A possible dangerous situation or an accident will result in activities at Finland’s Air Rescue Coordination Centre being initiated
ARCC Finland, Finland’s Air Rescue Coordination Centre, is responsible for air search and rescue services in Finland’s Air Rescue Region, in accordance with ICAO’s Convention*).
The Air Rescue Coordination Centre maintains 24-hour preparedness to take measures in order to search for a lost aircraft and to locate it in collaboration with other authorities.
Air rescue operations are launched when the Rescue Mission Coordinator receives a notification of a lost aircraft. After this, steps are taken to locate the aircraft in order for the actual rescue operation to be launched as soon as possible.
“Operations at the Air Rescue Coordination Centre will begin immediately after we are notified of a possible dangerous situation or an accident. "In addition to the real risks of an accident and actual accidents...", the most common factors which initiate action include contacts by worried relatives or expired flight plans,” says Pekka Stolt, Training Manager of Aeronautical SAR.
When an aircraft has gone missing, the Air Rescue Coordination Centre always leads search operations conducted from the air. In more serious cases, search units at the Finnish Border Guard, the Defense Forces or the Finnish Air Rescue Society are alerted.
“In a situation involving the risk of an air accident, the Air Rescue Coordination Centre places the aircraft under radar surveillance, follows it and ensures that the aircraft can make a safe landing. Should the aircraft be located on the ground, the responsibility for leading operations transfers to the police and rescue authorities. The situation will be followed up until a notification is received indicating that the situation is over,” Stolt comments.
Competence is maintained through regular training
While the number of situations involving general aviation decreases in winter, for obvious reasons, preparedness for responding to air accidents is maintained all year round.
“The number of operations leading to a search for a missing aircraft number a handful each year, with air rescue situations being resolved in a few hours on average. The total number of operations is around 300 a year,” Stolt reports.
The Air Rescue Coordination Centre trains its own personnel and participates in cooperation exercises arranged on an annual basis with different authorities.
ANS Finland has trained three managers for the Air Rescue Coordination Centre and six instructors, in addition to which shift managers at the Area Control Centres and air traffic controllers at the Airspace Management Cell have been provided with training to enable them to act in air rescue situations.
The authority supervising air rescue services is the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi.
*) ICAO = International Civil Aviation Organization