Civil Air Patrol

Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis Teams Help Locate Missing Aircraft

This image shows the radar track of the air ambulance, from takeoff to 12,000 feet and then a rapid descent that resulted in three fatalities

Members of the CAP National Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis teams were activated at 2 a.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 19, to assist with the search for a missing Cessna 441, twin-engine air ambulance that disappeared from Federal Aviation Administration radar screens shortly after takeoff from Bismarck, N.D. The plane, carrying a pilot, paramedic, and nurse, was bound for Williston to pick up a patient.

“Combining and analyzing data from both the Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis teams allows us to pinpoint the most likely area to search for a missing aircraft,” said Major Justin Ogden, a technical specialist on the cell phone team. “Within two hours of being assigned the mission, CAP was able to provide highly accurate location information to first responders.”

Unfortunately, there were no survivors of the crash. Read more on cap.news.

About the National Cell Phone Forensics Team

The concept of using historical cell phone data to support Civil Air Patrol search and rescue (SAR) missions originated in 2006 when Maj. Justin Ogden, CAP, developed software that helped predict the most likely area to search for a missing person. Ogden was joined by Col. Brian Ready and Maj. Jerad Hoff, and the three became the core of the National Cell Phone Forensics Team, which was designated a national CAP asset in 2009. As the number of missions has grown, the team now includes eight members, all of whom are members of Arizona Wing. 

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