The Cessna 182 is has become one of the most popular aircraft with search and rescue aircrews. In addition to its role as a search and rescue platform, the Skylane is used for orientation flights, VIP transport, and reconnaissance in support of counterdrug and homeland security.
Like the C-172 Skyhawk, the Skylane's high wing configuration is ideal for allowing aircrews to search below the aircraft with no obstructions. New Skylanes entering the fleet are equipped with highly advanced avionic displays (sometimes referred to as glass cockpits). The engine package is stronger then the Skyhawks allowing for a larger operational envelope.
The C-182 is equipped with direction finding equipment used for searching downed aircraft and boats in distress. During search operations, a typical aircrew consists of three members. The pilot is charged with maintaining safe flight condition and is in command. An observer, who sits to the right of the pilot and is charged with assisting the pilot with radio communications, navigation, and operation of the direction finder. The last crew member, the scanner, sits in the rear and is focused on looking for down aircraft or boats in distress.
The aircraft is also equipped with Satellite-Transmitted Digital System (SDIS) technology. This allows an observer or scanner to take digital photographs and transmit them to a mission base in real time. This feature is an invaluable tool for homeland security, counterdrug, and disaster reconnaissance.
Primary Function: Search & Rescue and Reconnaissance
Wingspan: 36 ft (10.97 m)
Length: 29 ft (8.84m)
Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m)
Crew: 3 (pilot, observer, scanner)
Maximum speed: 150 knots (276 km/h)
Range: 773 nm (1,432 km) at 80% power at 7,000 ft
Service Ceiling: 18,100 ft (5,517m)
Rate of Climb: 924 ft/min (282m/m)