B-52 Aircrews Help Disoriented Cessna Pilot

Two B-52 bomber crews flying a training mission over Alaska came to the aid of a Cessna pilot who became disoriented in bad weather; their assistance likely saved the pilot’s life, according to a release from Minot AFB, N.D. An aircrew from Minot, call sign Hail 13, and a crew from Barksdale AFB, La., call sign Hail 14, received a request for help from air traffic control in Anchorage during their Nov. 13 mission, states the Nov. 19 release. The Cessna had gone missing and air traffic controllers were unable to communicate with its pilot over the radio. “They asked if we could try and find him and make contact,” said Capt. Andrew DesOrmeaux, one of the pilots aboard Hail 13. One hundred miles into their detour, Hail 13 made contact with the Cessna pilot and relayed messages to him from the Anchorage ATC and helped guide him to the nearest airport in Tanana, Alaska, for landing. “After our flight, ATC personnel contacted our base and from their perspective, we saved his life,” said Capt. Joshua Middendorf, Hail 13 aircraft commander.