The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base directed the South Dakota CAP to find the transmitter, designed to signal on an emergency frequency in case of aircraft accidents. The T-28 Trojan with
U.S. Navy insignia had been on a cross country flight by a new owner when it developed engine problems, landing at the North Sioux City general aviation airport. The piston engine T-28s were used as trainers by the U.S. military from the 1950s into the early 1980s and are now among the most common privately owned vintage military aircraft.
"We don't know why the ELT on the aircraft was activated, but it was picked up by satellites monitored by the U.S. Air Force and we were asked to find the signal," said Col. Mike Beason, incident commander for the mission. "We especially appreciate the support from the North Sioux City police department in locating the signal."
The ground team from Lewis and Clark Composite Squadron, including members from Vermillion, Yankton and Tyndall, as well as a team from Sioux Falls responded. While the teams were en route, a request to the airport's manger to check for an active ELT caused the transmitter to be deactivated, but that didn't diminish the enthusiasm of the ground teams for their unofficial "find."
North Sioux City police officer James Herren met the CAP ground teams at North Sioux City's Graham Field Airport and worked with the airport manager to identify the owner of the aircraft for CAP.
The United States Civil Air Patrol is the official Air Force auxiliary, with more than 64,000 volunteer members nationwide. It performs 95 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief, and counter drug missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies.