#1 Everyone Knows Its Windy
#2 The Road Less Traveled By Made All The Difference
#3 The Biggest Debacle Ever
#4 Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
#5 Golz At The Bat
#6 Trust No One
#7 Urban/suburban ELT Search Procedures
#8 Critical Incident Stress Debriefing?
#9 New Frequency, Old Problems
#10 Air to Air DF!
#11 the Great Flood of '97
#12 Air Search at its Worst
#13 It Can't Be Anything of MINE!
#14 Switch Off!
#15 The Real Ones
#16 Tales From the Northwest ELT Team
#17 Child Find Program
#18 A False Find
#19 Discarded ELT
#20 DF In My Living Room
#21 One, Both, or None
#22 Tower Power
#23 Confusion Reigns
#24 Low Power, High Reflections
#25 But We're Not Transmitting!

It Can't Be Anything of MINE!

Editor's Note: stories such as this are all too common in the CAP SAR business.   ELTs have an uncanny ability to turn up in very strange places: the inside of a delivery truck, a train boxcar, or even at the dump are not unheard of places to find an ELT.   While these stories are humorous, they tend to highlight the fact that the general public has little (if any) idea of CAP's search and rescue mission.   Take a little time at the opportunity to make good public relations while on these "urban" searches.   People will be more likely to help a friendly person in uniform than a gruff one.   Remember, too, that many people will emphatically deny that they possess an ELT or EPIRB--it may be up to you to competently DF the signal and politely prove them wrong!

On a typical February evening in Tucson, Arizona, the call came it at 9 pm.   An ELT with confirmed audio on 121.5 MHz was heard.   The SARSAT Lats and Longs placed the signal near a small airpark to which we'd visited often.   A CAP member with a DF unit who lived at the airpark was called to investigate, but he heard nothing.   Another team was sent out to search.   Together, both the CAP member resident and the other team soon arrived at a house in the middle of a housing development.   The house appeared to have a strong signal eminating from it. We went to the front door, and the party who answered told us he had nothing to do with aviation.  

Questions soon determined that the house behind his was occupied by a serious boater, so we thought maybe it might be an EPIRB.   We asked permission to traverse his back yard. As we were walking past the first guy's carport when one of my team pointed into the garage and asked, "isn't that an airplane?"   Sure enough, a disasembled Tripacer was covered with a tarp.   The homeowner admitted it was his, but denied it had an ELT until we found where his son's Motorcycle handbars had punched a hole in the fabric, exposing and activating an ELT whose battery was three years out of date.

On a hot summer night, ELT sarsat hits put the signal right in the middle of a residential area near downtown Tucson and the University Of Arizona. We DFed the strong signal to one half of a duplex apartment complex.   There was nobody home.   The occupant of second apartment denied it could be in her half because it was her grandmothers and she was in away on long-term hospital stay.   After a lot of questions, she admitted that her brother had recently stored some things there, and yes, he happened to be a pilot.   When we got there the ELT was found just inside the front door, where a box had been dropped.

This story submitted by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Croghan of Nevada Wing


This page of the CAP Emergency Services Resources website was last updated 07/01/2008

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