Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There is no very good way to wind this down

Dear all,

Those closest to the family know that we are winding down as we get towards the holidays. Brooke and Karen's respective families are taking care of their estates and dealing with all that that entails. We are all finding new ways to deal with the holiday season that is missing two very special people.

Suffice to say, this blog has been a learning experience for us in how to manage a major life event with so many caring people wanting to be involved. It has allowed us to get in touch, share memories, coordinate memorial services, and to some degree measure what kind of impact Karen and Brooke had on our lives.

At the moment, I don't know how much longer I will continue to update this blog. Though it has been indispensable in coordinating with far flung friends and family, it must have its proper end as well.

This may not be the last post, but then again who knows, it might. Simply put, the blog isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future, as I envision it as an online memorial to them. But like real-world memorials, it will probably be visited more occasionally around special anniversaries, and when we all feel the need to remember.

Keep in touch, everyone.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Washington Post Obituaries for Karen and Brooke

You may read the individual obituaries for Karen and Brooke on the Washington Post website.

A colleague and friend of Brookes wrote a nice column on her blog

Carole Sargent, a colleague and friend of Brookes from the National Press Club wrote a lovely entry on her blog. You may read it here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Memorial service for Karen Dodds (and Brooke) set for DC area on Nov. 10th

The memorial service for Karen Dodds will be Saturday, November 10th, at 11:00 AM, at Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St., NE, Washington.

I will post more details as they become available from Kathleen. As you may have attended the service for Brooke several weeks ago, service is being held primarily in Karen's memory.

There will not be an elaborate reception after this service, though we may have some light refreshments.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In Lieu of Flowers for Karen, please make a donation

The family requests no flowers for Karen's memorial. If you wish to honor Karen and Brooke with a memorial, the family suggests:

For Karen:
For Brooke:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Karen's funeral has been planned for October 27, 2007 in Whitehall, MI

The State Police found Karen's body on Saturday (Oct. 06, 2007) onshore west of the Mackinac Bridge. The State Police emailed a photo of Karen's diamond ring to Kathleen and she has positively identified it.

Karen's family has planned a funeral service for Saturday, October 27, at Noon, which will include a memorial service for Brooke. It will be followed by a light lunch in the church Fellowship Hall. The church is Lebanon Lutheran Church, 1101 S. Mears Ave., Whitehall, MI.

There are three B&Bs in Whitehall, within walking distance of the church: The Chocolate Cottage, The White Swan and the Finch's Nest. There are two large motels on the outskirts of town: a Ramada and a Best Western.

Interment will be in Rural Hill Cemetery, Northville, MI, the following Monday or Tuesday (we'll let you know).

Karen's family does plan to have a Memorial Service for both Karen and Brooke at Reformation Lutheran Church, 212 East Capitol St. SE, in Washington DC in the near future (we'll let you know).

Even though the MSP stopped searching, area locals did not...

This story is amazing. Even though the MSP stopped searching, area locals did not...
Renewed plane search comes up empty


Tribune Staff Writer

CHEBOYGAN - An area fisherman's tip led to a renewed search Wednesday for a small plane and its two occupants, missing since late August, but the wreckage was not found.

Chief Marine Deputy Allan May said the fisherman's local knowledge of the area led to the search, conducted during a regular monthly training drill for the Cheboygan County Sheriff's Department Dive Team.

“He fished these waters for a long time and knows the bottom contour well,” May said during a pre-dive briefing for six divers aboard two Sheriff's Department boats. “The fisherman had spotted something on his fish-finder that has not been there in the past; he feels that this is something new to the bottom there.”

The dive teams split into pairs and inspected three sites that May had marked last week with global-positioning co-ordinates. The men were towed behind their boat while holding a tow-bar to pull them along the bottom.

The first target turned out to be a bed of weeds, and the second spot divers said was a large, steep sand bar. The dives were conducted in roughly 50 feet of water between Duncan Point and Cordwood Point. Divers said the temperature of the water was 53 degrees at the surface and slightly colder at depth. Each dive lasted between 15 minutes to 18 minutes.

A third dive attempt failed to produce any targets.

“We didn't see the main object today that I saw last week,” May said. “It had a shape that could have possibly been the tail of a plane, but it's hard to say. That's why we're out here to check on it.”

Choppy seas and strengthening winds made conditions less than ideal for the search, May said. He indicated he would return in the near future to again try to locate the target object identified by the fisherman.

The dive team drills every month of the year and works through various search and rescue scenarios in open water, rivers, and small lakes in all conditions, including ice-covered waters.

A Michigan State Police search for the wreckage was suspended Sept. 17.

The small plane left Mackinac Island with two passengers at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 en route to Bad Axe. Reported to be aboard the plane are pilot Karen Dodds, 51, of Washington, D.C. and her passenger and fiance, H. Brooke Stauffer, 55, also of Washington D.C.

Hilary's eulogy from Brooke's Memorial

Dear everyone,

Thank you all who made it to the memorial service for Brooke. I really have too many people to thank who ensured that Brooke's day of remembrance went off so well, but I will single out Margaret McDermott, who planned the entire affair, for her tireless efforts to make the day run smoothly. Thank you so much Mrs. McD! We love you.

To everyone else, it was so wonderful to meet many of you for the first time either ever, or at least in a very long time. Brooke clearly surrounded himself with quality friends and people.

I have taken a week off from the blog to go on vacation, and am now back. Hilary sent in her eulogy for those who have asked by email. Here it is, unedited:

Brooke Stauffer's eulogy from September 29, 2007.

The last memory I have of me and my father doing something together is of us going to the DMV. I was home, in May, for a friend’s wedding, and since Dad had shifted his homebase to Capitol Hill, I was changing myself into a D.C. resident. Every time I came home from Switzerland, Dad would take off a day from work and we would “do something” together. Just the two of us, Dad and Hil, the Two Musketeers. Normally we tried to do something cultural, or barring that, at least fun…you know, going to a museum or the movies or just walking around a botanical garden somewhere. Often, we ended up at the National Gallery of Art, and would wander the West Wing looking at the impressionists while Dad repeated stories about the artists that he had told me 100 times before. He had a quirky habit of not remembering conversations he’d already had. It didn’t matter, though, because I loved hearing him tell them, and loved just being around him.

On this particular day, however, we got a late start, and I needed to get to the DMV before it closed to change my driver’s license over. And so that’s what we spent our afternoon doing, and it was about as annoying and mundane an activity as you are imagining it to be. We drove over to the DMV facility in Southeast, and then had to return again 20 minutes later, since of course I had forgotten a necessary piece of paper back at the house.

But it didn’t matter. Because even before this awful, tragic accident happened…even before I knew that that would be one of my last memories of my Dad, it was still one of my favorite memories ever. Because I was never happier than when I was with Dad, and it didn’t matter what we were doing. He managed to make a trip to the DMV both cultural and fun. As we drove through the streets of Southeast, he told me stories of when he and my mom were young, poor 20-somethings in love, living in DC with dreams of becoming artists and professional musicians. While I waited in line at the DMV, he contentedly read a book, and afterwards gave me a good synopsis of what it was about. Then, we went to our usual haunt for lunch--McDonald’s--where we shared the exact same meal I must have eaten with him 500 times in my life: two small cheeseburgers and a medium fries. Dad always ordered a chocolate shake, and I got a Diet Coke. Per usual, he let me indulge my passion for salt, not caring that I made the fries nearly inedible in the process.

On the way home he said, like he always did when we got in the car together, “Why don’t you find some cheerful country music for us, dollface?” This was a great sacrifice from a man whose own personal tastes ran to NPR, classical music, or the odd jazz station. But I can’t once remember being in the car with my Dad and having him impose his music on me…and that was Dad in a nutshell. Loving and generous and laidback. In Dad’s mind, the fact that he got to listen to what he wanted on the radio the 355 days a year when I wasn’t in DC meant that it wasn’t such a hardship to let me choose the station when I was home.

But it wasn’t just a sense of relaxed rationality that guided him. Rather, he just so loved being a “Daddy” that any accompanying personal sacrifice was totally worth it. His generosity ran much deeper than ceding control of the radio in the car. Sometimes, he ceded the entire car! When I turned 16, Dad bought me a used car, which I promptly banged up and ran into the ground within a year. (Of course, anyone who knows the Stauffer kids knows this is pretty much par for the course.) He then bought me another used car which died within three months, and so I tragically lived without a vehicle for my first two years of college. By the time I reached my junior year, I thought there was nothing so unjust in the whole world as the fact that I was without a car. (20 is a very self-indulgent age.) So for one semester, my father gave me his beloved Isuzu Trooper to bring to school with me, and took the Metro to work for six months. That’s right--my father was paying for my college education and living expenses, and to reward me for these inequitable circumstances, he gave me use of his car while he took public transportation. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized just how ridiculous this was.

After I graduated college, and became a young adult learning to pay my own way in the world, I would often complain to Dad that life was so expensive, and I could barely afford myself--how would I ever afford to have kids? And during these moments, Dad would look at me and agree that life was expensive but remind me that “everybody gets what they need.” And then he would gently explain that he didn’t have kids because he could “afford to” – in fact, it was just the opposite. Rather, he had kids because he was ready at a very young age to be a “Daddy,” and to have kids whom he could go out and play with.

And he did so love being a Daddy. Whether it was going to the beach and digging a huge hole in the sand as a makeshift playpen for Greg while teaching Chris and me to body surf, or taking me shopping for Prom dresses, or driving up to Scranton Pennsylvania to watch one of the plays that Christian worked on during college or attending Greg’s rugby games during high school, he was there for all of it. And there was nowhere he’d rather be.

One story of my father’s that sticks out very much in my mind is that of the job he took after he and my Mom got married, and had two babies within four years. The job was as a draftsman at a local architecture firm, and it paid $6000 a year, which wasn’t very much money even back in the 1970s. But it only had a four-day work week, which meant he had every Friday off to stay home and help Mom with the babies. To hear him tell it, this shortened work week was worth far more than a bigger paycheck would be, because it allowed him a extra day with the kids--and he would strap Christian in the stroller and me in the backpack, and go out exploring the world.

This may actually be my Dad’s greatest legacy – his firm belief that one should not sit around being bored but go out and “do something.” It didn’t matter what it was…hiking on Sugarloaf Mountain with the Boy Scouts, seeing the new contemporary art exhibit at the Hirshorn Gallery, or driving out to rural Virginia to watch a simulation of firemen rescuing people from a burning building because he had read about it in the Washington Post that day. It is this instinct that I think has made me so willing to try new adventures in my own life. Of course, Dad and I have had many adventures together. We drove cross-country together three times, and saw sights as varied as Graceland to Mount Rushmore, sleeping in uncountable cheap motels along the way.

But now I’m having adventures of my own. I live in Switzerland and have been lucky enough to have the means to travel extensively within Europe. I can tell you that many if not all of my trips have been motivated in some small part by my father’s voice inside my head reminding me not to just sit around…but to go try something new. Sometimes this trip manifests itself as a glamorous trip to Paris for the weekend…sometimes its as mundane as taking a Saturday afternoon to walk down to the local flea market and see their collection of used books. Whatever it is--or was--it was always made more fun by knowing I would get to call my Dad up and talk to him about it afterwards.

And that’s the hardest part. I just miss talking to him. He was my best friend, a source of endless support and good advice. It was my Dad’s encouragement that gave me the wherewithal to chase my dream and move to Europe when I was promised nothing more than a three-month internship making $5/hr. It was my Dad who insisted I go to law school after my Mom died, and made sure I had the means--both emotionally and financially--to do it. It was my Dad who bought me no less than four cameras of increasing sophistication over the years to encourage my photography hobby, and my Dad who would stand patiently beside me for hours while I set up the perfect shot. I just don’t know how to succeed in this world without him.

I guess all I can do is try, although it won’t be easy. All my carefully laid plans are now in shambles. I had grand schemes of continuing to lead the jet-setting life, adopting babies from various African countries and dropping them off with Dad and Karen for extended periods of time while I gallivanted around, saving the world, knowing my kids would be entertained and well-cared for in my absence. I guess I need to re-think these plans now, although I still haven’t really wrapped my head around this whole “parenthood” thing.

But I know that my Dad gave me all the tools I need to succeed, whether in parenthood, career, or life in general. So long as I follow his example, I think I’ll be OK.

- Hilary B. Stauffer (daughter)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Simba looks like he has lots of possible new parents

If you hadn't noticed, we removed the link to adopt Karen's cat, Simba, today. The rescue group has received more than enough good possible leads for new adoptive families, and has asked us to remove the link on the blog as they expect good results with the families that have contacted them. Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The weather looks great

Well, today is the day and the weather looks great. I look forward to meeting as many of you as show up. To those who cannot attend today, but who have sent cards, flowers, etc... thank you for your loving support.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just a heads up about this whole Evite thing

Dear friends and family,

Due to my unfamiliarity with Evites, I did not invite people, per se, using their email addresses to send them to the Memorial RSVP Page. A few people pointed this out to me, and I wanted to redress the situation.

This does not mean you can't come. This does not mean you cannot RSVP. What it DOES mean, is that you cannot RSVP, then use the Evite to tell your friends about this Saturday. Just send your friends to the page, if you think there is someone out there who may not know, and who would like to attend.

The URL to send your friends is:


Once again, we ask that everyone who might be there this Saturday RSVP so that we can ensure enough food and drinks.

Please, don't bring gifts of food or flowers (Christian, me, will have to find a place to put them, and his small condo won't fit much), just make a donation to one of Brooke's favorite causes if you feel so moved. A caterer will be handling the event.



New photos up on Flickr from Merry Bruns

Merry Bruns sent in some new photos which I posted on Flickr.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Karen's cat, Simba, is in need of a loving home

Please note that Simba has been adopted (10 October 2007).

Dear Friends,

Simba, Karen's Maine Coon kitty (high resolution photo), is in search of a new home! He is currently in the care of a Maine Coon rescue group in Maryland, and would love to find a loving, permanent home to settle into. He is a large, three-year old purebred Maine Coon who looks just like a little lion. He is vocal, friendly, and in good health. He enjoys being around people, and likes the occasional pat. He prefers to find an ideal vantage spot in a room to observe all activity from, rather than cozying up in a comfy lap. He does not like to be picked up, at all! We are not sure about his compatibility with other cats and dogs, but we think he would enjoy their companionship and the interaction. He is strictly an indoor cat and needs to remain as such. He is a sweet kitty!

Click on the picture below to see Simba's Petfinder posting:

Click here to find out more about adopting Karen's cat, Simba on PetFinder.com

Rescue group's information:

Organization Profile: MCRescue, Frederick, MD
Contact Email: mainecoon_max@yahoo.com

Potential adopters should live within 2 hours of the DC area.

In Lieu of Flowers, make a donation to a worthy cause

For anyone who would like to make a gift to memorialize Brooke, we ask that instead of bringing flowers on Saturday, you please make a donation in his name to one of the following three charities, all of which were causes and interests close to his heart: Boy Scouts of America (endless summer weekends spent "doing something" with a coterie of boys trailing behind); Conservation International (Dad was an avid outdoorsman); or Woolly Mammoth Theatre (later in life, Dad became a very active patron of the local DC Theater scene).
Our heartfelt thanks to all who choose to remember Brooke in this way.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Memorial Service for Brooke Stauffer, Saturday, September 29, 2007.

Dear Friends and Family:

The Stauffer Kids have decided to hold a Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Brooke Stauffer on Saturday, September 29, 2007. Christian will be posting a link to an "Evite" on this blog (take a look on the right-hand side of the blog beneath the top photo), and it would be hugely helpful just in terms of planning if you could RSVP to the Evite so we know how many people to plan for. Posting your response on the Evite would be immeasurably easier than you calling or e-mailing us to let us know you are attending, so if possible we ask that you do so.

Karen's family will hold a separate memorial service for her in the Washington, DC area during the beginning of November. Details about that will be posted on the blog as well. Of course, as Karen and Brooke shared a life together, certainly she will feature in Brooke's service, as he will in hers. And everyone who wants to attend either or both is welcome to. For those of you who best remember Brooke and Karen "together," we hope you will plan accordingly. However, the families have collectively decided not to hold a "joint" services, as such.

The details are as follows: an "open house" will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2007 at Brooke and Karen's house (1115 E. Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003, bordering on Lincoln Park). Detailed driving directions and a map will be posted in the near future. The house is near Eastern Market, and RFK Stadium. As parking can be tight on Capitol Hill on the weekends, you might plan to take the Metro (orange line to Eastern Market, or Red Line to Union Station). For out of town guests, there are plenty of hotels a 10-minute cab ride away. We suggest you search in the Union Station vicinity.

The Open House will be from 12pm - 5pm. We hope that you will come and drop by for as long or short a time as you are able to, to laugh, cry, and share memories with us and each other about Brooke (and Brooke and Karen). Food and drinks will be provided. At some point during the afternoon, we will take the opportunity to eulogize Dad.

As many of you know, Brooke was not at all a religious or spiritual man. We completely respect your choice to mourn or grieve in whatever way you feel is most appropriate, and all thoughts and prayers are always very much appreciated. However, in keeping with Brooke's wishes, the Memorial Service will be secular in nature, and we hope that you can respect its non-religious atmosphere.

Many, many thanks for the outpouring of love and support that we and Karen's family have received during this terrible ordeal.

- Hilary

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A touching and wonderful email from folks who met Brooke and Karen on Mackinac Island

I received this email on the blog account today. Two people who met Brooke and Karen on Mackinac Island wrote us their recollections...


Let me start by saying how sorry I am for your loss. I was quite shocked to hear of the crash.

My wife and I had flown into Mackinaw Island on the 22nd of August arriving around 3:30pm. We met Karen and Brooke while waiting for a taxi from the airport to our respective hotels. As the taxis on Mackinaw are horse drawn carriages sharing a ride is not unusual and we discussed flying and our respective trips while waiting for the cab and during the ride into town. There was a bit of joking about the amount of luggage we (were not) carrying versus the collection of bags Karen and Brooke had with them :-) Karen seemed pretty outgoing and animated, Brooke a little more reserved - perhaps quietly amused would be a good description.

In a rather odd coincidence we both called a cab on the 24th for the ride back to the airport - so we shared the ride again. I discussed with Brooke my work with industrial controls and that I had probably read several of his articles in the past. Brooke was telling me about his new book.

On reaching the airport we loaded our aircraft and then Karen showed me the Trinidad. I did not board her aircraft but did take a good look at the plane and the control panel. The aircraft appeared to be in good condition. Karen took a look at my plane (a Liberty XL2) and then returned to preflight the Trinidad. I did notice Karen talking with several other pilots who landed while we were at the airport - I believe she was checking on the cloud ceilings. I departed Mackinaw IFR at 1:17pm and saw the Trinidad on the ramp at that time. I am assuming that they departed shortly thereafter based on the time of the accident.

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures from the trip - I wish now that I had one to share with you. Karen and Brooke were relaxed and happy - a nice couple enjoying themselves. Brooke was gracious enough to walk over to my plane before we departed and hand me his business card and said to send him my address and he would forward a signed copy of his book to me. I thought that was a very nice gesture - and from what I have read of him it was also quite normal.

It was a pleasure meeting Karen and Brooke. If I can be of any assistance to you please let me know.


Mark Radabaugh

There are new recent pictures of Brooke and Karen up on Flickr

Paul Seefedlt sent in pictures of Brooke and Karen visiting the family on August 18-22, 2007, and these photos were taken on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. These are probably the most recent pictures we have of them, and I am happy to see they spent good times with the family prior to August 24th.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Muskegon Chronicle wrote a recent article about this story and they have suspended dive operations

The Muskegon Chronicle posted a story yesterday. They interviewed Kathleen and the author makes the claim that the MSP have suspended dive recovery operations. I have not yet spoken with the detective in charge of the investigation but I will confirm the details of this story later today.

Update 12:03 EDT

I talked with the Dive Commander, Sgt. Larry Schloegl, this morning, and yes, they have suspended active searching. If something comes up (literally or figuratively) they will investigate, but they are not sending boats and divers out.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Kathleen's update on her visit to Bois Blanc Island

Dear All,

Basically, there is no news on Karen and Brooke. We drove up to Cheboygan on Wednesday and took the 8 am ferry the next day over to Bois Blanc Island. I was appalled at the expanse of water between the Island and the mainland. I didn't realize until I was looking at it what a very large area there was to search. To give you a better idea: it takes the ferry 45 minutes to cross from downtown Cheboygan to the marina on the Island.

We were met at the boat landing by the couple who first heard the explosion from the plane. His feeling about the sound was that the plane exploded in air. I talked with George (other owner) about this and he says that there is no history of in-air explosions with this plane, but he will research that. Also, I thought an explosion might have occurred when Karen switched fuel tanks in mid-flight, and a spark ignited the fuel. George says she was supposed to switch tanks on landing, and if not then, before she took off again. He does not buy the in-air explosion idea.

While we were on the island, the Michigan State Police were searching the area. Their staging area was at the Mackinac City Marina. In the photo, you will see about eight SUVs, two boat trailers and there also was a covered trailer carrying their diving gear. We could just barely see the two boats from the home of the observer.

On our return to the mainland, on Friday morning we went over to the Cheboygan State Police post. The debris that has washed up is being collected there. Thursday morning, the back seat of the plane washed up. It is a bench seat, about three feet wide. George says that seat is not attached to the plane, it just sits on the floor behind the pilot and copilot seats. Another seat also washed up. From pictures of the Trinidad on the web, it appears to me it is a seat, not a seat-back. We were told it has an 'R' on it, so it may be the right-hand seat. Also in the collection were some personal items of Karen's, including a bra and a pair of shoes. There also was a flip-flop that looked as if it could be Brooke's. And the rest of the debris was the window/door frames we have seen on the blog. I was not allowed to take a photo of the pile of debris.

I am attaching photos, and I left them large so you can see the detail. If anyone has a problem with the size of this email, let me know and I will send the photos in smaller groups.

1. A view of the east end of Bois Blanc Island from Point Nipigon on the mainland, just east of Cheboygan.
2. The police staging area at Mackinac City marina.
3. One State Police search boat searching the area.
4. Two search boats in the area.

It has been suggested to us by one of the divers that the Dive Commander in Lansing has to make the decision as to whether the search will continue this week. I have a call in to him to find out what the status actually is. It has also been suggested to us that if he is going to downgrade the search, we should call our Michigan congressperson. So as soon as I get the status I will move forward.

I'll keep you all posted when there's more news.


Friday, September 14, 2007

No recent news for Friday. Hilary sent in some more photos

We have no recent news as of today. A reporter from the area near where Karen's mother lives is airing a story today or tomorrow, locally in Michigan. If we can get a video of it, we'll post it.

Hilary sent in some more photos today. Have a quiet and safe weekend. We'll post what we know here when we get more information.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Merry Bruns sent in some wonderful photos from a picnic

Merry (Karen's best friend) sent in some wonderful photos from a picnic they recently had at the Carter Barron. These are the last photos Merry took of Karen and Brooke, Mike (her husband) and Merry had had a great picnic with them at Carter-Barron, and they all saw "Love's Labors Lost."

Wednesday's update - cruddy weather in Cheyboygan, divers going home for today

Hi All,

We talked to one of the divers this evening. Said they were just putting the boats away. He also said it was raining hard and the waves were about seven feet; said they weren't sure they would get back to shore. They were out all day today, and they found some metal pieces, but they didn't investigate because the weather was so bad. They will go out tomorrow morning at 7 am, and their target will be those pieces.

We are driving up to Cheboygan tomorrow and will take the ferry over to Bois Blanc Island. I have emailed Mike White (Ed. note: from the Bois Blanc Is. online community board) to let him know, and he says he and the man who heard the plane will meet the early boat, and we can go from there. We also plan to stop in Mackinaw City, where the divers' boats dock.

We're going up there (it's a 5 hour drive) basically just to look around and see the lay of the land. I'll take some photos, just in case there's something to see.

The weather here in Michigan is getting colder. The search boats are having a harder time of it. We pray for their success in finding the plane.

Love to all,

Monday, September 10, 2007

The MSP are still looking today, and there are a few new pictures up

Dear all,

I spoke with the Michigan State Police (MSP) this morning, and wanted to let everyone know that they are searching for the plane as I write. There is no new news to speak of, beyond that.

Some family and friends sent in some photos that I posted on the Flickr account. I will post any photos you wish to send in.

Any news of a memorial service will be posted here, so keep an eye out. The wonderful guest book comments and emails are heart-lifting, and everyone very much appreciates them. I hope everyone had a restful weekend, as I know many of you with children have them back in school now.

Friday, September 7, 2007

NFPA's Mark Earley wrote a nice tribute

H. Brooke Stauffer, NFPA Electrical Section's Chairman, and Fiancee Missing after Plane Crash

By Mark Earley, P.E.

I know that many of you have been following news reports that indicate Brooke Stauffer and his fiancée, Karen Dodds, were reported missing on a flight over Lake Huron . I am sad to report that some aircraft wreckage has been found; however, the search is still in progress and we remain hopeful.

Brooke has worked in the electrical industry for most of his career. He had spent many years at NEMA, the Smart House Development Venture, worked for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, and most recently, the National Electrical Contractors’ Association. He serves on the National Electrical Code®’s (NEC ®’s) CMP 1 and NFPA 70E, Electrical Safety in the Workplace®. He has previously served on CMP 2, CMP 20, NFPA 70B, Electrical Equipment Maintenance®, and NFPA 73, Electrical Inspection for Existing Dwellings®. He is the Chairman of the NFPA Electrical Section.

Brooke cares deeply about the electrical industry. He was the driving force behind the formation of the Inspection Initiative and the Electrical Code Coalition, which both sought to strengthen electrical inspectors and to promote adoption of the NEC.

Brooke is an accomplished writer. He has written for a number of magazines. He has written a couple of novels, including a science fiction novel for children. He also wrote a handy pocket travel guide to the Washington , DC area. Most recently, he wrote several books on the NEC.

Brooke also completely rewrote the National Electrical Code Style Manual. This was a tedious and thankless job. However, it is now readable and very user friendly.

Those of us who attended this year's World Safety Conference and Exposition remember his smooth and articulate leadership of the Electrical Section's business meeting.

Brooke is an accomplished writer in another unique way. In this day of modern email communication, he is known for his hand written notes and cards. Several people that I have spoken to this week had stories about an uplifting card that they had received from Brooke. If you had a young child, Brooke would send him/her an autographed copy of his science fiction book.

Karen Dodds is a talented graphic artist who serves as president of Dodds Design, a graphic arts company that designs web sites and brochures. I have known Karen for a few years. We have had a few long conversations about our mutual love of flying. Brooke and Karen developed a passion for exploring the country by air. I enjoyed the time that I spent with Brooke and Karen immensely. They are a great couple!

Brooke has two sons, Christian and Gregory and a daughter, Hillary.

Brooke is a good friend to many in this industry on a professional level and a personal level. Please keep Brooke and Karen in your thoughts and prayers.

Brooke’s son Christian set up a blog where he is providing updates on the search. You may find it at:


You can also send a note of support to the family on the blog.

Information may also be found on the NECA website at:www.necanet.org.

Another piece of wreckage found on Bois Blanc Is.

This has not yet been confirmed by the MSP, but the individual who found earlier pieces of the wreckage on Bois Blanc Is. reported that he found more wreckage last night, while looking for flowers on the coastline. You can read his post here. (Go to the last post)

He has reported this to the MSP, and we'll let you know what more we find out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

From Kathleen, the final update for this evening.

Hi All,

Unfortunately, there are no developments for today. The State Police were not out yesterday and they are not out today. Today they are "regrouping" and re-analyzing their work so far. They have covered about 7 to 8 square miles of lake bottom in the designated area. They have found nothing of Karen's plane. Also, no more debris has washed up.

They will now go to their command group in Lansing and see if they will get the go-ahead to search tomorrow.

We found out this morning that they are still searching for the remains of the University of Michigan medical team plane that went down a couple of months ago in Lake Michigan. So we asked the State Police how long before they say 'no more searching.' Our contact at the State Police says "We never give up" and they will continue to search until the remains are found. Period.

NFPA website mentions Brooke

The NFPA online newsletter has posted a paragraph about Brooke.

ANSI posted an article about Brooke--No news this morning

ANSI added a story about Brooke and Karen on August 30th, that his assistant sent me this morning.

I spoke with the investigating detective this morning, and the dive teams are not currently in the water. They are consulting with the University of Michigan which provides them with detailed maps of drift patterns and currents in the Great Lakes, to narrow down their search area further. No new debris has washed ashore, making this process more difficult.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Please email me photos you want added

I have received some photos of Brooke and Karen and posted them. However, due to the inherent bias of being Brooke's son, I do not have nearly as many photos of the two of them together, nor enough of Karen, and would happily add any that friends and family would like to share to the Flickr account. Feel free to email me.

John Grau wrote a post about Brooke on his blog

John Grau wrote a post about Brooke on his blog, NECA Transmissions, and I wanted to let everybody know where to find it.

All of us at NECA are saddened by the sudden loss of Brooke Stauffer. He presumably died in a private plane accident on August 24, although the plane’s wreckage has not yet been found.

Brooke was NECA’s Executive Director of Standards and Safety for 12 years. When his predecessor, Charlie Hart, retired after 40 years of service to NECA I thought that we would never find another person to fill his shoes. But Brooke did so, and he set a new standard of his own. NECA was privileged to have him serve our association.

Working with the National Electrical Code is an exacting job, and Brooke was a leader in shaping that Code. He was recently appointed to head the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Electrical Section—both an honor and recognition that Brooke was one of the nation’s top code experts. He also created and sheparded the development of the NECA National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS). NEIS was a brand new venture for NECA, and its success was largely due to Brooke’s efforts. He was a popular speaker at electrical inspector conferences and earned a reputation for promoting high quality, safe electrical installations.

You would expect someone like Brooke to have a strong technical background, but he was a writer first and foremost. He authored a number of books for NFPA and regularly wrote interesting and compelling articles and reports.

I am sure Brooke would claim that the greatest achievement in his life was raising three wonderful children and watching them become successful adults. He was a great father, engaged and supportive of his children’s activities and interests. His fiancée Karen Dodds was just as outgoing and engaging as Brooke. I always enjoyed sharing a table with them at various industry events.

Brooke was one of a small group within the office that I regularly grab a sandwich with at lunch. It was pretty quiet around the table today. We all have our memories of good times with Brooke, and we all miss him.

No searching today, bad weather.

Dear all,

We hope you had a relaxing holiday weekend. We expect no news today as the weather has hampered the resumption of search operations. We will of course post whatever we know here, so keep looking. This was the email I received this morning:

Hi All,

We just talked to the Michigan State Police and they advise us that the search has not been suspended, but the divers are not out today, more because of the wind rather than the rain.

They are regrouping and they plan to go back out tomorrow or Thursday. We will keep you posted.


Friday, August 31, 2007

The last update for the weekend, MSP is suspending recovery operations till Tuesday

Dear all,

We received a call from the detective in charge of our case with the MSP. They are suspending search operations for the weekend. Due to very light currents in the waters they have searched, they remain confident that this will not impact the continuance of the recovery effort on Tuesday.

They are searching what we estimate to be a 2-1/2 by 1 mile swath, mostly north of the South Channel of Mackinac Straits and centered about 5 miles northwest of Cheboygan, between Point Nipigon on the Lower Peninsula and Zola Point on Bois Blanc Island. On the west end of the swath is where a witness thinks the plane hit the water, and on the east end is where the Univ. of Mich. drift charts suggest the plane may be. No other debris has washed up.

We were informed that they will have to reassess the likelihood of discovering the remains of the crash, as even 48 hours ago, their success rate only hovered around 50%. They have been searching a vast area of water at great depth and under adverse weather and water conditions.

The children of Brooke wish to thank all well wishers in the guestbook, and we think we can speak on behalf of Karen's mother and say the same. We are looking forward to a weekend where every phone call is not so fraught with expectation, good or bad, and wish everyone a relaxing and quiet holiday weekend.

Still awaiting news, there are some new pictures up

Good morning everyone,

No new news this morning. Gregory's girlfriend, Caroline, uploaded some recent photo's of Karen and Brooke's visits down to Charlotte, NC. Click on their photo at the top of this blog to see them.

Anyone who is looking for memorial service information, keep your eyes here. We will announce on the blog any information pertinent to that. There are no concrete plans, yet--though once Kathleen and her husband come into town, we will make some decisions.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The MSP are still looking

Good morning all,

I talked to the State Police this morning and there is no news. He said the sonar band is only 200 feet wide and moves at about 5 miles per hour. They are covering an area 2-1/2 miles wide, so it is slow going.

Love to you all,

From Karen's website - some ad work she did to promote her business

I thought that this PDF that Karen put together to promote her business would give many of you a real sense of the amazing and driven person she was. Her passion really was flying, and that was something that Brooke shared enthusiastically with her.

Her website: doddsdesign.com

More links to news stories I found today

Nothing new to report today. These are the most recent headlines.

More debris located; weather slows search

A Detailed "after the fact" Overview of CAP efforts with names of those involved:

Yet another recent rehash from the Detroit News:

News story claims that the search for the missing plane is over. (This is NOT true. What they mean is that the CAP has stopped looking after debris was found on Monday, and they realized the plane was somewhere in the lake. They are still searching for the whole plane which we assume is under water. Once the CAP decided there was nothing to find on land they suspended their exhaustive and diligent search so the MSP could look underwater.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Karen was a proud member of DC Web Women and they sent us this note

Karen was a proud member of DC Web Women, a professional organization for women interested in new media in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. I recently hired one of their members to work with me at AICR, and Karen talked about them often.

They just sent me this note:

Sad news to report...

Karen Dodds, graphic designer and long-time DC Web Woman, is missing and presumed dead after the small plane she was flying failed to arrive at Mackinac Island, Michigan Friday afternoon. She had planned a sightseeing trip with her fiance and ran into bad weather.

Those who knew Karen might wish to read a blog that has been set up to track any news:


Please join me in remembering Karen as someone who loved the web and was always willing to offer help and advice to our community.


Brooke's office (NECA) posted a notice on their website

This is the notice posted on NECA's website:

August 28, 2007

NECA Standards Director Brooke Stauffer And Fiancee Missing

We regret to inform you that Brooke Stauffer, NECA’s executive director of standards and safety, and his fiancée Karen Dodds are missing after the small, single-engine plane they were flying in on Friday apparently went down over Lake Huron. Some debris from the aircraft was reportedly found yesterday on the beach at Bois Blanc Island.

Brooke and Karen had been vacationing on Mackinac Island. On Friday afternoon, they set out from the small airport there to Bad Axe, Michigan, with Karen piloting the plane. The plan was to visit her family in the area and the flight should have taken about two hours. They never arrived.

A massive search took place over the weekend. The Michigan Wing of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol, based in Gaylord, the U.S. Coast Guard out of Detroit, and the Royal Canadian Coast Guard were all involved in the effort. The search continues today with the use of divers in the area where the wreckage was discovered.

We will provide an update when more information is known. In the meantime, you may click here (http://karenandbrooke.blogspot.com/) to read the blog being maintained by Brooke’s oldest son, Christian.

Brooke joined NECA’s national headquarters staff in June 1995. His duties include overseeing the development of our series of National Installation Standards and safety resources. He is also chairman of the National Fire Protection Association's Electrical Section, which has overall responsibility for the National Electrical Code, and he is a principal on Code-Making Panel 1, NFPA. Our thoughts and prayers are with Brooke and Karen and their families.

The Guestbook messages have been posted, sorry for the delay

Dear all,

All guestbook postings have been made live. I forgot to login and approve them in the last 24 hours. Please continue to leave your messages there, if you would like to make it easy for everyone else to read them.

If you have pictures you want posted on the Flickr account behind Karen & Dad's picture at the top of the blog, please send them to me at djchristauff@gmail.com.

Wednesday news - an email from Karen's Mom

Hi all,

I just talked to the State Police and he said that the boats were already in the water this morning, looking for the plane. They are using side band radar and searching about a 2-1/2 mile radius, at about 100-plus foot depth.

Our Pastor was up on Mackinac Island Monday and Tuesday (on vacation) and stopped by the airport to talk to the Manager. He showed Pastor the weather reports from Friday, which showed "haze with visibility 1-3/4 miles." He thinks that if/when she ran into the fog and discovered it was worse than she thought, that she may have tried to turn around and go back. He said if she turned toward Cheboygan, she would have a horizon; if she turned left toward the lake, she would have lost her horizon and become disoriented. I know Karen was good with her instruments but if she was flying as low as 500 to 1000 feet, she wouldn't have had enough room to maneuver.

State Police say they are working with Univ. of Mich. and their depth and drift pattern charts to locate the plane. The location of the debris has been consistent with eye-witness reports and their charts. This has pinpointed the area they are searching for the plane. I will call with any further news.

Love to you all,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Final CAP Press Release

United States Air Force Auxiliary
1100 Aero Drive
Gaylord, Michigan 49735
Telephone: (248) 565-2001

28 August 2007
12:00 p.m. EST
Mission: 07M-1572A
Release #4

GAYLORD, Mich. –Michigan Wing of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol has turned this mission over to the Michigan State Police today. Below is a copy of the press release sent this afternoon.

At the completion of yesterday’s activities Civil Air Patrol had flown more than 100 hours over the past three days using eight of the nine aircraft assigned to Michigan Wing. Each day more than 60 volunteers worked on ground teams, base staff and aircrews to locate the missing plane. Many tips were received from the public, and we wish to thank them for their support. We also wish to thank the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Glenns Market, McDonalds, Kmart and other local business that contributed food and equipment to our teams. These contributions came not only from the Gaylord area but also from Grayling and surrounding communities.

**************** From the Michigan State Police *******************

Update #4


ST. IGNACE, MICH. The search for a small, single engine plane with two passengers that left Mackinac Island at approximately 1:30 p.m. on August 24 en route to Bad Axe continues. Yesterday’s search by the Civil Air Patrol resulted in the discovery of debris along the Lake Huron shore between Cheboygan and Hammond Bay that is consistent with the type and model of aircraft that is missing.

With this finding, coupled with eyewitness reports, the search is being narrowed to the water between Cheboygan, Hammond Bay and Bois Blanc Island. The Michigan State Police (MSP) Underwater Recovery Unit has been requested to begin searching the area; however, the search is on hold due to inclement weather.

Currently, air search efforts by the Civil Air Patrol have been suspended. Further air searches will be conducted if the situation dictates.

The two passengers aboard the plane are reported to be pilot Karen Dodds, 51, of Washington DC and her passenger Brooke Stauffer, 55, also of Washington DC.

The MSP and Civil Air Patrol have received assistance from the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, Presque Isle Sheriff’s Department, Mackinac County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Coast Guard.


MSP St. Ignace Post, (906) 643-7582

We have added a guestbook to the blog on the right

Due to the overwhelming number of warm and loving emails we have received I felt it might be appropriate to add a guestbook (look to the right) on the blog so that everyone can leave messages here. I will moderate all posts and will be happy to post personal emails I have received to it already, if someone requests it. It looks like this:

No water search underway today unless waves calm down.

I have spoken with the detective in charge of our case who is with the State Police. He told me this afternoon that there has not been any search undertaken today, due to four foot rollers (waves) on Lake Huron. He informed me that they will start just as soon as the waves calm down a bit.

We have received more photos and I have posted them on Flickr, thanks to Mike Holt and Lorena Checa, who are close friends.

More local news organizations are picking this story up

Just saw this story posted today.

Airplane missing four days
Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Authorities met late Monday to decide whether to continue to search for a missing aircraft and two people aboard.

Search and rescue teams were taking a close look along Lake Huron and its shoreline after the single-engine private plane failed to arrive at a Thumb airport Friday.

Karen Dodds of Washington, D.C., was piloting the plane, a relative said. She was flying with her fiance, Brooke Stauffer, also of Washington, D.C., said Stauffer's first cousin, John P. Stauffer, 59, of Asheboro, N.C.

Brooke Stauffer, who is in his mid-50s, is a widower; Dodds is divorced, Stauffer said.

"He was (in Michigan) visiting relatives," Stauffer said. "He was supposed to meet a relative in Bad Axe and see another relative in Saginaw, but he never made it."

Authorities would not confirm the pilot or the passenger's identities Monday.

The four-seat blue-and-white aircraft left Mackinac Island Airport about noon Friday, bound for Huron County Memorial Airport in Bad Axe, authorities have said.

Search crews have focused on the craft's projected flight path but so far have found no sign of the airplane or its passengers. Officials said they think the pilot and a passenger were on a sight-seeing tour of northern Michigan.

If you need to get in touch with Hilary Stauffer

Hilary's friends can reach her at the following information:

hilarystauffer AT yahoo.com
240-604-8115 (cell)
202-547-2170 (home)

All calls and inquiries are appreciated. Please understand that it may be very hard to answer you promptly.

All your thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated.

The most recent news we have - Bois Blanc Island

At the moment, what we can tell everyone is that they have narrowed the search down to the waters around Bois Blanc Island. We don't expect the news to be positive. We are awaiting an official press release of the CAP's activities, today; but the Civil Air Patrol talks with Kathleen several times a day, regardless.

On Friday, the day they took off from Makinac Island, several residents of this island reported to the local authorities that they heard a plane and then a "loud boom". I received a link to the island's online community where a posting had begun about this development, from concerned citizens there, who had independently found this blog. Our families were unaware of this, and had only reported Brooke and Karen missing when they did not land at the airstrip in Bad Axe, MI.

On Monday morning, we received word that some debris was found on the beach at Bois Blanc Island. This led to the belief that the plane was in the water, not on land.

Last night, around 9pm, Kathleen contacted me to say that Coast Guard is sending divers down today. That is all we can report at the moment. Keep checking in for more news.

Hilary and Gregory are in Washington, DC; now, at Karen and Brooke's house.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Brooke and Karen's friend Mike Holt sent us some recent pictures

Mike Holt sent some recent photos he took of Brooke and Karen when they visited him.

Kathleen (Karen's mom) sent a recent picture of the three of them, which you can view at the same link below.

I posted them with his permission to my Flickr account. You can view their photos here.

The third press release from the Civil Air Patrol (CAP)

This press release can seem a tad repetitive if you just read the two previous ones for the first time, but the CAP and the State Police are doing a bang-up up job looking and we salute their efforts.

Download PRESS RELEASE 3 (MS Word DOC)

United States Air Force Auxiliary
1100 Aero Drive
Gaylord, Michigan 49735
Telephone: (248) 565-2001

26 August 2007
1 p.m. EST
Mission: 07M-1572A
Release #3

GAYLORD, Mich. – Members of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol’s Michigan Wing continued their search today for a small, single-engine plane with two people on board along the eastern and northern shoreline of lower Michigan.

Today we have launched six aircraft and sent three ground teams into the search area. Civil Air Patrol wishes to thank the public for calling in their tips and observations, it’s with this continued support that will allow us to concentrate our search in the more promising areas. Please call us, or your local law enforcement agency if you have any information that you think might help.

Civil Air Patrol, an organization consisting entirely of volunteers, also wishes to thank the local Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Glenns Market who have contributed food and drinks for our searchers.

The overdue aircraft departed Mackinac Island Airport on Friday afternoon (Aug. 24) en route to Bad Axe, Mich. The search area has been concentrated along the aircraft’s projected flight path along the shoreline.

All Civil Air Patrol search efforts are being coordinated out of the wing’s mission base established at Gaylord Regional Airport in Gaylord, Mich.

If anyone has any information that might help the Michigan Wing locate this overdue aircraft or its two passengers, please contact Maj. Patrick Gorman, wing mission information officer, at (248) 565-2001.

The local news has picked up this story

Here are a few stories I've been sent and have found so far:
Search is on for Missing Small Plane

The Michigan Wing of the Civil Air Patrol has been hard at work this weekend looking for a small single engine plane with two people aboard, that's been missing since Friday.
The plane took off from Mackinac Island Airport on Friday afternoon and was in route to Bad Axe, Michigan... But it never got there.

Headquartered in Gaylord, more than 60 wing members and eight civil air patrol planes started searching for the overdue aircraft yesterday afternoon. So far, they've logged more than 30 hours of flight time.

Ground teams followed up on leads phoned in by lcoal residents and supported flight teams when needed.

They are concentrating their search on the plane's projected flight path along the lake huron coast.

If anyone saw anything Friday afternoon, or since, that might help searchers, they can call 248-240-2275.
This one says the search has been suspended. That is only partially true. The Coast Guard is no longer searching without more concrete information:

Search for missing plane comes up empty

HURON COUNTY — An extensive search for a missing single engine aircraft bound for Bad Axe Friday has been suspended, according to the U.S. Coast Guard out of Detroit.

The aircraft was reportedly bound for Huron County Memorial Airport on Friday from Mackinac Island but did not arrive.

Ellen Engler, Huron County Memorial Airport manager, said there was no flight plan logged for the stop in Bad Axe, but that is not required. It was when “a private party came here to meet the aircraft” in Bad Axe that it was determined the aircraft was missing.

Engler said the aircraft is reported to be a four-passenger single engine airplane. She did not know who or how many people were aboard when the aircraft left Mackinac Island.

“I do know we fueled out the Coast Guard and they had people conducting a very extensive search,” Engler said.

The U.S. Coast Guard out of Detroit confirmed the air search for the aircraft “from the location the aircraft left from to the location they were expected to arrive.”

Huron Central Dispatch received a call at 11:24 a.m. on Saturday from Lansing Air Service requesting that someone check the Huron County Memorial Airport for a blue and white aircraft that was supposed to have landed at the airport.

Deputy Ryan Swartz was dispatched to the airport and was unable to located the aircraft.

No further information was available from the Coast Guard.

The Civil Air Patrol sent out press releases


Some members of the family have been asking about press releases, so this morning when the CAP contact (Lt. Col. Curtis Boehmer) called me I asked him about it. This is his reply with two of the press releases. They will forward to me any further press releases.
Please put these up on the blog.

Also, for further information, I asked how long they would continue to search. The answer: They (CAP) are directed to search by the State Police, and every day CAP reports to the SP on the results of that day's search. Based on that day's information, the SP makes the decision on whether or not to continue the search.


Read them below:
Download PRESS RELEASE 1 (MS Word DOC)

United States Air Force Auxiliary
1100 Aero Drive
Gaylord, Michigan 49735
Telephone: (248) 565-2001

26 August 2007
8 p.m. EST
Mission: 07M-1572A
Release #1

GAYLORD, Mich. – Members of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol’s Michigan Wing continued their search today for a small, single-engine plane with two people on board along the eastern shoreline of lower Michigan.

The air and ground teams covered more than 1,500 square miles and will continue the search tomorrow.

The overdue aircraft departed Mackinac Island Airport on Friday afternoon (Aug. 24) en route to Bad Axe, Mich. The search area has been concentrated along the aircraft’s projected flight path along the shoreline.

Michigan Wing search operations today included eight aircraft, totaling over 30 hours of flight time, and three ground teams with nine members each, and mission base staff. While the flight teams retraced the aircraft‘s projected flight path and covered the surrounding area, the ground teams followed-up on leads phoned in by local residents and supported the flight teams when needed.

All Civil Air Patrol search efforts are being coordinated out of the wing’s mission base established at Gaylord Regional Airport in Gaylord, Mich.

If anyone has any information that might help the Michigan Wing locate this overdue aircraft or its two passengers, please contact Maj. Patrick Gorman, wing mission information officer, at (248) 565-2001.

Download PRESS RELEASE 2 (MS Word DOC)

United States Air Force Auxiliary
1100 Aero Drive
Gaylord, Michigan 49735
Telephone: (248) 565-2001

26 August 2007
12 p.m. EST
Mission: 07M-1572A
Release #1

GAYLORD, Mich. – Members of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol’s Michigan Wing began searching on Saturday (Aug. 25) for a small, single-engine plane with two people on board along the eastern coast of lower Michigan.

More than 60 wing members and five CAP aircraft wing are currently involved in the extensive search, along with members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The overdue aircraft departed Mackinac Island Airport on Friday afternoon (Aug. 24) en route to Bad Axe, Mich. The search area has been concentrated along the aircraft’s projected flight path along the coast.

Michigan Wing search operations today include six aircraft and two ground teams and mission base staff. The search is being conducted by members of the wing’s Gaylord, Au Sable, Traverse City and Alpena Composite squadrons, as well as other wing support personnel from all over the state of Michigan.

All Civil Air Patrol search efforts are being coordinated out of wing’s mission base established at Gaylord Regional Airport in Gaylord, Mich. Major Randolph Rice, the Incident Commander, when asked about the status of the mission reported “…Civil Air Patrol has been around for more than 66 years, this is what we train for and we have many many dedicated people to draw from, all over Michigan…”

If anyone has any information that might help the Michigan Wing locate this overdue aircraft or its two passengers, please contact Maj. Patrick Gorman, wing mission information officer, at (248) 565-2001.

The Civil Air Patrol search team is pretty significant


In the interest of time, I'm sending this directly to you instead of my trying to upload it to the blog.

This is a synopsis of today's activities and information of what they will do tomorrow:

Today the Civil Air Patrol Search & Rescue Service had eight planes in the air and four ground teams. The air teams were examining closely the two islands nearest Mackinac Island. CAP sets a numeric measure of the chance of their success of finding the plane. Today their success ratio was not as high as they wished so they will also fly those islands tomorrow. In other words, they did not find anything. If tomorrow's search doesn't turn up anything, they will fly further south tomorrow, starting at daybreak.

CAP is in contact with the Coast Guard and is keeping them apprised of their success ratio. Based on that, CG will make a decision of whether or not they will rejoin the search and when.

I forgot to add that they found that the radar tapes from the airbase at Alpena were not of value as apparently Karen was flying literally below the radar.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

2007-08-26: First email from Karen's Mom

I received this from email Karen's Mom on Saturday, August 25, 2007 2:46 PM


If you've been trying to reach your Dad by cell phone unsuccessfully, here's why.

Brooke and Karen left here (Muskegon area) Wednesday to fly up to Mackinac Island (at the tip of the Michigan mitt) for two days. On Friday afternoon, they planned to fly down to The Thumb of Michigan to my brother's place (Bill & Doranne). They called Bill to say they were starting around 1:00-1:15 pm, and that they would arrive around 3:00-3:30 pm. Bill and Doranne were there at 3:00 and waited until 4:30 pm and the plane did not arrive -- and still has not arrived.

Karen's plan was to fly low over the water (about 500 feet) so they could see the dunes, shoreline, etc. Unfortunately, just about the time they planned to take off, there was a bad weather cell in what would have been the middle of their route. Karen did have about three-quarters of a tank of gas (= about three hours of flying).

By the time we got worried last evening, all the flight offices at the nearby airports were closed. So I started calling at 8 o'clock this morning and have been on the phone ever since. I have called the Mackinac Island airport -- the plane is not there. I have called five or six nearby airports that she could have landed at, and she is not there. I have called the Coast Guard and they have no report of a plane in the water. I have also filed an official Missing Plane report with the FAA. I called the State Police, but they have handed it off to the CG and FAA as they have larger resources. We understand the Civil Air Patrol is also looking for them. I talked to the national Flight Service; Karen did not file a flight plan for her flight from Muskegon to Mackinac Island, which I knew, as, again, she was going to fly over the shoreline. And she also did not file a flight plan on Friday, and has not filed one yet today.

If you have tried to reach your Dad or Karen, you know the call goes right to voice mail, which means the phone is either out of service or turned off. I know that if she could, if she were in trouble, the first thing Karen would do would be to reach for her cell phone. I have also sent an email to her with no reply to present.

I have also talked to George, Karen's partner in the plane, and the airport at Gaithersburg, out of which they fly. I am told she cannot get into the restricted airspace without a flight plan, so the minute she files, we all will know of it.

We all are waiting and hoping for a good resolution.


The second email I received from Karen's mom

I received this email from Karen's mom, Kathleen later on Saturday:

Saturday, August 25, 2007 10:49 PM


Here's the latest news on the search. I have also sent this info to Hilary so she will have it when she wakes up.

The Coast Guard called around dinner time (late) to say they were pulling back their boats -- which had been covering the islands near Mackinac Island -- and their airplane out of Traverse City. They say they will not resume their part of the search unless there is some concrete news.

The Civil Air Patrol Search & Rescue also called to say they had pulled back one of their planes for duty in the south of the state, but they still had four planes in the air: one is covering the area from Port Huron to Alpena including across Saginaw Bay and one is covering from Alpena to Mackinac Island, both going out and back. They have 60 people on the ground with receivers trying to find the electronic 'ping' activated by the plane's impact (ED Note: this cannot be heard under water). CAP is setting up a staging area at Gaylord and their planes will go out from there at sunrise. I asked how long they will continue, and he said "until we find them." So that's good to know. CAP is also looking at radar tapes from the Air Force base in Alpena. Their radar covers Mackinac Island and now that they have a better fix on the time Karen was ready to take off, they will review the tapes again to see if they can pick up her plane. I also corrected their description of the plane by giving them a website so they could go look at it. The officer was happy to have it.

The State Police called late and asked if either phone had a 'tracker' on it. I told her Karen has a Treo with Garmin on it, so she MAY have but I don't know for sure.

The Royal Canadian Coast Guard just called to confirm their information with me -- they also had the plane colors incorrect. CAP told me that RCC was helping them cover the shoreline on the Michigan side of Lake Huron.

That seems to be all the news until morning.