Efforts Scaled Back In Search For Steve Fossett
September 20, 2007 — The Civil Air Patrol's search and rescue operation for aviator Steve Fossett was scaled back to a search mission as the effort entered its third week on Monday. CAP volunteers from eight states - Nevada, California, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon and Colorado - devoted more than of 13,000 man-hours and flown 474 flights totaling 1,337 flying hours, but to no avail. but still no sign of the famed world record-setting pilot.
Meanwhile, Army and Air National Guard helicopters as well as over a dozen privately funded aircraft based at the Flying M Ranch air resort continue the effort, according to the www.stevefossett.com.
CAP's Brig. Gen. Amy Courter, acting national commander, commented, "We are now waiting for new leads and as they develop we will check them out. CAP aircraft are on the scene in Nevada ready to launch when that occurs." CAP will continue to provide support to local, state and federal agencies when CAP assets are requested, she said.
"We still maintain hope that Mr. Fossett is alive and that we will find him," Courter added. "We have seen cases in which people have survived much longer than this, and in consideration of the extraordinary accomplishments Mr. Fossett has made in his lifetime, we are hopeful that this will be another achievement to add to his memoirs."
The mood at the Flying M remains positive. From the site's latest post: "The Flying M team are flying out each day to methodically work their assigned sectors of the search grid, flying as low as possible. These private aircraft are acting in close coordination with the military helicopters as they comb the rugged and mountainous high desert, looking for signs of Steve's Super Decathlon light aircraft or of a crash site."
Aircraft on active search include eight helicopters and five fixed-wing aircraft, some equipped with infrared and other spectrum analysis assets flying up to 24 hours a day.