Air cadets watch a drone demonstration and learn orienteering skills

Local air cadets recently spent an afternoon in Idlewild Park learning about orienteering and how organizations such as the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) use drones for search and rescue operations.

On Saturday, October 15, Key City’s 552 Air Cadets, accompanied by Commanding Officer Captain Lori-Lee Bott, participated in a drone demonstration using an advanced commercial unit recently acquired by Cranbrook Air SAR.

Allister Pedersen, Deputy Training Officer of Southeast BC as well as Drone Team Leader introduced the members of the newly formed drone team, which included drone pilot Jeff Hodder and visual observer Doug Fanning.

Hodder holds a Transport Canada Advanced Drone Operator Certificate and flies his own Cessna 172 fixed-wing aircraft with Air SAR, while Fanning is a spotter with Cranbrook Air SAR (known as PEP Air in Colombia British and CASARA nationally), and also flies his own personal drone. identical to the one presented to Cadets.

The drone team took advantage of the invitation from Key City Air Cadets to describe and demonstrate the capabilities of drones to conduct searches in difficult terrain such as canyons and other rugged terrain.

Once the new drone team completes intensive training, they will undergo provincial certification before showcasing their capabilities to ground SAR groups in southeastern British Columbia.

The drone demonstration was certainly a highlight of the afternoon, as drones are increasingly used to enhance search and rescue capabilities around the world.

More than 25% of the cadets present (including a parent) own a drone. Additionally, Cranbrook Air SAR considers cadets to be the next generation of Air SAR members.

In addition to the drone demonstration, the cadets also participated in an orientation exercise.

Orienteering is a competitive sport in which participants find their way to various checkpoints across the country using a special map and compass, in the shortest possible time. The compass helps you keep your map oriented to your surroundings and it’s up to you to choose the easier route, which may take longer, or take the direct route which may be more difficult but much longer fast.

The cadet teams completed this 2.4 km initiation course in 23 to 50 minutes.

Dino J. Dotson