CASARA Ontario Assists in Arctic Training

CASARA Ontario assisted CLO Capt. Courcelles in a training mission to five Inuit communities in Nunavut, 14 to 20 October 2015. Highlights of the visit include:

  • 58 CASARA members attending academic training;
  • 48 members attending spotter training;
  • 8 hours of spotter training flown;
  • 14 hours of academic training conducted; and
  • 8 hours of CVT set up and training.

With the full support of CASARA Nunavut, the CASARA Liaison Officer for Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut, Capt. Claude Courcelles, 424 Squadron Trenton, conducted a training mission to the communities of Gjoa Haven, Hall Beach, Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay and Resolute Bay, 14 to 20 October. 440 Squadron Yellowknife provided a Twin Otter (CC 138) and crew for the duration. Capt. Courcelles requested the assistance of CASARA Ontario for this mission. Terry Nord, Standards Officer and Robert Desjardins, deputy Standards Officer joined the mission. In addition, a SAR Tech from 442 Squadron Comox completed the team.

At each location, the program included the filling of membership application form, personal information sheet and medical self-declaration. A two to three-hour academic training was held, focused on survival and spotting techniques and practice. This was followed by one or two one hour long flights, with up to nine spotters per flight. The first segment of the flight included flights along the runway at 1000ft and 1500ft altitude in order for spotters to get their bearings for one mile and three-mile range spotting. A live target with one or two simulated victims, ELT and visual target at each location improved the spotters’ experience. All participants made one call around. Because of weather, members in Resolute Bay were unable to fly. The visit was complemented with the setting up of CASARA Virtual Trainers (CVT), which had been delivered a year earlier, but had been left unfortunately unused. Fortunately, in each community, we were able to identify a capable person able to become the CVT trainer/operator.

These meetings were held at the local hamlet hall, fire station or school. They were attended by the local zone commander, members and prospective members

Major progress was noted on the ability of members to do call arounds. The one available headset per flight was passed from one spotter to the next. This was not ideal but gave each spotter a better experience. Most members appeared more vocal and demonstrated better understanding of their role in bringing the plane around. We understand that the Nunavut region is holding a number of headsets, which we believe should be distributed among the various units.

For the entire mission, the numbers show 58 CASARA members attending academic training, 48 members attending spotter training, 8 hours of spotter training flown, 14 hours of academic training conducted and eight hours of CVT work done.

Opportunity was created and used to start entering members’ information in CMS. That should put Nunavut in good stead in taking ownership of the process.

The contribution by 440 Squadron Yellowknife was exceptional. Major Lowther and his crew were most forthcoming and accommodating. The CC138 again proved to be a perfectly suited search platform.

By: Robert Desjardins

Deputy Standards Officer