In September, Fallbrook Squadron 87 conducted a series of search and rescue training exercises at Fallbrook Airpark that was attended by Civil Air Patrol squadrons from Hemet, Fullerton, Long Beach and San Diego.
During the morning briefing 1st Lt. Rich Lovick covered search base procedures and reviewed the goals of the mission for the two-day exercise, the upgrading of flight qualifications, scanner and observer duties and airplane preparation.
Lt. Col. Carl Morrison covered safety procedures and suggestions for the exercise while Maj. Joe Di Mento and Lt. Col. Dee Osargent covered base communications and aircraft radio procedures.
The training exercise began with an individual pre-flight briefing for all the aircrews that highlighted the terrain and obstacles that were unique to each search area. The focus of the mission was on air crew training using direction finding (DF) techniques for the location of an emergency locator transmission (ELT) beacon coming from a simulated downed aircraft.
Approximately four to six search and rescue sorties were flown each day, with each ending in a post-flight briefing for all aircrews that evaluated the success of their mission.
The in-flight DF crew procedure for the aircraft involved flying toward the ELT beacon using only the signal strength and direction meters in the front of the DF unit on the aircraft instrument panel to determine the direction of the signal.
When they were close to being over the target ELT, they performed a series of aircraft circles to give the air crew a visual reference on the ground. Any position identification points were noted for discussion at the mission briefing later.
This was invaluable experience for all aircrews made possible by Lt. Col. Carl Morrison’s generosity in allowing them to use his hangar for the exercise.