#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!

The Real Ones

This is a listing of the real accidents I've been to or that I've been involved with with the intent of passing my experiences on to those who may benefeit from them.   The details of the find are listed for your benefit.   I'll admit the list is rather short, but nondistress finds are not included.   Besides, this isn't a counting competition.   I've found it interesting to search the NTSB files for supporting information.   Additionally, its interesting to find out what actually caused the accidents versus your suspicions at the time of the find.  

My first search was for a doctor and his assistants that were flying out of the small Wisconsin town of Shell Lake.   I wasn't called until very late in the search and never deployed to the search location.   As a young person involved with this business, however, it made me realize how deadly serious and real it could be.   This is the search that primed me and motivated me to prepare for future searches.   A friend's involvement in this search also helped me with the midair we found at a later time (see below).   See the NTSB Summary for this accident.  

Another search I was involved with was for a Piper Aztec, a twin engine light airplane.   We began the evening thinking that this would be more of the same: I figured we were searching for a non-distress ELT in someone's hangar.   After a long evening, we located the aircraft in a freshly plowed field.   The NTSB report for this accident gives some details.   The damage done to the aircraft was rather surprising.   The left main gear had dug into the soft field and then spun the entire wing around its main spar 180 degrees.   When we got there (about 0300 the next morning) the left main was sticking straight up in the air.   No one was on board: they had walked away and neglected their ELT.   Good for them.   I wish I had a picture of that aircraft, though.  

While I was a student pilot in a CAP aircraft I was onboard when we found two aircraft that had been involved in a midair.   Details of this accident can be read on this site as SAR TALE #8, Critical Stress Incident Debriefing.   The NTSB Summary gives another account.  

While attending a regularly scheduled Emergency Services exercise, or "Bluecap" as we called them, we were activated to search for not one but TWO seperate and distinct ELT signals.   One was quickly located on the grounds of the mission base airport.   The other one wasn't as easy.   We eventually located the aircraft at about 2 a.m.   I've always found it interesting when you knock on someone's door at that late an hour: "Excuse me, ma'am, I'm Scott Lanis with the Civil Air Patrol.   We are conducting a search for a missing aircraft.   Would you know anything about that?"   Her response was, "sure, its out back!   I'll take you there."   She later told us that the gentleman who piloted in the aircraft had requested that she not call the Sheriff about his off-airport landing.   He said he'd return the next day with a truck to haul off the aircraft.   Since she suspected something funny, she naturally called the Sheriff when he left.   Too bad local law enforcement doesn't know about shutting down ELTs.   See the NTSB report for this accident.


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

1998 - 2006 Scott E. Lanis.  All Rights Reserved.