16:55 PM

Calif. Wing Assisting in Search for Mountaineer

The California Wing has joined a multi-agency effort, led by the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office, to find a 55-year-old mountaineer reported missing since Saturday.

Civil Air Patrol is providing “high bird” communications relay services for the search teams on the ground. Terrain in Alpine County – located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, south of Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border – can rise above 11,000 feet, making radio communications problematic in the back country.

Ground search teams radio the “high bird,” which relays the communications to the search incident command post or other searchers.

Some CAP Cessnas are equipped with turbocharged engines, radio repeaters and oxygen (for the crew) for sustained high-altitude operations. CAP aircrews must fly a consistent pattern at very high altitude in sight of the search teams and the incident command post.