RESCUE! By Terry Colfer (Article)

Terry Colfer
A few years ago, following retirement from the Foreign Service, I renewed my pilot’s license after a ‘short’ interruption of a few decades. Since then, I have flown (out of Ottawa/Rockcliffe) mainly in the eastern ON region. However, I have completed a couple of single engine, long haul flights from the nation’s capital (to Victoria/Seattle and to Florida).
Anyway, I am now a member of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association or CASARA. Briefly, by way of background, CASARA is a national volunteer organization which is funded by the Department of National Defence to assist the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in its mandate of providing air search and rescue (SAR) in Canada. CASARA also has a mandate to promote flight safety for general aviation.
CASARA members are pilots, navigators, spotters, search coordinators, radio operators and so on who are trained to carry out searches using light aircraft. We are tasked by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre at CFB Trenton working with 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron.

As a member of the Ottawa CASARA unit, I recently had an opportunity to spend several days atCFB Trenton 'embedded' with RCAF 424 Squadron, flying C130Hs (Hercules). We conducted night SAR missions; sometimes using NVGs (night vision goggles).

Included are a few pics, taken during the Trenton deployment, of the C130 cockpit (or front office) with and without illumination; dropping flares and beacons from the ramp to identify and mark the target (it was cold, dark and windy out there); para rescue team (SAR Techs) getting ready to bail out; a side view of Mr. Herc and a personal mug shot in flight jacket (on the top of this article).

Just for the record, fondly recalling my pre-Foreign Service youth as an army paratrooper, I did ask permission to jump with the SAR Techs but my request was politely refused. Must have been something to do with my age because my physique is perfect (I only wish!).
This is submitted with the highest admiration and respect for the men and women of our Air Force who perform this important SAR role  for a living …

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