Airborne detection of avalanche victims with ground penetrating radar


ABSTRACT: The detection of buried avalanche victims not wearing a beacon is an important problem for rescue operations. The development of a fast and reliable method not depending on active or passive location devices would simplify the task for an organised rescue. A ground penetrating radar with high sampling frequency and the possibility to be mounted on a helicopter could be a possible solution. Considering the necessity to improve techniques for organised search operations, our goal is to create a plug and play system, which is mounted below a helicopter and scans in a fixed raster an avalanche deposit automatically. The radar data retrieved should be interpretable easily by a layperson or by an automatic process algorithm that tells the user where a victim is located. From a small self-made aerial railway system the radar signatures for different snow and environmental conditions were measured about 6 m above the snow surface. The data we gathered in winter 2006 showed that even extremely different dry snow conditions are deeply penetrable by a 400 MHz GPR antenna and a phantom body (3 water bags) could easily be detected

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