Sea King on handbook

Technical Handbook

Working with Search and Rescue Helicopters

'I commend the excellent guide to Working with Search and Rescue Helicopters, which draws upon the hard earned experience & trained expertise of RAF SAR Force & RAF Mountain Rescue Service personnel. Please note that despite best efforts, the guide may not be updated to reflect all new procedures and so should always be treated as BEST ADVICE. If you are in doubt as to the validity or suitability of techniques or procedures in this handbook, then please contact your local Search and Rescue Flight or the RAF Search & Rescue Force Headquarters (E mail: or Tel: 01407 766724) to discuss your findings. 'RAF SAR Force Commander

The use of a Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter can be a valuable addition to any incident requested by a wide variety of Emergency Services (ES). These Emergency Services will come from a broad background having a large spectrum of skills and equipment for use in the land and sea environment.

Whenever anyone goes flying on holiday or through work there is always a safety brief. This ensures that you are given the information that will make your flight safe but in the unlikely event of a problem it will also minimise your risk and chances of survival. This is no different to flying in a SAR helicopter with the addition that you or the casualty could be winched and you need to be familiar with some of the equipment that you will come into contact with.

This is done through various training exercises where the crew will land on and brief you followed by a practical exercise to help enhance your skills but also give you the confidence to work on or around a SAR helicopter.

SAR handbook image

Open 9.3mb Handbook PDF

In addition to these exercises most Emergency Services should have access to the Sea King Passenger Safety Brief (AF4014/02) and Rescue Helicopters (AF004/99) DVD/videos which can be purchase for a small fee from the British Defence Film Library at, through customer services on 01494878252 or email

To help consolidate and provide additional information on Working with Search and Rescue HelicoptersThis Pdf is available to download free of charge. This has been put together as an additional resource for you to use.

Although it primarily focuses on working with RAF Search and Rescue helicopters most of the information is generic and as such applies to other agencies operating helicopters in the SAR role.

As well as being downloaded here, a copy of Working with Search and Rescue Helicoptersalso forms part of the Oracle - section 11, Other Agencies at

This is a downloadable information resource that covers all aspects of Mountain Rescue. The Oracle is managed and edited by Judy Whiteside an author with numerous books and publications to her name. She has also helped with the production of Working with Search and Rescue Helicopters.

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