Urban/Suburban ELT Search Procedures
This procedure is the result of trial and error and a product of numerous ground searches.
1. Keep forms, antennas, maps and flashlights where you can find them.
2. Wear appropriate uniform -- and properly. Looking sharp can help you secure cooperation from airport and police officials. Consider magnetic signs for your car and an amber strobe light if you will drive onto an airport.
3. Make communications arrangements with the MC or Ground Operations Officer before you are dispatched. You need to be able to be 'recalled' if the signal stops or redirected if new information develops. You can use the radio, cellular phone or scheduled landline telephone check-ins. Do not leave home without a mission number. Two equipped vehicles search faster than one, and a second vehicle means you aren't as stranded if you lose a fan belt (or worse) on a night search far from home. Issuance of a mission number does not suspend Murphy's Law, and some MC's will tell you Murphy loves missions. If a second vehicle will be 'out,' coordinate with it as well.
4. If you know your search will take you to an airport, get the airport's phone number before you leave home.
5. Turn your receiver on before you leave home. You don't want to drive past the target. If you are using a portable, battery-powered receiver, carry spare batteries and, if available, use a DC power cord to run the radio while in the car. NOTE: Alkaline batteries do have longer lives, and will outlast rechargeable ni-cads, with at least double the service time per comparable size. If NiCads are your only batteries, always have a spare pack charged. If you have an external aircraft band antenna, use it.
6. Obey all traffic laws. Drive to the 'target' location, and if you hear the signal, drive for the best signal. Drive all the way around an airport before entering. Do not enter the airport, marina or railyard at night without permission of the manager or police or security force. Contact the manager, police, or security force by phone or in person. Advise them that CAP has been requested by the Air Force to follow up on an aircraft emergency locator radio beacon (ELT), and that your preliminary check shows the signal coming from the location you are seeking permission to enter. Ask if a police or security escort is available. If an escort can be dispatched in a reasonable period, make arrangements to meet your escort. If you are denied entry, call the MC.
7. Use the search procedure that works for your equipment to find the source of the signal.
8. When you find source of the signal, ask the airport to contact the owner so that he can turn it off or give someone else permission and instructions on how to turn it off. If the owner gives his permission, you can enter the plane to turn it off.
9. If the source is in a building, call the police and wait for them. This especially includes multi-unit residential buildings
10. Be sure to thank the police and airport or marina staff for their help. Call mission coordinator with the news that the ELT is silenced.
11. Gas up that day. Finish paperwork--CAPFs 103, 108, 121 and file within 30 days.
This story submitted by Thomas B. Golz of Illinois Wing, email firstname.lastname@example.org
This page of the CAP Emergency Services Resources™ website was last updated 07/01/2008
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