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update - Ron Boychuk search info

Flight

At 1430, Ron Boychuk took off after refueling from Revelstoke British Columbia (50.961N 118.182W in a Cessna 172B C-FMXV. Ron was taken off in the last stage of his flight from Calgary/Springbank to Qualicum Beach B.C. (49.340N 124.394W) . Ron planned to fly:

Revelstoke-Salmon Arm B.C. (50.697N 119.270W)- Qualicum Beach B.C

This flight would have taken approximately 3 hours, with Ron planning on landing in Qualicum Beach at 1700, however he never arrived. At 1950 hours his son notified the air traffic system.

 

Ron made this flight many times before (approximately 3-4 times a years for the last four years) and normally flew the VFR mountain routes Ron normally flew the south route Boston Bar->Hope>Vancouver  however there is no indication that he would not take the north route from Lytton->Lillooet-Pemberton->Whistler->Squamish if the weather was bad.

 

An unidentified radar track was plotted from 36 nautical miles West of Revelstoke on a direct path to Qualicum Beach. The radar plot ended at 50.283N 121.25W with the aircraft passing (in a climb) through 5900 ASL (above sea level) and had a heading of 195 degrees and was flying at 100kts.  The last radar plot was established as the Last Known Position (LKP) during the 14 day search for Ron Boychuk by the Canadian Forces. When the search area was completed in accordance to standard search technique the search was reduced and passed over to the RCMP as a missing case.

 

 

 

Search Object

The object of the search is a 1961 Cessna 172B flown by Ron Boychuk, 61. Ron had approx 250 hours of flying time and had made the trip several times before. Ron carried extensive survival gear including a flare gun, tent and sleeping bags. Rob was an experienced outdoors person and had training in outdoor survival.

      The aircraft had refueled at Revelstoke and Ron also carried two 5 gallon jerry cans of aviation fuel.

      The ELT had just been serviced in August 2007

      The aircraft was fitted with a “tractor” or “coarse pitch” propeller was generated more thrust then the propeller normally fitted on the C172 aircraft. This propeller would produce a different sound then the normal propeller.

 

Further Information

Some additional information that has been collected

  1. The refueler at Revelstoke watched the airplane take off and pass through a gap (50.993N 118.259W) in the mountains to the west. The VFR mountain route and the Trans Canada Highway passes through the gap in the mountain.
  2. The refueler thought the airplane would come back and land as the engine didn’t sound right.
  3. Between 2-3pm a woman in Sicamous B.C (50.8366N 118.970W) heard a “sputtering sound” and looked up and saw a small airplane fly of the way up the mountain (the approx position of the airplane is 50.852N 118.976W). The airplane continued to fly towards Salmon Arm B.C. (50.697N 119.270W). This sighting is just north of the direct track between Revelstoke and Qualicum Beach and just north of the VFR mountain route. The sighting has not been positively identified as the missing aircraft.
  4. The last radar position of the unidentified aircraft was at 50.283N 121.25W climbing up through 5900ASL and on a heading of 195 degrees with a ground speed of 100kts.
  5. There have been several reports of an airplane flying low near Lytton B.C. (50.222N 121.557W).  None of these sightings have been identified as the missing aircraft.
  6. There was one sighting of a small aircraft flying low underneath the clouds in the railway yards at Boston Bar B.C. (49.868N 121.437W). The sighting has not been positively identified as the missing aircraft.
  7. There was one sighting of an aircraft doing a low pass over the abandoned air field at Lillooet B.C. (50.667N 121.860W). The sighting has not been positively identified as the missing aircraft.
  8. There was one sighting report of a small aircraft near Spence’s Bridge B.C. (50.409N 121.337W). The sighting has not been positively identified as the missing aircraft.
  9. There was a report of a flare near 50.496N 121.270W. This sighting has not been confirmed as relating to the missing aircraft.
  10. On previous trips Ron had landed at Pitt Meadows B.C. (49.219N 122.717W) and Merritt B.C. (50.129N 120.744W)

 

 

Overhead Imagery Search Area

 

Discussion

The following is one possible analysis of the information to date. It is not complete or conclusive. The intent of the analysis is to provide information on the likely areas to obtain further overhead imagery for the Boychuk Search Mission.

 

  1. Two witnesses indicated that they heard an engine that sounded different then what they would expect an aircraft engine to sound like. One of the witnesses (the refueler) was experienced in hearing the sound of an aircraft engine and is the only witness to positively identify the aircraft (he watched it take off). The other witness while not positively identifying the aircraft saw an aircraft at the time and position that Ron would be expected to be at. If we were to tie these two pieces of information together we would expect that the area west of Sicamous would be more likely then the area between Revelstoke and Sicamous.
  2. A NORAD radar had a radar plot of an unidentified aircraft that started 36 nautical miles west of Revelstoke on a direct track to Qualicum Beach. The last radar plot was at  50.283N 121.25W with the aircraft climbing through 5900 ASL and on a heading of 195 degrees and a ground speed of 100kts. While this radar plot could not be positively identified as the missing aircraft it plotted a course that the aircraft was expected to fly in the timeframe that missing aircraft would have flown that track. During the search the search headquarters would have eliminated any other airplane that was flying in that area that could have been that radar plot. Therefore it is highly likely that the radar plot is of the missing aircraft.
  3. There have been a number of sightings of small aircraft in the area on that day. However there is not enough information to determine if they were indeed the missing aircraft. However we could look at matching some of the sighting reports with the last radar plot to narrow down a search area:
    1. There was a sighting of a small aircraft flying under the clouds at Boston Bar. Boston Bar is 27.6 nautical miles from the last radar plot. The track from the last radar plot to Boston Bar is approx. 195 (the same heading as the radar plot). It would take the airplane flying at 100kts, 18 minutes to fly to Boston Bar from the last radar plot. Boston Bar is along the south VFR mountain route.
    2. There were a number of sightings near Lytton which is approx. 13.6  nautical miles at a heading of 250 degrees from the last  radar plot. Lytton is along the south VFR mountain route.
    3. There were further sightings to the north (Spence’s Bridge and Lillooet), however if the last radar plot is accepted to be the missing aircraft and Ron normally took the south VFR mountain route, I am not sure it is likely that the sightings to the north was the missing aircraft.

 

Planned Search Area

 

      In keeping with current search technique the width of the imagery required would be 15 nautical miles either side of the track. To ensure we have cover the high probability are we would also extend the area 15 nautical miles north of the last known radar plot.

 

Using the above discussion as a guide to selecting the high probability search area the following search area is planned:

      A line from the last known radar position to Boston Bar following the VFR mountain route through Hope B.C. to a point outside the mountains (where radar coverage would start) at Harrison Hot Springs  (49.302N 121.781W) a distance of 70 nautical miles.

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