Unit of competency details

PUAAMS002A - Search as a member of an air search team (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 17/Aug/2012

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Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091105 Police Studies  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091105 Police Studies  03/Aug/2001 
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Unit Name

Search as a member of an air search team

Unit Code


Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the competency to conduct air search observation duties during an air search operation.



1. Prepare for search operations

Operational briefing is obtained from relevant search and rescue authority

Aircraft is configured and loaded in accordance with policies, procedures and pilot-in-command instructions

Involvement in briefings is undertaken in accordance with policies and procedures and relevant documentation

Incident information is used to determine personal equipment needed for search operation

2. Conduct search operations

Scanning distance is identified and aircraft windows are marked in accordance with organisational procedures

Search briefing is reviewed en route to task area in accordance with policies and procedures

Impediments to effective observation techniques are identified and appropriate adjustments made in accordance with policies and procedures

Observation technique is applied in accordance with policies and procedures

Search equipment is operated to maximise sighting and identification effectiveness in accordance with policies and procedures

3. Investigate sightings

Sightings are reported and maintained in accordance with policies and procedures

Sightings are investigated in accordance with policies and procedures

Sightings are logged and communicated to the relevant search and rescue authority in accordance with policies and procedures

4. Communicate outcome search

Signals are identified in accordance with policies and procedures

Communications are logged and communicated to the relevant search and rescue authority in accordance with policies and procedures


Relevant search and resuce authorities may include

  • Rescue Coordination Centre
  • State and Territory SAR authority
  • pilot-in-command

Search operations may include

fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft engaged in the location, identification and communication with persons in distress on land or sea by day or night.

This includes searching for evidence of the remains of vehicles. It also includes other Search and Rescue associated duties such as the placement of electronic beacons for use as search datums and drift indicators

Policies and procedures may vary between organisations and may include

  • legislation relevant to the operation/incident/response legislation relevant to the organisation
  • jurisdictional requirements operational
  • corporate and strategic plans
  • operational Standing Operating Procedures operational performance standards
  • organisational personnel practices and guidelines organisational quality standards
  • aircraft flight manuals

Impediments to observation techniques may include

  • aircraft structure
  • glare
  • dirty or damaged windows
  • weather
  • environmental conditions
  • aircraft flight angle

Observation techniques may include

  • scanning
  • saccading

Search equipment may include

  • binoculars and other magnification equipment radar
  • infra-red
  • radio direction finding equipment video/camera equipment
  • night vision equipment

Sightings may include

  • debris
  • damaged or discoloured vegetation
  • oil slicks
  • reflections
  • lights
  • smoke
  • burned areas
  • unusual colours, shapes or movements in the environment
  • floating objects

Targets may include

  • persons
  • vehicles
  • wreckage
  • aircraft crash sites
  • ships and small craft

Target markers may include

  • smoke/flame pyrotechnics electrical lights
  • electronic beacons
  • dye
  • streamers
  • buoys

Signals may include

  • ground to air emergency signal code international code of signals
  • signal panels
  • Morse code
  • improvised signals
  • Communications equipment may include
  • radio transceivers mobile telephones heliographs
  • signal panels message bags
  • Sightings are maintained to
  • keep the target in sight
  • Search briefing is reviewed to
  • utilise the time enroute to optimally prepare the searchers
  • Briefings may include
  • task crew
  • pre-flight safety
  • aircraft equipment


Critical aspects of evidence

Knowledge and skill in the safe dispatch of target marking and communications equipment from aircraft in flight

Interdependent assessment of units

Pre-requisite units:

  • Nil

Co-requisite units:

  • PUAAMS001A Work in an aviation environment
  • PUATEA001A Work in a team
  • PUATEA004B Work effectively in a public safety organisation
  • PUAEME001A Provide emergency care PUATE003A Lead, manage and develop teams

Underpinning knowledge

Evidence of:

  • a basic understanding of search planning
  • a basic understanding of the physiology of sight
  • an understanding of factors which may indicate evidence of a search target
  • an understanding of observation techniques and procedures an understanding of signalling/message equipment and procedures
  • an understanding of target marking equipment and procedures

Underpinning skills

The ability to:

  • communicate information clearly within the search team make decisions based on available information
  • select and use available technology appropriate to the search task

Resource implications

An appropriate training location/venue

Access to aircraft and equipment required for learning and assessment activities

Flight operations for learning/skills development and assessment

Consistency in performance

In order to assess these performance criteria it may be necessary for evidence to be collected over a period of time

Context of assessment

Evidence can be collected on the job but may be undertaken in a simulation


Collect, Analyse & Organise Information

Communicate Ideas & Information

Plan & Organise Activities

Work with Others & in Teams

Use Mathematical Ideas & Techniques

Solve Problems

Use Technology

Level 1

Level 2

Level 2

Level 1

Level 1

Level 2

Level 2

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