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1st of 2 CC-130 'Hercules' search and rescue planes arrives in ComoxGord Kurbis

Published June 15, 2022 8:14 p.m. MDT
COMOX, B.C. - 

Nearly two years after 19 Wing Comox took delivery of the first of its new "Kingfisher" search and rescue aircraft, the planes are still not in the air. And with the retirement of the "Buffalo" aircraft having taken place in January, a back-up plan was required to carry out rescue duties on the island.

The first of two CC-130 Hercules aircraft from is now situated in Comox, with a second one due by the end of June.

“We carry all kinds of survival equipment and rescue equipment that our search and rescue technicians employ and deploy," says Maj. Kyle Maurice, Squadron Detachment Commander for 435 Squadron out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

"That’s everything from chainsaws and tents to food kits and life rafts.”

The Hercules are being re-deployed from Winnipeg to Comox to carry out search tasks until the Kingfishers are ready for duty. That could be as late as 2025 or 2026.

The wing’s commander is ensuring there will be no reduction in service during the interim.

“Canadian Armed Forces is extremely flexible on how we mange resources on a routine basis, whether that’s for search and rescue or other strategic or tactical levels of operations,” says Wing Commander Col. Rhonda Stevens.

Stevens notes the Hercules is being used at Canadian Forces Bases in Winnipeg, Greenwood and Trenton to carry out search and rescue activities.

“The Hercules aircraft have been conducting search and rescue operations in Canada for quite some time. It’s a very robust fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft,” she says.

Personnel out of Winnipeg will maintain and operate the Hercules in Comox on a rotational basis, with 35 members being deployed for one-month durations.

“The biggest challenge for us, really, is personnel," Maurice says. "We’re taking people away from their families and their homes for a month at a time, for an indefinite period of time, so coordinating that and making sure that people are supported on the home front, that’s the biggest challenge for us.”

Maurice says Comox was the last location to use the Buffalo, which has been in operational service for 55 years.

“The only remaining hold out was Comox and that’s just a function of the mountains and it can do valley chutes and things like that a lot better. We can do all those things in the Hercules, there’s not going to be any change to the service here,” Maurice says.

Crews will carry out training sessions four times a week during the day and three times a week at night, while remaining available for actual emergencies around the clock.

Lt. Col. Jean Leroux of 442 Squadron says the Hercules and crew members will fit seamlessly into search operations on Vancouver Island and across British Columbia.

“We have the utmost confidence in all the aircraft we’re using for search and rescue, including the Hercules, so a strong crew, a very capable aircraft, the teamwork between the helicopter and the fixed-wing asset is key and right now we’re set for success for the foreseeable future,” Leroux says.

He says the Hercules will work in unison with the Cormorant helicopter the same way the Buffalo did.

“Search and rescue in Canada always has the concept of two aircraft, the fixed-wing SAR asset will actually go out there faster than the helicopter asset gets there, find and pass the location to the helicopter, (then) the helicopter comes in and effects the rescue,” Leroux says.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

better safe than sorry but disappointing

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Technical issue temporarily stops Canadian Forces Snowbirds from flight performances

 
 
image.png.4d3dd5765dae841052a32d0601076913.png
Technical issue temporarily stops Canadian Forces Snowbirds from flight performances
© Provided by The Canadian PressTechnical issue temporarily stops Canadian Forces Snowbirds from flight performances

OTTAWA — The Department of National Defence says the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be unable to fly in planned air shows and flypasts until a technical issue is resolved.

That means performances next Wednesday in the Moncton, N.B., area will be cancelled while technicians work to get the team back in the air for Canada Day in Ottawa.

The department says in a news release the issue relates to a device that sets the timing for the deployment of the parachute during the ejection sequence.

It says during routine maintenance, technicians discovered the tool may not be calibrated accurately and the parachutes will now be retested and repacked to ensure proper timing for their activation in the event of an emergency.

It's not known how long it will take to fix the issue, but the release says the Royal Canadian Air Force is working with experts and a third-party aviation contractor to get the team back in the air as soon as it is safe to do so.

It adds Air Force experts have determined there is no link between the 2020 crash in Kamloops, B.C., that killed Capt. Jenn Casey — which occurred after a bird flew into an engine — and the current issue with the parachute device.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2022.

The Canadian Press

 

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CF Snowbirds planned return on July 9 with show in Kelowna

2 July 2022 – Link to announcement

snowbirds3-e1589663933670.jpg?w=1024

Revised Schedule

Date Location
July  
9-10 ~~ Added Kelowna, British Columbia
16 – 17 Cold Lake, Alberta
20 Terrace, British Columbia
23 – 24 Calgary-Springbank, Alberta
27 ~~ Added Vancouver **
30 – 31 Fort St. John, British Columbia
August  
3 Penticton, British Columbia
5 ‑ 7 Abbotsford, British Columbia
9 ~~ Added White Rock, British Columbia
13 ‑ 14 Edmonton-Villeneuve, Alberta
27 ‑ 28 Debert, Nova Scotia
September  
3 ‑ 5 Toronto, Ontario
9 ‑ 11 London, Ontario
14 Tillsonburg, Ontario
17 ‑ 18 Gatineau, Quebec
21 ~~ Added Kitchener, Ontario
24 ‑ 25 Mirabel, Quebec
October  
1 ‑ 2 Huntington Beach, California, USA
8 ‑ 9 San Francisco, California, USA
15 ‑ 16 Santa Maria, California, USA

 ** Denotes a non-aerobatic display

 

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Canadian Forces Snowbirds ready to dazzle Kelowna this weekend

By Victoria Femia  Global News
Posted July 8, 2022 6:36 pm
 Updated July 8, 2022 6:42 pm
The Snowbirds are in Kelowna for two weekend shows. On Friday, they took to the skies for some practice. Credit: Lynn Banfield
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Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Kelowna International Airport has brought in the Canadian Forces Snowbirds for two performances this weekend.

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“This is exactly the type of thing we want to bring the community in, to our celebration for this anniversary,” said Geoff Ritchie, YLW senior manager of airport developments.

This weekend will be the first time since 2014 that the Snowbirds dazzled a Kelowna crowd with their aeronautic acrobatics. Given the team’s major popularity status in North America, booking the Snowbirds didn’t come easy.

“Everybody wants the snowbirds to perform, so there are limited opportunities,” said Ritchie.

“We were lucky to get in early and be able to have this. And, quite honestly, they enjoy being here in Kelowna also, so it’s a perfect match for both of us.”

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The Okanagan’s complex terrain offers a more challenging scenery for the pilots to fly, though.

“It’s a little bit more technical, actually – it’s a valley, so there are mountains on one side and mountains on the other side,” said Capt. Gabriel Ferris, Snowbirds public relations officer.

“The pilots, when they fly their show, they have to dive in the valley to be able to maneuver and stuff like that. So it adds an increased difficulty for the pilots.”

A Snowbirds performance can take time to create, and pilots and crews say they’ve been training for this weekend’s show for more than eight months.

Click to play video: 'Snowbirds in Kelowna, hit the skies for Friday practice'2:23Snowbirds in Kelowna, hit the skies for Friday practice

Snowbirds in Kelowna, hit the skies for Friday practice

Saturday and Sunday’s shows will begin at 1 p.m., and last around 45 minutes each. During that time, seven planes will be performing.

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“We’re just excited to be a part of such a special occasion for Kelowna,” said Dominic Appolloni, Snowbirds outer left wing.

“We don’t normally get to hit such a big landmark for every airport, so we have such a special connection to the Okanagan region and we’re excited to share that with the city.”

The Snowbirds’ return to the Central Okanagan is also a way for the team to honour Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer for the team who was killed in a crash following a performance in Kamloops two years ago.

Click to play video: 'Kamloops grieving following Snowbirds crash on Sunday'2:20Kamloops grieving following Snowbirds crash on Sunday

Kamloops grieving following Snowbirds crash on Sunday – May 19, 2020

“It’s actually important to be in Kelowna,” said Ferris. “It’s kind of close to Kamloops as well, and, with the event that happened two years ago, we have people coming from Kamloops as well.

“So, it is special for our team in this region. Being here for the 75th anniversary, it’s a candy on the top.”

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The Snowbirds air demonstration is the first of many events happening to kick off the airport’s 75th anniversary.

The CF Snowbirds demonstration will take place over Okanagan Lake, north of the William R. Bennett Bridge. The best place to watch will be along the waterfront, from City Park to Waterfront Park.

Following the Snowbirds’ demonstration on Saturday, there will be a Wings n’ Wheels event at the new KF Centre for Excellence — along Airport Way, at 5800 Lapointe Drive —  from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

YLW also has a number of celebrations planned for the rest of the year, which can all be found on the airport’s website.

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Canada moves forward with the acquisition of aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force 

From: National Defence

News release

July 14, 2022 – Ottawa – Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced that Canada has finalized a contract to acquire the first two aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) that will replace and renew the capability currently fulfilled by the CC-150 Polaris fleet and later become part of the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) fleet.

The contract for the procurement and preparation of two Airbus A330-200 aircraft, manufactured in 2015, was awarded to International AirFinance Corporation and is valued at $102M USD (taxes excluded).

Since 1992, the CC-150 Polaris aircraft and its crews have provided outstanding service to Canada. The Polaris is the aircraft that provides the majority of air-to-air refueling for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fighter fleet, allowing the RCAF to extend their range and operating time. This capability has seen extensive use at home and abroad, including on Operation IMPACT, where it delivered more than 65 million pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft. The fleet also fulfills many other roles, including military personnel and cargo airlift; strategic Government of Canada personnel transport; and medical evacuations.

After nearly 30 years of outstanding service, the RCAF is looking to the future of this crucial capability, and with today’s announcement, we are moving forward to the next step of the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) project.

This project, which is Initiative #47 of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), will replace and renew the RCAF’s air-to-air refueling capability for the next generation.

The STTC project, within its currently approved scope, will acquire sufficient aircraft to provide the RCAF with three continuous lines of tasking to deliver on Canada’s defence policy, to defend Canadians, to meet Canada’s NORAD and NATO commitments, and allow our Canadian Armed Forces to continue to contribute to peace and stability abroad through their operations.

The STTC aircraft will also be equipped to airlift large numbers of CAF personnel and their equipment in support of operations and training activities within Canada, including in Canada’s Arctic regions, and around the world, which will enhance the existing transport capacity provided by the CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules fleets, allowing for the more efficient movement of personnel and equipment. And, as a multi-role aircraft, the STTC aircraft will provide the RCAF with increased flexibility, allowing planners to select the most appropriate aircraft for a specific airlift mission, and it will increase the RCAF’s ability to respond to unexpected operational requirements, such as domestic or international emergencies or humanitarian relief missions.

The exact number of aircraft in the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability fleet is currently anticipated to be six aircraft (including these two Airbus A330-200 aircraft). These two commercial aircraft will later be modified by Airbus Defence and Space to military specifications required to serve as multirole aircraft within the STTC fleet, and they will play an integral role in providing air-to-air refuelling, strategic airlift, aeromedical evacuations, and strategic Government of Canada personnel transport, including transport of the Prime Minister, Governor General, and others, for decades to come.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment they need at the best value for money. We look forward to accepting these two aircraft as they represent an important first step in eventually replacing the capability currently provided by the CC150 Polaris fleet.”

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

“Providing our Canadian Armed Forces members with safe, advanced equipment to protect Canadians is of paramount importance. These aircraft will support key airlift operations by the Royal Canadian Air Force, while providing best value for Canadians.”

The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Quick facts

  •  These two used A330-200 aircraft, manufactured in 2015, are being procured at the best value for money for Canadians and they will meet the requirements of the Royal Canadian Air Force for decades to come. The modification to transform a commercial Airbus A330-200 into a strategic tanker, named by Airbus as the Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), can be applied to either new or used aircraft. Several allied nations have procured used A330-200 aircraft and have worked or are working with Airbus to convert those aircraft to the MRTT configuration to support their operations. All modifications, whether for new or used aircraft, will be completed through the Government’s contract with Airbus.

  • Ten-year average CC-150 Polaris Mission type:

    •  Air-to-Air Refuelling: 30%
    •  Strategic Airlift for the RCAF: 55%
    • Strategic Government of Canada Transport: 10%
    • Aeromedical: 5%
  • The aircraft are expected to arrive in Canada in winter 2023, where they may be placed into early service in passenger/cargo roles as we await their modification to military specifications.The aircraft being purchased are currently configured for long-haul commercial use. These aircraft may initially be used to perform cargo, troop and passenger airlift operations. This could include, for example, the deployment of CAF troops and gear within Canada or overseas, the movement of civilian passengers in support of humanitarian relief operations, and transport of the Prime Minister, Governor General, and others. 

  • The Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy, including the value proposition, will apply to this procurement to leverage economic benefits for Canada equal to the value of the contract. Through the ITB Policy, the STTC project will leverage investments and business activities in support of Canada’s key industrial capabilities – supporting the defence industry and good Canadian jobs in regional economies. 

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2022/07/canada-moves-forward-with-the-acquisition-of-aircraft-for-the-royal-canadian-air-force.html

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Hmmm .   New chariot for Mr. Trudeau 🙃

From the article.  

 These aircraft may initially be used to perform cargo, troop and passenger airlift operations. This could include, for example, the deployment of CAF troops and gear within Canada or overseas, the movement of civilian passengers in support of humanitarian relief operations, and transport of the Prime Minister, Governor General, and others. 

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2 hours ago, Maverick said:

Canada moves forward with the acquisition of aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force 

From: National Defence

News release

July 14, 2022 – Ottawa – Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced that Canada has finalized a contract to acquire the first two aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) that will replace and renew the capability currently fulfilled by the CC-150 Polaris fleet and later become part of the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) fleet.

The contract for the procurement and preparation of two Airbus A330-200 aircraft, manufactured in 2015, was awarded to International AirFinance Corporation and is valued at $102M USD (taxes excluded).

Since 1992, the CC-150 Polaris aircraft and its crews have provided outstanding service to Canada. The Polaris is the aircraft that provides the majority of air-to-air refueling for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fighter fleet, allowing the RCAF to extend their range and operating time. This capability has seen extensive use at home and abroad, including on Operation IMPACT, where it delivered more than 65 million pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft. The fleet also fulfills many other roles, including military personnel and cargo airlift; strategic Government of Canada personnel transport; and medical evacuations.

After nearly 30 years of outstanding service, the RCAF is looking to the future of this crucial capability, and with today’s announcement, we are moving forward to the next step of the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) project.

This project, which is Initiative #47 of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), will replace and renew the RCAF’s air-to-air refueling capability for the next generation.

The STTC project, within its currently approved scope, will acquire sufficient aircraft to provide the RCAF with three continuous lines of tasking to deliver on Canada’s defence policy, to defend Canadians, to meet Canada’s NORAD and NATO commitments, and allow our Canadian Armed Forces to continue to contribute to peace and stability abroad through their operations.

The STTC aircraft will also be equipped to airlift large numbers of CAF personnel and their equipment in support of operations and training activities within Canada, including in Canada’s Arctic regions, and around the world, which will enhance the existing transport capacity provided by the CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules fleets, allowing for the more efficient movement of personnel and equipment. And, as a multi-role aircraft, the STTC aircraft will provide the RCAF with increased flexibility, allowing planners to select the most appropriate aircraft for a specific airlift mission, and it will increase the RCAF’s ability to respond to unexpected operational requirements, such as domestic or international emergencies or humanitarian relief missions.

The exact number of aircraft in the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability fleet is currently anticipated to be six aircraft (including these two Airbus A330-200 aircraft). These two commercial aircraft will later be modified by Airbus Defence and Space to military specifications required to serve as multirole aircraft within the STTC fleet, and they will play an integral role in providing air-to-air refuelling, strategic airlift, aeromedical evacuations, and strategic Government of Canada personnel transport, including transport of the Prime Minister, Governor General, and others, for decades to come.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment they need at the best value for money. We look forward to accepting these two aircraft as they represent an important first step in eventually replacing the capability currently provided by the CC150 Polaris fleet.”

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

“Providing our Canadian Armed Forces members with safe, advanced equipment to protect Canadians is of paramount importance. These aircraft will support key airlift operations by the Royal Canadian Air Force, while providing best value for Canadians.”

The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Quick facts

  •  These two used A330-200 aircraft, manufactured in 2015, are being procured at the best value for money for Canadians and they will meet the requirements of the Royal Canadian Air Force for decades to come. The modification to transform a commercial Airbus A330-200 into a strategic tanker, named by Airbus as the Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), can be applied to either new or used aircraft. Several allied nations have procured used A330-200 aircraft and have worked or are working with Airbus to convert those aircraft to the MRTT configuration to support their operations. All modifications, whether for new or used aircraft, will be completed through the Government’s contract with Airbus.

  • Ten-year average CC-150 Polaris Mission type:

    •  Air-to-Air Refuelling: 30%
    •  Strategic Airlift for the RCAF: 55%
    • Strategic Government of Canada Transport: 10%
    • Aeromedical: 5%
  • The aircraft are expected to arrive in Canada in winter 2023, where they may be placed into early service in passenger/cargo roles as we await their modification to military specifications.The aircraft being purchased are currently configured for long-haul commercial use. These aircraft may initially be used to perform cargo, troop and passenger airlift operations. This could include, for example, the deployment of CAF troops and gear within Canada or overseas, the movement of civilian passengers in support of humanitarian relief operations, and transport of the Prime Minister, Governor General, and others. 

  • The Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy, including the value proposition, will apply to this procurement to leverage economic benefits for Canada equal to the value of the contract. Through the ITB Policy, the STTC project will leverage investments and business activities in support of Canada’s key industrial capabilities – supporting the defence industry and good Canadian jobs in regional economies. 

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2022/07/canada-moves-forward-with-the-acquisition-of-aircraft-for-the-royal-canadian-air-force.html

Finally! This is great news, and a great aircraft!

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18 hours ago, conehead said:

Finally! This is great news, and a great aircraft!

Agreed! Finally a good decision from this government.

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3 hours ago, Maverick said:

Agreed! Finally a good decision from this government.

On the surface it looks good but I will hold my praise until the conversions are done  🙃 

More on the purchse

Quote

Airbus Defence and Space, and its A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, was the only bidder to qualify for the project in April 2021. Today’s announcement means two A330-200 aircraft will be prepared to meet the requirements of the RCAF. The aircraft are used — manufactured in 2015 and previously leased and operated by Kuwait Airways — and are currently in commercial configuration.

Canada moves forward with acquisition of first 2 Airbus A330-200s for RCAF future tanker - Skies Mag

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TOP STORY   https://link.postmedia.com/view/5a8460693f92a42461acc1e9gwqkw.6/b55ce8e2

 

The Department of National Defence has garnered a well-deserved reputation for being terrible at procurement. Even the simplest replacement of outdated and even dangerous equipment can take years if not decades. 

But this week brought a conspicuous exception: The RCAF apparently has no problem making timely purchases when it comes time to replace VIP aircraft, including the jets used to carry the prime minister. 

The Department of Defence announced this week that it will be purchasing a pair of used Airbus A330-200 airliners for approximately $133 million. The two jets will replace part of the air force’s fleet of CC-150 Polaris heavy lift aircraft, which include Can Force One, the aircraft used for long-range transport of VIP personnel including the prime minister and the Governor General. 

It's not entirely clear whether the new jets will be used for VIP transport, as the RCAF’s Polaris fleet is also used for aerial refueling, the airlifting of troops and supplies, and medevacs. The RCAF estimates that just 10 per cent of Polaris flying time is used on what they call “Strategic Government of Canada Transport.” 

But the purchase of the two Polaris replacements is remarkable for how quickly it occurred once set in motion. 

In December 2020 the Department of Defence first put out the word that it was looking to scrap the Polaris in favour of a “new fleet of multi-role aircraft.” 

Three months later, the military sent out its first request for qualified bidders who could replace the Polaris. After vetting applicants and issuing a formal request for bids, just last month the federal government announced it was handing the contract to International AirFinance Corporation, an aircraft leasing company headquartered in Dubai. 

All told, that’s just 19 months between Ottawa announcing it would replace the Polaris, and actually finding a contractor who could do it

Compare that to the more than 10 years it took to announce that the CF-18 fighter jet would be replaced with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

In 2010, Canada first announced a $9 billion contract to acquire 65 F-35s, with the first to become operational by 2016. But the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau soon honoured a campaign promise to cancel the contract and initiate an “open, fair and transparent” bid for a replacement. The end of the process, announced in March, was that Canada would be acquiring the F-35 anyway. 

A similar example is the Canadian Army’s lengthy odyssey to replace its Browning Hi-Power sidearms, a cartoonishly outdated pistol which dates to the Second World War and is notorious for jams and misfires. Like the process to find a replacement aircraft for the Polaris, it should have been a relatively easy “off-the-shelf” purchase: Invite gunmakers to submit bids, pick the best one, and then ink a contract. 

Instead, the process to replace the Hi-Power is poised to take 20 years — and cost more than four times as much as a British Army move to replace its Hi-Powers that took only three years. 

The Polaris replacements were acquired so fast, in fact, that the Polaris may be the rare Canadian military aircraft that actually gets retired within its recommended service life

The operational lifespan of the Polaris is expected to end in 2026, more than enough time for the first of its Airbus A330 replacements to be airborne. 

By contrast, the CF-18’s “estimated life expectancy” was originally set for 2003. Under current timelines, the CF-18 will end up exceeding that by 22 years. 

Canada’s fleet of Sea King helicopters, first acquired in the 1960s, were supposed to be replaced no later than 1994. Instead, the last Sea King was not retired until 2018

As for why Ottawa seemed to move unusually fast on buying the new Airbus A330-200s, one motivation may be the simple fact that used airliners are really cheap right now

With the aviation sector still in a slump as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains a buyer’s market for used jet aircraft – something that was hinted at in the Department of Defence’s initial 2020 announcement of its intention to seek a Polaris replacement. 

In 2020, aircraft availability has significantly increased while average aircraft prices from major suppliers are reportedly lower,” read the military’s tender notice. “Due to significant changes in the global aircraft market this year, the Canadian Armed Forces are taking the prudent step of exploring all options for the long-planned replacement of this fleet.”

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well that article is pure BS from the outset.

The 2 aircraft are being procured for Multi Role operations that was made abundantly clear in the press release.  They will both be modified as Airborne refueling tankers as well as personnel and VIP transport aircraft hence the MRTT designation.

The original Polaris aircraft were all second hand aircraft procured from the defunct Canadian Airlines / Wardair fleet and repurposed in the MRTT role.

The aircraft in question were manufactured in 2015 so 7 years old which is not bad considering they will undergo extensive rework by Airbus to be refitted for their roles.

 

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Canadian military looking at blocking real-time tracking of flights, including PM’s plane

trudeau-frequent-flyer-2-20220421png?fit

Thu Jul 21, 2022 - The Globe and Mail
by Steven Chase 

The military says it’s exploring ways to add a layer of secrecy to the movement of some Canadian Armed Forces flights, including the planes that carry the Prime Minister and the Governor-General.

The Royal Canadian Air Force says no decision has been made on how to proceed, but it’s investigating how it might prevent the real-time tracking of military aircraft. One option would be taking steps to ensure that flight-tracking websites, which sell their services for a fee, are unable to display the movement of some Canadian military planes.

Daniel Le Bouthillier, head of media relations for the Department of National Defence, said the air force is working with NAV Canada, Transport Canada and other partners to examine options for increasing security on certain military flights.

“This includes potential measures to limit the visibility of RCAF aircraft on publicly accessible aircraft tracking platforms” in some cases, he said.

Mr. Le Bouthillier said the cases where the military may want additional security safeguards include “flights to protect North American airspace through NORAD operations or sensitive transport flights.”

Some of the biggest VIPs the military transports include the Prime Minister, Governor-General and members of the Royal Family. Flights carrying the Prime Minister use the call sign Canforce 01 (CFC 01) and flights carrying the Governor-General use the call sign Canforce 3701 (CFC 3701).

In the United States, the government has taken steps to obscure tracking of Air Force One, the plane that carries the U.S. President.

He said real-time tracking of the majority of Canadian military flights does not worry the military. “Having the position and movements of our aircraft visible via tracking platforms is not a concern for the large majority of operational scenarios – for example, when conducting search and rescue operations, transport or transit flights, or routine training where there is no risk to operational security.”

If the military does end up obscuring the real-time movements of some flights, the information on this air traffic would still be publicly available later. Passenger manifests could be obtained by access-to-information requests, Mr. Le Bouthillier said.

The matter came to light after the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates civil aviation in the United States, discussed a Canadian request to block call signs in a July 14 e-mail to aviation stakeholders with an interest in the agency’s Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed (LADD) program. This program allows aircraft owners to block or limit the dissemination of flight data.

Jack Sweeney, an American college student in Florida, who is perhaps best known for creating the “ElonJet” Twitter account that tracks business magnate Elon Musk’s private jet using air traffic data, published the FAA e-mail on his own Twitter account last week.

In the letter, FAA analyst William Blacker tells aviation stakeholders that “NAV Canada is working to improve operational security of some of their sensitive flight data. NAV Canada is pursuing additional options, but has requested several call sign combinations to be added to the LADD Filter file.”

It also lists call signs that Canada wanted blocked from real-time flight tracking: 11 call signs with thousands of different permutations depending on the numbers that follow names including CANFORCE, HUNTER, HUSKY, JUNO, MOLSON, ODIN, PATHFINDER, SONIC, VIMY and BUBBLY. For instance, it wants any call signs CANFORCE 1 to CANFORCE 9999 blocked.

The Federal Aviation Administration declined to discuss the e-mail when asked by The Globe and Mail, and referred questions to NAV Canada, the not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation system.

NAV Canada’s manager of media relations Brian Boudreau would only say that the company collaborates “with the FAA, RCAF and Transport Canada to remove certain flight data from flight-tracking websites when the RCAF determines there’s an operational requirement.”

Steffan Watkins, an Ottawa-based research consultant who tracks aircraft and ships worldwide, said efforts to block call signs from being disseminated on flight-tracking websites may create barriers for members of the public who are unskilled in monitoring plane movement. But those who track flights as a hobby, or professionally, and rely on an independent network of sensors that track plane transponders, such as ADSBexchange, or SkyScanWorld, will see no change.

“These measures seem targeted at the lowest-skilled public to reduce transparency of routine flights,” he said.

He said it also won’t affect the ability of adversaries or rivals such as the Russians or Chinese from tracking Canadian military flights in regions near their borders.

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Snowbirds pilot Cpt. Logan Reid will take flight above the Northwest Regional Airport on Wednesday at 5 p.m. sharp. (Photo by Michael Bramadat-Willcock)

What it takes to fly with the Snowbirds

Cpt. Logan Reid of the Canadian Snowbirds landed in Terrace on Tuesday

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Captain Logan Reid of the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds landed in Terrace on Tuesday and he’s excited the aerobatics team will be the feature attraction in this afternoon’s first Northwest Regional Airshow in two decades.

The Snowbirds are opening the show at the Northwest Regional Airport that starts this afternoon at 5 p.m. sharp.

Reid’s passion for aviation began as a boy in Victoria where he joined the air cadets. From there he went to military college, trained as a pilot and was selected to be an instructor pilot.

“So much of what we do requires in-depth experience in the cockpit all the time so we train all winter long and it takes us a good seven months to put the show together and train everyone up,” Reid said.

“We start with very basic maneuvers until we get to the advanced maneuvers that your readers are going to get to see.”

He’s been flying full-time with the Snowbirds team for four years. He said one of the big challenges as a pilot with the Snowbirds is flying close together with so many other airplanes that there’s “very little room for air” between them.

“Your intention is always 100 per cent focused on the formation and maintaining what you call your box, which is a two-foot, by two-foot, by two-foot square volume of area that you’re allowed to stay in,” Reid said.

“As soon as you leave that area you have to say something or let people know because that’s how close we are together.”

Pilots learn to recognize what they call line of sight, seeing movement in the cockpit until they’re at the point where they’re looking at 30-foot misses between wing tips, which is very close especially at more than 1000 kilometres an hour speeds.

Reid is a part of the nine-plane formation and will also do solo crosses.

“We break apart and do lots of fantastic splits and we have two airplanes that fly head-on right at each other,” Reid said.

“We try to make these crosses appear in the sky and my job is to make sure that those crosses happen right in front of the audience’s eyes so they can see it.”

He said they’ll be doing all sorts of aerobatics and came prepared with shows for all sorts of weather.

“We like to do loops and rolls and all that kind of stuff to music so you’re going to see nine aircraft fly very close together doing maneuvers right over top of your heads with some great tunes in the background.”

In addition to the Snowbirds, the Canadian Armed Forces Skyhawks parachute team and the CF-18 demo team and two private aerobatic teams will also be performing.

Reid said it’s important to showcase the capabilities of armed forces so the public knows where their tax dollars are going.

“We represent the fine men and women of the Canadian forces from coast to coast, to coast and overseas on operation right now. We want to demonstrate that skill and professionalism that they’re doing world-wide right now,” Reid said.

He said showcasing Canadian defence capabilities is especially important in the north amid heightened tensions with Russia.

“Our NORAD defence fighters are always making sure they’re defending our airspace and defending our skies. They’re doing a really good job and I’m sure that the Russians are keeping tabs on that as well.”

This summer is Reid’s last with the Snowbirds as he’s on track to start training to fly the CF-18 Hornets.

Onlookers should try to arrive early at the airport so as to get situated and catch the whole act.

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Keeping up with our southern Neighbour, for no good reason except an ego trip by our present government.  Another big hole in our pocketbook with little or no actual RTI.

RCAF to ‘protect Canadian interests in space’ with new division

By Staff  The Canadian Press
Posted July 22, 2022 12:46 pm
 Updated July 22, 2022 12:48 pm

 

A reorganization of the existing space-focused team will now be known as 3 Canadian Space Division, with Brig.-Gen. Mike Adamson in command.

Defence Minister Anita Anand calls space a “critical domain for national security,” and says the division is part of building a military that can respond to “tomorrow’s threats.”

Over the next several years, the division will expand to employ about 175 people, nearly doubling the number of positions in the previous iteration, Director General Space.

  • “Building on the space initiatives outlined in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the establishment of 3 Canadian Space Division recognizes the critical importance of space in all Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations and day-to-day activities, and is a step forward in protecting Canadian interests in space,” the Department of National Defence said in a news release Friday.

This newest RCAF Division will streamline, focus, and improve how space-based capabilities support critical CAF requirements such as communications, command and control, navigation, weather and situational awareness.”

Canada is part of the Combined Space Operations initiative, along with six allied countries, which released a document in February outlining its vision for the next decade.

Canada says space-based capabilities are used in communications, navigation, weather services, remote sensing, Earth observation and financial transactions, and that some countries have the ability to disrupt access to these critical functions.

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Canadian Snowbirds and SkyHawks fly into Penticton for Peach Fest

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By Jasmine King  Global News
Posted August 1, 2022 7:15 pm

The Penticton Peach Fest is set to kick off in just a few days. Ahead of the activities, the Snowbirds and SkyHawks are getting prepared for the Penticton Air Display. Jasmine King has the details.

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The Penticton Peach Fest is set to kick off in just a few days. Ahead of the activities, the Canadian Snowbirds and Skyhawks are getting prepared for the Penticton Air Display.

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The SkyHawks, Canada’s only military parachute team, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be performing Wednesday night.

“We’re going to be flying right over the water, by the waterfront area and the pier. What you can expect is our full up high show, if the weather cooperates,” said Capt. Ari Mahajan, pilot of Snowbird 3. He promises a full, 30-minute show.

“We’re going to be doing loopings, rolling and we’re going to do crosses, our full show.”

he Snowbirds had a hazy landing Monday morning due to a fire burning in the South Okanagan. The smoke greatly affects what type of show they can offer and how many tricks they can do.

“Smoke from forest fires can be very challenging. Obviously, it reduces the visibility, not just on the ground but also in the air, so smoke aloft can be a little bit of a concern,” said Capt. Erik Temple.

“We’re going to be monitoring very closely what’s going on, talking with NAV Canada and the other agencies to make sure the show is safe first and foremost.”

The Penticton Peach Fest performance is around the halfway point of their summer show season.

Mahajan said he is grateful he gets to fly with the Snowbirds team.

“To be able to take the show everywhere across North America and showcase to the public what we do, hopefully representing the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, yes, it’s amazing.”

The Skyhawk and Snowbird performances mark day one of the festival and the pilots are excited to experience the South Okanagan and what it offers. They are asking Penticton boaters to avoid the area where they will perform.

We would love it if all watercraft, boats, paddleboards, and kayaks can just remain clear of the water towards the south side of the lake. That’s what we need in order to perform aerobatics, so we need that area to be clear or we have to change the show,” Temple said.

The SkyHawks performance starts at 5 p.m. and the Snowbirds show kicks off at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night.

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Canadian Snowbird aircraft 'incident' reported at northern B.C. airport

RCAF says pilot did not sustain physical injuries, investigation underway

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Tue Aug 02 , 2022 - CBC News 

First responders were called to the North Peace Regional Airport in Fort St. John, B.C., on Tuesday afternoon to respond to what officials are describing as an "aviation incident."

In a social media post, the Fort St. John International Air Show said the aircraft went down during takeoff.

Canadian Armed Forces Public Affairs Officer Major Trevor Reid confirmed Tuesday an incident occurred involving a Snowbird aircraft.

He said two Snowbirds were in town for the air show over the weekend.

Reid said it's too early to say what caused the incident and an investigation is underway. It's unclear how long the investigation will take, but he said the results would be made public.

According to Reid, the pilot did not sustain physical injuries. 

In a statement, the City of Fort St. John says by the time firefighters arrived, the fire had been extinguished by the airport's fire department. 

"Despite all of the safety precautions that are taken, incidents do happen and it's heartbreaking in the air show world," the Fort St. John International Air Show said. 

Officials are asking local residents to avoid the area as emergency crews continue to work.

Edited by Airband
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Quote

"The jet apparently stalled on takeoff, a defence source told CBC's Murray Brewster. The pilot managed to turn the jet around, return to the airfield and landed, but the aircraft blew past the end of the runway, said the source, who was familiar with the accident but not authorized to speak publicly."

Update

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Snowbirds cancel Penticton performance following incident in Fort St. John

By Kathy Michaels  Global News
Posted August 3, 2022 8:36 am
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds cancelled their Penticton Peach Festival performance in the wake of an incident in Fort St. John.


A 431 Air Demonstration Squadron CT-114 aircraft was headed to Penticton Tuesday, where the rest of the Snowbirds were at that time preparing for the Penticton Air Display.

Maj. Trevor Reid, public affairs officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, told Global News the CT 114 Tutor aircraft suffered some damage during takeoff from the North Peace Regional Airport in Fort St. John. The pilot and sole occupant of the plane was not injured and an investigation is ongoing.

In a statement, Peach Fest organizers said they’ve been told the aircraft won’t be flown while a Royal Canadian Air Force flight safety team investigates the cause of that incident.

While the Snowbirds are out, Peachfest organizers said that Canadian Forces Skyhawks will still perform Wednesday night, the opening night of Peach Fest, at 5 p.m., landing in Okanagan Lake Park.


The Snowbirds and Skyhawks will also be at the Penticton Airport at 10 a.m. to meet with the public and will have an opportunity for people to view the Tutor aircraft up close.

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Snowbirds grounded following accident in Fort St. John

Following Fort St. John accident, Snowbirds fleet under pause until fleet is assessed

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Wed Aug 10, 2022 - CBC News

The Royal Canadian Air Force has ordered an "operational pause" for its Snowbird air demonstration squadron jets after a crash earlier this month.

A statement from Maj.-Gen. Iain Huddleston, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, says the CT-114 Tutor jets will not fly until an airworthiness risk assessment can be completed.

The decision to ground the planes comes after a crash of one of the jets on Aug. 2 at the airport in Fort St. John, B.C.

No one was hurt when the pilot made a hard landing, and the Air Force says the cause of the accident remains under investigation.

The Air Force statement says a deliberate, detailed and broad risk analysis will be done with the aim of ensuring the safe resumption of the squadron's flying operations.

It says the assessment will include whether the accident and its cause pose any risk to continued flying operations and what measures can be put in place to lower any risks.

"Given that the cause of this accident remains to be determined by airworthiness investigative authority, I have ordered an operational pause on the CT-114 Tutor fleet as we continue the investigation and commence a thorough operational airworthiness risk assessment process," Huddleston said in the statement Wednesday.

The nearly 60-year-old Tutor jets are scheduled to be used by the Snowbirds until 2030.

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