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London Air Patrol, Inc (LAP) provides volunteer air search and rescue service throughout Southwestern Ontario. Incorporated in 1980 as a not-for-profit entity, London Air Patrol is a member of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) and is one of several units across Ontario and Canada. CASARA's mission is to support Canada’s Search and Rescue (SAR) program and to promote aviation safety. London Air Patrol members are a trained and organized group of volunteers who play a vital role in Canada's Search and Rescue (SAR) program.
Together, we create awareness of aviation safety, provide our time and expertise free of charge and provide aircraft and certified crew members for search operations and training missions. We provide certified spotters on Canadian Forces aircraft, rapid responses for actuals, search coordinators for actual SAR missions and perssonel to act as casulaties during military training.
We are primarily tasked on SAR missions by the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC), located at CFB Trenton. In this regard, we will launch our own search based on the nature of the emergency which may include an air crew consisting of pilot, navigator and spotters in a private aircraft, or a ground crew, or both. We may also be called upon to supply certified CASARA members trained as spotters onboard military aircraft to act on board Canadian Forces SAR aircraft consisting of C-130 Hercules and Griffon from 424 Squadron. There are many roles in which we eagerly participate:
- Air (JRCC)
- Missing or overdue aircraft
- ELT (Emergency Locating Transmitter)
- Marine (JRCC)
- Missing or overdue boaters
- EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacon)
- Humanitarian (OPP)
- Missing persons
Area Of Operations
CASARA training has two objectives:
- To fulfill certification requirements to assist the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations; and
- To create an awareness of flight safety and defensive flying practices, thereby developing and maintaining a professional level of knowledge and expertise among Canadian aviators.
Members of London Air Patrol must attend regular meetings and training exercises to reach and to maintain operational status. London Air Patrol members meet on the second Monday of each month at 1900, and the primary training day for various search and rescue exercises (SARex) is held on the third Saturday of every month at 0800.
London Air Patrol is not just for pilots. There are many non-pilot positions as well, including Spotters, Navigators, Electronic Search Specialists (ESS), Radio Operators and Search Coordinators. There is of course on-going training for pilots as well and all members are required to maintain minimum standards and currency requirements once they have been certified in any given position.
Military Spotter Training
CASARA spotters are given the opportunity to train as spotters on board military aircraft, particularly the CC-130 Hercules, with the objective being certification as a military spotter. Qualified spotters may be asked to serve on military aircraft during actual search operations.
Advanced or Special Training
First Aid and wilderness training is routinely arranged. London Air Patrol also searches out additional advanced or special training to make available to its members from time to time, such as Underwater Emergency Egress training and various training courses offered by Emergency Management Ontario.
CASARA National sets the minimum standards for operational qualifications and currency. These minimum standards are found in the CASARA National Training Manual. Each provincial member organization may adopt additional regional requirements exceeding the national minimums. In turn, each member organization within the province may also adopt further and higher standards.
All certification requirements are designed to be taught primarily by the Provincial CASARA organization with assistance from:
- the RCAF CASARA team
- their respective SAR Squadrons
- Transport Canada
Become A London Air Patrol CASARA Volunteer
London Air Patrol is always looking for volunteers who are interested in joining a well-trained, dedicated group of Search and Rescue volunteers.
The minimum age is 18 years old and one must apply for membership. Depending on your interests and qualifications, there are various roles and cross training opportunities.
Each crew member has very distinctive and important roles:
|Safe operation of the aircraft
Accurate coverage of the search area
Surveillance – spotting the search object
Pilot: If you have a pilot's licence and meet the minimum level of qualifications, you may be considered for training as a SAR pilot. Expect to progress though various other crew positions including ESS, spotter and navigator. In addition to their requisite pilot skills and experience, pilots have training and knowledge in navigation, map preparation, SAR search patterns, ELT homing procedures, and more.
Navigator: Many navigators are pilots, but a non pilot with special aptitude, and of course the required training, may be a successful navigator as well. Navigators have training and knowledge in navigation, map preparation, advanced SAR search patterns, ELT homing procedures, and more. The navigator assists the pilot with preparations and attends briefings with the pilot.
Spotter: Most members seek to qualify as spotters. While some weight restrictions apply to light plane spotters, there are no height or weight restrictions for those spotters who are also qualified as operational military spotters spotting on military SAR aircraft, primarily the CC-130 Hercules.
Ground Crews are effectively used to track and locate signals from emergency radio beacons or transmitters, either acting alone in their direction finding equipment equipped vehicle, or in conjunction with an overhead SAR aircraft. There are various beacons, such as an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) on board aircraft, Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) on board marine vessels, or Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) carried by hikers and other outdoor persons. A well trained electronic search specialist (ESS) can make a difference when a beacon is signalling urgent help for an aircraft, boat, or hiker in distress. A Ground Crew also includes a driver, navigator, radio operator, first aider, with some volunteers filling dual roles.
Search Coordinators who plan training activities in conjunction with the Training Officer, and manage the conduct of SAREXs or actual search missions, play an essential planning and leadership role. Radio Operators also operate out of the Operations Room and are fundamental to every successful mission.
If you do not want to be directly involved in search operations, there are other jobs you can take on. Fund raising is an important part of our operations, and volunteers are always needed to help out at our bingos each month. Administrators are also a much valued resource.
We would be happy to answer any questions you may have. To submit your application & resume, click here.
London Air Patrol is a non-profit charitable organization.
Fuel costs are covered by the Canadian Armed Forces, however equipment and training expenses are not.
We gratefully accept donations to our unit.
Donations of $50.00 or more will receive an income tax receipt.
Donations can be made in a number of ways:
Donating online can be done through Canada Helps.
Or you can send cheque or money order to:
London Air Patrol, Inc.
Unit 3 Upper
2480 Huron Street
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London Air Patrol, Inc.
2480 Huron Street, London Ontario
+1 (519) 659-2270