The NW ELT TEAM
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction!
Honey, I have a surprise for you sweetheart - One evening our team responded to an errant ELT signal in NE Portland. It was approximately 7:30 PM, winter evening so it was dark. As we arrived at the residence, one member was elected to approach the home and get the owner to silence the device. Upon knocking on the door, a man answered. When asked if a pilot lived in the home, his eyes got real large and he responded: "Yeah, how'd you know?". Where upon our team member opened the audio on his L-Per so the gentleman could hear the "whelp", and we informed him that his ELT was active. The man appeared very nervous and kept glancing over his shoulder at the kitchen table where 4 or 5 other adults were seated. He said we could enter, but moving his fingers to his lips (in the shhhhh position) he asked if we could turn off the L-Per. Team members followed the man through his house, down into the basement where he unlocked a workshop. Upon entering, he walked over to a tool chest (big tiered one, on rollers) and unlocked it, reached in behind some saws, sanders, etc. and removed an EBC 102 ELT device all wrapped in red shop rags. Where upon, the ELT was silenced. When he asked how we found him, we gave him a very brief summary of how the ELT works, and how our team functions. He was impressed and as we were standing there, he lowered his voice and said: "Please, don't say anything to my wife, ok? I bought an airplane today ... and she don't know it." Precisely at that moment, his wife came down the basement stairs and queried: "Who are these guys?" and then she pointed to the ELT and asked: "What is that?" Needless to say, our personnel made a hasty exit.
Guess what? The very next night, we had another ELT. Following the signal, we found it at the Troutdale airport. Upon checking the plane number, one of our members thought the ID was familiar. We looked at our recent mission reports and ..... sure enough ...... it was the aircraft ID number of the gentleman we had visited the previous night. When we telephoned him, he was NOT real receptive to us, it seems his wife had made him "take that damn thing back" (meaning the ELT), and he didn't get to buy the plane. Can you believe it, he blamed US for not being able to keep the aircraft! Geesch.
Aircraft burglar alarm - One evening, when responding to an ELT at Pearson Airpark, one member came around a hangar and discovered two aircraft with their doors open. As he looked closer, our member saw a headset laying on the ground. He radioed our coordinator and told him what he'd discovered. The Vancouver Police were called immediately. Upon arrival at the scene, the deputies followed the gear on the ground and the footprints in the damp, dewy grass to a near by hangar and discovered a major theft ring.
It is felt that the flashing yellow light our members put on their vehicle when entering an airport scared away the burglars. Also, our notification of law enforcement contributed to a significant "bust" of local criminals.
Enjoy your evening, sir - Approximately 11 PM one evening, the local Ham Repeater began signalling an active ELT. The signal was finally localized around midnight, to a small airport in Sandy, OR. Having identified the offending craft, the manager of the airport was contacted. He recognized the airplane by its description and said the owner had flown in for an airshow, and the owner was spending the night in the airports small lounge. We expressed reluctance at approaching the building without a police officer present, the manager said that wasn't necessary and that he'd come out and help us. So we waited about 1/2 hour for the manager to arrive. When he did, we approached the pilot's lounge and upon shining flashlights inside we saw a woman standing in the corner, clutching a blanket up around her. A few moments later, the aircraft owner answered the door. The owner went to his aircraft and silenced the device. The owner refused to give any information pertaining to the ELT, battery date, etc (information our team routinely collects). Noticing a wedding band on the man's finger, our member apologized for disturbing him and his wife. The man left in a huff.
After the owner left, the manager of the airport informed us the lady in the lounge was NOT the pilot's wife! A lesson to ALL you pilots - to avoid embarrassing moments such as this, be sure to check your ELT during post flight procedures.
Is that airplane really pushing that car? - One night an ELT was active on the local repeater. Team members responded and found the source. It seemed a pilot developed engine trouble and hand no place to land other than the I-205 freeway. He made a good landing, however ... it seems airplane can fly faster than cars can drive (well, legally anyway). So, when the pilot landed, his aircraft rapidly caught up with a Camaro and embedded the prop into the trunk of the car. No one was injured, thank goodness, but the ELT was activated.
Oh .... the Camaro, well it had just been bought and the owner was on his way home. It had less than 36 miles on it. Weird!
But, I had it in PARK ... honest! One day, a pilot went out to go for a brief flight. It was a lovely day ... clear, hardly any wind. But darn, the battery was dead. No problem, thought the pilot, I'll just prop start it. So, he opened the throttle all the way and went up front to prop start it. His efforts were successful, VERY successful. The plane started, and with the throttle wide open, began racing down the runway, leaving the stunned pilot laying on the ground. The plane hit a bump and careened off the runway, slamming into a tree, nearly totalling the aircraft.
Man .... make sure you set the parking brake.
The NW ELT Team
9710 NE 92nd Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98662-1944
(360) 699-2630 Alphanumeric Pager
(360) 256-1326 Fax
This page of the CAP Emergency Services Resources™ website was last updated 07/01/2008