Golz At The Bat
It was about 10:30 p.m. A team trying to locate a ELT in a townhouse development about two miles from O'Hare field had been struggling since about 4:00 in the afternoon in its attempt to get a fix on the signal. They requested relief, and I happened to be on the relief team. We first acquired the signal about two miles away just running the L'Per receiver on an outside antenna. We drove to the best signal -- in the complex -- and then assembled the L'Per. It was one of those days where I had been working around the house all day and hadn't shaved, and as I was leaving the house I wasn't about the shave to go out and meet some ELT. I broke one of my standing rules, which was "wear the uniform." Prior experience had told me that the uniform really was an important tool in the sometimes touchy public relations issues you encounter chasing ELTs.
I had, however, the foresight to grab my "marked windbreaker". I had purchased a bright red windbreaker and then had the reflectorized letters "CAP" and a CAP seal affixed. The back and front lettering was 4 x 7 inches; it was very distinctive. An American flag patch on the shoulder completed this array. My partner, Captain Randy Paulin, was in fatigues. Within about fifteen minutes of setting up the L'Per, we were able to tell which building the signal was emanating from. We had taken front and back readings and were pretty confident; so much so that we called the Elk Grove Village Police Department for entry assistance. At the Police Department, the lieutenant who was the shift supervisor happened to be a student pilot, so it turned out we did not need to do a lot of convincing get police backup. A couple minutes later the cops arrived and we entered the building. Since now it was near midnight, we really wanted to minimize the number of wrong doorbells we rang. I took the L'Per receiver off of the stick and held it at the door of every unit to see if I could locate the source by signal strength. One unit had a significantly higher signal and, as I turned to tell the cops that this was the one, the needle jumped. I placed the receiver against the corridor wall, ran it up and down and told Captain Paulin and the police officers that the receiver was in a closet directly opposite this wall on a shelf three feet off the floor. This was kind of like Babe Ruth pointing to the wall that his home run would go over. The police department dispatcher phoned the home owner, who looked out his peep hole to see two Elk Grove Village police, Randy in fatigues and moderately-grubby me in my "raid" jacket. He opened the door and graciously invited us in when we explained what this was about. And yes he had just picked up an ELT from some aircraft parts distributor for a friend, and he was supposed to ship it to him shortly. He had just gotten it today. It was around here some place. I told him it's around here. It's on a shelf. We turned the corner -- the ELT was, in fact, sitting on a book shelf three feet off the floor directly opposite my "hot spot" on the corridor wall. We removed the batteries and left.
This story submitted by Thomas B. Golz of Illinois Wing.
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