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 QualicumBeach 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>Vancouverhowever 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 QualicumBeach. 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.
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.
aircraft had refueled at Revelstoke and Ron also carried two 5 gallon jerry cans of aviation fuel.
ELT had just been serviced in August 2007
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.
Some additional information that
has been collected
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.
The refueler thought the airplane would come back and land as the engine didn’t sound right.
Between a woman in Sicamous B.C (50.8366N 118.970W) heard
a “sputtering sound” and looked up and saw a small airplane fly ¾ 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 QualicumBeach and just north of the VFR mountain route. The sighting has not
been positively identified as the missing aircraft.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
There was a report of a flare near 50.496N 121.270W. This sighting has not been confirmed as relating to the missing
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
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.
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
A NORAD radar had a radar plot of an unidentified aircraft that started 36 nautical miles west of Revelstoke on a direct
track to QualicumBeach.
The last radar plot was at50.283N 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.
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:
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.
There were a number of sightings near Lytton which is approx. 13.6nautical
miles at a heading of 250 degrees from the lastradar plot. Lytton is along the
south VFR mountain route.
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
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
Using the above discussion
as a guide to selecting the high probability search area the following search area is planned:
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.