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Old 17-11-2005, 22:59   #1
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And you thought your raft was expensive

Comments have been made about rescues and costs and with many arguments onn several topics. So here is an interesting story as to the cost of a Life raft that is used by our RNZAF crews during SAR's at sea.
I would like to acknowledge that this story was written by Grant Carr, editor of AirForce News, RNZAF. I hope he doesn't mind me copying it.

In the Life Raft Bay at Base Ohakea, a team of specialists look after the AirForces life saving equipment and package the 10 seater liferafts that plummet from aircraft to boats in distress.
Whenever CPL Dan Peters and his three person team hear of another No.5 Squadron Search and Rescue, they wonder if their teams SRA has saved lives.
The Air Forces No.5 Squadron Parachute drops SRAs to seafarers or downed Aircraft when the vessel is in danger of sinking and lacks a suitable life-raft.
Peter's and his team assemble the 10 seater life-rafts, each with a CO2-filled inflation cylinder and two attached supply containers.
Wrapping the hundreds of metres of rope that tether the containers is the most time consuming job, before a further two weeks of fiddly, exacting work before the final product is ready to be shipped back to No.5 Sqaudron.
Rope skills-splicing to folding and wrapping- are essential but ultimately people's lives depend on the cylinders opening and inflating in exactly the correct sequence. Other specialists help: suppliers, chippies, avionics, armourers, medical and paint shop personnel.
Each SRA starts out as a basic inflatable life raft unit supplied by RFD. After minor modifications for Orion/RNZAF specifications, an extensive checklist ensures all components are working.
The team start building the containers and their trigger mechanisms. The SRA unit consists of three containers ropped together by hundreds of meters of coiled bouyant rope. The large, central container holds the MS10 Life Raft and the pressurised gas filled cylinder. After the main container deploys it's drogue parachute and hits the water vertically, an automatic firing mechanism starts inflating the life raft with the Co2. The gas pressure causes the containers expansion bolts to shear and allows the raft to inflate.
The two other containers, roped to the MS10 by the bouyant rope contain water, first aid, barley sugars, desalting kit, a Personal locator beacon and playing cards.
The cost of one of these SRA sets is approxamatley NZ$90,000, not including labour costs or the cost of deploying the Orion and it's crew.
The Airforce would be crazy to deploy one of these when not needed, so an alternative is the MADD pack( Minimum Aid Delivery Device). Put together at the Ohakea based Arial Delivery section, the MADD costs NZ$30.00 and can carry from 15 to 50lbs of equipment, eg, radio, water, medicine. The packs are filled by the No.5 Squadron personnel depending on the needs of the search and rescue. Often several MADD packs are dropped. For example, when a worker mangled his hand in a recent fish factory ship accident, the MADDs contained an oxygen tank and other life saving medical supplies.
Each SRA can only be used once, then has to be discarded. No.5 Squadron retains up to 10 SRAs, ready for rescue in the South Pacific patch. Each has a shelf life of 12months and then must be repacked and checked at the life raft bay before being returned to storage.

I hope this was interesting. I must say, it gave me a shock as to the cost of the SRA's and that i canonly be used the one time.
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Old 18-11-2005, 01:16   #2
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I hear ya. I work in logistics & supply for the New York Air National Guard. A urinal curtain for an LC 130 Hercules is around US$380 ($5 at Walmart probably) A main ski for these birds that fly to the Pole is US$1.23 million (made by Air New Zealand in Christchurch) There's 2 on each plane. Put "aircraft" into a parts description and see what happens.
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Old 18-11-2005, 02:01   #3
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Hi Pete.
Reminds me of a very good story. I used to remember all the details, but it was so long ago, it's all a bit foggy now.
A JPL guy was having a drink with another guy and he was playing with a small plastic part in his hand while they were talking. It was a very expensive and special component used in rockets and cost a fortune. The other guy the JPL feloow was talking to, was a plastics engineer and had his own business. It wasn't long before the guy made a comment about the small part in the JPL fellows hand. The reply was that it was a special part used in some place and was unbelievably expensive, running at about $1200 each. The plastics fellow asked if he could look at it and upon inspection said, I think someones been ripping you off, I can produce that for about 50 cents.
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Old 18-11-2005, 09:11   #4
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Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam has a very bad habit of spending money on costly items.

When I served in the US Navy. I heard a supply officer mentioned that, a Air Force friend of his said they spent $300.00US dollars on a ashtray for a C 131. A $200.00 for a toilet seat. $1,000.00 for a hammer.

Makes you wonder who's really making off with the rest of the money. awhen it costs way less to make and sell something like those items mentioned above. The rich getting richer. And making more money. Like Vice presidents Dick Chaney's Halliburton Corporation, being contractors for the rebuilding of Iraq!!
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Old 18-11-2005, 12:43   #5
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Or what about NASA spending several million dollars designing a Pen that would write in Space.
The Russians took a pencil
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Old 18-11-2005, 13:07   #6
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Yeah! But the Russians only took one piece of paper, and then they had to share.
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Old 18-11-2005, 21:15   #7
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You got that right, guys !!
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