Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol © 2017 Registered Charity in England & Wales No. 1113079 & Scotland SCO42026 Website: Computer Insight
UK Civil Air Patrol
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For the first time in its history, the UK Civil Air Patrol has awarded honorary life membership to one of its members, to Graham Whitehead a stalwart who, during his many years of membership, has been the general secretary, the membership secretary and the editor of the CAP house magazine, 'Observe & Report'.

During his time in office he laid the foundations of the organisation by writing both the Constitution and the Rules & Bye-laws. He later registered the Civil Air Patrol as charity both in England & Wales and in Scotland.

Before joining the Civil Air Patrol Graham, who has completed over 50 years of voluntary service, was a member of the Civil Defence, the Royal Observer Corps and a civilian instructor with the Air Training Corps.

The President, the Chairman and all of Graham's colleagues in the Civil Air Patrol wish to congratulate him on this well deserved honour. In 2013 Graham was awarded the Civil Air Patrol's, 'President's Tankard' for 'Meritorious Service'

Photograph Graham Whitehead being awarded his certificate of honorary life membership by chairman, Tony Cowan.

In 1987 and 1988 the Home Office Scientific Research and Development Branch conducted a set of 4 'experiments' in Cannock Chase in Staffordshire and Beaulieu Heath in Hampshire, 3 with aircraft and one with men on foot, to compare the search rate in open moorland between aircraft, 2 aeroplanes and a helicopter, and a team of 12 police officers who searched the area on foot. At that time, using a visual search to locate up to 9 'bodies' represented by large sheets of black PVC measuring 2' x 4' with large code letters in white measuring 20", it was determined that an aeroplane could search an area of one square mile successfully in 22 minutes. A helicopter could search the same area in 12 minutes and 12 men on foot, in a cordon, would have taken 454 man hours to search the same area.

In 2008 the same 'experiment' was repeated, in the same area in Cannock Chase with a team of 15 searchers from the Staffordshire Lowland Rescue Team and an EC-135 police helicopter with an electro-optical camera turret, including a thermal imager, with a crew of one pilot and two police observers. There were 5 live targets and one rescue 'dummy' hanging from tree. On this occasion the ground rescue team found all the targets in 1 hr 54 min. The helicopter crew found all the live targets, but not the rescue 'dummy', and had to leave the search area after 50 minutes to refuel.

On the 6 and 7 May 2017 the 'O'Donnell Theory' was revisited by The Centre for Search Research (CSR) who, together with the Newcastle University Business School (NUBS), the UK Civil Air Patrol, the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and QuestUAV, a manufacturer small unmanned aircraft (SUA), completed a further search 'experiment' in a remote area of Northumberland with men on foot, 3 manned aircraft (2 aeroplanes and one light helicopter) and 3 SUA (2 rotorcraft and one fixed-wing)

On this occasion, for the main exercise, the individual teams and aircraft, manned and unmanned, were given areas to search under the supervision of independent observers. The area searched by manned the aircraft (Cessna 210 Centurion, Vans RV-12 and Robinson R22) contained 16 'bodies' wearing dark blue coveralls with a unique identification letter in black on sheet of A4 (12" x 8") white laminated paper attached to the torso (see photographs). In an area of featureless terrain measuring approximately one square mile the crew of each aircraft used GPS navigation systems to make a thorough search in weather that was described as 'challenging'; overcast with a cloud base that restricted the search altitude to 500 feet above the ground with a strong northerly wind of 20 knots, gusting 25 knots.

The crew of the Cessna 210 reported sighting 9 'bodies' before aborting their search after 21 minutes due to the weather deteriorating below the limits for visual flight rules. Both the RV-12 and the R22 believe that they located all the targets within 22 minutes each and these results, together with the results from the SUA's, the ground search team and a search dog are now been evaluated by the CSR and NUBS. These initial results would seem to disprove the theory that a low wing monoplane is unsuitable as a search aircraft!

The photographs, which may be enlarged by tapping on individual photographs, show the team from the Civil Air Patrol, with an example of one of the target 'bodies'. Also, the three manned aircraft, the search plot of the RV-12 with the track of the aircraft in the search area, with red 'flags' where each target was sighted, together with a selection of air to ground photographs taken of some of the 'bodies' by the crew of the R22 helicopter.