ARCHER Imaging Plane, Google Maps Among Technology In Use
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 09.05.07 1925
EDT: While there's still no sign of missing adventurer
Steve Fossett, over two days after he disappeared over Western
Nevada... search crews took advantage of clear, calm weather
Wednesday to expand their search, using a multitude of advanced
Among the equipment being used to search for Fossett is ARCHER, high-tech
hyperspectral imaging equipment capable of distinguishing between
objects on the ground, according to Agence-France Presse. The Civil
Air Patrol has deployed the imaging device onboard a plane flown in
"ARCHER is essentially something used by the geosciences," CAP
spokeswoman Major Cynthia Ryan said. "It's pretty sophisticated
stuff ... beyond what the human eye can generally see."
Crews will input the dimensions of Fossett's missing Super
Decathlon into the system, which will then compare that information
against images taken of the search area. ARCHER can distinguish
between an unadulterated section of ground, and objects consistent
with aircraft wreckage.
The search for Fossett may also receive some help from Google,
which has detailed satellite images of the search area.
"I'm talking with friends at Google about seeing whether we can
look at satellite images over the last four days to see whether
they can see which direction he might have been flying and whether
they can see any disturbances anywhere that they can pin from
space," British tycoon Sir Richard Branson, a close friend and
supporter of Fossett's, told the Canadian Broadcasting
For the moment, however, the search goes on... and the clock is
ANN REALTIME REPORTING
09.05.07 1400 EDT: Aided by clear skies and significantly
calmer winds, rescuers resumed their search Wednesday for
billionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, two days after the small
plane he was piloting disappeared over a remote, rugged section of
As ANN reported, Fossett took
off from a private airstrip north of Yerington, NV Monday morning
in a Bellanca Super Decathlon (N240R, shown below), to scout out
dry lakebeds for a planned land-speed record attempt later this
year. He has not been heard from since.
Rescue aircraft scoured some 600 square miles of terrain,
believed to be where the adventurer and skilled pilot went
missing. One rescuer Tuesday likened search efforts to
"searching for a needle in a haystack," reports Agence-France
Those efforts were hindered somewhat by strong winds and
turbulence over the high desert terrain. Nevada State Police
spokesman Chuck Allen reports conditions are far more hospitable
"The winds have co-operated today. That will allow the
helicopters to fly low. The conditions are perfect," Allen
As crews continue their search, Fossett's friends and family
expressed optimism the adventurer -- who has survived numerous
close calls in the past, on his way to claiming 115 world records
in five different sports, including aviation-related interests --
would be found alive and well.
"If he's landed and he's not too badly hurt, he's the one person
in the world who will be mentally and physically equipped to get
out of it," said British tycoon Sir Richard Branson, a close
personal friend of Fossett's who also financed a number of his
Rescuers are cautiously optimistic Fossett will be found alive.
"He's a very savvy and methodical and determined pilot. I'd give
him the highest odds," said Major Cynthia Ryan, spokesperson for
the Civil Air Patrol.
One thing is certain... despite the large search area, rescuers
plan to continue their search for as long as it takes.
"We anticipate this lasting several days, until there is a
development," Allen said.
(Aero-News thanks Doug Robertson, Jr, for
his permission to republish the copyrighted photo of N240R, above.
Photo is from www.airport-data.com