Punta Gorda, Fla -
The Charlotte County Composite Squadron conducted a SAREX (Search and Rescue Exercise) on February 23rd. The practice exercise is a critical component of one of the Civil Air Patrolís missions Ė Search and Rescue. Most aircraft in this country are equipped with emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) that are activated by the impact of a crash. The signal is picked up by airliners or other aircraft, and the US Air Force (95% of the time) notifies the nearest Civil Air Patrol unit.
In total during the February exercise, seven air sorties and two ground crews were deployed, involving senior members and cadets. Both missions were designed to practice communications and skills in searching for aircraft locator beacons. The mission scenarios were based on fictitious downed aircraft in wooded areas around Punta Gorda Airport. The different scenarios allowed teams to hone their skills in search and rescue emergency situations.
Training missions are essential activities performed by CAP for maintaining mission readiness. They include visual search pattern practice looking for simulated downed aircraft and boating vessels in distress; electronic searches for emergency locator transmitter signals both from the air and on the ground; and ensuring our aerial photographers geo-tag the locations.
All missions were successful in locating the downed aircraft.
One of the additional benefits in participating in these exercises is the training and/or qualification and re-qualification of various specialties. These include Mission Pilots, Mission Observers, Mission Radio Operators, Aerial Photographers, and UDF (Urban Direction Finding) teams.
Charlotte County Composite Squadron Emergency Services Officer, Dave Curtis, coordinated the extremely complex event which begins with briefings of the search area, maintaining situational awareness to avoid other aircraft, birds, towers and the airspace around Punta Gorda Airport, and communication procedures.
Mission briefing photo : Emergency Services Officer Dave Curtis, Air Operations Branch Director Robert Filler, and Squadron Commander Major Gerald Lewis.
On the right: George Noren Aerial Photographer, Major Richard Morrell Mission Pilot and 2nd Lt Beverly Mautner.
Thanks to all the volunteer Charlotte County Composite Squadron participants who made the exercise possible.