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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Tall Tales  |  Topic: Share Your ELT/EPIRB Chasing Stories
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Author Topic: Share Your ELT/EPIRB Chasing Stories  (Read 31544 times)

Posts: 23

« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2005, 03:46:26 PM »

OK, in my squadron we have the dumbest set of twins which my squadron commander rudely calls "Dumb and Dumber" but it true!! We'll just call them the twins....

On a practice mission, I was on Twin Alpha's team. Because he can't read a map or understand an Elper, he was the compass bearer.

We were running around all day trying to find this thing, and nothign was adding up. Finally at three hours after our beginning I noticed he was look through the back of the compass and went over to him to see if something was wrong. He said no, and went on taking a reading. You guessed it.... HE WAS READING THE COMPASS BACKWARDS THE ENTIRE TIME!!!!!! OMG and after I announced that the compass was the wrong way, I needed to portect this guy from the rest of our ground team.
There are three kinds of people in this world...people that get things, people that watch others get things done, and people that wonder what just happened...WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

Posts: 93

« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2006, 11:22:55 AM »

Recently, I was IC for the last two days of a pesky ELT mission.  Following it's conclusion I recieved the story via email detailing this epic mission from the aircrews point of view.  The story is a bit long to post here but you can download the document here:   http://www.alwg.cap.gov/hq/The_Saga_of_Mission_06M1252.doc

I think you'll find it worth your effort to download as we've all "been there".  :D
Rick Hasha, Lt Col CAP

Posts: 5,136
Unit: NER-NH-038

Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2006, 11:44:53 AM »

Recently, I was IC for the last two days of a pesky ELT mission.  Following it's conclusion I recieved the story via email detailing this epic mission from the aircrews point of view.  The story is a bit long to post here but you can download the document here:   http://www.alwg.cap.gov/hq/The_Saga_of_Mission_06M1252.doc

I think you'll find it worth your effort to download as we've all "been there".  :D

Hah, great story!  Very well written and entertaining.  Thanks for sharing!   :clap:
Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
Concord Composite Squadron, NH       
Forum Regular

Posts: 103

« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2006, 03:44:28 PM »

Yea great story, I like the reference to Men In Black.
C/Capt Matthew A. Prokosch, CAP
New York Wing
Utica Cadet Squadron (NER-NY-162)
Cadet Bonnett
Forum Regular

Posts: 136

« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2006, 02:50:59 PM »

I had a ELT mission search practice this past weekend. Now let me tell you something funny about it. I was in the field looking for an ELT when all of a sudden the GTL stepped on a huge brown snake. I saw it and ran, with a hig pitched scream (while on private property. We requested permission).

Anyway on to the story of he ELT. We ahd a fairly good idea to where the ELT was located after 3 hours of searching for it. However one of out GTL's were not wanting to go to the area a few rather interesting cadets thought that it was. So our mission staff called the ELT Mission to a stop and we headed abck to base. However when we got back we found out that the ELT was exactly where we thought it was. But it was ll good, because our Ground Team loved helping one another with this project.
Cadet A1C Christin Bonnett
Registered Peer Mediator
SET, GES Certified
NH Wing

El Campamento del Ala de NH aquí yo vengo.
Nolan Teel
Forum Regular

Posts: 154
Unit: RMR-MT-001

« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2009, 01:47:39 PM »

All I can say, Moving UPS Truck......  Think about that one...
Phil Hirons, Jr.
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 803
Unit: NER-RI-001

« Reply #46 on: March 04, 2009, 05:19:16 PM »

Gentleman pulls boat out of Wickford, RI harbor, bumps it too hard and then departs for Maine ;D
Seasoned Member

Posts: 422

« Reply #47 on: March 04, 2009, 06:54:57 PM »

this one can be summed up pretty quick.   SARSAT gets two hits we go to each and then SARSAT gets a hit 20 miles south at that.  We go there and it moved again, we got to the point where we say screw this and go home. About a week later a KY CAP SQ. commander gets out the elper for an excercise turns it on 121.5 for kicks and gets a signl follows the signal and apprently someone was flying some old parts including an ELT from INDY to KY.
Fresh from the Mint C/LT
"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking." Ferdinand Foch at the Battle of the Marne
Seasoned Member

Posts: 301

CAP ES Resources Website
« Reply #48 on: March 07, 2009, 04:23:51 PM »

http://www.cap-es.net/Features/SAR%20War%20Stories.htm is a link for 25 "war" stories.  Enjoy.
Good luck and good hunting,

Posts: 69
Unit: PCR-WA-082

« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2012, 01:08:29 AM »

At Blue Beret in 1987, AFRCC informed us we had an ELT going off on Whitman Field.  No real surprise.  My buddy Ted was heading up the Land Rescue Team (now THERE is a term from antiquity!) searching the west end of the airfield.  Ted walked up to the plane and dead-sticked it with the L-Per.  Sure enough... that was our bird!  As we chatted, Ted turned the L-Per back on and... another ELT!  We located it in the plane parked right next to the first one we deactivated!

Posts: 70

« Reply #50 on: January 21, 2012, 01:22:09 AM »

Here's an interesting one. It was a little while ago and we had a 406 ELT Plotting to an industrial complex within LA County. We had a rather good GPS fix on it so we decided to go with just 2 UDF teams. While enroute LA County Sheriff Department had a helicopter flying nearby and advised us of the exact address it was plotting at and had 2 deputies report to us to assist. We get access to this building and it turned out to be an aviation warehouse! It was about 3-4 stories how and several thousand square feet! We found it after not that long of a delay thanks to the fact that it was beeping and on ground level.


Posts: 69
Unit: PCR-WA-082

« Reply #51 on: January 21, 2012, 07:13:41 PM »

Mark_Wheeler... that is the BEST one I have heard EVER!!!  LOL

Posts: 70

« Reply #52 on: January 21, 2012, 07:16:43 PM »

It could have been a lot worse if it was in the middle of the warehouse at the top of a rack. I've had friends chase down signals to helicopters that are still in the air.


Posts: 69
Unit: PCR-WA-082

« Reply #53 on: January 21, 2012, 07:20:24 PM »

OK... another one from Blue Beret in Oshkosh.  This one was in 1986.  We picked up an ELT signal on a random scan.  Got the signal verified by AFRCC so we had 3 LRTs (Land Rescue Team) running all over Whitman Field trying to fing this thing.  One team pin-pointed it to a garbage can.  Another team tracked it to a Porta-let.  Yet, another team traced it to an open field.  This craziness went on for about 45 minutes.  Then, it STOPPED.  All three teams reported in what happend.  Base responded back.  The ELT came from a plane that ditched in Lake Winnebago after it ran out of fuel.  Our rescue boat, SEACAP, made the save with 4 personnel recovered.  The waves on Lake Winnebago were shooting the ELT signal all over the place.  Divers from the Sheriff's Dept. went down and shut it off.
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,585

« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2012, 03:08:11 AM »

Chased one in San Jose, Ca that turned out to be in a Chucky Cheese establishment, in a computer game called "Search and Rescue".  Found it after midnight, when only the Mexican cleaning crew was in the building.

Chased another one for several hours of flying and then DFing it in a car.  Finally went off and then came back on after 1300.  Finally found it in the backseat of a dentists car: he had gone home for lunch, explaining why it left the original scene.

Had two guys from our Sq chase one along the CA coast near Half Moon Bay.  Went back and forth with the CG as to where it was.  Finally located it in a landfill, where our two guys spent over an hour digging into the ripe part of the landfill.  Finally located it and turned it off.  They were awarded a "Shovel of the Half Moon Bay Landfill", mounted on a plaque.

Also chased one in a UPS truck for the better part of two days.

And on and on.
Paul M. Reed
Col, USA(ret)
Former CAP Lt Col
Wilson #2777

Posts: 238
Unit: ser-ga-072

« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2012, 01:49:28 PM »

   my most challenging....

   christmas eve, 2008, mission 08m2296. an on again, off again elt had managed to elude our aircrew from the previous night, and earlier in the day. i passed off the ic responsibilities and nestled in front of the becker, expecting an elusive search.

   the red x's on the map indicate the three satellite hits, and their times. we heard nothing at those positions. it was dark and it was late, and things weren't looking real good.

   i asked the mp for some wide circles, and detected just a whisper of an elt north east of the hits. i asked the mp to fly from south to north along the longitude where we heard the whisper, 81deg22min, and made a note of the strength of the signal at each minute of latitude. once it was certain that the signal was weaker, i asked for a long slow turn to the west, ending up on an easterly course on the latitude of the strongest signal, 32deg17min. the becker was not giving any indication of direction.

   once again i noted the signal strength at each minute of longitude, and had the mp slowly circle and then fly north to south along that longitude, 81deg17min. the dashed blue lines indicate the lats and lons that we flew, following this same procedure. after several legs of this, the signal was significantly stronger, and the becker locked on and located the elt on the riverfront in savannah. the red flag marks our best guess.

   still, none of this made much sense until i got home and plotted the lats and lons, and found out from the gt that the savannah docks were covered with shipping containers. the signal was radiating out of one end of a container. imagine a beam antenna pointed to the north west, and its easy to see how it gave us the indications we had.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 02:10:11 PM by starshippe » Logged
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,025
Unit: of issue

« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2012, 02:55:03 PM »

I seem to recall relating this one once, maybe here, but I'll give the quick version.

I was a 67Y (Cobra Attack Helicopter Repairer) in the Guard following my stint on Active Duty. (Well, I started out as a 67U, then moved to the Guard as a 67U, being told the MI ARNG had Chinooks.  The "in-service" recruiter was a @#$% liar. The AVIM unit had slots for 67Us, as well as 67T (Blackhawks), 67R (Apache), etc, but the MI ARNG did NOT actually have Chinooks at the time, nor were they slated to get them. While I was "one of the Chinook guys" I substantially worked on AH-1s, UH-1s and OH-58s without the corresponding MOS until I went to the manufacturer's school for Apaches during that little dust-up in the Gulf back in 1990-91, and then actually re-classed as a 67Y by doing a year-long school for it to award the MOS).

One day, probably 1993 or so, I'm at the Aviation Support Facility in Grand Ledge on a drill weekend.   I'm be-bopping thru the hangar when I see our maintenance officer standing out on the ramp with an Elper in hand.

"What the *hell* is he doing?" I think, and change course.

"Hey, sir, what are you doing?"

"Well, you see, the aircraft have an emergency transmitter on them and this device-"

I held up my hand "Yeah, tracking, sir. I'm in Civil Air Patrol, I use these all the time.."

"Well, in that case, you know way more about this than me. Here." as he hands me the DF. "We're getting an ELT signal on Guard, can't figure out where its coming from. Its been in the area for the last half hour or so  Good luck."  And he's gone.  @#$% warrant officers!

So I do a few DF sweeps, and I'm getting a signal, albeit attenuated, with no audio, and its not always coming from the same bearing..  I walk out on the ramp near the aircraft, figuring maybe someone forgot to put the disarm clip back on an ELT on a Huey.  The signal is muddled and doesn't point in a legit direction. What the hell?

I spend another 10 minutes or so fooling around and my buddy shows up with one of the aircraft tugs.

"What the hell are you doing?"

"Looking for Martians. Are you one?"


"Good. Tell ya what, gimme a ride over the the civil side of the field, I need to get wider bearings on this signal."

There were 40-45 helicopters parked out there, the signal could have been bouncing off any one of them. Plus, we had a hangar on the other side of the field that might have an aircraft parked in it, not to mention that the signal might really have been coming from one of the GA aircraft over near the highway.

A couple minutes over there shows me that its not coming from over there. The signal is definitely stronger on the AASF ramp. Back over we go.

I'm standing out on the ramp when the signal starts moving again. "Hey, whoa, hold on, its moving.."

I look toward the hangar just as a truck towing a flatbed with a UH-1 on it pulls out from behind a row of connexes parked next to the hangar and stops right in front of the doors.  Ah ha!

Seems this aircraft had a forced landing at Camp Grayling and instead of fixing it in situ, the powers that be decided the best course of action would be to yank the rotor system, drop it on a low-boy and tow it back to Grand Ledge for repair.  Somewhere in the 150 miles from Cp Grayling, the ELT had started going off.

I walked up to the aircraft, slid one cabin door open, reached inside and clicked the ELT switch to "OFF". The signal ceased.

The muddled signal was due to the fact that when the lowboy arrived, they'd parked between the connexes and the hangar to one side of the main doors, which caused the signal to bounce all over the place.  Right in front of the hangar there was a little narrow "alley" where the signal was coming right out of that space, creating a really strong signal, but due to the way the connexes were placed, you couldn't see that there was anything parked there.  So it caused me to think the signal was coming from 180 degrees out, over toward the civil side of the field.  Duuuuhhh..

I walked in to flight ops and called Colonel Bill Charles, who I believe at the time was our Wing ES officer.  I filled him in on what I had found and that I had deactivated the ELT in case MI Wing was scrambling resources to locate.

He laughed pretty loudly and told me he'd call AFRCC and see what he could find out.

Come to find out, AFRCC had gotten the first SARSAT hit when the trailer was still on US-27 near Mt Pleasant, and the 2nd hit when it was still on US-27 near Lansing.  They were just about to call MI Wing and issue an ALNOT when Colonel Charles had called them.

Colonel Charles gave me a DSN for AFRCC and a name of a TSgt down there to talk to. I call them up, relate all the details (make, model, tail number, etc) and explain the circumstances of the activation.  They got a big laugh out of that, and I wanted to know if that counted as a "find" for MI Wing, and if so, could it be counted as the fastest find ever since we called them before they called us. :)

(I'm pretty sure it did not get counted that way)

That story got related at the Wing Conference later that year, and I'm pretty sure that was one of my finds. :)

Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Posts: 55
Unit: NER-NY-422

« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2012, 07:32:34 PM »

Another Blue Beret story.  Actually i have three good ones.

1)  So i'm there on North Cart trolling for an ELT that went off.  Nothing special, just finding the needle in a haystack (only 5,000 planes on field at  any given moment.)  We find it, and get this: the pilot was a CAP member.  It seems he landed a bit harder than intended.  Very courteous man though.  He had just came from FL (i think, maybe MD).  Very nice and very courteous, was pleasant.  We get that one shut of quickly.  First find on my part :D

2) Immediately following that, we get word from base that there was another ELT in our area.  Sure enough, i check the signal, and there it is.  And it was CLOSE.  I get a bearing on it, and we move off to get closer and triangulate.  We get there, i take another reading, and i can't seem to lock it down.  Also, we were right next to the runway.  Sure enough, i get the signal.  And the LPer was SCREAMING at me.  And i mean SCREAMING.  And we were on 125.65 or something like that.  It was STILL loud as hell.

So i turn to get the signal.  Then for some reason, it drops off.  I turn to catch it again, and i got it back.  But the SM driving the ES cart looks at what i am doing, and sees that i am tracking a plane rolling down the runway to take off.  Meanwhile, i am going "the hell?"  The SM reads the tail number, and sure enough, it was our bird (406 registered beacon, they gave us the tail # and description, which was nice.)  Going, going, going... GONE!  It didn't count as a find, but we radioed in that it took off.  I thought that it was funny, at least after the fact.  All i knew at the time was that i lost a find!

3) Robin's egg blue.  This one is a real funny one.  Base radios us the tail # and description of an overdue aircraft.  They described the color as "Robins egg blue."  Now those of you who have been to NBB know that the radio airwaves are so cluttered that you sometimes have trouble talking with base.  So sure enough, everyone radio's back confirming the description.  Someone radios back "Robin's blue egg."  Pretty funny, considering how many times "Robins egg blue" was said.  Sure enough, we find this sucker of a Light Sport Aircraft queued up to take off.  Another one going, going, going... GONE!  Good times.

Posts: 69
Unit: PCR-WA-082

« Reply #58 on: February 10, 2012, 12:24:40 PM »

LOL... another one from Blue Beret.  This time, 1989.  We got an ELT signal from AFRCC the 2nd day of Blue Beret.  Not the 2nd day of the Airshow, but the 2nd day of the activity!  There was nary a plane in the North 40 Parking, Warbirds or anyplace on the airfield.
     We launched an ad-hoc LRT (land rescue team) of senior members and cadet staff to find this thing.  After 3 hours of searching, it's narrowed down to the Herman Weaks Hangar at the EAA Museum.  Up to that point, the LRT had a devil of a time tracking it because the signal was going out in 2 directions.  They walked in and talked to an AP mechanic who had just finished up for the day.  He asked, "hey guys... what's up?"  Our steadfast searchers simply replied, "Looking for and ELT.  Seen one?"
     With a funny look on his face, he replied, "Hold on..."  He walked over to his rolling tool chest, popped it opened and produced an ELT.  Sure as shooting... the danged thing was on!!! 
    It must has activated when he chucked it into his tool chest.  The big metal box was shooting the signal in 2 opposite directions! 

Good times!   
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,323
Unit: SER-GA-045

Sandy Springs Cadet Squadron
« Reply #59 on: July 07, 2012, 07:24:29 PM »

Since the old thread was dead, and I had something to say, I started a new one.

in the early part of this century (wow, sounds better in my head), the University of Arkansas got a ton of money and set about updating the football stadium. The remodel included a big screen monitor at the north end of the field. When they were testing the thing prior to our first game of the season, it started broadcasting a signal on 121.5. Our flight crew went in search of it, and oddly enough I lived within walking distance of the stadium. Story follows:
September 20, 2000

Scoreboard Emits Emergency Signal

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The new video scoreboard at Arkansas' Razorback Stadium, designed to show replays of touchdowns, instead sent out an emergency signal indicating a plane was down.

The signal was picked up Tuesday at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va. In northwest Arkansas, the Civil Air Patrol prepared for action after receiving the transmission about 6 a.m. But Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) officials located the source of the signal before long.

``We've identified it as being a Jumbotron,'' FAA official Don Struebing said.

The fiber-optic transmitter that sends signals to the 3,210-square-foot video screen apparently did so on an emergency frequency. The screen - a Saco Smartvision, not a Sony Jumbotron - was being tested in preparation for its debut Saturday during the Alabama-Arkansas game.

``This is very rare. That just happened to match the local frequencies,'' said Jerry Pufall, who operates the screen.

The base at Langley gave a set of coordinates to a local emergency response crew, which ultimately found itself at the stadium, but not before a lot of confusion. The coordinates give a general location, within 20 miles of a site, said Capt. David Winslow, a pilot with the air patrol's Northwest Arkansas Composite Squadron. Upon hearing the signal, Winslow said that it seemed to be coming from within three miles of Drake Field airport in Fayetteville.

``I had mentioned, what's changed here recently?'' Washington County 911 coordinator John Luther. ``Well, all of a sudden you've got this huge stadium scoreboard.'' ``That was where the strongest signal was, right there at the stadium,'' Winslow said.

Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said the frequency would be modified.
I found the story on a website but it's the cause of much laughter at our unit whenever it's mentioned. We still think we should have been awarded a Find, with a Razorback cluster.
You can't take the sky from me. Also, I can kill you with my brain. No power in the 'verse can stop me.
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