As winter weather moves into northwestern Nevada, the search for adventurer Steve Fossett is getting help from a high-tech, high-altitude mapping system.
Fossett disappeared Sept. 3 while flying a Super Decathlon over the area. No trace of the millionaire adventurer or his airplane have been found, despite an intensive search involving law enforcement, volunteers, the Army, U.S. Air Force and Civil Air Patrol, as well as satellite imagery.
The wide-scale search for Fossett was called off last month. Now a ranch-based team is pursuing leads as they come in. The searchers are utilizing High Altitude Mapping Missions (HAMM) photography. The images, taken from a jet, generate an image with a pixel size of 6 inches, many times more detailed than standard satellite images.
Flying at approximately 20,000 feet AGL over the mountainous terrain, the HAMM aircraft will photograph 800 square miles an hour or about 2,000 square miles a day.
Rotary and fixed wing aircraft, as well as ground personnel, will be dispatched to run down leads.
According to the searchers, they are focusing on areas considered “promising” based on GPS traces from the aircraft involved in earlier searches.
The mountainous areas are being searched first, before they are covered with snow. In addition, several local lakes have been searched using side-scan sonar.