New Coast Guard Program Assists with Search Patterns for Flight 447 Recovery Operations

Portsmouth, Va. – Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center personnel here continue to assist the French and Brazilian militaries with ongoing recovery operations for the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 using a new Coast Guard data modeling program.

The Coast Guard is providing estimates of the likely whereabouts of debris from the Airbus A330 using data generated by the Reverse Drift Modeling Program. This program was recently developed for the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System, the Coast Guard’s comprehensive SAR management tool.

The RDMP estimates the probable location of missing objects like Flight 447 by working backwards in time. It takes their last known position and factors in variables such as the speed and direction of winds and currents in the vicinity. Based on these considerations, RDMP makes an informed prediction of the area where the object is now likely to be. Searchers then canvass these projected locations using grid patterns.

Flight 447 represents the first major test of the RDMP, which has only been taught at the National Search and Rescue SAR School since May. Located at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Va., the National SAR School is the world’s premier source for SAR training. The joint Coast Guard and Air Force staff provides training in oceanic, coastal and inland search planning procedures to SAR professionals from all U.S. military branches, various U.S. government agencies, volunteer SAR organizations as well as members of the international SAR community.

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