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#20971 - 01/24/12 06:57 AM Recco reflectors and SAR ?
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
You've probably seen these little Recco bumps that are on a lot of high end winter gear. Allegedly there are search tools available that can be used from helicopters to spot gear equipped with these things, making them useful beyond avalanche rescue

The question is - is this actually being used outside the major ski areas? e.g. do the choppers who go looking for missing climbers in the Whitney area use Recco locators to scan the mountain for people?

Just wondering, since there's a discussion on another board about winter safety, sparked by the missing hikers/climbers on Rainier wondering if the Recco reflectors could aid in the rescue in such cases (not avalanche covered)
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#20972 - 01/24/12 07:18 AM Re: Recco reflectors and SAR ? [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7993
Loc: Fresno, CA
Interesting!

I was talking to a SAR person some weeks ago, and heard talk about something similar. It was a similar thing, but would send out a unique signal, so the lost person could be located by tuning the search unit to the specific code.

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#20973 - 01/24/12 07:54 AM Re: Recco reflectors and SAR ? [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
this from the NPS news feed about the Rainier incident

Quote:
Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
Search Efforts Aided By Good Weather


A break between storms provided a weather window for significant ground and air operations in the search for two missing parties yesterday. Three aircraft conducted a major air search of the upper mountain including Ingraham, Cowlitz, and Paradise glaciers, the Muir Snowfield, and the summit. Air resources include an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter, a contract Bell 206 helicopter with RECCO from Northwest Helicopters, and a Washington State Patrol Cessna fixed wing with forward looking infrared. Seven ground teams searched the Sluiskin Falls area, Lower Paradise Glacier, Upper Stevens Canyon above Lake Louise, and Mazama Ridge. No sign of the two parties has been found over the seven day search period. The park is beginning to scale back the operation into an extended limited continuous search. Searches of remote areas of the park will be conducted when weather conditions permit in hopes that the parties were able to walk out. Search operations will not be conducted today due to expected winter storm conditions on the mountain. Forty-six NPS, VIP and AD personnel are currently assigned to the incident. The Western Incident Management Team (Denny Ziemann IC) is managing the incident. Operations will transition back to the park tomorrow.
[Submitted by Patti Wold, IO]


the thing about Recco is that it's cheap to add to gear and it is passive. Low tech, definitely no unique code or any of the complexity of Spot and other beacons. Drawback is that I bet very few search teams have the search tool, which is most likely very expensive.
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