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Helicopter Operations

TRIBALCLASS

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During helicopter operations at sea, what flags and/or pennants are flown on RCN frigates? What side of the main mast are they flown from?
Cheers.
Thanks.
John
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Flag Hotel is flown during Helo Ops. As well, when at Flying Stations the Ship is RAM so RAM shapes are shown Black Ball over Black Diamond over Black Ball.

At night, instead of hoisting shapes, the Frigate will display lights Red over White over Red.
 

Navy_Pete

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Reduced Ability to Maneuver

Also goes up for RASs , if you have some steering issues, and probably some other scenarios that I can't immediately think of.
 

FSTO

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Things may have changed since I was in the fleet but Flag Hotel was at the dip when Flying Stations were piped and close up when you were at Flying Stations. RAM shapes/lights were not displayed until you were on the flying course and ready to recover.
Shapes/Lights hauled down/shut off once the helo recovered and the ship was free to maneouver. Flag Hotel hauled down once Flying Stations were stood down. (Flying stations are not secured until the aircraft has left the ship and flown back to base.)
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Things may have changed since I was in the fleet but Flag Hotel was at the dip when Flying Stations were piped and close up when you were at Flying Stations. RAM shapes/lights were not displayed until you were on the flying course and ready to recover.
Shapes/Lights hauled down/shut off once the helo recovered and the ship was free to maneouver. Flag Hotel hauled down once Flying Stations were stood down. (Flying stations are not secured until the aircraft has left the ship and flown back to base.)
You are correct. RAM shapes or lights go up when you are on the flying course. They also relate to your Periods of Danger and Periods of Caution and the status of the helicopter on the deck.

I would argue that if you are in a period of caution and are not on the flying course, you're still RAM as you don't have the full capability to manoeuvre. Well you could but the Helo may not appreciate bold course alterations 😁.

Shapes and Flags is definitely an area I could personally tighten up. Not that I don't hoist because I always do as part of my checklist but just making sure the Navcomms follow the proper procedures and protocol.

I think Helo Ops is something where I can see that the Fleet has suffered some skill fade and isn't as slick at it as we once probably were.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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No. We sail in whatever direction, combined with our speed, creates a wind over the deck coming from about 30 degrees off the bow. The idea is to try and minimize air turbulence over the landing area. Sailing directly into the wind would create a lot of turbulence.
 

TRIBALCLASS

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Thanks for the quick reply. The reason for the questions is that I dabble with marine art and was planning on a painting depicting a cyclone and one of our frigates. Just trying to get it right!

  1. flag hoist - starboard or port side?
  2. RAM shapes - starboard or port side?
  3. Scenario: the frigate is on flying course; could the helicopter make a pass around the ship before coming in for landing "surveying" so to speak?
Thanks for all the help! Really appreciate it :)
 

Cronicbny

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Reduced Ability to Maneuver

Also goes up for RASs , if you have some steering issues, and probably some other scenarios that I can't immediately think of.
I am sorry - but (MARS/NWO) pedants gonna pedant...

It is, directly from the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, a "vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre".

IAW with those same regulations those vessels that are considered RAM are:

a) a vessel engaged in laying, servicing or picking up a navigation mark, submarine cable or pipeline;

b) a vessel engaged in dredging, surveying or underwater operations;

c) a vessel engaged in replenishment or transferring persons, provisions or cargo while underway;

d)
a vessel engaged in the launching or recovery of aircraft;

e) a vessel engaged in mine clearance operations; and

f) a vessel engaged in towing operations such as severely restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course.

Thus, yes, RAS underway, recovering a helo (or drone.. interesting argument to be had there), towing, mine clearance ops, towed sonar evolutions... there are many that apply to RCN ships at sea on occasion. (That said, mine clearance doesn't use RAM shapes, but mine clearance shapes - and a ship with no steering is most certainly "Not under Command" IAW the Regs, so that would be two black balls, one over the other).

Not under Command, by the way, is the result of some "exceptional circumstance" - while RAM is the "result of the nature of her work"
 

Cronicbny

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Aircrew pedant's gonna pedant: ;)

What's the argument? Is an RPA not an aircraft?
It is - the argument is if a designated flying course and speed is required for launch and/or recovery or if the RPAS has a large enough envelope to make it immaterial.

Also, it might be such a short launch and recovery that hoisting the shapes might take longer than the launch itself.

Using the PUMA we never hoisted shapes because the actual launch was so quick and recovery was fishing it out of the water - lol (though the OOW did recommend it) and never used RAM lights at night (because of my imposed constraints on lights during the given operation)
 

Humphrey Bogart

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I am sorry - but (MARS/NWO) pedants gonna pedant...

It is, directly from the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, a "vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre".

IAW with those same regulations those vessels that are considered RAM are:

a) a vessel engaged in laying, servicing or picking up a navigation mark, submarine cable or pipeline;

b) a vessel engaged in dredging, surveying or underwater operations;

c) a vessel engaged in replenishment or transferring persons, provisions or cargo while underway;

d)
a vessel engaged in the launching or recovery of aircraft;

e) a vessel engaged in mine clearance operations; and

f) a vessel engaged in towing operations such as severely restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course.

Thus, yes, RAS underway, recovering a helo (or drone.. interesting argument to be had there), towing, mine clearance ops, towed sonar evolutions... there are many that apply to RCN ships at sea on occasion. (That said, mine clearance doesn't use RAM shapes, but mine clearance shapes - and a ship with no steering is most certainly "Not under Command" IAW the Regs, so that would be two black balls, one over the other).

Not under Command, by the way, is the result of some "exceptional circumstance" - while RAM is the "result of the nature of her work"
I was waiting for this to happen 😂

I wasn't going to be the one to do it though because.... well it's one of the things that drives me nuts about the NWO trade but that's probably because I spent too much time in the land of crayon eating beforehand.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Thanks for the quick reply. The reason for the questions is that I dabble with marine art and was planning on a painting depicting a cyclone and one of our frigates. Just trying to get it right!

  1. flag hoist - starboard or port side?
  2. RAM shapes - starboard or port side?
  3. Scenario: the frigate is on flying course; could the helicopter make a pass around the ship before coming in for landing "surveying" so to speak?
Thanks for all the help! Really appreciate it :)

1. Flag Hotel - Hoisted on outermost halyard on the mast yardarm. Can be hoisted on either side, do we have any Navcomms in the building?
2. RAM Shapes are hoisted on the opposite side of whatever side Flag Hotel is hoisted on. The way Flags work is the messages are read from Top to Bottom and on the yardarm from outside to inside.

As for your scenario, I am going to draw you a picture because a picture paints a thousand words:

1609347177101.png

IOT land Ship will come on to a flying course which is usually also the Final Approach Course (Though not always). The Helicopter will approach the Ship from 20 degrees either side of that imaginary line and then at 2NM enter the Final Approach Fix. When at the Final Approach Fix, the Ship should by this point be on the flying course. If they aren't the Helicopter will be ordered in to the Delta Hover Astern Position which is a position where the helicopter Hovers usually just off the Port Quarter. This is for day flight operations and with good weather and visuals.

If it is a landing at night or in poor weather that results in flying via instruments, the Ship SHALL be on the Final Approach Course when the Helicopter is at the Final Approach Fix. If the Ship isn't on the Final Approach Course and the Helicopter closes to within 1NM of the Ship, the Helicopter will be ordered to Wave Off and they will proceed to a holding position at the Final Approach Fix.

As for flying around the Ship when landing, the Helicopter needs to stay outside the Control Zone unless they have been cleared for a specific side. The reason for this is because all the sensors on Ship emit radiation and when the Helicopter takes off or lands, we have to turn these sensors off so they don't blast the Helicopter with harmful radiation, which would be bad. What we do is usually blank one side of the Ship and the Helicopter will take off or land on that side. This is dependent on the tactical situation of course.

Hope this helps and if anyone of the more experienced NWOs/Naval Types want to chime in and correct anything I said, please do so!
 

Navy_Pete

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lol, I was also waiting for that. If I had a red canoe and a green kayak, I would also put them on the 'wrong' side of a car rack(ie red on the passenger side) just to drive people like that crazy. Also regularly referred to charts as 'sea maps', 'water maps' or whatever else would drive the NavO nuts

To be a real pedant though, the Canadian legislation for the ColRegs includes the phrase below in the definition (and likely in the ColRegs themselves, but can't find a convenient online source for them):

"The term “vessels restricted in their ability to manoeuvre” shall include but not be limited to:"

So for example, if you have some limited steering for whatever reason, the CO may decide to indicate with the appropriate shapes/lights so other ships are aware. The list are times where you shall use them, but as always, use common sense. Practical scenarios may include something like steering by main engines, or some kind of hydraulic limitations resulting in slower turning/less helm available (have seen both).

Usually MARS pedants lose to Sea Nerd pedants; I've sat enough NOPQ boards that I read the rules myself to figure out the intent and not be bored out of my mind until they got to the interesting bit with the engineering systems.😁

Link: International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 with Canadian Modifications
(see https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/c.r.c.,_c._1416/page-3.html )
 

Humphrey Bogart

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lol, I was also waiting for that. If I had a red canoe and a green kayak, I would also put them on the 'wrong' side of a car rack(ie red on the passenger side) just to drive people like that crazy. Also regularly referred to charts as 'sea maps', 'water maps' or whatever else would drive the NavO nuts

To be a real pedant though, the Canadian legislation for the ColRegs includes the phrase below in the definition (and likely in the ColRegs themselves, but can't find a convenient online source for them):

"The term “vessels restricted in their ability to manoeuvre” shall include but not be limited to:"

So for example, if you have some limited steering for whatever reason, the CO may decide to indicate with the appropriate shapes/lights so other ships are aware. The list are times where you shall use them, but as always, use common sense. Practical scenarios may include something like steering by main engines, or some kind of hydraulic limitations resulting in slower turning/less helm available (have seen both).

Usually MARS pedants lose to Sea Nerd pedants; I've sat enough NOPQ boards that I read the rules myself to figure out the intent and not be bored out of my mind until they got to the interesting bit with the engineering systems.😁

Link: International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 with Canadian Modifications
(see https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/c.r.c.,_c._1416/page-3.html )
At least we haven't started reciting Cockcroft yet! Nothing like adding a bit of British Stiff Upper Lip to that Pedantry! :eek:

1609348844554.png
 

TRIBALCLASS

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Thanks everyone. Interesting banter and to a "easel "sailor, much of what I read made sense!
Cheers.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Hello Tribalclass.

Didn't realize you wanted the info for painting purposes.

You can ignore most of what you read above. The only important thing is what Humphrey Bogart ultimately gave you: Flag Hotel (square flag, three feet by three feet, split in two halves vertically, left half white, right half red) on the port side outer yardarm, the RAM shapes (three shapes about 2 feet in size separated by three feet, upper most and lowest most are balls, the middle one is diamond shape - basically two cones connected at their base - all shapes are black) at the starboard outer yardarm.

Don't forget that at sea, we fly our national ensign at the gaff, not the stern (the gaff is the little yardarm that is sticking out at 45 degrees towards the back of the ship at about two-thirds of the way up the mast. Our ensign is three feet by six, all white with the Canadian flag in the upper left quarter and with the navy blue RCN pattern fouled anchor with an eagle superimposed centered in the right hand white field.

Good luck with your painting.
 

Navy_Pete

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Hello Tribalclass.

Didn't realize you wanted the info for painting purposes.

You can ignore most of what you read above. The only important thing is what Humphrey Bogart ultimately gave you: Flag Hotel (square flag, three feet by three feet, split in two halves vertically, left half white, right half red) on the port side outer yardarm, the RAM shapes (three shapes about 2 feet in size separated by three feet, upper most and lowest most are balls, the middle one is diamond shape - basically two cones connected at their base - all shapes are black) at the starboard outer yardarm.

Don't forget that at sea, we fly our national ensign at the gaff, not the stern (the gaff is the little yardarm that is sticking out at 45 degrees towards the back of the ship at about two-thirds of the way up the mast. Our ensign is three feet by six, all white with the Canadian flag in the upper left quarter and with the navy blue RCN pattern fouled anchor with an eagle superimposed centered in the right hand white field.

Good luck with your painting.

I can't remember, did we not switch at some point to the ensign from the flag?

Just in case it is a historical painting of some kind (maybe tribal class?), otherwise the pedants will pop up again.

Tribalclass, if it is of the 280s, wouldn't mind a peak at the final product if you don't mind sharing; spent half my career on the 280s.
 
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