Communications Exercise Drill

Aug 9, 2023 | Argentina, Blog, CapComm, El Calafate, Support Teams

When you are in a remote location communication devices don’t always work as expected. That’s why some Perlan Project team members have worked several days to understand the idiosyncrasies of emergency communications for 2023 (if ever needed). Thanks to Sandra, Tago, Roberta and Jackie.

Shared contact formats don’t always match up. An Argentine SIM card was not registered on the first attempt. The Satellite phone could only connect with another cell phone when said cell phone was on cellular data, not wifi data. Some Argentine phones must enter a pin before connecting to an (expensive) international satellite call. Text messages (or radio) would be used while inside the carbon cockpit while pilots were wearing masks. Sat phone calls would be used from the remote outlanding site.

Today Chief Pilot Jim Payne had scheduled a Communication Exercise drill. Jim took interns Ivan Altunin and Rodrigo Sanz with him to “fly.” Newly arrived team member Lars Bensch from Airbus Germany would lead the CapCom emergency communication team. He was supported by Alan Murray retired professional airline pilot. (As a nod to reality of course the wifi at the hangar was not reliably working.)

The drill wasn’t flawless but it was very, very good. As a team we haven’t done this since 2019.  The first emergency message was at 11:14 with subsequent pseudo-text messages containing latitude, longitude, and altitude. The pseudo-outlanding was at 11:33.

While the glider was still coming down, Tago’s retrieve vehicle was on the way to be vectored closer real-time. Tago was accompanied by intern Elisa Vasenden. The retrieve vehicle was near the “outlanding” spot at 11:48 with confirmed pilot contact to the team at 11:59.

That’s Jim after “rescue” by Tago. Perhaps I misunderstood when Lars said “If Jim’s leg wasn’t broken before it is now.” ;>)

Part of the debrief afterwards. The full team debrief will be tomorrow morning.

A huge shout out to Garmin and Iridium for sponsoring Airbus Perlan Mission II. This drill would have been much more difficult without their support with Garmin inReaches and Iridium satellite phones.

Perlan soars! Jackie

Recent Posts