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Update on Search for Possible Downed Plane in Grand Canyon National Park

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avatar National Park Service Searching for Missing Plane in Grand Canyon National Park
March 16, 2011 09:00PM
National Park Service Searching for Missing Plane in Grand Canyon National Park


DMV Photo
The National Park Serive and Coconino County Sheriff's Office are looking for this man and his plane.


Date: March 16, 2011
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – On Sunday, March 13, Grand Canyon Airport south of Grand Canyon National Park received a report from a general aviation pilot of an activated emergency locator transmitter (also known as an ELT).

The airport immediately notified the National Park Service (NPS) because the ELT had been detected approximately 30 miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village in the vicinity of the Fossil Corridor within Grand Canyon National Park. The park's helicopter flew the area in the vicinity of the reported ELT activation, but did not find any signs of a downed plane nor did they detect the beacon. Because no corresponding report of a missing plane could be found, the search was called off at that point.

On Monday, March 14, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) contacted the NPS about a missing person – 47-year old Joseph Radford of Glendale, Arizona. In the course of their investigations, the sheriff's office had determined that Mr. Radford owned a red, RV-6 homebuilt, experimental aircraft which was also missing. In addition, they had determined that Mr. Radford's plane was seen at Grand Canyon Airport shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 11.

Based on radar tracking information from Friday, the NPS helicopter concentrated search efforts in the Scorpion Ridge area, located in the vicinity of the Dragon Corridor, on Monday; and on Tuesday, the park's helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft both flew search patterns in the Fossil Corridor and Scorpion Ridge areas with no success. Meanwhile, the CCSO continued their investigations and began contacting backpackers known to have been to these areas to see if anyone had seen or heard the plane on Friday. Today, investigations and aerial searches continue. The focus of today's search efforts has been Bedrock and Galloway Canyons in the Fossil Corridor area.

Joseph Radford is described as a 47-year old white male, with blue eyes, graying hair and a receding hairline. He is 5'11" tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. His plane is described as an RV6 Kit Built, cherry red airplane with tail number N650RV. If you believe that you have seen Mr. Radford or his aircraft since Friday, March 11, at 8:30 a.m., please contact the National Park Service at 928-638-7805. (Media should continue to contact the Grand Canyon Public Affairs office at 928-638-7958 or 928-638-7779.)

The latest estimate of the total search area is 600 square miles with the National Park Service leading joint search operations with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office.
avatar NPS Continues to Search for Possible Downed Plane in Grand Canyon National Park
March 18, 2011 08:22PM
NPS Continues to Search for Possible Downed Plane in Grand Canyon National Park
Date: March 18, 2011
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The National Park Service (NPS) is continuing to search approximately 600 square miles of rugged backcountry for a possible downed plane in Grand Canyon National Park.

On Sunday, March 13, the NPS received a report that a general aviation pilot had detected an activated emergency locator transmitter (also known as an ELT) approximately 30 miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village in the vicinity of the Fossil Corridor. The park's helicopter was dispatched to fly the area, but did not find any signs of a downed plane nor did it detect the ELT. Because no corresponding report of a missing plane could be found, the search was called off at that point.

On Monday, March 14, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) contacted the NPS about a missing person – 47-year old Joseph Radford of Glendale, Arizona. In the course of their investigations, the sheriff's office had determined that Mr. Radford owned a red, RV6 homebuilt, experimental aircraft which was also missing and that Mr. Radford's plane was seen at Grand Canyon Airport shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 11. Because the disappearance of Mr. Radford and his plane may be connected to the ELT activation, search efforts were resumed.

Based on radar tracking information obtained from the town at Grand Canyon Airport last Friday, the NPS helicopter concentrated search efforts on Monday in the Scorpion Ridge area, an area located in the vicinity of the Dragon Corridor. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the park's helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft both flew search patterns in the Fossil Corridor and Scorpion Ridge areas with no success. Meanwhile, the CCSO continued their investigations and began contacting backpackers known to have been to these areas to see if anyone had seen or heard the plane on Friday.

The NPS has used both a fixed-wing airplane and helicopter in search efforts over the last several days. Primarily the fixed-wing has been used to reacquire the ELT signal and visual reconnaissance of upper rim areas. The helicopter has focused its efforts below the rim in side canyons and rough terrain looking for visual clues. To date, these efforts have not provided any further clues.

Search efforts will continue over the next few days based on the probable areas determined by the original ELT signal, as weather and wind conditions allow. Today's efforts will focus in the northwest zone of the search area around Fish Tail Mesa and Great Thumb Mesa.

Joseph Radford is described as a 47-year old white male, with blue eyes, graying hair and a receding hairline. He is 5'11" tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. His plane is described as an RV6 Kit Built, cherry red airplane with tail number N650RV.

If you believe that you have seen Mr. Radford or his aircraft since Friday, March 11, at 8:30 a.m., please contact the National Park Service at 928-638-7805. (Media should continue to contact the Grand Canyon Public Affairs office at 928-638-7958 or 928-638-7779.)

The National Park Service is leading joint search operations with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office. Both agencies are grateful to the Civil Air Patrol for their invaluable assistance with investigations including radar and ELT analysis.
avatar Update on Search for Possible Downed Plane in Grand Canyon National Park
March 23, 2011 06:03PM
Update on Search for Possible Downed Plane in Grand Canyon National Park
Date: March 23, 2011
Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958

Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The National Park Service (NPS) continues to work with the Coconino County Sheriff's Office to refine its search for a plane which may have gone down in Grand Canyon National Park on Friday, March 11.

Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) investigators notified the NPS on Monday, March 14 that 47-year old Joseph Radford and his plane were missing and were last seen at the Grand Canyon Airport, located just south of Grand Canyon National Park.
The National Park Service and Coconino County Sheriff's Office are looking for Joseph Radford and his plane. Since then, NPS search and rescue (SAR) personnel have been leading search efforts for Radford and his plane.

During the course of the search, the NPS has flown every segment of a search area covering approximately 600 square miles without acquiring an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal or discovering any visual signs of a crash. At the same time, investigations into Mr. Radford's disappearance and technical interpretation of ELT (detected by a general aviation pilot on Sunday, March 13) and radar data have been ongoing. This week, in order to refine the search area and more effectively direct active search efforts, the NPS and CCSO have made a decision to focus the efforts of search and rescue personnel on sorting and assessing the growing amount of investigative and technical information. In addition, investigators will continue to locate and interview the remaining hikers and river users who were in the search area during the time of Mr. Radford's flight.

If you believe that you have seen Mr. Radford or his aircraft since Friday, March 11, at 8:30 a.m., please contact the National Park Service at 928-638-7805. (Media should continue to contact the Grand Canyon Public Affairs office at 928-638-7958 or 928-638-7779.)

Joseph Radford is described as a 47-year old white male, with blue eyes, graying brown hair and a receding hairline. He is 5'11" tall and weighs approximately 180 pounds. His plane is described as a cherry red RV-6 Home-built Kit Aircraft with tail number N650RV.

The National Park Service and Coconino County Sheriff's Office are grateful to the Civil Air Patrol and the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center for their invaluable assistance with the ongoing investigations, including radar, cell phone and ELT analysis.

Additional news releases will be distributed only as new information becomes available.
avatar New Technology Employed in Search for Joseph Radford at Grand Canyon National Park
April 03, 2011 11:06AM
New Technology Employed in Search for Joseph Radford at Grand Canyon National Park


Ken Phillips/NPS
Civil Air Patrol's Cessna 182 with Predator's sensor ball mounted underneath



Grand Canyon, Ariz. – On Thursday, March 31, members of Civil Air Patrol's (CAP) Nevada Wing joined the search for Joseph Radford in Grand Canyon National Park.

The National Park Service (NPS) and Coconino County Sherriff's Office (CCSO) have been searching for Radford for almost three weeks since determining that he and his plane were last seen on Friday, March 11, at the Grand Canyon Airport located just south of Grand Canyon National Park.

During the search, a NPS helicopter and fixed wing aircraft flew approximately 2,000 air miles over a search area originally estimated at 600 square miles. To date, no signs of Radford's plane or of a crash site have been detected.

With the search area thoroughly covered by the available technology and weather worsening, search and rescue (SAR) personnel last week turned their efforts toward sorting and analyzing the clues investigators had been gathering while the search progressed.

On Tuesday, March 29, NPS and CCSO staffs, CAP and Air Force Rescue Coordination Center technical experts gathered to analyze those investigative clues alongside the latest interpretations of the technical data. Through their analysis, SAR personnel were able to define smaller areas within the larger search zone that could be searched again with more advanced technology.

Yesterday, members of CAP's Nevada Wing used a Surrogate Predator aircraft to search six areas in the Fossil Corridor identified as probable areas where Radford's plane may have gone down. Today, the CAP crew will complete their flights over the six search areas and will provide the Surrogate Predator footage to park staff for review.

The Surrogate Predator's sensor ball, mounted underneath the wing of a CAP Cessna 182, provides high resolution imagery. The areas where CAP pilots are focusing their efforts were identified based on FAA radar track and cell phone signal analysis, as well as visual sightings.

This is the first time a Surrogate Predator has been used for a search mission. To date, CAP has relied upon this new technology to help train soldiers and airmen for combat operations overseas.

After today's flight, the NPS will analyze the new imagery provided by the Surrogate Predator in a continued effort to locate the missing plane. If the plane is not located today, search activities will continue on a limited basis as new evidence and information becomes available.

For more information on the use of the Surrogate Predator in the search for Mr. Radford, please contact Colonel John Varljen, CAP, at 928-595-0206.
avatar Search For Missing Pilot Continues
April 04, 2011 02:40PM
Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Search For Missing Pilot Continues

Members of the Civil Air Patrol's Nevada Wing joined the ongoing three-week-long search for Joseph Radford last Thursday. The NPS and Coconino County Sherriff's Office have been searching for Radford since determining that he and his plane were last seen on Friday, March 11th, at Grand Canyon Airport. An NPS helicopter and airplane have flown about 2,000 air miles over the search area, originally estimated at 600 square miles, over the course of the search. No signs of Radford or his plane or a crash site have yet been found. With the search area thoroughly covered by the available technology and weather worsening, search and rescue personnel last week turned their efforts toward sorting and analyzing the clues investigators had been gathering while the search progressed. Searchers and Air Force Rescue Coordination Center technical experts met last Tuesday to analyze those investigative clues alongside the latest interpretations of the technical data. Through their analysis, SAR personnel were able to define smaller areas within the larger search zone that could be searched again with more advanced technology. On Thursday, members of CAP's Nevada Wing used a Surrogate Predator aircraft to search six areas in the park's Fossil Corridor identified as probable areas where Radford's plane may have gone down. The CAP crew was to complete flights over the six search areas on Friday and provide the Surrogate Predator footage to park staff for review. The Surrogate Predator's sensor ball, mounted underneath the wing of a CAP Cessna 182, provides high resolution imagery. The areas where CAP pilots focused their efforts were based on FAA radar track and cell phone signal analysis, as well as visual sightings. This is the first time a Surrogate Predator has been used for a search mission, which CAP had previously employed to help train soldiers and airmen for combat operations overseas. For more information on the use of the Surrogate Predator in the search for Mr. Radford, please contact Colonel John Varljen, CAP, at 928-595-0206.
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