Military aircraft, SAR volunteers conducting training exercise

CC-130 Hercules aircraft, local Air and Ground SAR volunteers to conduct training exercise in Cranbrook/Kimberley area.

If you look up to the skies on Monday afternoon, it’s a bird, it’s a plane…

It’s actually a plane—a CC-130 Hercules aircraft from the 435 Transport Reserve Squadron of the Canadian Forces that is participating in a training exercise in the region.

The aircraft is in the area to gather mountain flying experience and the training exercise will include both Air and Ground Search and Rescue volunteers from Cranbrook and Kimberley.

The exercise will simulate a small aircraft that has crashed, with military personnel and SAR volunteers completing the full range of activities that would take place from conducting an initial visual and electronic search—listening for emergency radio beacon signals—through to SAR techs parachuting to the crash site.

“Civilian Air SAR volunteers from Cranbrook CASARA (Civil Air Search & Rescue Assn) in a 4-seat aircraft will also be participating and conducting an electronic and visual search for the simulated missing aircraft,” said Allister Pedersen, a training officer with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association.

” It is common  for missing aircraft searches to involve trained civilian volunteers (pilots, navigators and spotters) who are familiar with the local area and can be on-scene quicker especially in areas such as  the Kootenays which are quite distant from the nearest SAR bases.

“Cranbrook Ground Search & Rescue will also be working with the Air SAR teams.”

The training exercise will run Monday and Tuesday, unless a real emergency requires a response from Air and Ground SAR.