The FAA posted a really interesting piece on its website giving the blow-by-blow of its response to the crash of a Cirrus SR22 near Charleston, W.V. on July 30. This crash was slightly unusual, as the pilot could not be contacted for two hours of the flight despite repeated attempts by FAA and military personnel. It appears likely that the pilot was incapacitated during the flight. He was the only one on board, and was killed.
Anyway, the lack of contact after the pilot flew past his intended destination triggered the response team that handles this kind of thing – the Domestic Events Network. This piece describes what the DEN does, and how it coordinates the civil and military response – as well as investigating details such as the plane’s refueling history.
According to the FAA, there are 146 groups on the DEN. Although the network handles about 100 daily instances of stolen planes, uncommunicative pilots or expired registrations, “few of the incidents last long or become newsworthy.” This one was quite different.