Civil Air Search and Rescue Association - Manitoba

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Zone 1-Winnipeg
Zone 2-Brandon
Zone 3-The Pas
Zone 5-Manitoba

SAREX Herc Intercept (Dropmore)

September 5, 2007:

This successful intercept was performed near the area of Dropmore north of Binscarth and Northeast of Asessippi Dam with recovery back to YDN Dauphin.

Spot the CC-130 Herc

SAREX Harvest: GPS Waypoints and Posturing Leg 1 of the CLA

September 1, 2007:

This SAREX had two goals:

  • 1)    to test the ability to form a command structure on short notice, and
  • 2)    to improve tracking and alignment accuracy of initial first leg of a Creeping Line Ahead Search.

On short notice, Dave Serle was instructed by Kevin Choy to immediately form a command structure late night prior to this SAREX via cell phone on the combino. Ken Fox, who has been on leave in Saskatchewan, offered and took command with support from George Norberg. As a further test, the SAREX particulars were emailed to Ken at 1:30AM with a verification call at 8AM in this JRCC simulation. Ken then proceeded to develop the search scenario on Ozi-Explorer.

With Rollie Kuip (Sasquatch) appearing with his Commanche, the NAV crew of Virginia Dickson, Fred Eshpeter (Col. Cob) and Clarence McGlaughlin (Linebacker) aimed to setup a non-cardinal oriented CLA south of Strathclair (CJY5)/Shoal Lake (CKL5). The tasking included the search for two green and one red non-amphibious off-road vehicles. Each vehicle had distinguishing call-signs.

As found especially from past Western Canada SAREX's, this task may at first seem simple but is often difficult to execute with great precision. Especially in new areas and lowering visibility, simply flying to a gps waypoint and beginning the CLA is not always pin-pointed. Once the CSP or LKP ONSAR initiation point has been reached the search aircraft may not be aligned properly for the first (and the remaining) legs. Reasons are often due to non-familiarity with gps equipment, turns which present lags and leads in the gps heading and misconceptions or inability in determining exactly where the ship is in relation to ie. the CSP or LKP.

As seen above, the planned track from the south at CYBR is linear to begin ONSAR at point 1 and works westward in the CLA. This CLA is made more challenging by not placing the headings on cardinal angles (i.e. 0-90-180-360 degrees). CLA's based on cardinal headings are expected to be easier since search aircraft can utilize country roads as guidelines. This may not always be the case, however, due to topography and the search area directive. This CLA, however, does have the visual guideline of Salt Lake almost directly south of CJY5.

As can be seen by the plot over the proposed route, deviations exist beginning prior to the first leg of the CLA and throughout the mission. Improvements in accuracy may be made by ensuring the GPS scale is set to .3NM especially while ONSAR and preferably enroute also. Equipment familiarity is paramount in executing a good plot.

The team did find the three targests (combinos) as can be seen on the track plot circles for the NOCL.

From this initial plot, Zone crews will work out improvements in developing gps waypoint staging coordinates that will correctly align the search aircraft with leg one of the CLA. Good work by Search CD Ken Fox who took the overnight relay information, setup the waypoints on Ozi and guided the team mission to the targets.

Ground Homing Course: Col. COB Zone 1 Invitational

August 18, 2007:

Chuck Wilson, former Zone 1 CD, overheard Alf Northam and Fred "Col. Cob" Eshpeter  talk of the old days of electronics at the Dauphin Joint-SAREX last winter. Fascinated, Chuck organized his Zone to attend Zone 2 at CYBR to learn of Col. Cob's ground homing technique. Zone 2 has scrutinized and tested this method for over two years which employs the goal of simplicity, efficiency and reliability.

After theory and general discussion of homer operations on both the ground and in the air, teams drove off to view and understand the location of a known ELT on their Lil' Helpers in three coordinates: before, parallel and past along country roads. Mary Ritchie, Clarence McGlaughlin and Garry Gerrard acted as markers and checkpoints.

After debriefing, crews were assigned to find a hidden ELT enroute Winnipeg by both air (Gerry Roehr's team) and by ground (Peter Banman, Chuck Wilson's and George Norberg's teams). Successful quick detection and recovery confirmed the technique again.

Zone 2's Assistance Team of Mary Ritchie, Sheri Briggs, Garry Gerrard, George Norberg, Clarence McGlaughlin and Kevin Choy thank Zone 1's Chuck Wilson, Gerry Roehr, Kris Buschau-Lapointe, Peter Banman, Roland Biber, and Al Fraser for coming to Zone 2 and sharing Cob's technique.

Gerry's Belt Pack - Ready to Rock

[Homing in the Trenches - Garry, the "Chalet" not the "Shell"]

Homing in the Trenches - Garry, the "Chalet" not the "Shell"

[Gerry, Peter and Sheri RTB]

Gerry, Peter and Sheri RTB

Clarence, Peter, Lt. Cob, George, Sheri and Chris

[Gerry, Sheri, Chris, Gary, Chuck, Clarence and Cob]

Gerry, Sheri, Chris, Gary, Chuck, Clarence and Cob

Roland, Al and George

WESTERN CANADA SAREX: Prince Albert Zone 2 CASARAMAN Delegation

August 11, 2007:

Team Zone 2 of Navigator Garry Gerrard, Spotter/Navigator Mary Ritchie, Spotter/Navigator Gord Foote and Kevin Choy participated on the weekend long SAREX in beautiful, friendly Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Spotter Clarence McGlaughlin remained on standby for Team Zone 2 while Spotter Sam Spink stood-by for participation with Team Zone 5. In last minute changes due to WX, Navigator Fred Eshpeter briefed and supplied Team Zone 2 and remained on standby as Nav for Team Zone 5.

Two day SAREX's were executed that involved a CLA and a Sector. In SAREX Candle Lake to the NE of CYPA WX lowered to below search visibility at CSP/LKP leading the team to open one of three sealed envelopes for retasking to SAREX Lake Emma. With improving WX, the team was successful in determining and locating the targets of a cream coloured Norseman and blue and silver C-185 on floats within 9 minutes of CSP.

Team Zone 2: Left to Right Garry Gerrard, Mary Ritchie, Gord Foote (missing Kevin) photo: C. Demchuk/Regina

CYPA Departure Looking S CYPA Departure Looking SW CYPA Departure Looking W

In SAREX Melfort, the team picked up a weak ELT on departure and was granted pursuit. Climbing to 10,000' ASL to improve reception, the team was then retasked with another envelope to a sector search near Birch Hills. With glider operations, the team continued communications and visual sighting after three passes of the complete Sector Search.

Birch Hills and Airport Looking SW Acquiring ELT
Acquiring ELT...closer Aircraft identification confirmed call-sign
Target acquired with call-sign

An ELT homing exercise was initiated by guiding driver Darryl to a hidden bush ELT. Using Zone 2's own Col. Cob's technique, the ELT was homed in quickly. Team cooperation and coordination made the effort truly enjoyable as the treasure of suckers in a pail was found handily.

ELT Target with Pail of Suckers (non-fish type) Gord Foote with ELT Homing Array and ELT Target

The team performed a night SAREX River (Shore-line) Crawl with spotter Ray Sass,VP of CASARA Saskatchewan rotating with Garry Gerrard. With nearly no moonlight, the team utilized gps tracking while looking for any unusual signals or lighting from a lost truck with licence plate "REDNEK". As learned from previous dimly lit night searches, the initial flash of lights on the ground are often mistaken for a search object as stationary lights flash between ground objects and trees.

This SAREX was very well organized and involved simultaneous crew taskings to various areas of the the Prince Albert area. The team thanks Prince Albert's Bill and Dolyce Brown and their Saskatchewan volunteers for their superb organization.

Melfort Area Looking SE (7,750ASL) St. Brieux Looking SW (7,750ASL) Saltcoats Looking SW (9,500ASL)
CYQV Yorkton (9,500ASL) Qu'Appelle Valley (9,500ASL) Waywayseecappo Reserve Looking NE (9,500ASL)

SAREX HEAT: Four Aircraft and One Ground Crew Mission Finds ELT on Shore Crawl

July 8, 2007:

SAREX Heat involved Lt. COB's Minnedosa ELT detection check for three aircraft from the North enroute to CYBR Base Command at Brandon Flying Club. Wild Bill's, Sasquatch Rollie's and Kevin Choy's ELT homing system were all verified accurate. Gary Temple's C-182 also joined our team at base returning after a one-and-half year lapse in duty for a farming assignment.

The SAREX began with announcements for all aircrew and navigators to utilize the CASARA approved Flight Wizard 4 program. A 1/2 hour demonstration was given to pilots after a 45 minute presentation of the Shore Crawl technique to all. Navigators were tasked to plot the simulated search for a missing person with a PLB along Highway 10 south of Brandon to the Souris River shoreline westbound to Souris airport CJX5. Concidentally, Souris' annual Fly-in breakfast was the mission debriefing destination.

In the simultaneous ELT homing SAREX, Sasquatch was placed at 1,000' AGL, Wild Bill at 2,000' AGL and Gary Temple at 3,000' AGL while CAP flew between 4,500' and 5,500' AGL. With all volunteers deliberately tasked away from base, CAP provided the sole communication platform for both airside and Mobile 1 ground side. Led by Ramona Clubb, Mobile 1 provided recurrency familizarization for returnee Bill Campbell (rtd. Airforce) and newbie Darren Unger (farmer/rancher) brought in by Sasquatch from Riding Mountain.

Ground Comm operator, Spotter and upcoming Navigator Sam Spink flew as Nav and Spotter in a rigorous check-out after returning from active military duty in Afghanistan. With a history of spotter duty in the early 90s from her 1989 CASARA Handbook, Spotter Spink proved her mettle in re-learning the homer while simultaneously plotting NAV and following snap requests for distance and clock position checks.

Bill, Darren and Ramona with the homer vehicle

Led by the special techniques of ground-homing leader Lt. COB (rtd. Airforce), Mobile 1 found the Target ELT rapidly followed by Sasquatch Rollie's team and Gary Temple's team of himself and Navigator Uncle Tom. Sasquatch Rollie's team was then directed by CAP to make representation at the Souris Fly-in and also check in on the grub situation. Mary on-the-Prairie, Zone 2's Chief Spotter who always works hard cooking at the Fly-in and could not attend this SAREX, generously offered cooking at her ranch which was tempting but given a rain check for another day after the grub was sold out.

The "begin high" technique worked well in this search, with CAP identifying the Target ELT quickly in the climb through 3,000' AGL then directing the assigned altitude aircraft to the general location. Unfortunately, due to mechanical issues, Wild Bill bugged out before acquiring the Target ELT in this mission for another day of better hunting next time.

Lt. COB's Office (custom designed)


SAREX EVAL: Ground Teams find ELT Target Simultaneously via Different Routes while Airside Detects using Air Homing

June 23, 2007:

SAREX Eval involved a simulated tasking from JRCC to search for a missing C-172 flying from Dauphin to Shoal Lake to Deloraine. With CSAD 1 and CSAD 2 drawn out the evening prior to dispatch by Chief Nav Garry Gerrard and his team of George Norberg and Mary Ritchie, a parallel track was performed by CASARA 22 while Mobile 1 and Mobile 2 proceeded and CAP flew to the last SARSAT hit. With a simulated CC-130 search completed earlier, CASARA 22 initiated flying Quadrant 4 of CSAD 1 West of CYBR base command.

Following CAP's detection West-North-East of CYBR, Mobile 1 and Mobile 2 proceeded independently to find the target and the symbol "W" using ground homing. All search teams were then instructed to RTB back to CYBR for their de-brief.

Zone 2 thanks Capt. Ben Toenders and SARTEC Shawn Harrison of 17 Wing 435 Squadron of the Canadian Air Force for their learned evaluation. Zone 2 also thanks Provincial Training Officer Darlene Searcy for her Admin evaluation carried out earlier.

The Zone 2 SAREX EVAL Team (Left to Right) 

SARTEC Shawn Harrison, Base CD Sheri Briggs, Base CD Ramona Clubb, Base CD Sam Spink (active Canadian Armed Forces), Eval CD Tom Clubb, Mobile 2 Leader Brian Fowell, Kevin Choy, Mobile 2 Crew Clarence McLaughlin, CASARA 22 Pilot Roy Sobchuk, Chief Nav Garry Gerrard, Mobile 1 Ground Leader Fred Eshpeter, CASARA 22 Spotter Ed Fikus, CASARA 22 Nav and Secretary George Norberg and Capt. Ben Toenders (CASARA Liason Officer/Evaluator)--missing is Chief Spotter and Crew 1 Mary Ritchie (picture taker)

Pic: Camera of Capt. Ben Toenders

SAREX WATER: Ground Teams Find Simulated Crash ELT and Roving ELT While Media and Sister of Simulated Pilot Blitz Command Centre

May 6, 2007:

In this SAREX, "water" was defined as heavy rain instead of the usual "over water" flying mission that CASARA Zone 2 would carry out. With ceilings below 400' AGL in mist, a no-fly exercise was carried out in preparing for the upcoming Evaluation. Guest speaker Darlene Searcy, Provincial Training Officer, arrived from Winnipeg and briefed and reviewed the session while also acting as a "Herc Commander". Gary Hadland, designated as the test Search Commander for the Evaluation was again prompted to act quickly as Kevin Choy and Sheri Briggs travelled enroute setting up ELT ground targets and simultaneously relaying communications as "Trenton JRCC". Requests and Op-Norms were requested to the "Herc Commander" by cell phone as radio communication deteriorated. Lt. COB [Fred Eshpeter] carried out equipment and setup evaluations on three ground homing vehicle teams prior to departure.

The initial JRCC request was to perform a ground search for an initial ELT detection by SARSAT south of Brandon. A late-arriving pilot and sister in a DHC Beaver from Dauphin to Dunseith Border airport to clear customs was Target I or ELT I. During the SAREX, a second ELT, ELT II was detected by SARSAT.

The first vehicle to find the first ELT was designated to relocate ELT I under a bridge after confirmation was made that the remaining two teams had ELT II on their homers. This team would stand down and record observations as the last of the two remaining teams was directed to detect and recover ELT I.

The first team of the two that declared they had the strongest detection of ELT II continued to pursure ELT II. Once ELT II was detected by the first team, the remaing two teams pursued ELT II. Interestingly, ELT II was placed by two Inukshuks (two stone survivors) along Lake Clementi, while ELT I was designed as PLB carried by someone lost on foot.

During the simulated search, an intense simulated news scrum was carried out--all the while medic Brenda Preston simulated an extremely distressed sister of the missing pilot.

All of the ground teams and search volunteers at base performed tremendously.

Peace before the surprise simulation

"Grieving mother" Brenda Hamilton

Coordinator Gary Hadland attempts calm

Grieving mother cries harder

Pinkie looks on

Brenda and Garry

*The Academy Award of CASARA Zone 2 for this SAREX goes to Brenda Preston for her superb simulation.*


Major Kevin Toone, CD of A3 SAR Systems Speaks at Brandon Flying Club AGM

April 25, 2007:

Major Kevin Toone of A3 SAR Systems arrived from Winnipeg to present to the Brandon Flying Club and CASARA volunteers his appreciation and admiration for the training and dedication of CASARA volunteers. As a SAR Cormorant helicopter pilot, Major Toone combined his military taskings over dangerous seas and weather while complimenting the achievements CASARA has done in working with the military. Major Toone's Power Point presentation was especially impressive in overviewing the SAR coordination effort and the successes it has had in Canada.

As outgoing President of Brandon Fying Club, I sincerely thank and appreciate the exemplary effort Major Toone displayed in his tight schedule to attend and present at our Club AGM.

Thank You Major Toone,



Major Kevin Toone, CMDR of A3 Sar Systems 1 Cdn Air Div HQ



WINTER SURVIVAL: Requested Course for Red River College Commercial Pilots Students via Bill Zuk of the Manitoba Aviation Council Taught by Roger Conrad, Robin Ponto and Brian Fowell of CASARAMAN Zone 2

April 22, 2007:

Students arrived from Winnipeg to attend the course which involved a site exam in the cold spring of April. The instructors, all professionally certified, enjoyed teaching the students the importance of preparedness and outdoor construction for survival. Bill informed Zone 2 that he would like to bring his students back to Zone 2 for future courses.

SAREX FOOL: Ground School

April 1,2007:

Low weather did not permit CASARA aircraft to execute airborne activities. Ground school involved review of internet procedures and resources and administrative requirements for CASARA.

SAREX NAV: Three Newly Minted Certified CASARA Navigators

March 4, 2007:

In SAREX Nav (was SAREX Joint), the lone search and rescue aircraft provided a testbed for flight testing Garry Gerrard's newly minted navigators. As a final qualification for their Navigator status, Mary Ritchie, Virginia Dickson and Gord Foote plotted and flew a VOR route from YBR VOR to the centre point of Rivers AFB abandoned CYXX then direct to Shoal Lake KL5 using dead-reckoning and pilotage. With exact flight direction under Mary Ritchie, CASARA-21 flew with exact precision the total route in MVFR of 2 miles viz and 1,000AGL. After landing at CKL5, Mary Ritchie exchanged the Nav seat with Virginia Dickson who plotted and flew with accuracy a flight from CKL5 to CYBR. Using the "sharpness test" of asking "where are we--NOW?" after several unannounced turns and twists, Virginia plotted on her map using VOR radials and DME the exact position of the search ship. Gord Foote, who has flown in the Nav position since last year provided excellent assurance to the first-time Navigators.


Test Crew: Examiner Kevin, Navigator Virginia Dickson, Navigator Mary Ritchie, Navigator Gord Foote

Congratulations to Zone 2's new Navigators Mary Ritchie (On the Prairie) and Virginia Dickson (Blizzard) and Gord Foote for completing their Nav training under the teachings of veteran Navigator Garry Gerrard. Zone 2 thanks Garry Gerrard for his time, planning and forsight in graduating the once "I'm a Spotter only" volunteers into the front right seat.

Coordinator Gary Hadland

Creek north of Oak River

Shoal Lake CKL5

McConnell and abandoned railway

Oak River

Rivers AFB CYII (abandoned)

Virginia Dickson Navigator Grad

Mary Ritchie Navigator Grad

Gord Foote Navigator Grad

SAREX VALENTINE: The Flashing Mirror in the Sun Signals Air Teams While Coincidentally Finding "MAP" Rock Monument and Hidden Snowmobilers

February 11, 2007:

In SAREX Valentine, Tango target Fred Eshpeter (Lt. Cob) planted an ELT in his usual distinguishing trademark away from his assumed missing Dodge truck. Prior to detection, two air search crews led by by Rollie (Sasquatch) and Wild Bill proceeded on a Track Crawl to Erickson Muni airport then direct to Neepawa airport at 1,000-and-a-1-mile then climbed to 3,500ASL to detect Tango's elt to the south. All along, the deceptively difficult Track Crawl (just fly and find) had CAP aircraft (Kevin Choy and George Norberg) communicate requested target sightings along the track at specific DME's from CYBR and CKQ6.

Simultaneous ground search proceeded with "GSAR1" of Cheryle Hayward, newcomer Kaylie Richards and Navigator Ken Fox by vehicle homing while air search proceeded. Using various modes of tracking including vehicle homing and array tracking, the ground homing team found Tango's ELT then proceeded to find Tango himself (Lt. Cob). After finding Tango, the ground homing team directed air search teams engaged in homing to find their team with Tango by radio. This task proved difficult as both air search teams pursued a sighting of Tango's Dodge truck (which Tango usually hides) while homing the ELT which was not at Tango's position. With Tango partially hidden by trees creating a difficult line of sight, the task of directing air search crews to Tango proved challenging.

The use of a mirror by Ken Fox proved, as it does many times over, brilliant in catching the eye of air search teams.

Interesting targets were seen above Spruce Woods Park in the Tango area. These include deer sightings, snowmobilers and the insignia "MAP" embedded on the ground.

Target tango

Target mirror

Target initials "MAP"

Target two deer


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