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AUXAIR Best Practices

Aviation PPE Best Practices

Fri, 17 Dec 21   Posted by: Roy Savoca

Recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Aviation Standardization Team has established a set of recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be worn and/or carried aboard Auxiliary Aircraft when operating under orders.  

Please take a look at the document via this link.

Written lists (Worksheets) help to keep pilots and observers in complete situational awareness.

The AUXAIR Flight Ops Worksheet is, a job aid, and not an "official form".  It is designed to serve as a mission checklist and to help capture information needed to fill out post mission paperwork. Several districts and many individual pilots have their own version of such a worksheet.  This example has proved helpful to some pilots and crews.  Feel free to use it as it is or to modify it in any way.

Below is a kneepad list developed for use during Search and Rescue.  Click here for .PDF copy.


Where is CSP
What kind of Pattern
Dimensions of Search area
Length of Legs
Orientation of Legs
Track Spacing
Direction of first turn
Planned On cene Time
Planned Search Sped (normally 90kts)
Search Object – Characteristics, Color, Size, etc.

Time to get on Scene
Required endurance – Fuel, Light – to complete the search and RTB with adequate reserves
Available Endurance – How much Time will you have on Scene to search or loiter
T = A / S x V or A = V x S x T
Bingo Time – Time to RTB w/ minimum adequate reserves
Check necessary PPE Safety Gear

Time Notified
Time Underway to Scene (CSP)
Time on Scene
Time of Significant Sightings
Time Departing Scene
On Scene Weather
Distance to Scent (CSP)
Distance from closest land
Case Number 

When en-route to Search Area
When On Scene
On Scene Weather as it affects the search
Any Significant Sightings
When Search is Completed – Ask for further tasking before departing scene
If departing before search is completed (due to fuel state or WX) report amount of search completed - # of legs, etc.

While Searching:
Maintain hard deck of 500ft AGL
Maintain Situational Awareness

Look out for :

  • Scattered wreckage, canvas, debirs, oil slicks
  • Signals – Sea Dye Markers, Mirror Flashes, Pyrotechnic, Smoke
  • Lifeboats, Rafts, People in Water

Notify ATC of your Search – Use RESCUE call sign Squawk 1277 – unless instructed otherwise
90 kts = 1.5 NM per minute
At 90 kts, a Standard Rate Turn (3deg/sec) has a radius of .5NM
Monitor 121.5 & CH 16 if Able
Any Questions?  ASK!


After RTB:
Phone Air Station & Group to give SITREP
Complete 7034 SAR Incident Report
Complete Patrol Report and other reports as usual


Frequently Asked Questions About Dual Controls

Q:  Can a Beech Bonanza with a throw-over yoke be accepted as a facility?  Is it considered to have dual or single flight controls?   Is there any restriction on its use as a facility?

A:  When in doubt, take a look in "the book."  In this case, the Operations Policy Manual (OPM) is the correct "book."

According to the OPM, there is no blanket requirement for dual flight controls in order for an aircraft to be accepted as a facility.  However, there are a couple of situations which do require dual controls.

  • The first restriction is found in Annex 1, Section I, 2. b. - "Dual flight controls, but not flight instruments, are required for night or IMC flight."
  • The second restriction is found in Annex 1, Section J, 2, which outlines facility requirements for performing Air Intercept Exercise Support Missions.  Dual controls are required for all of those missions.

The intent of the dual control requirement is to insure that the safety pilot is able to intervene quickly when necessary, should the first pilot lose situational awareness in these demanding flight conditions. Thus, an aircraft with single controls may be a facility, but it is restricted from being used in IMC or at night.  Also, it may not be used for AI Exercise Support Missions.

Q: Is the Bonanza with a throw-over yoke dual or single control?

A:  If you count the number of flight controls, there's only one set, isn't there?  That single set of controls may be used in either the right or left seat, but not in both at the same time.  That doesn't lend itself to having the second pilot assist in an immediate crisis.  Thus, it would appear that the Bonanza with throw-over yoke is a single flight control aircraft.  It may be used as a facility, but it may not be used at night, nor in IMC and not for AI Exercise Support Missions.


Crew Resource Management (CRM) means working together!

An example of how good crew and pilot communication can save lives can be seen in David Myers' book, Social Psychology. An excerpt from it is reprinted in the Auxiliary Aviation Training Manual, Chapter 3, Section B.3.

In the first example described by Myers, an Air Florida plane lifted off from Washington D.C.'s National Airport with the First Officer questioning correct air speed indication.  Ice in a sensor had caused speed readings to be high and the captain applied too little power as the plane ascended. This caused a crash into the Potomac River Bridge and the loss of all lives but five on board.
The cockpit conversation suggests that the First Officer was worried about the speed but that he deferred to the Captain rather than stand up for what he believed in. Apparently the First Officer's communications were hesitant and incomplete.

Conversely, a three-person crew flying a DC-10 saved most of the lives aboard when forced to crash land the aircraft due to the disintegration of the center engine and the severing of control lines to ailerons and rudder.  The crew cockpit voice recorder showed intense communication (sometimes one per two seconds and even one per second) in the 34 minutes prior to the crash landing.  Throughout this time, the crew worked together to devise a strategy for controlling the plane, landing it, assessing damage and getting the passengers ready for the crash.  In all, 185 of the 296 lives were saved!

When we notice divergence from safe operations, we have an obligation to speak up. In some instances, this may feel awkward or uncomfortable, but if we fail to become actively involved in the decision making process, we risk the safety of our selves and our crewmates as well as the success of the mission.

All crew members, whether pilot, coxswain or crew, have leadership responsibilities.  This is where the “Team” in “Team Coast Guard” becomes truly meaningful!