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Aircrew Survival: Survival Signalling, Civil Aerospace Medical Institute.
Public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
A distress signal is an internationally recognized means for obtaining help. Distress signals take the form of or are commonly made by using radio signals, displaying a visually detected item or illumination, or making an audible sound, from a distance.
A distress signal indicates that a person or group of people, ship, aircraft, or other vehicle is threatened by grave and imminent danger and requests immediate assistance. Use of distress signals in other circumstances may be against local or international law...
Maritime distress signals
Distress signals at sea are defined in the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea and in the International Code of Signals...
Aviation distress signals
The civilian aircraft emergency frequency for voice distress alerting is 121.5 MHz. Military aircraft use 243 MHz (which is a harmonic of 121.5 MHz, and therefore civilian beacons transmit on this frequency as well). Aircraft can also signal an emergency by setting one of several special transponder codes, such as 7700.
The COSPAS/SARSAT signal can be transmitted by an Electronic Locator Transmitter or ELT, which is similar to a marine EPIRB on the 406 MHz radio frequency. (Marine EPIRBS are constructed so as to float while aviation an ELT is constructed so as to be activated by a sharp deceleration and is sometimes referred to as a Crash Position Indicator/CPI).
A "triangular distress pattern" is a rarely used flight pattern flown by aircraft in distress but without radio communications. The standard pattern is a series of 120° turns...
Ground distress beacons
The COSPAS-SARSAT 406 MHz radio frequency distress signal can be transmitted by hikers, backpackers, trekkers, mountaineers and other ground-based remote adventure seekers and personnel working in isolated backcountry areas using a small, portable Personal Locator Beacon or PLB...
Distress radio beacons, also known as emergency beacons, PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) or EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), are tracking transmitters which aid in the detection and location of boats, aircraft, and people in distress. Strictly, they are radiobeacons that interface with worldwide offered service of Cospas-Sarsat, the international satellite system for search and rescue (SAR). When manually activated, or automatically activated upon immersion, such beacons send out a distress signal. The signals are monitored worldwide and the location of the distress is detected by non-geostationary satellites, and can be located by some combination of GPS trilateration and doppler triangulation.
The basic purpose of a distress radiobeacon is to help rescuers find survivors within the so-called "golden day" (the first 24 hours following a traumatic event) during which the majority of survivors can usually be saved.
Since the inception of Cospas-Sarsat in 1982, distress radiobeacons have assisted in the rescue of over 28,000 people in more than 7,000 distress situations. In 2010 alone, the system provided information which was used to rescue 2,388 persons in 641 distress situations...
A flare, also sometimes called a fusee, is a type of pyrotechnic that produces a brilliant light or intense heat without an explosion. Flares are used for signalling, illumination, or defensive countermeasures in civilian and military applications. Flares may be ground pyrotechnics, projectile pyrotechnics, or parachute-suspended to provide maximum illumination time over a large area. Projectile pyrotechnics may be dropped from aircraft, fired from rocket or artillery, or deployed by flare guns or handheld percussive tubes...