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#289256 - 06/08/18 12:42 PM Hiker Rescued -Australia
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
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#289260 - 06/08/18 02:48 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4857
Loc: SOCAL
“...A member of the public had heard her shouts on Saturday, but didn't inform the police until Thursday. ...”

Meanwhile, 10 feline hikers rescued ...by a Compassionate Woman ... wink and she didn’t wait until Thursday...

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#289275 - 06/09/18 03:01 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: Alberta, Canada
The takeaway, IMHO, is twofold.

She told someone she was going for a hike.

After the fall, she crawled to water and stayed by it.

And yes, it's correct to note that she was very fortunate that the fall did not cause significant injuries. Loss of mobility would likely have been fatal. Cascade effect.

As for the late report to authorities, it's understandable. You might not exactly know what you heard, really, when you're in the moment. But it still came in time. A win is a win.

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#289276 - 06/09/18 03:21 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: dougwalkabout]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
This could be an example of how three whistle blasts might be somewhat less ambiguous than simply shouting - one can easily take a distress shout as being nothing but aimless noise.

Signal mirrors don't work too well when one is deep in a gully,but PLBs do (note to self - perhaps consider acquiring a PLB next time when walking in a gulch).
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#289279 - 06/09/18 05:17 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
rafowell Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
...
Signal mirrors don't work too well when one is deep in a gully,but PLBs do (note to self - perhaps consider acquiring a PLB next time when walking in a gulch).

Per this 2008 ACR ResQfix 406 MHz PLB test in eight Zion slot canyons, PLBs can work in slot canyons, but nowhere near as well as in open ground - the location accuracy was far poorer, and in one of the eight canyons, the PLB was not detected during the test (which seems likely to have been 2 hours, but not explict.) In one of the 7 successful cases, the location accuracy was 10 miles in 9 minutes, 3 miles after 9 hours, and 2 miles after 17 hours.

For those wanting meatier details than the summary article linked above, here is the download link to the 16 pg test report by Kevin Killian
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A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#289280 - 06/09/18 05:21 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Agree about the whistle blasts in threes. Structure is noteworthy, if only subconsciously at the time.

But how many people in 10,000 know that anything-in-threes is a distress signal?

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#289283 - 06/09/18 01:48 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
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Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
Well, any of Montanero's scouts, that's for sure, but it isn't required knowledge to graduate from middle school.

The other thing about whistling is that it uses far less energy and is far less likely to dehydrate you, than shouting...
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#289289 - 06/09/18 05:55 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Well, any of Montanero's scouts, that's for sure, but it isn't required knowledge to graduate from middle school.

The other thing about whistling is that it uses far less energy and is far less likely to dehydrate you, than shouting...


You know it! I just spent the morning working on Wilderness Survival Merit Badge requirements. Last weekend we camped at the SERE compound, survival area (not the RTL) and received survival training from the Army SERE instructors. The boys slept in debris huts that they built. We have fun.

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#289290 - 06/09/18 05:57 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
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Loc: North Carolina
Speaking of signaling, Hikermor and AKSAR in particular, I have found differences in ground to air signals being published in various books and survival cards. What are the SAR people taught as far as physical signals constructed on the ground and what they mean? Is there a standard SAR resource?

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#289291 - 06/09/18 07:51 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: dougwalkabout]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2003
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout
But how many people in 10,000 know that anything-in-threes is a distress signal?

I would probably go for three groups of threes. Arranged like this:

Code:
...     _ _ _     ...


Many people who do not understand the meaning of three's as an emergency signal will probably recognize this specific one. Easy enough to do the above with a whistle, a bit harder with a mirror (unless you have a very specific target you are aiming at), even harder with firearm shots. I guess you could do it using a combo of a .22 pistol and a .308 rifle, utilizing their very different sound signatures, or possibly by using different spacing between shots to indicate short vs. long.

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#289292 - 06/09/18 08:01 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
hikermor Online   content
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Good question and I don't know the answer. Most of my experience has been as a ground pounder, so we don't often interact with signals designed to attract attention from the air. I have occasionally ridden as an observer and as cargo enroute to a remote dropoff point. In that context, we would investigate any kind of signal that might be connected to our operation.

That doesn't say anything about the signal that might be in view of non-SAR aircraft however.

I'll bet AKSAR has a more definitive answer....

I am reminded of the Gary Larson cartoon showing a helo in flight and HELF spelled out on the ground, with the caption along the lines of "Sorry, I thought it said HELP - my mistake"

one of his very best...
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#289293 - 06/09/18 08:04 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: haertig]
hikermor Online   content
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
I suspect that very few people these days have heard of Morse code, or cn recognize any specific letter. But it doesn't hurt in the least to try. Most ETSers will know....
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#289303 - 06/10/18 06:07 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: Montanero]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Montanero
... What are the SAR people taught as far as physical signals constructed on the ground and what they mean? Is there a standard SAR resource?

In the Continental USA, I'm told the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the lead agency for SAR air search. Their training material is on the CAP site: http://nesa.cap.gov and Ground to Air and Air to Ground signals are covered in the curriculum for several roles.

The Ground Crew curriculum is at:
http://nesa.cap.gov/gsar-curriculum/
In Task Guide: Ground & Urban Team Task Guide
See "Task O-0703 EMPLOY GROUND TO AIR SIGNALS" on pages 148-150 of "Ground & Urban Direction Finding Team Tasks 24 May 2004"[1][2]

The Mission Aircrew School Curriculum is at:
http://nesa.cap.gov/mas-curriculum-2
In Mission Scanner Task Guide - Dec 14
see "MS O-2021 INTREPRET EMERGENCY SIGNALS AND DEMONSTRATE AIR/GROUND TEAM COORDINATION"
{ at a quick glance, these seem to be a superset of the Ground Crew signals. Also, the "Mission Scanner" is the guy in the plane who is looking for the survivor. Looking at the pilot training - they are taught to signal to the ground, but not to interpret ground signals}

[1] http://nesa.cap.gov/gsar-curriculum/ also has
two other documents that seem pertinent:
Task Guide: GTL & GTM Reference Guide
(see Chapter 10, pp. 77-83)
Power Point: Air to Ground Coordination
[2] My personal fetish, signal mirrors, are covered in
Task O-702, "USE A SIGNAL MIRROR" of the Ground & Urban Team Task Guide, and in Chapter 10, p81 of the GTL & GTM Reference Guide, though there are some errors in the instructions. I wonder how to submit errata? Some US government manuals have an explicit procedure for that ...


Edited by rafowell (06/10/18 06:15 AM)
Edit Reason: Couldn't resist adding a bit on signal mirrors
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#289306 - 06/10/18 12:34 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
AKSAR, that is exactly what I was looking for, thanks. I will go through these and the other resources and see if there is a conflict or just a problem with incomplete listings of signals.

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#289322 - 06/10/18 07:01 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: Montanero]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1098
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Montanero
AKSAR, that is exactly what I was looking for, thanks. I will go through these and the other resources and see if there is a conflict or just a problem with incomplete listings of signals.
Thank rafowell, not me! smile

In my experience, spotting a person from the air (as opposed to the wreckage of an aircraft) is extremely difficult, at least in our local terrain. I would suggest that the single most important thing, rather than some specific signal, is to wear or have available some bright, contrasting clothing. An orange jacket or vest stands out from miles away.

Years ago, a series of experiments were conducted in Arizona to attempt to quatify the POD (Probability Of Detection) of a subject from a helicopter. I believe hikermor may have participated in those experiments? The studies are available on the saraz.org Documents page. They did a Mountain Searches experiment, and a Desert Searches experiment. In my experience here in Alaska, their PODs were quite optimistic. That's probably due to the fact that we tend to have a lot more brush and ground cover.

My bottom line advice is if you want to get found from the air, wear some bright orange clothing!
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#289323 - 06/10/18 07:02 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1098
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: hikermor
I am reminded of the Gary Larson cartoon showing a helo in flight and HELF spelled out on the ground, with the caption along the lines of "Sorry, I thought it said HELP - my mistake"

one of his very best...
I love that cartoon!
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#289328 - 06/10/18 09:31 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: Montanero]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Montanero
AKSAR, that is exactly what I was looking for, thanks. I will go through these and the other resources and see if there is a conflict or just a problem with incomplete listings of signals.

Spoiler alert ... Houston, I think we have a problem.

The CAP training for ground-air distress signals for the CAP people on the ground lists the 5 internationally standard (line-style) distress signals[1], the first (and arguably most important of which) is:

"V" for "require assistance"

The CAP training for the line-style) ground-air distress signals for the airman tasked with looking for them (Mission Scanner)[2] ...

Doesn't list "V" at all!

What we have here is a (rather appalling) failure to communicate. The remaining four standard signals are included in the 25(!) signals taught to mission scanners, but the scanner is given the incorrect definition for a second one. The standard definition of "X" is "Need Medical Assistance" and the scanner is taught the archaic definition[3] that "X" means "Unable to Proceed", which could be a fatal miscommunication. (I sent a note to the CAP academy pointing this out - hopefully they have an errata sheet or something.)

[1] The 5 line-style distress signals taught the "ground people" are precisely those listed in these references:

(a) "Joint Pub 3-50: National Search and Rescue Manual Volume I: National Search and Rescue System", 1 February 1991, Appendix C: Emergency Signals, page C-2, where they are listed as "IMO/ICAO" signals (IMO == International Maritime Organization; ICAO = International Civil Aviation Organization) in the figure: "Figure C-1. Surface-Air Visual Signal for Use by Survivors" This document is at http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA357500
and a searchable version at www.public.navy.mil/surfor/Documents/3-50-1_Vol1.pdf

(b)the Feb 2018 version (hopefully current :/) of the Australian National Search and Rescue Manual, page 326, in Table D-1:2 Ground-Air Visual Signal Code for Use by Survivors, which is preceded by the words: "The following visual signals are internationally recognised. They are authorised for use in the Australian SRR."That document can be downloaded from https://natsar.amsa.gov.au/natsar-manual.asp

(c) The 15 July 1985 version of United States Air Force AF Regulation 64-4, Volume 1, Search and Rescue
SURVIVAL TRAINING, Figure 24-19, p. 471 (see p. 473 for the postural signals). This document is at http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA325861
[The fact that this document is freely downloadable is not widely advertised. Also - great section on signal mirrors!]

[2] MS O-2021 INTREPRET EMERGENCY SIGNALS AND DEMONSTRATE AIR/GROUND TEAM COORDINATION

[3] Back in 1956, "V" was not on the list, and "X" was listed as "Unable to Proceed", but both were fixed by 1985. Here's the 1956 table: https://archive.org/stream/DTIC_ADA367029#page/n17/mode/2up/search/signals


Edited by rafowell (06/10/18 10:12 PM)
Edit Reason: Mentioned that I contacted the CAP academy
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#289329 - 06/10/18 10:22 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: AKSAR


My bottom line advice is if you want to get found from the air, wear some bright orange clothing!


Hearty agreement, and it applies not just for aerial searches. I have spent way too much time pounding on the ground looking for pastel tinted victims who blended into the landscape effortlessly. Bright colors rule, and personally, while shy and mild mannered (just ask Mrs. Hikekrmor), I always have something bright handy. The best ever was a reversible down jacket, loden green on one side and international orange on the other.

I remember the desert search experiments quite well, being on occasion one of the eagle-eyed participants in the helo. I had moved to Channel Islands National Park by the time of the mountain work.

When I recall those experiments, I inevitably think of John Bownds, principal author of the work, an extremely active and effective SARA member, who contracted Valley Fever, most likely from inhaling road dust while conducting these trials. The disease forced him to leave Tucson within a few years and took him from us before he attained 50 years of age -a truly fine and capable person.
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#289330 - 06/10/18 10:28 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: AKSAR]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2008
Loc: NE Illinois
Originally Posted By: AKSAR
My bottom line advice is if you want to get found from the air, wear some bright orange clothing!


When flying low in commercial planes (mostly just before landing) I have been surprised by how visible blue objects are - tarps on roofs, pools, ...

That has led me to wonder if bright blue would be a better color for detection - especially during the fall when many trees in the midwest lean toward the red and orange colors.

Any experience on that?

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#289331 - 06/10/18 10:37 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: KenK]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal

Good point about fall colors. The important factor is contrast, in order to stand out from the background. In addition to color, motion is very important, if not even more critical.

i am a fan of signal mirrors in daylight and a fire at night (properly maintained!! - epic wildfires have been generated by those who didn't. The combination of light and smoke will attract attention, while warming you.
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#289332 - 06/10/18 10:43 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: rafowell]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
"Spoiler alert ... Houston, I think we have a problem." (from Rafowell)

You would think that in this day and age, there would be an unambiguous set of universal signals
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#289333 - 06/10/18 10:55 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: KenK]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1098
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: KenK
When flying low in commercial planes (mostly just before landing) I have been surprised by how visible blue objects are - tarps on roofs, pools, ...

That has led me to wonder if bright blue would be a better color for detection - especially during the fall when many trees in the midwest lean toward the red and orange colors.
Light blue might be good. Very dark shades of blue (ie. navy blue) are too dark and blend way to easily with dark vegetation, in my experience.

I vaguely recall hearing a USCG guy once, who said that in ocean searches, really light blue ("robin's egg blue") tended to stand out really well. I can't say, as I've not much experience in over water searches.
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#289335 - 06/11/18 02:09 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
rafowell Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
...
You would think that in this day and age, there would be an unambiguous set of universal signals

The good news is ... there is. The five "line-type" distress signals are an international standard, properly taught to the CAP ground crews.

Heck, even the geocaching coin tag I got in the mail this week teaches that "V" means you need assistance, and "X" means you need medical assistance![1]

The truly bad news - the Civil Air Patrol aren't teaching the people we are signaling for help ( the CAP mission scanners ) what "V" means, and they aren't telling them that when we display "X" we need medical help!

I did more digging, and it looks very bad. All three formats of the Civil Air Patrol Mission Scanner training omit "V" and say "X" means "unable to proceed" rather than the correct "Need Medical Assistance":

(a) The Mission Scanner Task Guide (Dec 2014)[2]
(b) The Mission Scanner "text" (June 2017, no less!) [3]
(c) The Mission Scanner training PowerPoint slides[4]

We'll see if my note to the CAP Academy bears any fruit ...
If so, kudos to Montanero for putting us onto this.

While we're at it - the above are the "line-style" distress signals. For the postural signals: the ground crew is taught all 10 postural signals taught to the Mission Scanner is, but the ground crew is taught an 11th postural signal to communicate to the Mission Scanner (make message drop), that isn't taught to the Mission Scanner, so they may not succeed with that one, either.

[1] I ordered the geocaching coin itself because it was a signal mirror geocaching coin (of course!). The tag is
tiny, and it abbreviated the descriptions of all 3 distress signals on it. It gives "V" as "NEED HELP" vs. "Need Assistance", and "X" as "NEED MEDICAL" vs. "Need Medical Assistance", but that's a big step up from the Mission Scanner training.

[2] The Mission Scanner Task Guide is at:
http://nesa.cap.gov/mas-curriculum-2
under: Mission Aircrew School Curriculum :
Mission Scanner Task Guide - Dec 14

the .pdf download link is:
http://nesa.cap.gov/s/Mission-Scanner-Task-Guides-Dec14.pdf

This topic is under Task MS O-2021 - the pertinent figure is the bottom half of Page 29.

[3] The relevant training text package is on:
http://nesa.cap.gov/mas-curriculum-2
under Mission Aircrew Reference Material & Slides
Basic School - Mission Scanner/Airborne Photographer
Volume 1 - Mission Scanner Text
the .pdf download link is:
http://nesa.cap.gov/s/MART-VOL-I-Scanner-Ref-Text-Rev-June-2017.pdf

The document title, and location of the distress signal table:

CIVIL AIR PATROL U.S. Air Force Auxiliary
Mission Aircrew Reference Text
Volume I Mission Scanner
Revision June 2017
Section 4.2.3 Emergency distress signals, page 55.

[4] The relevant training slide package is on:
http://nesa.cap.gov/mas-curriculum-2
under Mission Aircrew Reference Material & Slides
Basic School - Mission Scanner/Airborne Photographer
Mission Scanner Slide Presentations
Part One

the PowerPoint download link is:
http://nesa.cap.gov/s/CAP-SCN-Rev-June-13-Part-1.pptx
The slide with the missing "V" and mis-defined "X" is slide
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#289336 - 06/11/18 02:15 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
Sorry Rafowell, I made a mistake. Thank you very much for the info. These differences are what I was seeing, but wanted to get to the official info and doctrine. What matters most is what the people in the air see and understand.

I have found that certain shades of blue work very well in most seasons, but certainly better than orange in the fall.

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#289337 - 06/11/18 03:05 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: KenK]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: KenK
[quote=AKSAR]...
That has led me to wonder if bright blue would be a better color for detection - especially during the fall when many trees in the midwest lean toward the red and orange colors.

Any experience on that?

No experience, but I've seen several suggestions that "royal blue" is a superior color to make yourself stand out in the wilderness - often citing NASAR as their source.

I'm over quota for Internet research this week, but here's one such link:

Getting an Aircraft's Attention in the Wilderness
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#289338 - 06/11/18 06:31 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: Montanero]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 214
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Sorry Rafowell, I made a mistake. Thank you very much for the info.
You're welcome - thanks very much for bringing it up, so we have at least a slim chance of correcting this situation.
Originally Posted By: Montanero
These differences are what I was seeing, but wanted to get to the official info and doctrine. What matters most is what the people in the air see and understand.
...

Yes, and in the near term, I suppose we should take comfort that CAP training of Mission Scanners for postural ground-air signals is correct.

I guess that, interim, "X" might be our best choice for a linear ground-air signal.

Long term, the CAP Mission Scanning training should be fixed. The Mission Scanners need to understand what the survivors are saying, and
the five linear distress signals are what the FAA [1], USAF[2], National SAR manual, ICAO and IMO are telling the survivors to use. References [1] and [2] are from 2017, so should be up to date.

While the March 2017 US Army manual[3] for US army military ground-air coordination omits "V" and uses the old meaning of "X", the latest US Army survival manual (FM 21-76) I found told US Army survivors to use the five international standard linear distress signals[4].{ It seems that FM 21-76 was replaced by FM 3-05.70, but the (2002) version I found of that also teaches the standard 5 signals).}

The March 2007 multiservice manual ( Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force) for Survival, Evasion and Recovery [ FM 3-50.3, NTTP 3-50.3, AFTTP(I) 3-2.26) uses the the five international standard linear distress signals[5].

There are many fewer Mission Scanners than potential people on the ground in distress, and the CAP academy already has the proper task training for the CAP ground element.


[1] The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is the FAA's official guide to basic flight information and Air traffic control (ATC) procedures. The codes ar on page 417 of the .pdf
(page 6-2-7, FIG 6−2−1 Ground−Air Visual Code for Use by Survivors )
https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/media/aim.pdf

"The AIM contains the basic aeronautical knowledge information required to fly in the United States National Airspace System."

[2] AF Handbook 10-644 Survival Evasion Resistance Escape
(SERE) Operations, 27 March 2017, page 508, Figure 21-13 Signal Key
http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/AD1030991

[3] TC 3-21.60 VISUAL SIGNALS March 2017 page 3-18, Figure 3-31. Emergency codes

[4] FM 21-76 US ARMY SURVIVAL MANUAL, (date unknown) U.S. Department of the Army
https://archive.org/stream/FM2176USARMYS.../search/signals

[5] 20 March 2007 multiservice manual ( Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force) for Survival, Evasion and Recovery [ FM 21-76-1, MCRP 3-02H, NWP 3-50.3, AFTTP(I) 3-2.26) page 31 of .pdf (p. III-3, Figure III-3. Signal Key


Edited by rafowell (06/11/18 07:37 AM)
_________________________
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

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#289340 - 06/11/18 01:01 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: rafowell]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
This interesting discussion unfortunately begs the question, "How often is a ground-to-air signal constructed?"

I know we responded to plane crashes, but the plane's occupants were either deceased or too badly injured to take any action. I imagine the situation in Alaska might be different than in the lower 48...
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#289342 - 06/11/18 03:12 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
Good question Hikermor. As AKSAR said (it was really him this time), the most important thing is just to be seen. While the ground to air signals are taught by many organizations, it would be interesting to hear how often they are used and how effective they were.

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#289343 - 06/11/18 03:24 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
The Boy Scout Wilderness Survival Merit Badge requires that the scouts describe (I have them construct) 5 ground to air signals: V, X, N, Y, and the arrow. According to the merit badge pamphlet, the V means require assistance, the X means require medical assistance, N for no, Y for yes, and the arrow for the direction of movement.

Even if the aerial rescue misinterprets the meaning of a signal, if they saw it they have located the isolated individual or group.

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#289344 - 06/11/18 03:39 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
I found what I thought was a nice item to experiment with, the Brunton "Lost Hiker Kit" which has a card with ground to air signals on it. These are consistent with:

CIVIL AIR PATROL U.S. Air Force Auxiliary
Mission Aircrew Reference Text
Volume I Mission Scanner
Revision June 2017
Section 4.2.3 Emergency distress signals, page 55.

The X indicating "Unable to proceed".

The kit is not bad, and it contains a signal mirror, a small disk compass that you punch out and then float on water (I haven't tried it yet), a fresnel lens, and some decent instructions. It fits in a wallet as the form factor is flat and the size of a credit card. It is about $10 on Amazon.

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#289345 - 06/11/18 04:08 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
Nice find, esp. the signal mirror. i do have a question, though. Why the compass for a lost hiker? while I have never been lost, although to quote Daniel Boone, I have been "mightily confused" at times. I have never been so messed up that I wasn't aware of the cardinal directions. What is really essential is a decent map, typically a USGS topo or derivative.

I chuckle at the advice to float the compass needle on water. In the circumstances I have found myself in (desert rat here) it would be more likely advantageous to drink the water and eyeball the shadows for directions.

Things do change drastically when at sea, in dense fog, or similar, and I do routinely carry a compass- a good dependable one.
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Geezer in Chief

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#289346 - 06/11/18 04:23 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
I have tested all of the components, after carrying it in my wallet in my back pocket for a couple of months, and everything worked. The compass was accurate, the fresnel lens started a fire, and the signal mirror worked (though not as bright as a good glass on). The ground to air signals are consistent with the CAP ones, and their illustration of the solar still was not great.

When I am out, and especially when I have students, I always give them an orientation and an escape azimuth. That usually leads to some road or other linear terrain feature where they should stay and make themselves easy to find. That way I know where to look for them. The terrain feature could be something that will take you to help, or get help to you. Roads, power line cuts, rivers. It is a line they should not cross, but find and stay put, or move in a known direction toward help.

You may not know exactly where you are, or where your goal is, but you can generally know that if I head in a certain direction I will hit this terrain feature. The compass (indeed the kit) does not weigh anything and takes up little space.

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#289347 - 06/11/18 06:14 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
Do you encourage your students to use a map? I'll bet I can guess the answer to that question correctly....

For me, a good, up-to-date topo is really essential. Even with one, if you are as talented as I am, it is possible to become 'mightily confused," for a while at least (never for a long time)
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Geezer in Chief

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#289348 - 06/11/18 06:29 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
I generally focus almost exclusively on map reading, using a compass to just orient and get general directions. Map reading and terrain association are the most essential navigation skills. Dead reckoning is rarely used outside of military operations, but could be critical in certain environments and situations. That said, the escape azimuth is still a useful tool for those bad situations (or bad students who just couldn't figure it all out).

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#289357 - 06/12/18 08:37 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: rafowell]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2003
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: rafowell
No experience, but I've seen several suggestions that "royal blue" is a superior color to make yourself stand out in the wilderness - often citing NASAR as their source.

I'm over quota for Internet research this week, but here's one such link:

Getting an Aircraft's Attention in the Wilderness


From the above quoted article:


The blue tarps used to cover damaged roofs contrast very well, you would almost think they were added with Photoshop.

Gee, you think so?

But technically, they probably weren't added with Photoshop. Most likely just enhanced with Photoshop. Or maybe they didn't use Photoshop at all, and chose an alternate photo editor, like GIMP. Technically, they are telling the truth. But really, they aren't.

Blue may indeed be a good color for rescue, but media outfits like this that make obvious fools of themselves with blatantly edited pictures don't do service to the message. Instead, they detract from the message.

This is about the most amateurishly edited photo that I've ever seen.

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#289360 - 06/12/18 11:00 PM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: haertig]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6474
Loc: southern Cal
Looking at the photo, white seems to stand out pretty well. I have used white panels to X mark survey points for aerial photos and they work very well, in the desert southwest, until the next snowfall.

Contrast is everything....
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Geezer in Chief

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#289361 - 06/13/18 01:09 AM Re: Hiker Rescued -Australia [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1347
Loc: North Carolina
color, contrast, movement, shadow, size. Things that get seen.

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