885/2023 - AIS-SART Activation
Channel Islands Air Search was requested to launch by CROSS Jobourg to investigate an AIS-SART activation approximately 20nm WSW of Guernsey.
The initial tasking, passed via Guernsey Coastguard, was to proceed to 49 17.25 N 003 08.25 W, situated within Manche Grid Box 299.
After departing Guernsey Airport, the Service's aircraft, callsign Air Search One Bravo, proceeded towards the given position. Further tasking information was then received from CROSS Jobourg. Two further positions were provided - 49 17.61 N 003 03.17 W, and 49 20.74 N 002 57.44 W. Both positions were marked on the aircraft's Search/Navigation software. A step ladder search pattern was established, with 0.5nm track spacings, between these two points. Before starting the first leg, a possible contact was sighted but on further investigation this was found to be a wooden pallet. Six legs of the search pattern were flown, with no sightings - other than two French fishing vessels which were operating in the vicinity and which CROSS Jobourg was fully aware of. At this point, CROSS Jobourg stood Air Search One Bravo down, and the aircraft returned to Guernsey Airport.
Flying conditions were calm and visibility was excellent.
The location of the search area unfortunately sat on top of the western Channel Islands Control Zone boundary; however, Jersey Air Traffic Control was extremely helpful, providing a Radar Control service whenever the aircraft was inside the zone, and an Alerting service when it was outside - without the need to constantly switch between Jersey Control and Brest Information.