Your CASARA Ontario Executive
John M (Mike) Daniels CD
President CASARA Ontario. Past President CASARA National
Mike Daniels has been a member of CASARA since its inception. He is the founder of CARES Niagara, which later became the first member of CASARA Ontario.
One of the founding members of the national body, he has served two terms as National President, and is currently president of CASARA Ontario.
Mike completed his two-year National Service with the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom and also served as a Reserve Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force for more than 30 years. He once owned and operated an air charter operation and was one of Transport Canada’s first Designated Flight Test Examiners. He also implemented the Police Air Wing for the Democratic Republic of the Sudan.
As an engineering pilot for Irvin Aerospace, Mike worked on the development phase of many escape and rescue systems in use today. Along with Douglas Betts, he introduced Civil SAR to Canada’s newest territory — Nunavut — and, in 1998, the duo wrote the Arctic Training Operations Plan, in use today. He is presently the owner and CEO of Mach1 Aviation Consultants Ltd.
In 2015, together with Brian Bishop he continued his work in the Arctic, standing up four new zones in Nunavut. These new zones are located in Pond Inlet, Gjoa Haven, Hall Beach and Arctic Bay. Mike is an Upper Freeman in the Honourable Company of Air Pilots (HCAP).
Claude Overholt (Vice-President/Treasurer)
Claude Overholt has been a member of CASARA since 1981 and is currently the Vice-President/Treasurer of CASARA Ontario.
Claude started his aviation career with the purchase of an aircraft on skis and floats. No wheels. He obtained his private pilot’s license on the aircraft and had to get a wheel endorsement after receiving his private pilot’s license. He started an aviation company selling aircraft and aviation accessories. Upon receiving his commercial pilots license he moved on to many years of commercial float flying. In 1994 he and a friend started Niagara Air Tours to fly tourists over Niagara Falls, Charter and a Flying School, selling the business in 2005. They operated eight aircraft including piston and turbine. Carrying 20,000 pax per year.
He flew as a search pilot for CASARA for many years. First in a Cessna 185 amphibian, then moved to a Beaver amphibian.
Gord Tessier (Director of Communications, Research & Development)
Gord Tessier first joined CASARA in 2012. Gord graduated from University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. While at Western he was a member of the Mustang Cross Country and track teams and achieved Western’s “Bronze W” award in athletics. After graduating from Western he volunteered as an assistant coach for several years. For the past thirty years, Gord has owned a successful State Farm /Desjardins insurance agency in the Niagara region. Gord has been flying since 1986, with over 1,700 hours of flight time. In addition to his private pilot’s license he has night, VFR (Visual Flight Rules), VFR over the top, multi-engine (centerline thrust) and multi-engine IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) ratings. He has owned several aircraft, the latest is a 337G Skymaster. Gord is a past director of the St. Catharines Flying Club and the National Association of State Farm Agents (NASFA). Gord’s CASARA experience includes serving as Vice-President of CARES Niagara. His CASARA qualifications include certifications as Ground Homing Specialist, Spotter, Navigator, Pilot and Search Coordinator. As Director of R&D He has been responsible for the initial testing and R&D of the RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System). Gord holds Basic, Advanced and Flight Reviewer Certifications and is a member of the National RPAS Working Group tasked with the development of policy, procedures and SOP’s in the implementation of RPAS throughout CASARA. Gord is married to Joanne and they have two children; a daughter who recently completetd her Degree at Dad’s alma-mater and a son, who proudly serves our country in our Royal Canadian Air Force.