Current CASARA Ottawa Requirements

While CASARA Ottawa welcomes anyone who wishes to support our operations, there are limited numbers of positions for some roles. Specifically in the pilot role there are a limited number of search pilots who can be maintained in the unit due to budget constraints. At this time CASARA Ottawa has a full compliment of qualified search pilots. Licensed pilots are welcome and encouraged to join as they can fill the navigator or spotter roles in the flight crews. Search navigation is a challenging activity, and is a great way to fine tune your map reading and multi-tasking skills.

CASARA Ottawa needs spotters. If you're 18 or over, healthy, have good eyes and like flying in light aircraft, we can likely use you in the spotter role. Due to the limitations of the aircraft we fly, we may have to limit aircrew participation due to weight.

How to join CASARA Ottawa

Application for membership in CASARA is open to anyone 18 years or over. For flight crew duties there are medical and eyesight requirements. There are also non-flying positions available in the ground crew. For search personnel there are training and currency requirements to maintain active status. These requirements are met through regular training exercises, and academic training. 

We recommend that anyone wishing to join contact the Zone Commander ( to obtain information on the location and time of the next meeting.

A copy of the membership application form can be found on the Resources page.

Air Crew Roles

The flight crew roles are Pilot, Navigator and Spotter:

Pilots are required to have a private license or greater, and at least 200 hours total and 150 hours PIC. Pilots for CASARA Ottawa are also required to maintain a flight currency of 1 hour in 90 days in addition to the standards set by CASARA National of 24 hours in 12 months.

Navigators may be pilots (current or not) or non-pilots with training and/or aptitude for airborne navigation. Non-pilot members with an aptitude and interest in becoming search navigators will be provided the training required to start the search navigation training. All navigators are provided with search navigation training to meet operational requirements.

Anyone with good health and eyesight, and who is comfortable in light aircraft may be a spotter. Spotters are the key personnel on the flight as most searches are visual and the spotters are the eyes of the flight.

Due to the limited capacity of most of the aircraft that CASARA Ottawa uses there is a limit to the size of air crew. Folks of larger stature may be difficult to use in aircrew roles, there are however a number of ground based roles which are also critical to search operations.

Ground Crew Roles

The ground crew roles are Electronic Search Specialist and Ground/Operations Crew:

Electronic Search Specialist: there is a ground search component to the CASARA mandate in the area of locating downed aircraft by homing their Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal. A typical ground team will be a driver, navigator and an electronic search specialist. Unit members receive additional training in ground navigation, electronic search techniques, wilderness first aid and survival and crash scene management. While CASARA is not a first response organization, the ESS teams may find themselves in a first on scene situation, therefore they must be prepared to manage the scene and to stay on scene for an extended period until cleared by either military or civilian authorities.

Ground/Operations Crew: every search mission requires ground support. This support may be in the operations room coordinating the search resources, in communications, computer operations, logistics or administration. CASARA Ottawa has a number of members who are skilled in radio communications, search operations and search administration. We can always use more members who already have these skills or who would like to learn them.

CASARA Ottawa members also periodically receive spotter training on military aircraft, typically the CC-130. First-Aid and survival training are also part of the regular schedule of activities for the unit.