Skip to content

Recent Comments

  • Alton: EMBC is in the process of modernizing the Emergency Program…
  • Alton: EMBC is in the process of modernizing the Emergency Program…
  • Alton: This is awesome, every member of PEP Air should view this v…


  1. Alton
    November 27, 2019 @ 4:07 pm

    EMBC is in the process of modernizing the Emergency Program Act and we have asked for input from members so that we can aggregate that input and send it to the review as an organization. We have not had a lot of input yet. EMBC posted a discussion paper which is fairly long, but pages 38-42 and A4 are of most interest to the SAR community. The discussion paper is at:

    Please take a look at that and let us know your thoughts at

  2. Alton
    November 27, 2019 @ 4:06 pm

    EMBC is in the process of modernizing the Emergency Program Act and we have asked for input from members so that we can aggregate that input and send it to the review as an organization. We have not had a lot of input yet. EMBC posted a discussion paper which is fairly long, but pages 38-42 and A4 are of most interest to the SAR community. The discussion paper is at:

    Please take a look at that and let us know your thoughts at

  3. Alton
    May 4, 2019 @ 9:56 am

    LL-16 Calibration and Setup Notes

    Calibration info is stored for each channel along with the setup info for that channel. IE calibrating 121.775 will not calibrate 121.5

    When the CAL function is run it should be done with no external antenna connected and built in antennas extended. CAL should done in an open area away from metal structures. CAL only changes the frequency selected, and does not change any other stored channel. CAL should run on each channel that is used. CAL only needs to be run occasionally on a channel and especially on a new channel.

    When CAL is run it will take less time to finish calibration if the frequency was already close. GOOD should flash up if successful.

    Before saving a new frequency into a channel, CAL has to be run and all settings including Volume and light should be checked before it is saved to a memory location.

    All current settings in function SET1, Volume, Light, REC DF and calibration are saved when frequency is stored into a memory channel.

    To save battery, the manual recommends saving channels with the light off. This will have lights off when the LL-16 is turned on.

    PEAK DET should be turned on for tracking ELT’s. With PEAK DET on, screen will not be centered with no signal.

  4. Alton
    April 17, 2019 @ 11:05 am

    EMBC – PSLV Awards

    I am pleased to announce that John Lamb of Nanaimo is this years EMBC’s PSLV Volunteer of the year for PEP Air. See link below:

    Also, I have just learned that a long time member who has passed was honoured by EMBC PSLV posthumously with this award. See Link below:

  5. Martin Williams
    March 25, 2019 @ 9:16 pm

    Great news that the BC Govt is investing $18.6M in Ground SAR training and equipment. Trying to understand why neither Marine or Air SAR is receiving a proportionate level of direct Govt investment. At the end of the day they both exist to provide “like” services within the Province. Each has its ongoing discipline specific training and equipment needs. Perhaps I am missing something …. appreciate an explanation. Thanks.

  6. Kym Trask
    November 8, 2018 @ 11:58 am

    Today the CBC has published an article ‘Why do some planes in Canada lack potentially life-saving emergency beacons?’

    We have had several recent SAR’s involving aircraft equipped with the older 121.5 MHz ELT’s. Since the satellite array does not monitor 121.5 MHz (since 2009), it is serendipitous for a high flyer monitoring the frequency to raise the alarm. The penetration rate of 406 MHz ELT’s installed in Canadian GA aircraft is still modest despite the accuracy and speed of alerting with the new ELT’s. During outreach events we highlight the differences between the older and state of the art 406 devices. Of course, our fleet of SAR aircraft use 406, and other tracking devices to enable us to “see” our aircraft during training and actual SAR’s.

    All pilots should carefully consider upgrading to a 406 ELT, and ALWAYS file a flight plan. These measures will speed up the process of determining if an aircraft encounters distress, and its location.

    Provincial Training Officer

  7. Kym Trask
    September 20, 2018 @ 6:53 am

    Today is Day 7 of the search for the missing aircraft, with two souls on board, in the vicinity of Kamloops. Five of our six zones, 16 PEP Air aircraft, spotters on 4 RCAF aircraft (Buffalo and Cormorant), our members (Navigator and Spotters) on an RCMP Helicopter, 3 senior embedded members at JRCC, several recent graduates of the Search Coordinator course getting operational experience at SHQ and JRCC, and a full complement of staff under ICS at Search Headquarters (SHQ) have been working together to locate the aircraft and occupants. This week, Next of Kin (NOK) have flown on a Buffalo in the search area, piloted by our former CLO, as Buffalo AC. The current CLO is AC on another Buffalo in the search area as well. IN addition, NOK visited our SHQ to express thanks to all the members of PEP Air who have participated in this search. As of last night we’ve logged 157.5 hours on this task. Just a reminder that any information for release must be vetted through the proper channels. The media always has the public interest as their focus. The professionalism and dedication of our members has been evident with the associated significant operational tempo of this SAR. No safety of operational incidents have been recorded. Our thoughts always, are with the family and friends of those from the un-located aircraft.

  8. Kym Trask
    September 18, 2018 @ 6:04 pm

    SWE Zone undertook their routine evaluation at Abbotsford Airport (CYXX) commencing on Friday 14 September. On Saturday the evaluation converted to an actual SAR for an overdue aircraft in the vicinity of Kamloops. The best possible evaluation is during an actual SAR case. The professional approach and dedication of the SWE members was evident. We train for these missions and were not found wanting. My congratulations to all the members of SWE Zone for a great job, and being assessed as fully operational for the next 24 months, ready to accept any task from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, Victoria SRR.

  9. Kym Trask
    September 18, 2018 @ 12:23 pm

    My congratulations to all the participants of the 2018 Search Coordinator Course held in Kelowna (7-9 September). We had 13 new members graduate from the program, 6 current SC’s audit, several members of the Executive of PEP Air, and some observers attending – 30 in total. The Directing Staff from 442 Squadron, JRCC Victoria, and PEP Air have received positive feedback from the participants. This congratulatory message has been delayed due to the ongoing SAR near Kamloops. As Course Director I wish everyone great success as they continue their path of A/SC’s or SC. Several of the graduates are currently engaged in the active search. Well done everyone.

  10. Kym Trask
    September 15, 2018 @ 7:44 pm

    Yesterday and today were scheduled for the evaluation of SWE Zone at Abbotsford Airport (CYXX). At the same time we received notification from JRCC that an aircraft was missing between Chilliwack and Valemount. Rather than abandoning the evaluation, the SHQ converted to actual SAR mode and we launched several aircraft. Two SHQ’s ran simultaneously and a total of 7 PEP Air aircraft, and 2 ground ELT homing vehicles, were dispatched. An unrelated ELT was located and that case was closed. Members of 442 Squadron and JRCC assessed the SWE Zone as fully operational, and the search continues tomorrow. Well done to all the participants today! It is a perfect example that we train for the actual mission, and today emphasised that SWE Zone is ready and willing to undertake tasking in a professional and efficient manner. I am very pleased with the overall effort and dedication of our members. The search continues tomorrow.

  11. Martin Williams
    September 11, 2018 @ 7:47 pm

    Just back from attending the SCC in Kelowna. Only after attending an event such as this does it hit-home just how much effort and personal commitment is involved in delivering such a program. In two words “It’s immense”. Thank you.

    Hours: Beyond belief
    Areas Covered: Everything possible
    Available Tomorrow Everyone
    Significant Events Camaraderie
    Search Conditions Perfect

    Seriously, so many folks to thank – “No names, no pack-drill”, we all know who you are! Course Directors, Presenters, SC Mentors, JRCC & 422 Representatives, Observers, PEPAir Executives and last but not least CASARA Kelowna.

    I’m sure that I can speak for all Candidates. Academia and simulation only gWe appreciate the investment in us. We now look forward to repaying, with interest.

    • Martin Williams
      September 11, 2018 @ 10:10 pm

      I’m sure that I can speak for all Candidates. Academia and simulation only goes so far. Practical training and assisting on Task will help us all become ‘masters’ in our new trade! We appreciate the investment in us. We now look forward to repaying, with interest.

      “Banjo” Martin.

    • Daryl Ritchey
      September 11, 2018 @ 10:12 pm

      Great post Martin, I agree the course material, instructors and fellow students made for a very educational weekend. Now looking forward to applying all I have learned!

    • Dallen Masters
      September 14, 2018 @ 1:39 pm

      I agree with Martin. Thanks to the course staff who probably put in more hours than the students, and all of the mentors for being available to pass on wisdom and advice. Great location, wonderful opportunity to meet so many talented people and excellent support from CASARA Kelowna. Well done.

      Best of luck to all of the students in advancing their craft and honing the skills learnt over the weekend. Perhaps, in a few years, we can pay it forward and contribute to future courses.

      “Igloo” Dallen

  12. Jim Spencer
    September 1, 2018 @ 9:24 pm

    Some experience re USB cables & In Reach units….

    I tried 2 “older” charge only Micro USB cables and they did not work with In Reach Synching. The In Reach Synch gave a message that it could “not find” an In Reach unit.

    I tried 2 “newer” Micro USB cables and they worked fine for both charging and Synching…..I checked to see that contact data actually got changed.

    The 2 newer cables were labelled “Charge and Sync” on the box…..Insignia brand from Best Buy and NexTech brand from “The Source”. ( cheaper at The Source)

    The newer cables are backward compatible so I’m getting rid of the “charge only” cables to avoid confusion….or at least lessen the confusion!

    Also….I can’t see any way to identify the correct cable other than the “box label” so I’m also putting labels on the cables.

    • Alton
      September 1, 2018 @ 10:19 pm

      Good to know that there are other cables available to SYNC the inReach. I have misplaced my cable and could not SYNC until I finally found it again. I’m heading to the Source tomorrow to get another cable for backup.


  13. Woody
    August 31, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

    I got a CASARA flash drive (green body with silver wraparound cover and keychain) recently but it doesn’t seem to be working well. Do I need to do anything to it before using it? It’s one of the promotional things we hand out at events.

    • Alton
      August 31, 2018 @ 3:42 pm

      Hi: sounds like one of earlier ones we had. If you remove the jpg from the unit then it should work just fine.

  14. Alton
    August 29, 2018 @ 1:52 pm

    Below is a narrative from a Vernon PEP Air/GSAR member. Thought it might be of interest to other members:

    We are learning the inReach at our local GSAR unit and in my research, I came across Garmin’s ANT+. This puzzled me so I looked into it a little and as a result, wrote this to my family and friends who probably don’t have a use for ANT+ and its associates/competitors but my son will be interested – anyway, I wondered if a short blog might be useful possibly/useful with accuracy of my research in place?

    We all know what a WAN and a LAN is/are right?
    Do you know what a PAN is?

    A PAN is a Personal Area Network such as that set-up with your Bluetooth and other paired devices.

    The key here is Bluetooth but apart from ‘normal’ Bluetooth, there is LE (Low Energy – BLE) Bluetooth plus numerous OTHER types of small range communication mediums and Garmin uses one they have developed called ANT+. They all vary in power which affects their range and protocols from the view of, who they talk to and how that transmission is received or acknowledged; in a way, they are exactly that, Protocols but it is easier to think of them as short range transmission mediums or devices. as that is what is practically happening.

    None will eclipse Bluetooth of course but SUUNTO (dive watches/computers) for example, have one of their own and some Garmin devices can communicate with the SUUNTO offering but not all. They are basically proprietary short distance radio transmissions solely for the purpose of brand inter-communication as opposed to inter-brand communication.

    With an ANT+ dongle plugged into your computer, Garmin devices (limited) communicate data to your PC/Mac thereby not only eliminating the need for specialist, normal interface or proprietary cables, but the transfers are seamless and constant so basically, they are updating all the time eliminating the need to periodically sync the information to the computer.

    Currently, Garmin uses ANT+ (2nd Generation) for smart watches and fitness devices so you can now examine the information on a visible screen or monitor as well as storing the history on your computer and planning your future strategy.

    Why wouldn’t Garmin develop further their ANT+ technology to include GPSs and inReaches? Having to have a proprietary cable to download information one-by-one to a communal computer such as that in ‘Command’ seems less than foresighted but in truth, they, Garmin haven’t had Delorme very long and they have finally got the inReach in a case of their eco-family of GPSs.

    They have a long way to go with this with everything else they have on their plates and it may never happen? I would develop market needs for $ over perfecting a subscription based futuristic technology for minimal use as they are a company driven by profits strangely and not a charity organisation – again, just my take on things.

    So, if you come across ANT+ or its competitors, you will know a little of the basics now and FYI, it works on the 2.84GHz range like so many other of these technologies -home cordless phones and other household devices.

    If you think about it from the computers in our cars to production-lines in factories, computers are talking to each other. With fibre optics increasing bandwidths, I’m sure networks will become more efficient with better download speeds and even, faster (they are painfully slow at present), upload speeds but the numbers like 8.211B (inaccurate) which refer to network protocols you used to see specified but rarely do nowadays, are still out there and M2M stands for, machine-to-machine using one of these protocols. IF everything was only on our home network type set-up, everything would be trying to grab a share of the network which would be disastrous for FB users (?) so these different range radio transmissions are going on around us all day and every day.

    There, you have it. Have a good, magnetic energy day!

    The same member just sent this through as well:

    In my further research and for those interested in the whole use of the technology which, hopefully, Garmin will add in some way to their GPS based families in the future (?), I came across this article (or thesis LoL) which describes in detail, a model for healthcare using ANT+ technolgies.

    For the non-technical, throwing one’s hands up in the air might be a natural reaction?
    For some of us who are interested but know that it, the knowledge, won’t be permanently parked between our ears (I’m one of those), there is an interest socially (conversation interaction) and like many of us seniors, we don’t want to be left behind but will find it hard to retain in our limited memories without constant use but, the same could have been said in the past regarding Bluetooth and Wi-Fi generally?

    I look at computers these days having progressed from Windows 95 (code named Chicago – not a lot of people know that), to XP (Expert) when we loaded software for a past-time, copied illegally CD ROM’s and broke CODEC Rules just for an exercise to nowadays of encryption where we basically switch on, get our emails, look at our photos and on occasions, produce the odd MS Word document or, if we’re really, ‘into it,’ actually switch to Excel too. Apart from work based software, none of us ‘regular’ folk ever delve deeply into the innards anymore or use complicated programs. When I think of all the ‘master’ productions I made using DTP Microsoft Publisher – now located in my archives, they look pretty amateurish – fresh eyes!

    Thanks for your time
    here’s the link – Section 2 is the most relevant though looking quickly through the whole article leaves me in awe of ‘knowledge!’
    have a great day

  15. Jim Spencer
    August 27, 2018 @ 12:43 pm

    Hi all
    We formed a society about 7 years ago to help deliver Air SAR in our area. (Nanaimo VIZ)

    I would like to get in touch with other Casara areas/zones that have societies to learn/share about the operation of their societies.


  16. Kym Trask
    August 19, 2018 @ 1:42 pm

    On Friday 10 August an airside staff member of Horizon Air stole a Q400 twin turboprop aircraft at SEATAC airport. This aircraft was on radar at all times, was followed by two USAF Air National Guard F-15 Strike Eagles. A blind broadcast on 121.5 Mhz from SEA Tower was picked up by one of our SAR pilots. The aircraft crash on Ketron Island was witnessed yet the following video from King 5 news helicopter demonstrates the difficulty of locating a 60,000 pound aircraft in a known location even while hovering. All aircrew members should view this video and note the characteristics (heavily treed area, broken tops and scorched trees, small wreckage containment area) from the resulting impact.

    Our thoughts go out to the families involved.

    • Jim Spencer
      August 27, 2018 @ 12:52 pm

      Thanks Kym….excellent teaching/learning tool re “we are looking for a missing red & white aircraft….what will it look like?”

  17. Kym Trask
    August 19, 2018 @ 1:26 pm

    Hazard to aviation: A SAR mission took place from Monday to Thursday for a missing C-172 departing east of the Rockies in Alberta, to Westlock AB.
    The search object was located on Thursday near Lac St. Anne, and unfortunately the occupant did not survive. The near/actual IFR conditions from smoke may have been a contributing factor for the pilot of this aircraft.

    This URL from NASA shows the extent of the hundreds of fires during in BC (red dots) and most of the white is smoke blowing into Alberta. Pat McSorley and I were at JRCC Victoria during the search conducted by 7 CASARA AB a/c. The conditions in Alberta on Tuesday were 1.5 sm horizontal and thick smoke till 12,000 MSL. Looked more like the surface of Mars with the red tinge. Prince George was experiencing virtual night conditions just after lunch yesterday.,46.93064847651671,-111.1922196850687,60.391085353651334&epsg=4326&layers=VIIRS_SNPP_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,Coastlines,Reference_Features,Reference_Labels,VIIRS_SNPP_Fires_375m_Day&opacities=1,1,1,1,1&worldfile=false&format=image/jpeg&width=2260&height=1532

    Please be cautious of the difficult conditions during this state of emergency, and consult BC Wildfire Service for more info.

  18. Alton
    August 19, 2018 @ 9:38 am

    While on the inReach subject. Please remember to keep the units charged and do a Sync the night before you are going flying to get any updates that may be available and more importantly, do a SYNC on completion of your flight so the tracking will show the 15 second tracking rather than just the 10 minutes track that is sent direct from the unit. This is really important during a real Search, but good to have anytime you use the units.

    Safe Flying……

  19. Martin Williams
    August 18, 2018 @ 4:55 pm

    Delorme inReach Explorer: Has anyone found a a methodology for uploading .gpx files (tracks) from the inReach device directly into OziExplorer. There are several work-arounds but they are a PIA. I’m struggling and would welcome suggestions as to an easy fix. Thanks.

    • Alton
      August 20, 2018 @ 7:34 pm

      Good Evening:

      The solution to uploading .gpx files into OziExplorer is very easy. Open Ozi click on File, Load from File, then click on Import GPX File.

  20. Alton
    February 15, 2018 @ 12:34 pm

    Imperial notifies Transport Canada of potential aviation fuel quality issue
    Posted on February 15, 2018; Imperial Oil Limited Press Release

    Imperial has notified regulators and customers of a potential fuel quality issue in aviation gasoline (sometimes referred to as “avgas” or “100 low lead”) shipped from Strathcona refinery since Dec. 28, 2017.
    The primary concern is that the product quality issue may cause interference with on-board fuel gauge sensors of aircraft using avgas.
    All shipments of the avgas from Strathcona refinery were promptly stopped as soon as the company became aware of the issue on Feb. 13, 2018. Imperial has also requested that all distributors cease distribution of the product.
    At this time, Imperial is not aware of any reported safety issues related to the fuel. Aircraft that use jet fuel, also known in the industry as “Jet A,” are not impacted by this potential fuel quality concern.
    “We regret this inconvenience and will continue to provide information as the situation evolves,” said Jon Wetmore, vice-president, Imperial Downstream. “An investigation into the cause of the issue is ongoing.”

  21. Jim Tiviotdale
    February 15, 2018 @ 10:41 am

    Avgas supplies across the country have been quarantined because of an unknown quality control problem with fuels delivered since late December. The quarantine means that many FBOs and airport fuel suppliers have closed their avgas pumps while a solution to the problem is found. FlightFuels spokesman Craig Tanselli told COPA Flight the problem originated with the Edmonton Esso refinery that produces all the avgas for the whole country. He said his company is checking inventories to see if there is any unaffected avgas that they can sell but for the time being there are no avgas sales. Many airports have issued NOTAMs advising they cannot sell avgas. Jet fuel is not affected. COPA is monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they become available.

    Just posted by COPA

  22. Jim Tiviotdale
    February 15, 2018 @ 10:10 am

    Sounds like there is a quality problem with 100LL in Western Canada. Some airports are issuing NOTAMs halting sales.

  23. Alton
    February 1, 2018 @ 12:17 pm

    Thanks for posting this Jim, I think it is good info for all our members.

  24. Jim Tiviotdale
    February 1, 2018 @ 12:02 pm

    ForeFlight published a podcast discussing 121.5 and 406 ELT’s. It is 20 minutes in length and while produced in the US the information is generic in nature and provides a great insight/review for both pilots and PEP Air members. It would make for a good tabletop session.

  25. 10790
    January 26, 2018 @ 3:05 pm

    This will be very useful as more members get use to it and — USE IT.
    Looking forward to see what expires.
    Nice addition to the web site.
    Larry Wolf

    • Alton
      January 26, 2018 @ 3:29 pm

      Thanks for your comments Larry, I can’t agree with you more. We are looking forward to more input from the members.

  26. 2369
    January 23, 2018 @ 5:44 am

    This is a great idea! Thank you, nice to keep in touch.

  27. 5393
    January 22, 2018 @ 11:02 am

    This is a huge improvement to our website. Congratulations Fred-Allister

  28. Art Lashbrook
    January 21, 2018 @ 1:21 pm

    What are the specific authority requirements listed by CASARA to allow an aircraft to engage in training and search activities ? Is it a contractual agreement or type of lease? Is the information available on the web site?

    • Alton
      January 22, 2018 @ 9:21 am

      Hi Art:
      In BC, the aircraft must be 145HP or greater and the Pilot must have minimum 150 hours as PIC to begin training. The aircraft is not on contract or lease, we pay the Pilot/Owner a reimbursement rate on the Horsepower of the aircraft. For Example is the aircraft is 230HP we would reimburse the price of fuel that changes to a Fuel Factor times the horsepower for a rate per hour. Hope this helps you. If you need more info, please let us know.

      • Art Lashbrook
        January 22, 2018 @ 1:20 pm

        Thanks Alton,
        I’d like to get some additional information. Thinking about an airplane but not quite ready to commit yet. Need to know more. Let me know.

        • Alton
          January 22, 2018 @ 5:27 pm

          Hi Art, if you let me know what area you are in I can put you in touch with the local unit Zone Commander. He/She will be more than happy to have you come to a SAREX and you can learn all you need from that point.

          • Art Lashbrook
            January 22, 2018 @ 7:55 pm

            Thanks Alton!
            I’m in south eastern zone (Creston, BC). I believe Don McKinnon is commander here and he lives in Nelson, I think.

          • Alton
            January 24, 2018 @ 7:46 am

            Hi Art:

            Yes, Don is the Zone Commander. In Creston, you can contact Carlene Blackmore, Robert McLean or Keith Kepke for more info on the local group.

  29. bdunham
    January 21, 2018 @ 12:31 pm

    Glad to see the blog up and running. I am looking forward to seeing any and all conversations that lead to a better understanding of what we are all about, and how we can become even safer and more effective.

  30. Jim Tiviotdale
    January 21, 2018 @ 11:29 am

    Looking forward to the updated website, congrats!

  31. Alton
    January 18, 2018 @ 8:10 am

    This is great to see that our Blog is up and running.


  32. klang
    January 17, 2018 @ 5:28 pm

    Great article Fred.

Leave a Reply