Chapter 8. Search and Rescue (SAR) Procedures
Section 1. General
8-1-1. RESPONSIBILITY FOR SAR
a. The departure tie璱n facility/sector is
responsible for SAR action until the destination tie璱n
facility/sector acknowledges receipt of the flight
notification message. SAR responsibility is then
transferred to the destination tie璱n facility/sector.
Tie璱n facilities may include an FSS, Military BASOPS,
foreign facilities, etc.
b. The National SAR Plan assigns search and
rescue responsibilities as follows:
1. To the military agencies for conducting
physical search and rescue operations.
2. To the FAA for:
(a) Providing emergency service to aircraft in
(b) Assuring that SAR procedures will be
initiated if an aircraft becomes overdue or unreported.
This is accomplished through the ATC system for
IFR aircraft and the flight plan program and/or
reports of overdue aircraft received at air traffic
facilities for VFR aircraft.
(c) Attempting to locate overdue or unreported aircraft by information request (INREQ) and alert
notice (ALNOT) communications search.
(d) Cooperating in the physical search by
making all possible facilities available for use by the
The National SAR Plan is outlined in the AIM.
c. FSSs serve as the central point for collecting
and disseminating information on overdue or missing
aircraft which are not on an IFR flight plan.
d. ARTCCs serve as the central points for
collecting information, coordinating with SAR, and
conducting a communications search by distributing
any necessary ALNOTs concerning:
1. Overdue or missing IFR aircraft.
2. Aircraft in an emergency situation occurring
in their respective areas
3. Aircraft on a combined VFR/IFR or an
air璮iled IFR flight plan, and 30 minutes have passed
since the pilot requested IFR clearance, and neither
communications nor radar contact can be established.
4. Overdue or missing aircraft which have been
authorized to operate in accordance with a SVFR
e. The ARTCC serves as the contact point for
collecting information and coordinating with the
RCC on all ELT signals.
8-1-2. OVERDUE AIRCRAFT ON FLIGHT
Consider an aircraft on a VFR or DVFR flight plan
overdue when it fails to arrive 30 minutes after its
ETA and communications or location cannot be
8-1-3. OVERDUE AIRCRAFT NOT ON
Consider an aircraft not on a flight plan as overdue:
a. At the actual time a reliable source reports it to
be at least 1 hour late at destination. Based on this
overdue time, initiate a communications search and
proceed directly to the ALNOT phase. When such a
report is received, verify (if possible) that the aircraft
actually departed and that the request is for a missing
aircraft rather than a person. Refer missing person
reports to the appropriate authorities.
b. If you have reason to believe that an aircraft is
overdue prior to 1 hour after its ETA, take the
appropriate action immediately.
FAAO JO 7110.10, Para 8, Communications Search
FAAO JO 7110.10, Para 8, ALNOT