People may see a number of services around the area on Friday and Saturday due to a training exercise by a civilian air search and rescue.
Starting on Friday (April 22, 2023) members of CASARA (Civil Air Search and Rescue Association) will be working with the Canadian Coast Guard off of Cobourg and on Saturday will be involved in another exercise with members of 424 Squadron (Search and Rescue) from CFB Trenton on the Ganaraska Forest.
CASARA is a Canadian wide volunteer aviation association dedicated to providing air search support services for downed aircraft and other emergencies.
Volunteers are on call 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to assist in providing air search assistance with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Major Claude Courcelles is the National CASARA Liaison Officer Working for Senior Staff Officer Search and Rescue at 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg and is coordinating the two day exercise.
Courcelles spoke with Today’s Northumberland stating CASARA has recently received their Beyond Visual Line of Sight certification from Transport Canada. The exercise will be about verifying CASARA’s operation with their Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (drones) and working with members of the Royal Canadian Air Force along with Canadian Coast Guard.
“The exercise will verify their training and operating procedures with their new DJI M30T (drones) and new certification BVLOS.”
Courcelles said CASARA broke new ground last year in becoming drone operational Search and Rescue in May 2022.
“Over the past year, they have responded to over 50 taskings from JRCC (Joint Rescue Coordination Centre), RCMP and local emergency services.”
In the past, they were restricted to visual line of sight with the drones to comply with Transport Canada regulations, but with their Beyond Visual Line of Sight certification, they will make history again this year in becoming SAR (search and rescue) operational with much greater capability having acquired the certification.”
Courcelles said with newest technology drones what is taking place now in search and rescue wouldn’t have been happening three years ago.
The batteries have double the flying-time along with infrared capabilities to spot victims easier.
The event on Friday will be a simulated marine rescue working with the Canadian Coast Guard Cape Rescue which will deploy multiple targets in the water. CASARA will be searching from the shore using the drones and another team will be on board the Cape Rescue. They will have to coordinate their search to find all floating targets.
On Saturday it will be a lane rescue in the Ganrasaka Forest working with 424 Squadron Griffon helicopter. Many hikers will be missing and multiple drones will be deployed to find the hikers and determine if they need to be treated for simulated injuries.
There will be approximately 22 participants involved in the two day exercise.