The Orange and Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Offices last week partnered to conduct a Project Lifesaver International Aviation training operation over Lake Anna, a popular local site for boating and swimming.
The June 24 exercise continues cooperation between the two agencies in being adequately equipped with technology to locate people lost on the lake, according to a news release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Citizens who may go missing due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism or a brain injury can be fitted with a radio transmitter that will allow them to be found in timely manner before tragedy can occur, the release stated.
Two aircraft, a high wing Piper Cub on floats and low wing Piper Cherokee, were used in the training operation. The float plane was fitted with an omni-directional antenna on its wing strut and the piper used an expandable six-blade antenna inside the cockpit.
A Project Lifesaver transmitter, like those that can be used by the aforementioned at-risk population, was placed on an island in Lake Anna and another transmitter was placed on a boat mobile on the lake.
Both aircraft located the fixed transmitter signal and began to receive signals indicating they were in a three-mile radius of the other transmitter. The same results were achieved locating the transmitter on the boat on the lake. The float plane was able to land and taxi over the water to the island location.
“This exercise confirms that we can detect a signal from the air with fixed wing aircraft that would allow us to direct ground trackers to an area where they could continue to search and locate the person,” the release stated.