CASARA is a national volunteer organization which is funded by the Department of National Defence to assist the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in their 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, electronic search specialists, radio operators and administration staff who are trained to carry out searches using light aircraft, and ground vehicles. CASARA members are also trained to work as spotters on military aircraft. The primary focus of CASARA operations is visual and electronic search for missing aircraft. The ground search activities of CASARA are generally limited to electronic searches for aircraft emergency location transmitters.

While CASARA operates primarily in support of the RCAF for aircraft searches, CASARA Ontario also has a memorandum of understanding with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to provide air support for ground and inland marine SAR taskings. This support can be in the form of visual search capability or communications support. CASARA may also act in a liason and communications role between local authorities and the military SAR resources where required.


CASARA Ontario has nine zones covering most of the province. CASARA Ottawa covers a region approximately bordered by the St. Lawrence river to Pembroke, and western Quebec to Peterborough. In addition CASARA Ottawa may operate in support of major searches anywhere in Ontario and Quebec at the request of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre at CFB Trenton, working with 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron.

CASARA Ottawa operates primarily from the Rockcliffe Airport (CYRO) using the facilities of the Rockcliffe Flying Club (RFC). While CASARA Ottawa is usually based at CYRO, the unit is fully mobile and is organized to be able to deploy to any location in Ontario and Quebec to carry out operations in support of a search. All members of CASARA Ottawa are trained in basic First Aid and a number of our members are trained to an advanced level. While CASARA is not a first response rescue organization, our members are trained to properly manage a crash scene should they be the first on scene. Our training also includes wilderness survival and wilderness First Aid, especially for those members operating as active air or ground crew. CASARA Ottawa also has a significant contingent of skilled radio operators who support our operations through established radio facilities or through temporary field installations as required.

The Rockcliffe Flying Club (RFC) provides extensive support through the availability of facilities for classes, exercises, and by providing rental aircraft for exercises and searches. The RFC also provides space for storage of CASARA Ottawa's equipment.

Zone Officers

Rockcliffe Airport (CYRO) and Flying Club

CASARA Ottawa's Zone of Operations

CASARA Ottawa's primary area of responsibility is Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. However, the zone may be tasked anywhere in Ontario or Quebec for larger searches or to cover other areas when resources are required.