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Read our latest feature:   Show issue: MEBAA
Demonstrator Do228 called on to assist in rescue at Cape Verde
RUAG Aviation's Dornier 228 demonstrator has performed an emergency SAR operation off the coast of Praia, Cape Verde.
Read this story in our May 2016 printed issue.

RUAG Aviation's Dornier 228 demonstrator has performed an emergency SAR operation off the coast of Praia, Cape Verde. The aircraft was contacted for assistance due to its low altitude flight and real-time situational awareness capabilities. A kayaker was rescued successfully, despite prevailing visibility issues.

The SAR mission took place seven hours into the aircraft's non-stop return flight to Europe from Natal in Brazil. This followed the aircraft's first demo tour in Latin America and it subsequently returned to its base at Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.

The RUAG-owned Do228 was beginning its approach to the Praia, Cape Verde airport when the air traffic control tower identified it as the sole aircraft in the vicinity capable of providing SAR assistance in the conditions. Low-lying cloud cover, darkening skies and the small size of the watercraft posed significant challenges. Once engaged, the aircraft continued its descent from its approach altitude of 10,000 ft to 1,000 ft to perform an expanding square search pattern.

Says factory test pilot commander Franz Huber: “Once the tower relayed the coordinates, we programmed our flight management system and began the programmed search pattern. When the location failed to reveal a SAR subject, the tower relayed an adjusted set of coordinates and we repeated the procedure there. Our sensors received a 20-second acoustic burst providing our instrumentation with the necessary final course adjustment.

“Thanks to the Dornier 228's high manoeuvrability we were able to react immediately and position the aircraft directly above the location which had emitted the distress signal. The bubble windows and the unobstructed down view allow excellent situational awareness and enabled us to see the kayaker's flare as it was deployed.”

Product manager Fabian Kölliker adds: “Fortunately this aircraft is one of the most suitable types for this kind of mission and it happened to be in the right place, at the right time, and in the right configuration to provide the necessary support.”