Archive: News

Chintex 2019

by Eric Cline


The Northwestern Ontario Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA Thunder Bay) had a role in CHINTHEX 2019 – May 06 -10. For the second consecutive year 435SQN based in Winnipeg, MB held its spring training exercise (CHINTHEX) in Thunder Bay and area. NOASARA members had many unique opportunities to participate in various activities ranging from flying intercepts, spotting from one of many CC130 Hercules, and portraying casualties for the MAJAID. New and returning members alike were impressed with the variety of airborne taskings – spotting during an intercept, assisting a disabled boat, and spotting and assisting in the dropping of nine SARtechs and Rescue Jumpers for the MAJAID. Each event offered some new experiences and provided new and updated skills and tips. Participation in events such as this helps update skills and increase our interagency operability. Regrettably this year NOASARA was the only CASARA unit involved as many of the Prairie and Northern units found the travel time too long.

Also participating in the event were air and support crews from 435SQN (Winnipeg) with 2 CC130, 424SQN (Trenton) with 1 CC130, 439SQN (Bagottville) with a CH-146 Griffon, and from south of the border; USGC Traverse City MI with a JayHawk helicopter, USAF 39 Rescue SQN (Florida) with a C130 and 304 Rescue SQN (Portland Oregon) with para-rescue jumpers. Additional participation came from CF SkyHawks demonstration team, and Ornge.

Working alongside and around all these rescue professionals, many great connections were made and skills improved. This high profile event has also helped with member recruitment. NOASARA looks forward to working with these groups in the future. 

A Canadian Forces Search and Rescue Technician parachutes to a simulated plane crash during CHINTHEX near Thunder Bay, Ontario on May 8th, 2019. Photo by Cpl Bryce Cooper, 17 Wing Imaging
Air Search and Rescue Association member, Bobbi Fisher searches for simulated casualties on a CC-130 Hercules aircraft during CHINTHEX near Thunder Bay, Ontario on May 8th, 2019. Photo by Cpl Bryce Cooper, 17 Wing Imaging
United States Air Force Combat Search and Rescue Para Jumpers and Canadian Forces Search and Rescue Technicians carry a simulated casualties on a litter during CHINTHEX near Thunder Bay, Ontario on May 7th, 2019. Photo by Cpl Bryce Cooper, 17 Wing Imaging



Sudbury wins the team award for 2019
Cheryl Kuss wins the Individual award for 2019. Her husband Dan has graciously accepted it on her behalf.


From Friday afternoon June 7th to Sunday morning June 9th the Ontario Executive has been busy digesting the past year and planning for the year ahead at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Center in London, Ontario. The business of SAR is very similar to any other corporation. Once a year the zone directors, executive, officers, our OPP liaison and our military gather for two days of intense meetings and collaboration all designed to support our members.


By Glenn Osmond.

Girls Take Flight

On April 27, 2019 several members from the CARES Niagara Zone based out of St. Catharines maintained a CASARA booth at the “Girls Take Flight” event at the Oshawa Executive Airport. Original plans to also have a static display (C182 – PJO) on the apron had to be cancelled due to inclement weather conditions.
The Zone used the opportunity as a SAR Awareness event to raise the profile of CASARA and our role within the SAR community. Also, not unlike the aviation industry in general, female participants are under-represented in CASARA so the occasion was also used to promote our efforts to attract and retain more female members. This event served both goals. 
Organizers reported just in excess of 1,000 attendees at the event. It is estimated that between 150 and 200 people dropped by the booth to either collect literature on display and/or to ask questions about the organization. It is estimated at least twenty-five people expressed a keen interest in learning more about the organization with the possibility of joining, some of whom were female. At least twenty parents introduced their daughters to SAR.
It is also worth noting that our location beside the Canadian Forces Recruiting booth and the Air Cadet Gliding programme also proved useful in drawing attention to the booth and served to highlight the strong association with our military partners. 424 Squadron had a static display (Griffon) on the ramp throughout the day. The Griffon crew, Captain Stef Pouliot and Major Chris Herten, took some time early in the day to drop by and say hello.
CASARA members who attended felt the event was certainly time will spent in serving one of our mandates – promoting SAR awareness and the organization in general to all who attended, particularly young women who were considering a career in aviation.



Thank you to all who contributed.

“That others may live”

CASARA Niagara participates in Annual Christmas Parade

CASARA Niagara shows its stuff in Annual Christmas Parade

Every year for the last ten years, approximately ten to twenty members of CASARA Niagara (CARES) participate in the annual Niagara on The Lake, Christmas Parade. It is an opportunity not only for our members to come together in anticipation of a visit from old St. Nick but to also create an awareness in our local community of CASARA and the works we do. As a result of our participation CASARA Niagara enjoys a very high profile in the community. Niagara has a large and diverse volunteer base. We joyfully hand out yes, you guessed it, Lifesavers to the children who line the five kilometer parade route winding through the old town and finishing up near the Cenotaph. It is one of the largest parades in Ontario with over 100 floats. Attendance typically runs in the 3000 to 4000 range.

Here is a photo of this years crew.

In whichever tradition you choose to recognize the holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from CASARA Ontario.


Emergency Responders recognized by CANADA Post

Emergency First Responders recognized by CANADA Post

As many if you know a commorative stamp was commisioned recently to recognize the contributions made by first reposnders. CASARA is recognized as one of those groups.

Click on the link below to read the article and photo from one of the recent presenations.

Click here!


Arctic Trainer’s continue. CASARA is there!

Successful Arctic Trainer completed this month 

Here is what was accomplished during the week. Below are the National CLO’s comments.
The team is now back in the warm and humid weather.  The team did a fantastic job working long hours.
We visited: Kuujjuaq, Iqaluit, Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay, Resolute Bay and Rankin Inlet travelling over 4500nm in five days and saw muskox, bowhead whale, narwhal, orcas, beluga, polar bears.
We flew thirty-two hours on the Hercules and six hours on the Twin Otter.
We trained fifty-two spotters and made Arctic Bay, Resolute Bay and Rankin Inlet operational.
We setup the CVT and trained Arctic Bay and Rankin Inlet on the CVT.
Abdoul Diakite and Taha Tabish are competent on Spotter training (Hercules and Twin Otter), TMMS and CVT.
Many new and younger members joined CASARA Nunavut.
This could not have been done without the combined support of 424 SQN and CASARA. Thank you to the whole team for your professionalism and your dedication to Search and Rescue and CASARA.
Ceci ne serait pas possible sans les efforts combiné de l’escadron 424 et CASARA-SERABEC.  Merci à toute l’équipe pour votre professionnalisme et votre dévouement à la Recherche et Sauvetage et SERABEC.

Scroll down through this journey and follow the crew each day as they trained new members!


On the schedule for Monday is training around Mount Thor, Pond Inlet and Resolute Bay.

Members from Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut are there including…

Steve Hunsberger: Thunder Bay
Paul Laliberté: Québec
Andre Boulanger: Victoriaville
Mike McKay: Ottawa
Abdoul Diakite: Iqaluit
Taha Tabish: Iqaluit



On the schedule for Tuesday…Mary Jawarenko continues to be a great CASARA volunteer in Pond Inlet. Eleven spotters were trained today and many saw narwhal at the same time. CLOs trained the spotters. Ontario members trained Nunavut members on TMMS. Québec members setup ground targets for the spotters.
True team work and cooperation between CASARA and the RCAF.

On the schedule for Wednesday…Today the crew is at the Narwhal airport hotel.
Pre flight planning,TMMS training. Eleven spotters will be trained today.













Tabitha Mullin (Resolute Bay Unit Director) (wearing a hat) training one of her member onboard the CC130. Nine members became operational today and are ready for an active searches to support the RCAF.

Mike McKay (Ottawa) and Abdoul Diakite (Iqaluit) were also instructing onboard the CC130.

Tabitha (Wildlife officer) and Angela (Parks Canada manager) share their knowledge of the land and culture by showing the crew their hunting grounds and hunting cabins.

Andre Boulanger
Taha Tabish
Paul Laliberté
Steve Hunsberger
Maj Claude Courcelles


While there is little doubt as to the seriousness of the mission, later in the day the crew did find time to engage in some team building exercises when they went off on a “polar bear hunt”. Major Courcelles told them to quickly crab their cameras because he had just seen a polar bear. The team was excited. They grabbed their cameras and binoculars and followed the Major.

“To their surprise, I took them to the Resolute Bay terminal. We had a good laugh”.


Later on the team gathered together to see how many could fit on an ice flow.

By the icy arctic water.
Maj Claude Courcelles (NCLO)
Capt Marty Zimmer (424 Sqn CLO)
Taha Tabish (Iqaluit)
Andre Boulanger (Victoriaville)
Paul Laliberté (Québec city)
Steve Hunsberger (Thunder Bay)
Mike McKay (Ottawa)
Angela Piercey (Resolute Bay)



The CASARA/SERABEC team has done a fantastic job today in Arctic Bay. We had three lifts on the Twin Otter. We put together the CVT and instructed the unit director on its operation. We updated TMMS on the training done. Arctic Bay is now operational and ready to take calls from JRCC.


Transit back to Resolute Bay. It was a long day but flying at 10,000 ft. without oxygen and without pressurization is not easy on the body.

The Team!













The Major takes any opportunity to recruit new members.





Today the crew is getting ride to to their training by CASARA Member Charlene Kindly.

CVT Training today


Flying with Nanna Charlene
















Spotter training complete. Thirteen new spotters qualified!

CASARA attends Brantford Community Charity Airshow Aug 29th, 2018

CASARA attends Brantford Community Charity Airshow Aug 29th, 2018

On Wednesday the 29th of August CASARA attended the Brantford Community Charity Airshow for the first time. Attendance despite being on a weekday was unofficially in excess of 10,000 people. CARES Niagara attended with with two assets. Their mobile communications platform and it’s twin engine Cessna Skymaster. The van and the aircraft were open for inspection to the public. It was a great day to highlight the value of CASARA to the general public and to make aware the contrubution that CASARA makes to Search and Rescue in Canada. Other than some light rain and cloud cover the weather was great for watching our RCAF Snowbirds, our CF-18 painted in the 60th anniversery of NORAD blues, the venerable Lancaster out of Hamilton, Fifi a restored B-29 bomber and a few other aerobatic aircraft.

See the link to the promo page here

Brantford Community Charity Airshow 2018

Check out the photos below…