NEW LONDON, Conn. -- Coast Guard Academy Mechanical Engineering cadets have been prototyping a new and improved rescue basket, which could revolutionize the way the Coast Guard conducts search and rescue missions onboard the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters.
First Class Cadets Christian Breviario, Riely Brande, Benjamin Crutchfield, Nolan Richerson and Spencer Smith spent the last year working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center to improve upon the current rescue basket design, after receiving input from search and rescue operators in the fleet.
“In 2009, the Research and Development Center conducted an internal Coast Guard study,” said M.J. Lewandowski, a research project manager for the RDC. “The study noted that the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to mass rescue incidents was and still is somewhat limited in the methods available to remove large numbers of people from a hazardous marine situation quickly and safely.”
The RDC and Academy leadership approached Breviario and his capstone group at the beginning of their senior year to see if an improvement could be made to the current design, which would increase the Coast Guard’s effectiveness during mass rescue incidents.
"We have added a means of entry that is easier for people who may be injured or have limited mobility,” said Breviario. “We have also maximized the space dimensions of the basket, given the dimensions of the MH-60 Jayhawk cabin. With these modifications we have made the basket more accessible, decreased the amount of time needed per hoisting evolution, and improved upon the effectiveness of the Coast Guard during mass rescue incidents."
The new design, which is roomy enough for two individuals to comfortably sit in the basket, allows Coast Guard operators to shave off precious time during mass rescue situations. During mass rescue scenarios where 18 or more victims require helicopter assistance, the cadets have determined that the new basket could cut the time required to get everyone hoisted onboard by half.