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The Science Of Survival


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Aviation History Month – my story by:ARTEX Director of Sales, Jeffery Geraci

In the spirit of Aviation History Month Here is my aviation story by: ARTEX Director of Sales, Jeffery Geraci

With November being Aviation History Month, I had the honor of presenting the history of ELT and ARTEX to my fellow employees.  As I researched and prepared the briefing, it prompted reflection on my own personal aviation history.  Attaining flight is such an intriguing combination of physics that completely infected my imagination.  My journey started as many young boys did, with a glider and then a rubber band powered model.  Back in the 60s the Guillows Company provided many youngsters the ability to build and launch their flying dreams.  My first powered craft was Piper Cub.  In its maiden flight, a shirtless 10 year old found that speed and ground proximity were a disastrous combination for a balsa wood airframe.

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First Piper Cub flight, 1970 – Farmington Hills, MI

Having witnessed a flying machine of my own construction take flight, my passion for flight would lead to larger aircraft with gas engines and radio controls.  My first radio controlled aircraft was a “Falcon 56” and it was a beautiful yet forgiving aircraft to fly.  At 13 years of age I was all in for flight.  As the Falcon flew over me, I looked up and said to myself, how do I get in the cockpit?  My career path was set and in just 4 more years, I would be an aviator.

Falcon 56 Airframe, 1972 – Farmington Hills, MIteen JG

Falcon 56 first flight, 1973 – Farmington Hills, MI

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My parents signed the early entry form required for a 17 year old to join the military.  The selection process for enlisted aircrew was competitive but due to my exceptional vision and depth perception, my dream was realized.  I was selected for the KC-135 Tanker boom operator position.  Boom operators maneuver a flying boom to “connect” with a trailing aircraft and perform in-flight refueling. Before an aircrew can attend training for the specific type of aircraft, the selectee must attend survival schools.  Water, prisoner of war, ground and Arctic survival schools were required. In addition to learning the skills of survival, the schools provided another means of eliminating the less dedicated.  In 1978, during my water survival school students would float in Biscayne Bay, Florida for hours to simulate the ocean bailout.  We used flares, dye and strobe lights to signal each other.  My first experience with ACR Electronics Inc. was utilizing a very well made bright orange strobe light.   Little did realize that ACR and I would cross paths again 35 years later.

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August 1979 publication of Airman Magazine picturing water survival training

After completion of the survival schools my first ride in a tanker took place at Castle Air Force base, Merced California in 1979.  We flew many missions refueling all USAF aircraft types.  I was photographed in Airman Magazine, August of 1979 for a C-130 mission.

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August 1979 publication of Airman Magazine, C 130 Mission

My first base posting was Wurtsmith AFB, Oscoda Michigan.  Although we rotated aircraft often, number 38038 was a frequent selection for our training.  This particular aircraft was a newer  KC-135 manufactured in late 1960.  Most tankers were manufactured in 1957-59.  I was 19 years old the first time I flew on this aircraft. We are both 57 now and I am not sure who will live longer, 38038 or me!   I still recall the sound of the J-57s with water injection.  The sound in the cockpit was deafening as the pilot pushed the throttles forward.  I still recall the feeling of speed as we raced toward the end of the runway.  The pilot would call out “S-1” which meant we passed the speed threshold of not being able to stop, we were dedicated to takeoff.  I flew in the jump seat often and had the best view of the cockpit being in between both pilots

In 1983, I became an instructor Boom operator.  Part of the training was to fly co-pilot for 2 touch and go landings just in case there was a need to fill in.  I had acquired 25 hours in a Cessna 172 but the tanker flew like nothing I had experienced.  I will never forget the takeoff sequence of pushing up the engines and steering with the rudders after 80 knots.  Being seated up front made the speed more intense as we powered past 140 knots.  I pulled back, assumed a steady 15 degrees of climb, got the gear and flaps up.  Just like the Falcon 56 model used to climb, but I was inside this bird.

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USAF 38038 with Jeff Geraci onboard – October 1980

I completed 2 tours in the USAF but did not make it a career.  The lure of private sector income and running my own business moved me on.  I always looked up when I heard an aircraft overhead.  I know how that feels I thought to myself.

My aviation career would be revived in 2000 as I sold my business and took a position with a Michigan company called Advanced Data Research (ADR).  Based upon a commercial device, we developed the first version of the electronic flight bag.  Our customers were corporate flight departments worldwide.  I was back in cockpits helping to determine mounting locations for the computers.

Fast forward to 2013 and good friend, Mike Schmidt calls me and asks what I am doing.  Mike and I worked at the flight bag company and recently had taken position at ACR Electronics in Fort Lauderdale Florida.  Mike helped me secure a position with ACR in September of 2013.

Speaking of history, the mission at ACR is to make sure pilots and their occupants do not become history.   ACR and ARTEX share a long and important lineage of making a difference to those in trouble.

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ARTEX History Presentation November 2017, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Leading ELT supplier ACR Electronics backs 2016 Hudson Memorial Fly In to promote the importance of beacons for aircraft owners and operators

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Sponsor of the annual event, ACR Electronics is using its first major aviation project to endorse the use of devices such as ARTEX ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters), ACR PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons), signaling devices and other safety accessories.

Both ACR’s PLBs and ARTEX ELTs relay emergency signals to the Cospas-Sarsat system, which since its inception in the early 1980’s has provided distress alert information to Search and Rescue centers. This relay has assisted in the rescue of nearly 40,000 people in 11,070 different distressful situations worldwide. Specific to aviation just last year there were 21 people rescued in 11 incidents alone*.

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Why a hunter decided NOT to activate his personal locator beacon

A lone hunter who decided not to activate his personal locator beacon despite breaking his foot deep in the New Zealand bush is urging fellow hunters and trampers to learn from his mistake and use their PLB in an emergency.

Hunter PLB NZ

Tim Edge, from Ashhurst, is raising awareness about the importance of carrying and activating personal beacons after his ordeal following an accident in Manawatu’s Pahangina Valley where he was chasing a stag.

Despite carrying an ACR Electronics ResQLink PLB, Tim admits he was too embarrassed to call for help and thought he knew the area well enough to get out on his own. Instead, he spent more than two hours trying to find his way to the forest/farm land boundary through dense bush and rough terrain.

Luckily, he was rescued by Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Trust and airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital after his dad contacted the authorities, but Tim knows that his actions could have had serious consequences.

“I would like to use my experience to bring some awareness to other hunters about when to use their PLBs and also highlight the work of the rescue authorities,” said Tim. “Although things worked out safely in the end, my mistake was in leaving the safety of my camp in an opening clearing where winch recovery would be easy. I re-entered dense bush, injured, to try to get myself and my gear out, which were the wrong things to do. If anything else had happened while I was making my way out, it would have been a lot worse. At the time I thought it wasn’t serious enough and I was too embarrassed to use the beacon. I had all the right gear, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t use it. My message to other hunters and trampers is to not let a sense of pride prevent them from calling for rescue if their life is in danger.”

Tim broke his foot after falling down a bank when he slipped while carrying a full pack of venison back to camp and called his dad to let him know he was injured. He managed to make it out of the bush to farm land just as the helicopter arrived.

In addition to other gear, such as extra food and water, a tent and GPS, Tim was carrying the compact ResQLink™ by ACR Electronics which would have alerted rescue services when activated. Ideal for all hunters, trampers, hikers and a range of other activities on land and at sea, the ResQLink is a buoyant, GPS-enabled rescue beacon designed which quickly and accurately relays your position to a worldwide network of search and rescue satellites.

Front View (ResQLink)


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ACR Electronics and Their Boating Safety Partners Remind You APRIL 6th (Wednesday 4/06) is “406Day”

406Day_Postcard4x6_WEBONLY with all websites

“406Day” is a time to celebrate lives saved and create awareness on the responsibilities of 406 MHz beacon ownership.

 April 6th was proclaimed “406Day” by ACR Electronics, Inc. in 2013. It is a time to celebrate the over *40,000 lives saved by using 406 MHz beacons and the Cospas-Sarsat Satellite system. The day is intended to create online awareness on the benefits and responsibilities of owning a 406 MHz beacon; such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) or Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs).

What started off a few years ago as just a photo share contest on social media, has now become increasingly relevant as there are two items of legislation relevant promoting 406 MHz beacon ownership. On the national level, a bill was introduced offering an IRS incentive to persons who purchase a beacon. In Florida, Governor Scott recently signed a bill which, on average, will give boaters an average of a 15% to 20% discount on their boater registration fee annually *with proof of proper NOAA registration.

“406Day” has not only created **social media buzz but has also created useful content and has opened meaningful dialogue regarding safety precautions in the boating industry. ‘406Day’ should continue to grow with strategic partners in the multiple facets of the maritime industry, who have made the day what it is today,” shared Nichole Kalil, ACR Media Specialist. “406Day occurs during spring when most of the nation is gearing up for summer boating, the timing to share boating safety messages is perfect”, she added.

Some of the past and present “406Day” boating safety partners are as follows: National Safe Boating Council, Bonnier Group, AustinBlu Foundation, NOAA, Active Interest Media Group, USCG, OAR Northwest, George Poveromo, Sea Tow, Liquid Fire Fishing Team, ACA Paddle Sports, Boat US Foundation, Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Parade, and West Marine.

*Source: Since the mid 1980’s 406 MHz beacons have saved approximately 40,000 lives worldwide. To learn more about 406 MHz beacons please visit NOAA’s website at: www.sarsat.noaa.gov.

**On social media search and post using: #safeboating #406Day and #savedbythebeacon

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ACR AIS Improves Safety for Outer Banks Fishermen

P3130061.jpgThe Customer

Captain Greg Mayer and his crew fish in the dangerous waters of the Outer Banks in Fishin’ Frenzy, a 53-foot Custom Carolina Sportfish. Well known for their role on popular National Geographic Channel show ‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’, Greg and his crew spend their time targeting tuna, marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and dolphin.

 

Experienced fisherman Greg has been fishing professionally for more than 25 years and has been at the helm of the Fishin’ Frenzy since 1999. The 1977-built vessel is well-equipped and maintained to give customers the safest, most comfortable, offshore fishing experience possible. However, they still required an extra level of safety to add to equipment already in place, which includes ACR Electronics GlobalFix™ iPRO Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB),  HemiLight™3 flashing survival light and C-Strobe™ with C-Clip, plus two VHF radios, satellite telephone, two GPS units, autopilot, radar and depth sounder.

Captain Greg Mayer and the crew of Fishin’ Frenzy

The Problem

For the past few winters, Captain Greg and his crew have spent many hours on the ocean, often staying out overnight. They frequently have to deal with foggy conditions and poor visibility and usually operate in areas with a high amount of ship traffic in close proximity. Although there is always a crew member on watch and they are often communicating with other boats in the area, they wanted to further enhance their safety measures for added reassurance and peace of mind.

Greg highlights the dangers facing his vessel and others following a very close call in the fog recently. He said: “I identified a radar target as a tug and tow, calculated his heading and slowed down to let him pass.  About 20 minutes later, a fellow fisherman was a few miles behind me with no radar. He heard the tug, and narrowly missed running between the tug and tow. Had I had AIS, I could have identified the tug and informed my colleague exactly where the tug was located and direction to avoid any confusion whatsoever.”

Fishin’ Frenzy, now equipped with ACR AIS technology

The Solution

Greg wanted to make sure he could see other vessels, as well as be seen on the water, in order to increase his navigational safety. Enhancing the information he already receives with radar, the Fishin’ Frenzy captain also wanted to be able to view and track local traffic on a clear graphical interface, identify other boats, check their course and movements and establish whether he is in danger.

Therefore Greg decided to install ACR Electronics’ AISLink CA1 Class A transceiver, which demonstrates the highest AIS transmission power and the most frequent transmission of AIS information. The device enables him to send and receive wireless data to and from nearby AIS-equipped vessels including the vessel’s name, position, course or speed over the ground, heading and rate of turn. It helps the crew to keep the vessel clear of local maritime traffic and provides reassurance that Fishin’ Frenzy is visible to other vessels. Offering high reliability, performance, and compliance with regulations at a competitive price, the AISLink CA1 facilitates faster communication and navigational planning especially when vessels are hidden or obstructed from radar.

Installation was a straightforward process as the Class A device is a ‘one box’ design containing both the transceiver and display, with an external junction box provided to simplify connection of sensor and display data wiring. Greg opted to interface the AIS with his chart plotter, enabling him to view the data in a convenient, clear format. Each ship symbol on the display reveals the ship name, course and speed, classification, call sign, registration number and MMSI. Greg can calculate and predict the closest point of approach (CPA), which is the minimum distance his vessel will be from the target according to current speed and course. In this way, he will have the given time of the intercept and the distance. Fishin’ Frenzy now also has the ability to send and receive AIS text messages and set active target-specific AIS system alarms to provide advance warning. In areas of high congestion, Fishin’ Frenzy can filter and prioritize targets so that the navigator is aware of the vessels which pose a collision risk.

Captain Greg commented: “The added visibility provided by AIS is another measure of safety that I feel is invaluable with the amount of ship traffic in the area. It will be very reassuring to have this extra back up. Winter fishing on the Outer Banks is no time to be unprepared for whatever the ocean may throw at you. When my crew’s safety is on the line, I depend on ACR.”

Chart plotter view with AIS installed allowing the captain to view and track local traffic

Visit www.aismandate.com for more information about AIS (Automatic Identification System) and the new USCG (United States Coast Guard) AIS mandate or go to www.ACRARTEX.com.