knocking off around midnight. Plummeting temperatures, a thick blanket of fog, low clouds and windy conditions resulted in a miserable and unsuccessful search.
The next day ground teams continued their search,
and when the weather improved, two CAP planes flew
grids linked to cellphone forensics data. truck
was spotted during one second flight of the day.
was definitely a said Capt. Loren
Lancaster, pilot of the CAP plane that found Nelson.
was the first time I did a search where the ground
was covered by fog, and that was a
a highly skilled observer, Maj. Paul Carter,
and a highly skilled scanner, Lt. Col. Mike Linn, in the
aircraft made all the Lancaster added.
Carter used a combination of paper and electronic maps
to provide a precise form of micro-navigation over the
fog-covered areas where very few landmarks were visible.
Mike really had to stay focused with all the fog and the
snow; everything looked the same, but he kept looking
and finally saw a black dot in a white
Cadet 2nd Lt. Carlin Idle, a member of the Colorado
Springs ground team, was thrilled to be a part of the rescue: thought it was awesome that we got to participate
and eventually save this life. It was great to have
the years of learning, practice, exercise and training all
come together to find
all the fog and the snow everything looked the same, but
he kept looking and finally saw a black dot in a white
Capt. Loren Lancaster, Colorado Wing
Photo courtesy of Arkansas Forestry Commission
A Long Road Home
Jake Harrell, a part-time pilot for the Arkansas
Forestry Commission, was flying a scheduled patrol
when his plane went down Jan. 31, kicking off one of
the longest, largest and most arduous SAR missions in
the Arkansas history. It was
also the largest in the recent
history in terms of the number of
agencies and personnel involved.
While everyone was on task and
ready to do the job, Mother
Nature had other ideas.
was our biggest said Lt. Col. Bobby Allison,
incident commander for the
mission and the Arkansas
director of emergency services.
were fighting snow, ice and IFR conditions off and
on for requiring pilots to fly by relying on their
instruments rather than their view of the landscape.
Almost two weeks after the mission started, a Cessna
from the 95th Composite Squadron in Texarkana,
26 Civil Air Patrol Volunteer
crewed by Lt. Col. Loren Ainsworth, Maj. Ed Goodman
and Capt. Carol Collins, spotted the downed plane.
our crew did, finding that plane, where it was
in such mountainous terrain and with the weather, was
nothing short of a said Arkansas Wing Commander Col. Doug Alexander. Guard helicopters had done several passes of the
area at 500 feet without seeing it,
and we had had planes over that
area for a week. It took just the
right time of day with the right
light to see
result was a sad one, but
we all looked at it as a rescue versus a recovery until the very
Allison said. keeps you
going, knowing there could be
someone out there counting on you to get to
was really impressed with our guys; we were all
business and did what we were trained to Alexander
said. heard comments from some of the other agencies
saying, you believe these guys? They are volunteers.