ACR ARTEX

The Science Of Survival


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Beacon Awareness Day #406Day18 Aviation Safety | The story behind ELTs Finding Carla

In March 1967, a Cessna 195 flew from Oregon towards San Francisco carrying a family of three: Alvin Oien, Sr. (the pilot), his wife Phyllis and step-daughter Carla Corbus. Due to worse-than-predicted weather, it went down in the Trinity Mountains of California only eight miles from a highway and beneath a busy commercial airway. This was before radio-beacon type emergency locators were required equipment for airplanes; the family survived the crash for almost two months but the ruggedness of the terrain and the fact that they were far off their intended course made finding them by sight impossible. Searchers determined the weather in the mountains also made living impossible after a period of time had passed.

 

Half a year later, the eventual finding of the wreck by hunters shocked the nation. A diary and series of letters from the survivors explained their predicament. These Oien family documents as well as photos of the family and from the search are included in the story.

This tragedy spurred political action towards the mandatory Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) that are carried aboard all U.S. civil aircraft. ELT radios have saved thousands of lives since they were mandated and their technology continues to improve and find more lost people. Pilots who read this story will never fly without a flight plan, survival gear, or a working ELT. In aviation, we say the regulations are “written in blood.” This compelling story is the “blood” behind the ELT regulations.

Finding Carla

While indeed tragic, the Oien family’s legacy has a brighter side: Their story led directly to this effective legislation of requirements for the airplane locators that have since saved so many lives in search-and-rescue operations. Their complete story is now told for the first time — the “Carla Corbus Diary” is uncovered here along with the family letters that accompanied it, never before published in full. By: Ross Nixon

1515 ACR ELT84145
Pictured: ARTEX brand ELT 345 (Emergency Locator Transmitter) they provide GPS data to Search and Rescue personnel with the aircraft location, within 100 meters, in less than a minute.

 


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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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ACR Customer Recounts Pacific Ocean Crash, Rescue

 

NOTE: The following post is from pilot Jeff Luboff, who activated an ACR PLB after surviving a single engine plane crash into the Pacific Ocean in 2005. Jeff checked in on the ACR/Artex Facebook Page yesterday to share his story: 

Hello all, it’s been awhile, Sept 1, 2005, I headed out to sea in my single engine airplane for an 8 hour day of scouting for fish. About 25 minutes out I noticed a drop in power and my first scan of my gauges told me my oil temp was up just a little. I made a few calls on the radio and told all I was headed for nearest land , Point Dume in Malibu, 12 miles away, and at the same time noticed I was not holding altitude (1000 feet). This meant I may not make land so I instantly reached for my survival gear, first securing my ACR PLB406, 121.5 and GPS-enabled for a quick fix on position around my neck by the lanyard and tucked it in my shirt.

I released the door pins but did not jettison the doors, then got my survival suit ready and continued towards the beach. Then, at 600 feet – “Boom” – a cylinder blew off the engine,  leaving only 3 and spraying all the oil on the windshield. The engine kept trying to run and at 400 feet I put out maydays and kept updating my position and heading. A minute later I successfully ditched, and got out of the airplane and activated my ACR aqua fix, which would put search and rescue within 10 square meters of my position. I then donned my survival suit and watched my plane sink in about 2 to 3 minutes. I had a bit of a bruise from the harness, and a small cut on my forehead but otherwise unscathed! An hour and 20 minutes later I was picked up. I always fly with a PLB in my pocket. Anyone out there thinking about the cost – they are WELL WORTH IT! Three years later my grandson was born – on Sept 1 st! Thanks ACR!


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Coast Guard Rescues Father, Son From Sinking Plane

 

NOTE: The following story appears courtesy of ABC News.

A single-engine amphibious plane that lost power off California’s central coast plunged into the ocean so hard, its doors broke off the hinges, one of the two men onboard said Monday.

The 77-year-old pilot and his adult son then sat in the aircraft in seas swelling with 8-foot waves and teeming with elephant seals for nearly two hours before a Coast Guard helicopter hoisted them to safety and their pontoon plane sank.

Stanley Shaw and son Stanford Shaw, 36, were flying at 1,500 feet over the ocean Sunday afternoon about five miles north of San Simeon when the aircraft lost power.

The Cessna 185 Skywagon pontoon plane, a six-seater the Shaws have owned for 20 years, was carrying the men from Camarillo Airport to British Columbia for an annual salmon fishing excursion in Canada.

“We flew it two hours without a problem, then there was a loss of power,” Stanford Shaw told The Associated Press from his Santa Barbara home.

“It was pretty big seas,” he said. “We hit three times. It broke the doors off the hinges. We hit the first time and bounced way up in the air. We hit again and on the third one, we hit like a belly flop.”

The plane’s beacon alerted rescuers to the aircraft’s whereabouts a mile offshore.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.


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Satellite Technology Increases Chance of Survival

Did you know that over 30,000 lives have been saved since search and rescue began using the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite-aided tracking program?
That number could have been much higher if more mariners, aviators and hikers had been outfitted with a rescue beacon…

Check out this great article by Ed Killer from TCPalm.com

COSPAS-SARSAT Rescues through August 30, 2012

Number of People Rescued in Calendar Year 2012 in the United States: 170

  • Rescues at sea: 119 people rescued in 37 incidents
  • Aviation rescues:  13 people rescued in 8 incidents
  • Terrestrial PLB rescues:   38 person rescued in 26 incidents
  • WorldwideOver 30,000+ People Rescued  (since 1982)
  • United States – 6,907 People Rescued  (since 1982)

Total Rescues in Calendar Year 2011 in the United States: 207

  • Rescues at sea:  122 people rescued in 40 incidents
  • Aviation rescues:  14 people rescued in 6 incidents
  • PLB rescues:  71 people rescued in 42 incidents