45 votes
Accepted

What makes flight recorders harder to find than tagged sharks?

They're different usage cases, and have to be engineered differently. Three major points: A shark tag doesn't have to survive a 500mph impact (#7 on the list) with the ground, and a flight recorder ...
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  • 23.6k
20 votes
Accepted

How does a pilot report a person (on the surface) in distress?

I would treat an active SOS signal from the ground the same way I would treat an ELT signal on 121.5: Contact ATC (or Flight Service if you're not sure what ATC frequency to use) and inform them of ...
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  • 67.4k
17 votes
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What can trigger the ELT on GA aircraft?

There are four different types of ELTs: Automatic fixed ELT (ELT(AF)). An automatically activated ELT which is permanently attached to an aircraft. Automatic portable ELT (ELT(AP)). An automatically ...
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  • 456
17 votes
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How does a CVR / FDR determine when to stop recording?

The CVR and FDR have impact switches to stop recording when they experience high acceleration. In incidents and accidents that don't involve high enough acceleration, the plane remains intact enough ...
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  • 4,183
12 votes

What makes flight recorders harder to find than tagged sharks?

Shark tags work by only sending the logged data when the shark resurfaces. Between those it just stores the data in memory until it can send it. Sending underwater takes a lot of power otherwise.
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9 votes

How does a CVR / FDR determine when to stop recording?

In the United States, CVRs and FDRs have a 10 minute (+/- 1 minute) battery requirement to allow any available post-crash voice and data to be recorded, with power removed once a timer limit is ...
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  • 3,645
8 votes
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Where can I find more information about my grandfather's crashed B-18a bomber on Mt. Redoubt Alaska?

What is the terrain/glacier situation [on the southeast side of Mt Redoubt]? The southeast side is all glacier, forming in the valleys formed by previous formative eruptions, which have deepened ...
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  • 2,383
8 votes
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Would better location tracking for airliners improve safety?

Would better location tracking for airliners improve safety? Very simply, no.... us knowing where AF447 was would have made exactly zero difference to the fact that it crashed into the ocean at 400+ ...
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  • 10.3k
6 votes

How does a pilot report a person (on the surface) in distress?

FWIW, I was specifically taught to use "pan-pan" for a scenario like that, at least to get the controllers' attention; anything more depends on the specific situation. My instructor said that pan-pan ...
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  • 70.4k
6 votes

What is the optimum viewing angle to search for something on the ground from the air?

I spent an enormous amount of my childhood & early teens looking out the window of my father's Cessna 337. I found that to look as close to vertically down as possible is actually quite unnatural, ...
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  • 1,262
6 votes

What is the optimum viewing angle to search for something on the ground from the air?

Straight Down is most likely the best angle but there is of course cases to be made for other scenarios. In your case if you are looking for something on the ground that is potentially obstructed a ...
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  • 96.3k
5 votes
Accepted

How is the search-and-rescue system for civil aviation over waters agreed and funded?

Search and Rescue is under the ICAO umbrella, but also with the IMO. Annex 12 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation gives the international standards and recommended practices (SARPS) on ...
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  • 75.2k
5 votes

How to refute this geometrical method to find MH370?

The picture says that "If [the above facts are] true, the plane can only be at one of two green dot locations." However, it doesn't give any reasoning or evidence to support this claim. So, there's no ...
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  • 5,595
5 votes

What is the optimum viewing angle to search for something on the ground from the air?

Another consideration is to look at other aviation sources that perform search and rescue. Civil Air Patrol (CAP) for example, use aircraft routinely to search for aircraft. A quick read through their ...
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  • 1,802
4 votes

Are there countries where not all plane crashes are investigated (even if deadly)?

As of 2017 191 of the 193 countries are signed to the ICAO anex and there are 122 national aviation authorities so at least some countries lack serious formal aviation authority and often look to ...
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  • 96.3k
4 votes

Who operates the hoist in a Coast Guard helicopter SAR team?

who operates the hoist in the Coast Guard helicopter SAR teams? This depends on country and other factors, perhaps aircraft type etc. In general, the winchman descends on the end of the winch cable ...
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4 votes

How does a CVR / FDR determine when to stop recording?

In crash the last two hours before the crash is most important, so the recorder always recording and stopping when the plane crashes either because of crash sensor or simply due to loss of power and ...
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  • 54.2k
3 votes

What happens if I activate VFR flight plan later than filed ETD?

Assuming that you've submitted a Delay Message in order to prevent your flightplan from being deleted you have to do nothing at all. In your flightplan you only state your ETD (Expected Time of ...
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  • 1,988
3 votes

What would happen if the Emergency Locator Transmitter was activated wrongly?

It happens ALL the time. I have been on many airport hunts looking for the airplane with a triggered ELT. You tale a handheld radio and walk through the ramp until you find it.
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  • 1,206
2 votes

What happens if I activate VFR flight plan later than filed ETD?

You don't have to do anything. Your flightplan does not contain an ETA, and one is not calculated until you actually depart. You've only filed an estimated time of departure (ETD) and estimated ...
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2 votes

What would happen if the Emergency Locator Transmitter was activated wrongly?

The ELT guys get a lot of false alarms. About 97% of ELT alerts are false alarms. Most false alarms are generated by bad ELTs on boats. Neverthless, they chase them all down. The organization that ...
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2 votes
Accepted

Is a releasable locator beacon (ELT) required for aircraft carrying passengers over a water area?

Is an ELT required on any type of aircraft carrying passengers over water? Generally, commercial transport aircraft are not required to carry an ELT. how are aircraft planned to be located after ...
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2 votes

Does it exist? Environmentally-friendly/safe fluorescent liquid to make sea crashes easier to find?

Thanks to those who commented and provided answer-worthy comments. Thanks! What is already in existance today: @Andy commented: For spacecraft splashdowns (certainly Gemini, maybe others) they ...
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2 votes

How to find black boxes underwater absent any pinger signals?

The CVR on a Boeing 737 is located in the aft cargo compartment. The CVR itself is not built of the same materials as the aircraft, which is mostly aluminium and composites. By mapping the location of ...
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  • 11.4k
2 votes

What can trigger the ELT on GA aircraft?

There is another way that an aircraft ELT (or for that matter, any ELT) can be set off: By a mechanical or electronic failure of the unit. This is usually caused by corrosion and is more common on ...
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  • 21
2 votes

Are helicopter searchlights fixed or movable?

The question is some what unclear, but helicopters usually have some combination of 3 types of lights. Landing light(s); fixed, sometimes pulsing, used for illuminating the area directly in front of ...
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2 votes

Can you mount a net between 2 helicopters for search and rescue?

Could you? Well - technically, yes. For a little while anyway... Would you actually do it to enact effective rescue operations? No. There's countless issues with the idea that would make it rather ...
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  • 198
1 vote

Are helicopter searchlights fixed or movable?

By "searchlight" I assume you mean the high intensity units used to identify ground objects at night (example: the "NightSun" series). Those are usually fully steerable with their motion often slaved ...
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  • 804
1 vote

What makes flight recorders harder to find than tagged sharks?

Because they're located in the wreckage, which can be at great depths. The only signal that can be sent at great depths is an audio signal, and that takes a lot of power (relatively speaking, the CVR ...
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  • 8,567

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