Latest News‎ > ‎

Civil Air Patrol uses radar forensics to locate wreckage of Air National Guard F-16 West Columbia, S.C.

posted Jun 9, 2016, 8:42 AM by Matt Hamrick   [ updated Jun 9, 2016, 4:23 PM ]
June 9, 2016 -- Civil Air Patrol uses radar forensics to locate wreckage of Air National Guard F-16 West Columbia, S.C. –

Search teams from the Civil Air Patrol’s South Carolina wing aided in the search for the wreckage of two South Carolina Air National Guard F-16s that collided mid-air Tuesday evening. Pilots of both aircraft ejected before the jets crashed into a remote, wooded area near Louisville, Georgia.

The South Carolina Air National Guard requested CAP’s assistance Wednesday morning. CAP’s first aerial search team launched by dawn. Air crews aboard five CAP aircraft worked with the Air National Guard and the Georgia State Patrol helicopter team in the search for the F-16s.

Search crews used information provided by the pilots to locate the first aircraft. The second jet proved to be much harder to find in the dense terrain. That’s when CAP called in its radar forensics team. Using data from the aircraft’s transponder, the team estimated the location of the wreckage. Transponders emit a radio signal which air traffic controllers and others use to track aircraft using ground radar. The forensics team calculated the most likely resting place for the downed aircraft using the last known position of the F-16 before the crash. Search teams located the main part of the second aircraft approximately 50 yards from the position suggested by the radar data.

“One of the aircraft was almost completely hidden by terrain and the surrounding vegetation, and was all but invisible from the air,” said Col. Jay Lindler, CAP’s agency liaison, who coordinated search efforts with the Air National Guard and the helicopter team. “The radar data was key in locating the downed aircraft.”

The commander of CAP’s South Carolina Wing, Col. Francis Smith, commended the efforts of his search teams. “CAP’s rapid response both in the air and through radar forensics played a major role in locating the crash sites,” he said. “I’m immensely proud of all of our volunteers and the professionalism they bring to our missions.”

Aircrews and ground search teams from CAP’s Georgia Wing remain on alert in the event of further requests for assistance. South Carolina Wing Headquarters Public Affairs 3901 CAP Wing Drive West Columbia, SC 29170 (803) 822-5470

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force, which consists of regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, along with Air Force retired military and civilian employees. CAP, in its Total Force role, operates a fleet of 550 aircraft and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 78 lives annually.

Civil Air Patrol’s 56,000 members nationwide also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Its members additionally play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 24,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet program.

Performing missions for America for the past 75 years, CAP received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 in honor of the heroic efforts of its World War II veterans. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans.

Visit for more information.

Contact info: Col Francis Smith – – (803) 261-4981