All posts by Gord Tessier



Adam Hill of CASARA London fame has put together two fantastic stores to purchase official CASARA kit for our mmbers. Adam has also created a Supporting store for those who wish to support CASARA. All monies recieved above the cost of the items and shipping will be retuurned to the zones to help support them financially. The link to the store is The password is the same one you used to access the members section of the site.

CASARA Ontario awards for 2023

CASARA Ontario awards for 2023


A major search, T2023-00173 C-GMVB, was called by the RCAF in March 2023 for a plane missing between Nakina and Fort Hope. Thunder Bay was identified for the Advance Task Force (ATF) deployment.
The leadership of NOASARA readily offered its ample and well resourced premises as the base for RCAF and CASARA assets (Hercules aircraft, Griffon and Cormorant for the RCAF and CASARA aircraft and crews from Niagara, Winnipeg and Regina), along with those of the Ontario Provincial Police, Coast Guard and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
In addition to providing all the space and amenities needed for such a complex operation, the entire membership of the zone stepped up to the plate to provide support in the office in any capacity required, on the helicopters and fixed-wing as spotters.
As assistant search master, Mr. Jim Geils played a crucial role in the coordination of everyone’s efforts.
The RCAF was most appreciative of NOASARA’s contribution to the conduct of this major search.  Their success also reflected very positively on our entire organisation.


Mr. Cooper is a long-standing member of CASARA and has been, for the last ten years, acting as training officer for the Zone.  In that capacity, he has organised and delivered training at the Zone monthly meetings.  More importantly, he has very carefully monitored members currency and identified what each and every member needs to stay current.  He has also prioritized those in need of currency in various SAREX’S, while ensuring trainees got the classroom and practice time they require to achieve certification.

Mr. Cooper owns his own plane, which he fitted with a homer. In that regard, he has achieved uncanny abilities to use it very effectively.  He is now in the process of fitting his airplane with camera mounts for use with the new technology being introduced.

As a very major achievement, Mr. Cooper was PIC in the successful search for a missing aircraft two years ago.

Finally, he has and continues to play a very important role in the development and upkeep of TMMS.

CASARA Ontario conducts Cold Weather RPAS Testing.

CASARA Niagara along with assistance from CASARA London recently conducted cold weather testing of our RPAS capabilities. Members from the RCAF were also in attendance. Checkout the article from the NOTL Local below.

Article by Randy Klaassen, Courtesy of the NOTL Local



On the morning of July 24th, 2021, an aircraft (a PA-24 Piper Comanche) from CASARA Ottawa was engaged in training exercises just east of Ottawa. During the exercise they heard a MAYDAY call from an aircraft in distress. The distress aircraft had encountered an engine failure and advised it was going to conduct an off-airport landing.

The CASARA crew immediately contacted Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton (JRCC) to report the MAYDAY radio transmission.  JRCC tasked the CASARA aircrew with a search pattern to a possible location as confirmed by an Emergency Locator Beacon (ELT) 406 Mhz hit recorded at Canadian Mission Control Centre (CMCC) CFB Trenton.  The satellite signal indicated the potential crash site was near Lac Forant, Quebec which was 100 nautical miles northwest of the CASARA training area.  Joining the search were two RCAF air assets, a CC-130H Hercules and a CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 424 Sqn based at CFB Trenton

As the CASARA aircraft approached the crash location they were able to electronically home to the downed aircraft’s exact position with their specialized aircraft-mounted homing equipment.  

Once overhead, a communications link on VHF radio with the downed pilot was attempted with no response.  Out of cell phone range, the quick thinking crew knew that they could communicate through the NavCanada Montreal Area Control Centre (ACC) to relay their position to JRCC which allowed the 424 Sqn aircraft to quickly arrive at the crash scene for the rescue. 

The CASARA crew remained on scene flying overhead until RCAF aircraft arrived to begin rescue operations.  The Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) from 424 Sqn Trenton were hoisted down from the Griffon helicopter to render medical assistance to the downed pilot who was subsequently hoisted onto the Griffon helicopter and flown to Pembroke Hospital.  She was released from hospital later that day and has expressed her heart felt thanks to the Search and Rescue Crews.

Congratulations to CASARA Ottawa air crew and ground support for their professionalism and a job well done!

“That others may live”

Below is the flight path of the CASARA aircraft…

Below is an image of the crashed aircraft as taken from the Griffon.

Joe Santschi Retires


On Saturday, July 17th the members of CASARA London had a BBQ at St. Thomas airport to thank Joe Santschi for his 31 years of dedicated service to CASARA and London Air Patrol. Joe was a member of the London Air Patrol 2 years before CASARA was even born. In his tenure, Joe has been in many roles including Spotter, Electronic Search Specialist, Navigator, Search Coordinator and others. Perhaps one of Joe’s most important roles has been the night shift Dispatcher, being the person that gets wakened up in the middle of the night by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) when a call for assistance comes in. He has held that role for the last 25 years. Joe’s dedication to Search and Rescue had him volunteering several hundred hours each year and would not have been possible had it not been for his very supportive wife, Norma. Over the years, Joe has been trained in winter survival and water egress training and has taken many members under his wing to inspire the next generation of CASARA London volunteers. Thank you for upholding the search and Rescue motto “that others may live” for over 3 decades.

Your friends at CASARA London/London Air Patrol


“30 Years of Search and Rescue Adventure”

Written by Randy Klaassen

Niagara local, Shane Barton, was recognized for his 30 years as a search and rescue volunteer. Recently Barton was presented an Ontario Volunteer Service Award, for 30 Years, and lately Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) Niagara awarded him with a 30 Year Wing pin. 

Barton’s involvement with search and rescue began in 1979 with a ground organization. It was later at a Hamilton Airshow he learned of CASARA Niagara. When asked, Barton said, “My involvement with CASARA has been diversified, to say the least. I started as a spotter and progressed with learning aviation communications, navigation and safety.” As a member of CASARA Barton has flown as a spotter, served with ground searches, and as a driver for the unit’s mobile command vehicle. 

Behind Barton’s many searches he has spent thousands of hours training. “It has been a great adventure serving with CASARA Niagara, where I’ve had opportunity to learn more each year, as technology and skills evolve. I’ve really enjoyed serving with other crew members, and engaging members of the public on enjoying outdoor activities safely.” 

While CASARA volunteers are aviation focused, they are also called upon to assist with searching for persons missing on the Lakes, lost hikers, and other situations of people in distress. 

CASARA Niagara has headquarters and training facility at Niagara District Airport, operating two aircraft and a mobile command vehicle. As a charitable organization the volunteers depend on donations to maintain their operations. Deemed “An Essential Service,” and using COVID protocols, CASARA volunteers have been actively training for the upcoming spring season. 

Receiving his awards, Barton told his crew members, “It’s an honour to receive this 30-year pin, and I hope there is a 50-year pin, because I plan on serving for a long time to come.” 

For more information on CASARA Niagara, check the website,


Attached photos; credit: Randy Klaassen, CASARA Niagara, Training Officer.