In September 1977, a remarkable piece of detective work by the Royal Air Force Southern Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Plymouth, UK, made possible the rescue of a lone Atlantic sailor in difficulties. The BCC Controller at the time of the incident describes the method of plotting he applied to vector SAR Nimrod aircraft to the correct location. The sailor was attempting to cross the Atlantic in a Zodiac inflatable dinghy, and carried a Personal Locator Beacon. Distress singals (121.5 MHz) from the beacon were picked up by several transatlantic airliners, which reported to the Plymouth RCC Controller where these signals were gained and lost. From these data, the Controller applied the principle of Polar Diagrams in reverse to determine a Most Probable Position (MPP). Working with the Coast Guard, the Controller had a Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft dispatched to the area. The SAR aircraft found the sailor just 3.5 nautical miles east of the latest MPP. He was picked up by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Shell Oil Company

    1 Shell Plaza, P.O. Box 2463
    Houston, TX  United States  77001
  • Authors:
    • Retallak, M
  • Publication Date: 1978

Media Info

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00194948
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Engineering Index
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1979 12:00AM