFR and not being tracked by air traffic control they give dispatch an estimated time that they will be in the air. If the timer ends and they they have not called in dispatch will contact the aircraft to see if there is a problem. It is not good when you start hearing dispatch call for an aircraft that has missed its check in time. I have heard it twice, when Mercy Air 2 went down near Cajon Pass in 2006 and then Skylife 4 went down in 2015
 

KK4JUG

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
3,855
Location
GA
Aren't they still squawking? Something's gotta be tracking them.
 

kayn1n32008

ØÆSØ
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
6,325
Location
Sector 001
Locally to me, our HEMS gives ETR times for flight following purposes when enroute to scene/hospital and beck to the receiving hospital.
 

inigo88

California DB Admin
Database Admin
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Messages
1,901
Location
San Diego, CA
Aren't they still squawking? Something's gotta be tracking them.
They can elect to get radar flight following from ATC as well on their VHF AM aircraft radio if they wish, but it's not very common practice with public safety helicopters because they often fly too low for ATC's radar and radio coverage. Most public safety dispatch centers in charge of aircraft resources conduct their own internal "flight following" for this reason, but it's non-radar and based on simple position reports and ETEs to next destination. Because they are giving specific starting and ending times I'd say this is not for a flight following reason because the flight follower only cares about approximate ETE and whether the aircraft made it safely to their destination (if they don't hear from them and can't establish radio contact after their stated ETE, search and rescue would be initiated along the planned route).

It's also not a maintenance reason. Although aircraft preventative maintenance is done based on flight time, the dispatcher doesn't need to know about this in real time. Every aircraft is equipped with a "Hobbs Meter" which records flight time while the engine is running or battery master is on, and these times are recorded at the start and end of every flight for maintenance tracking purposes. This paperwork will be shared internally between the pilots and mechanics at the air unit and doesn't need to go over the radio.

Therefore by process of elimination and the fact that this only occurs during transports this is almost surely billing related. Aircraft operating expenses are based on flight time and not mileage. One day you could fly a route in calm winds and another day fly the exact same route with a strong headwind - the mileage would be the same but the second flight took longer and therefore cost you more. While you could put the responsibility to track start and end times on the pilots, you would have to wait for them to submit the paperwork at the end of their shift and they already have a lot of task saturation to deal with in flight. Having the dispatcher do it and add it to CAD in real time makes good sense and allows them to close out an incident faster and likely expedites billing.

My $0.02.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top