Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Be On The Lookout: Greeneville-Greene County Airport (KGCY), Tennessee

Civil Air Patrol cadets, their leaders and others associated with the Greeneville-Greene County Municipal Airport look over a stripped-down airplane fuselage that will double this weekend for a crashed airplane. The plane will be hidden sometime this week in an unspecified wooded area.

Civil Air Patrol members, youth and adult, will have the experience of searching for a downed plane this weekend as part of a training exercise.

Saturday’s search and rescue exercise, or SAREX, was discussed at Monday morning’s meeting of the Greeneville-Greene County Airport Authority, and on Monday afternoon cadets with the CAP spent some advance time with the “crashed” plane they’ll be looking for on the weekend.

With the help of John Badenhope, who works with physical plant maintenance of the airport, CAP cadets and their squad leaders loaded the shell of an old airplane fuselage onto a trailer that Badenhope and others will haul to some undisclosed and remote wooded Greene County location, where it will be hidden in conditions simulating an actual crash site.

William Onkst, who leads the CAP group, told airport authority members Monday that the old fuselage will be outfitted with an electronic location transmitter, just as an actual plane would. ELTs send an electronic signal that helps searchers find the area where a crash has happened.

According to general discussion at the authority meeting, downed planes are usually not directly spotted by airborne searchers, particularly in wooded, rugged regions typical of Northeast Tennessee. What is usually spotted is tree damage, with the downed craft itself usually fully or mostly hidden by the remaining treetops.

Saturday’s search will involve both air search and a ground team. The air searchers will take off from the airport, while the ground search team will have a base at the old Cedar Creek School/Cedar Creek Learning Center building in the Cedar Creek community.

CAP groups from other areas, including Mufreesboro, Nashville, Chattanooga, Kingsport and Morristown are expected to join the local CAP cadets at the event.

The ground team will be the searchers expected to physically reach and access the simulated crash site.

Airport authority members were invited by Onkst to visit and observe the airport or land-based operations during Saturday’s SAREX.

The authority members took no official actions in Monday’s meeting.

The next meeting of the authority is scheduled for Aug. 29 at 9 a.m. in Greeneville Town Hall.


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