Daily Archives: September 10, 2016

Get Found if you Get Lost

I’ve previously posted about the virtues of using the aviation guard band rescue frequency of 121.5 MHz VHF, Non-Ham Radio Options for Being Rescued.

While I mentioned 406 MHz in passing, it turns out there have been important developments in recent years. The 121.5 channel is no longer monitored by satellite because of false alarms caused by inadvertent activations and interfering signals from a number of consumer appliances. So if you’re stranded somewhere without overhead air traffic and can’t move far, you can look forward to facing your final destiny.

The 406 MHz personal locator beacons are monitored these days, as described in this top viewed video (embedded below) while searching YouTube for the term “PLB.”

Signal mirrors during the day are great (the right ones are, if used properly), but they don’t work very well at night. Maybe during the full moon? Probably not. It seems that there are legal laser rescue flares that create a vertical line instead of a blinding dot for search and rescue pilots to see at night or even during the day.

All this information is demonstrated with excellent advice that reminds me of the first rule of gunfighting, “Have a gun.” In a safe or drawer somewhere isn’t going to help much if you’re suddenly confronted by an attacker. Similarly, in the context of a plane forced landing, the laser flare, mirror, and PLB won’t do you much good in an inaccessible or destroyed cargo hold. These are items to have on your person.