AIRPLANE TARGET MOCK-UP
Aircrews rarely have realistic targets to locate during training. Sometimes CAP units will use easily transportable wrecked aircraft as targets, and this is a great idea. Consider purchasing a wrecked hull from your local aircraft junkyard. Beware, however, that may be a pricey option. If you choose to go that route, however, wrecked gliders are very easily transportable. Instead of a whole aircraft, often you can find pieces and parts of actual aircraft for next to nothing.
Update: one great idea is to take a roll of unused newsprint paper and arrange it in a wreckage pattern. Its large, cheap, the right color, and disposable. I won't do it myself, but some folks will leave the paper out once their mission is complete because the paper is somewhat biodegradeable. This is not recommended.
Another variation of the project described below is to use styrofoam sheets--the kind that are used in construction. These work very well for providing a basic shape, but can also very easily blow away. If you elect to try this option, ensure that you properly weigh down the foam pieces or else you'll be conducting a SAR for your target... and you won't know where it went!
It is certainly cheaper and not very difficult to construct a
mock aircraft that is very transportable and also very flexible in your
ability to create different wreckage patterns. Here are the items you'll
Adequate precaution should be used when setting out this--or any other--practice target. In the past, actual missions have been generated from simulated distress signals that were intended to be used strictly for exercise. Notify the local Flight Service Station (1-800-WX-BRIEF) as to the location, timeframe, and nature of your targets--whether they be electronic, visual, or otherwise. Most importantly, ensure that you remove, dismantle and store your targets when your exercise has terminated. For additional information on false alarms related to this type of target, see SAR WARS STORIES #18, "A False Find."
This page of the CAP Emergency Services Resources™ website was last updated 02/04/2007
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