Search & Rescue
The Montana Aeronautics Division was created by the Laws of Montana in 1945 and was charged with the responsibility of public safety relating to aviation, the promotion of aviation, and the coordination of state and federal agencies engaged in aviation operations within the state.
The Aeronautics Division is responsible for air search operations pertaining to civil aircraft within the state of Montana. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center is responsible for search and rescue operations pertaining to incidents involving military and air carrier aircraft within the United States.
Responsibility for operations pertaining to aircraft search and rescue in Montana may be broken into two categories: the Montana Aeronautics Division and the County Sheriff Departments. The Montana Aeronautics Division is responsible for the air search for missing aircraft; assists the Flight Service Station with overdue aircraft and is responsible for Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) broadcasts in the state. Missing persons are the responsibility of the County Sheriff Departments, the ground search operations are the responsibility of the Sheriffs for their respective counties in Montana.
Montana Aeronautics SAR Division accomplishes the requirements of the air search operations by utilizing Montana Volunteer pilots and their aircraft. Air search operations are divided up into 14 Districts comprised of three to eight counties. In each of the 14 Districts are a volunteer coordinator and co-coordinator to assist in the planning and operations of the search.