Zone 3: Saint John

Contact Our Zone:

Zone 3 started operation in 1986 at the same time that CASARA was instituted across Canada. We operate out of CYSJ at the Atlantic Flight Centre and have operated from there since our inception. The initial training sessions took place at the firehall at CYSJ under the auspices of the SAR division of the Canadian Armed Forces and Transport Canada. It was at this time that the volunteers were introduced to the wonderful Labrador helicopter (twin rotors and enough fumes for everyone).

The initial concepts were supplemental search assets for the military and through Transport Canada, the promotion of flight safety. Although Transport Canada has since bowed out, the original concepts are still in place, with CASARA as an entity, promoting flight safety in lieu of TC. Throughout the past 35, now approaching 36, years our membership has fluctuated between 18 and 32 volunteers. All were interested in aviation in one degree or another, with some going on to attain their own pilot license, others into different disciplines within the organization, but all were interested in serving as volunteers in what we would consider a non-traditional environment. And all were interested in interacting with the military with their equipment. It also gave an opportunity for those with a non-flying background to get into the air and enjoy the thrill of flying in small aircraft. And we are fortunate enough to still have two of the original group with us to this day.

Over the years Zone 3 has been involved in a number of searches, one in the Charlotte County area, another involved sending crews to the Gaspe area to assist in a major search in that area, and still another with crews being sent to the northwestern part of New Brunswick, looking for downed helicopters. As well, there have been numerous trips to the Charlotte County dump to track down the ever-elusive emergency locator beacons (EPIRBS) that had been discarded by their American fishermen owners and activated when they were sent to the landfill. Another more heart wrenching search involved a search on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy for survivors of the LODA CASH when it sank off the St. George area a few years back. One other noteworthy effort was done in conjunction with Nova Scotia crews on a survey of recreational vessels operating on the Bay of Fundy.

We operate mostly with Cessna 172 aircraft, with a number of different tail numbers over the years, MYA, VLG, YRI, LDD, CHT, WDL, LXP and our current 172, NIP. As well, for a short time we had the use of a Seneca twin, FFYD. And, on occasion, there was a Citabria in the air for use as an airborne radio platform.

We enjoy operating out of CYSJ due to its proximity to the coast. It gives us intimate knowledge of the coastal conditions and the weather associated as well. Also, it is a complete IFR equipped airport for use of the military should the need arise.

As always, we welcome new volunteers, minimum age 18, flying experience not necessary, and as the organization as a whole starts down a new path with the introduction of the RPAS units ( drones), there will be opportunities in that sector as well.

Volunteer Roles

Your skills and those we teach you enable you fill many positions like a spotter, navigator, radio operator, ground homing specialist, RPAS team member, search driver, first aid and safety officer, assistant search master, search coordinator, instructor, training officer, social media contributor, commander and deputy commander, administrator, committee chair, director and deputy director. What you take on is a sliding scale, you choose the best fit for you!

See details of some the following roles and qualifications required by clicking the button below.

Membership Requirements

You do not need to be a pilot to volunteer for CASARA; no previous aviation experience required just an interest in training in the search and rescue aviation community. Here are some of our core membership requirements in becoming a member within our zone:

  • Membership requirements are at least 18 years old.
  • Must demonstrate they are either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have a work permit or other legal basis to live and work in the country.
  • Known to zone membership through some means such as an interview.
  • Must not be deemed ineligible for membership by the national office.
  • Membership in a CASARA MO must be renewed annually. The term is for a maximum of 15 months and expires on March 31 of the appropriate year.


Initial contact for any of these following people should be through:

Zone Commander: Leigh Cameron
Deputy Zone Commander: Allan Rosenvar
Zone Secretary: Bruce Bland
Zone Training Officer: Gerry Snodgrass
Zone Treasurer: Terrence Robertson
Zone Safety Officer: Malcolm MacKay
Zone Membership: Malcolm MacKayr

Zone Pictures