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Seasick Rescue Service

via helicopter
  [vote for,

How easy/safe is it to lift a seasick passenger from the deck of a deep-sea fishing boat into a hovering helicopter? On TV they make it look like a pretty reliable operation.

I've often thought a helicopter pilot and crew could make a pretty good business of flying out to rescue seasick passengers from deep-sea fishing expeditions, small-boat cruises, or other cases where the boat is not going to return to port for a relatively long time. How much do you suppose a seasick passenger would pay?

beauxeault, Jul 11 2001

Small helicopter used as air ambulance. http://austin.bcent...9/09/20/story5.html
$4 million, plus $300 per hour. [angel, Jul 11 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Cornwall Air Ambulance http://www.cornwall...ulance/Welcome.html
'Operational costs currently average over £65,000 each month' [angel, Jul 11 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       A Sikorsky S-61 Sea King, as used by Royal Navy Search and Rescue, costs around £35,000 per day. You do the math.
angel, Jul 11 2001

       Would it really require such an expensive helicopter? I know the little ones used for traffic reports are too small, but what about the size used by hospitals, or to ferry executives from Manhattan to the airport?
beauxeault, Jul 11 2001

       How do you then rescue the victims from the helicopter when they become airsick?
snarfyguy, Jul 11 2001

       give them parachutes...
RobertKidney, Jul 11 2001

       Thanks for the links, angel. You must be a helicopter enthusiast -- or if you're a pilot yourself, you have my admiration. The smaller vehicles you cite would seem to be well suited to the task. I don't think my service would need to be outfitted with all the medical gear, and I think I could get by with just one crew member in the back. I also think I could probably get by with a used helicopter.   

       Even so, it's not clear from the Austin article, but it seems most reasonable that the $300/hr. to be charged for ambulance services would include debt servicing on the $4 million. At 140 mph (Cornwall machine), I'd expect you could complete a run out and back in an hour, and I think many people in the midst of seasickness with no hope of reprieve for many hours would pay $300 or more for quick relief. The Cornwall figures are high, but even so I'd only have to make about 10 rescues per day at $300 each to break even.   

       With regard to airsickness: I personally am much less prone to airsickness than seasickness. I wonder if that's true for most who are sensitive to motion sickness. I also wonder if the experience of being lifted into the helicopter wouldn't be bracing enough to quench the seasickness. Even so, what the service would offer is a quick, if not immediate return to land, as opposed to many more hours of suffering.
beauxeault, Jul 12 2001

       [beauxeault]: Note that the figure for the Cornwall Air Ambulance does not include costs for the crew, who are already funded. The $300 per hour seems low to me, knowing how frighteningly expensive helicopters are to run.
I'm not a pilot, but I've always been fascinated by helicopters, and the Cornwall Air Ambulance is a favourite charity of mine.
Regarding motion sickness, I would think that seasickness is more common than airsickness. On a choppy sea, even the best skipper cannot offer a smooth ride.
angel, Jul 12 2001


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