Section 1. General
- RESPONSIBILITY FOR SAR ACTION
- The departure tie-in facility/sector is responsible for SAR action until the destination tie-in facility/sector acknowledges receipt of the flight notification message. SAR responsibility is then transferred to the destination tie-in facility/sector.
Tie-in facilities may include an FSS, Military BASOPS, foreign facilities, etc.
- The National SAR Plan assigns search and rescue responsibilities as follows:
- To the military agencies for conducting physical search and rescue operations.
- To the FAA for:
- Providing emergency service to aircraft in distress.
- 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.
- Attempting to locate overdue or unreported aircraft by information request (INREQ) and alert notice (ALNOT) communications search.
- Cooperating in the physical search by making all possible facilities available for use by the searching agencies.
The National SAR Plan is outlined in the AIM.
- FSSs serve as the central point for collecting and disseminating information on overdue or missing aircraft which are not on an IFR flight plan.
- ARTCCs serve as the central points for collecting information, coordinating with SAR, and conducting a communications search by distributing any necessary ALNOTs concerning:
- Overdue or missing IFR aircraft.
- Aircraft in an emergency situation occurring in their respective areas
- Aircraft on a combined VFR/IFR or an air-filed IFR flight plan, and 30 minutes have passed since the pilot requested IFR clearance, and neither communications nor radar contact can be established.
- Overdue or missing aircraft which have been authorized to operate in accordance with a SVFR clearance.
- The ARTCC serves as the contact point for collecting information and coordinating with the RCC on all ELT signals.
- OVERDUE AIRCRAFT ON FLIGHT PLAN
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 established.
- When notified by a commercially available tracking service, begin search and rescue activities most appropriate for the circumstances, i.e., a communications search followed by an ALNOT.
- OVERDUE AIRCRAFT NOT ON FLIGHT PLAN
Consider an aircraft not on a flight plan as overdue:
- 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.
- If you have reason to believe that an aircraft is overdue prior to 1 hour after its ETA, take the appropriate action immediately.
FAA Order JO 7110.10, Para 8-2-1, Communications Search
FAA Order JO 7110.10, Para 8-4-1, ALNOT