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Any aircrew member worth his or her salt can tell you how difficult it is to see a human-sized target from an airplane.   This remains true even if the aircraft is flying low and slow (500 ft, 85 kts).   It is also very difficult for a ground team to locate such a small target.  

In order to help train ground teams and aircrew members alike for searches of this sort, it is a good idea to make a target dummy.   Dummies generally complain less than a live target, particularly if the searchers take a long time.  

Constructing a dummy is really very easy.   Take a flightsuit from your squadron supply and stuff it full of other clothes--preferably items that have already been phased out.   You can also stuff it full of paper, but you might have to do this every time you use the dummy.   Crunched up paper will not last.   For a head, you can use a white garbage bag stuffed full.   If you want to get fancy, sew a head and shoulders that will fit inside the flightsuit.   It can be a little comedic to have a smiley face looking up at you!  

I recommend placing several notes on your dummy.   First, put something on there that says, "Property of Civil Air Patrol.   If found, call ..."   Hopefully people won't mess with your dummy--but since they might, it is probably a good idea to not place anything of value on the dummy.   To enhance training, you can also put a note on the dummy that describes a first aid situation for rescuers to undertake.  

This page of the CAP Emergency Services Resources website was last updated 02/04/2007

1998 - 2007 Scott E. Lanis.  All Rights Reserved.