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A Personal Testimony - How Tough Are ICOM Avionics Radios?

‘Last July 21st while en-route to Airventure 2001, an American Air-show, I was involved in a very horrific air accident. My 1946 Cessna 120 hit a tree near Bridal Veil Oregon and fell 75 feet to the forest floor below. Through seriously injured I was able to get myself out of the wreckage, treat myself for shock and assess my situation.

I was in a tough spot. I had not filed a flight plan and no one was expecting to hear form me until later in the day and my ELT was undetectable from further than 1/8 of a mile away. My injuries prevented me from walking so hiking for help was not an option.

Fortunately, on my way out of the wreckage my hand had fallen upon a familiar shape – my 1994 ICOM IC-A21 transceiver. This radio had served me faithfully for years and was always included in my flight case. The case was now nowhere to be found (rescuers eventually found it yards away in a bush), but somehow the IC-A21 had got separated from it and was now my only means of summoning help.

But would it work? After all, it had just been through a crash that had reduced my Cessna to an unrecognisable ball of aluminium foil. Every other piece of electronics in the plane was smashed, so I had no reason to expect that the IC-A21 would not be damaged as well.

I decided that I had nothing to lose by trying. Hearing a plane overhead, I turned the unit on, dialled in the local approach frequency and sent out a desperate mayday message. Imagine my relief when I heard the over flying pilot acknowledge my transmission and report that he was alerting SAR.

Some time later I heard a search helicopter in the distance. The pilots would later tell me that they were unable to receive my ELT and were having difficulty locating my crash site. I again used my IC-A21 to direct them toward my location until they eventually spotted the wreckage. An overland rescue party reached me hours later and transported me to a local hospital. I am now fully recovered and looking forward to resuming my flying career.

The IC-A21 helped save my life. When the chips were down and all my other equipment failed me my IC-A21 helped make my accident have a happy ending. Please convey my thanks to the ICOM team for producing such a quality product. The radio is still going strong, but you can be sure that when I am again in the market for from an aviation radio I will be selecting an ICOM product.

Yours Sincerely,
James Caufield
Beaverton, Oregon USA

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