Mission Report Friday 25 July 2014
On Thursday 24 July 14 at approximately 2000hr the Australian Civil Air Patrol Duty Officer, David Kesby, received a call from the Casino Police requesting aerial assistance in relation to a missing 41 year old male some 55 kilometres South West of Casino. The Casino VRA squad, SES and NSW Police had been looking for 2 days, with assistance from the local Westpac helicopter. David called the Squadron Leader Graham Williams to arrange a flight crew to respond to the request.
The mission was to fly to Casino and liaise with search control staff, receive detailed information regarding the search area, conduct the search and return to Casino for debriefing. The crew were then to fly back to Bankstown.
Following several phone calls a flight crew was arranged and the planning for the mission commenced. The plan was to depart Bankstown at 0930hr on Friday morning for a 1200hr arrival at Casino. Weather for the flight was not good but not bad enough to stop the flight. After some detailed planning by the flight crew at the AusCAP HQ and some delays in getting the fuel the crew finally got airborne at 1000hr.
The flight plan was to fly direct to Lismore where the aircraft could be refuelled. This was then followed by a short flight to Casino to marry up with the search controllers. Due to bad weather and head winds up to 46 knots, the crew were unable to get to Lismore until after the pre-arranged time. None-the-less the crew pressed on. Using inflight text messages, the aircraft was diverted to arrive at Casino at 1324.
Unfortunately the time delay due to weather meant the crew arrived at Casino at a time when the search was called off. The crew did however, have a briefing on the situation at the Search Control Headquarters located at the airstrip.
Following a short break the crew were again airborne and commenced their flight back to Bankstown. The flight back was similar to the inbound flight with the exception the winds were now a tail wind.
The flight back still took 3 hours and was a combination Visual Flight Rules and Instrument Flight Rules. The crew shut the aircraft down at approximately 1830hrs.
The time taken for the complete mission was some 10.5 hours with the flight time a total of 7.3 hours.
The mission was successful in so much that a crew was assembled and aircraft sourced. The planning was completed and the aircraft and crew arrived at the Search Headquarters ready to participate. A debrief was conducted at AusCAP HQ on Saturday 26 July and the following points were highlighted for review:
Notification of members of the call out;
Availability of Pilots;
Selection of aircraft based on the distance and nature of the search and aircraft availability;
Availability of members to attend the HQ for the duration of the mission;
Communications – telephone carriers and connectivity;
Use and Inflight recharging of ipads and iphones;
AusCAP member information for ease of contact, aircraft and crew selection for the mission; and
knowledge of flight references and the interpretation of detailed information.
All the above points shall be dealt with during the normal Saturday training timings.
Pilot in Command: Martin Dawson
Co-Pilot: Ted Bergin
Officer- in- Command: David Kesby
Members: J P Brochard, John Harmer
I would like to thank all members who responded and participated in the call out.
I was particularly pleased with the way the crews came together and worked in a cooperative manner in the allocated appointments, great work team. Through this call-out we have identified some shortfalls within the system and will address accordingly to enable us to make ready and action any call we may get in the future.
Safe flying all,
Squadron Leader AusCAP