Category Archives: Aviation

The case for some contract SAR services

RCAF Cormorant – AKA the EH-101. used for SAR Services in Canada.

Today’s Herald features a piece by Andrea Gunn about the possibility of civilian contractors filling gaps in SAR service. One of those gaps is the short summer season in the arctic.

To date, the government has resisted stationing a helicopter in the arctic during the summer shipping season. They have claimed that this would be removing resources from other areas, and their simply isn’t the need for it in the north.

Cougar S-92 lowering a SAR Tech. Cougar Photo.

Given the relatively short summer season, Helicopter SAR services could be provided on a contract basis. Cougar Helicopters, who fly out of Halifax and St. John’s are able to provide contract all weather rescue services using S-92 Helicopters – the civilian version of the Air Force’s new Cyclone Helicopters. Cougar Helicopters offers this service commercially now, and regularly practices off Halifax.

RCAF Cyclone – the military version of the S-92

Nunatsiaq news reported that the much vaunted deep water Naval Station at Nanivsk, announced under the Harper Government, and has been slow to materialize – Construction started in 2015, and is due to be completed next summer. The port will serve as a re supply base for navy and Coast guard vessels.  It would be a logical place to station Sar Assets.

The case of the grounding of the Akademik Ioffe shows how vitally important it, and SAR helicopter service is to the arctic. Two Helicopters were dispatched from central Canada, but had long flight times, and required fuel stops. Two other cases show how helicopters are needed in the Arctic

On August 29th, 2 men were rescued after their 11m sailboat “Anahita” became trapped in ice and sunk in the Bellot Straight. The Men were found on a ice flow, with warm clothes, food and water, and a life raft. They were rescued by the coast guard icebreaker Henry Larsen’s helicopter, after the closest ship was delayed due to ice.

Two Inuit hunters were also rescued by the Louis St Laurent helicopter after a polar bear attack.  A 2009 senate report identified increasing numbers of pleasure craft in the arctic as a source of significant risk, along with foreign vessels unsuitable for arctic travel transiting Canadian waters.

Given the constrained supply of SAR Resources in existing areas – contract services should be considered.

747 Crashes at End of Runway 14 YHZ

Wednesday Morning a Sky Lease Cargo plane, operating as flight KKE 4854 arrived from Chicago and slid off the end of runway 14 while landing at YHZ. the crew of 4 suffered minor injuries. the The plane took out the localizer antenna at the end of the runway, had the landing gear collapse, and lost both inboard engines. A large crease (below) suggests this is a Hull loss incident.

the 747-400 was arriving empty to load seafood for china. Im told the Chinese characters on the other side read “Have fish every year”


A TSB conference yesterday suggested weather may have been a factor, with strong Tail and cross winds, and Rain at the time, the Incident occurred at the end of the shorter of the 2 runways – with strong winds and rains the pilots decision to use that runway will also be a source of inquiry. the TSB reports the winds were 250degress magnetic, which is almost a perfect cross wind fro landing on runway 14.

in 2004, another cargo plane, also a 747 crashed on takeoff. MK airlines flight 1602 was not configured properly for flight, and crashed at the end of runway 23.  AC 624 landed short of runway 05 in March 2015. Improvements made after the crash of MK1602 likely significantly reduced the severity of that crash.


Operations were more or less normal, with the main 05/23 runway in operation, while the investigation continues.


UPDATE 11/14:

ATC Audio is available. the video also lists some limits for landing.

AC624 – Normal vs Not Normal.

By now, we have all seen and heard the stories about the landing of AC624, A Toronto to Halifax flight with a A320 Aircraft. This route and aircraft land in Halifax dozens of times per week. Saturday night, this one came up short.

Runway 05/23 is the main runway at YHZ. runway 05 is a quick landing, as after you exit the runway, you end up at the terminal. this runway was extended in 2012, and may have reduced the impact of this crash.

The MK airlines crash, the Same ILS Antenna was taken out, however then it was on a berm. the space between the berm and the end of the runway was filled in as part of the Extension.
note the Alignment of Runway 05 and taxiway J in 2007:

And now, on the Current Chart.

(Below) the aircraft sits on the runway. the ILS Localizer lays broken on the left at the end of the runway.

Compare that with the normal Approach below. Note the plane is also an Air Canada A320. Also note that windsock above.

Here is the touchdown. Rear wheels are down, and the nose is coming down. Note the windsock. AC624 came to rest right where it should have touched down.

How Low was the plane? Here is the crater it left in the snow, and on the left the remains of the ILS Localizer. also note the snapped off lead light in the foreground. thats an 8 foot fence.

These are the leading lights in advance of the broken one. Note the height difference.  This flight was luckey. The aircraft clipped powerlines, but somehow managed to miss the wooden telephone poles. also the large dent in the snow probably cushioned the impact, as the recent snowfalls were still relatively fluffy compared to the earth mound.

Below an AC flight landing. this is landing on runway 23. Note the clearance over the localizer

Parts of the Landing Gear lie among parts of the localizer, and the right side of the runway.

Thanks to ADS-B, You can watch a replay of the flight Here

Expanded Life Extension Program for CP-140 Aurora Aircraft.

Canada is expanding its fleet of upgraded Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft. Through an existing modernization and life-extension program, four
additional Aurora aircraft will gain new and enhanced capabilities and
extended service lives. This will expand Canada’s current upgraded fleet
to a total of 14 Auroras.

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, accompanied by the Regional Minister
for Nova Scotia and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada,
Peter MacKay, made the announcement at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia,yesterday .14 Wing and 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, are the home bases for Canada’s Aurora fleet.

The Aurora program is a Canadian innovation success story, with
Canadian industry delivering a world class capability. With new wings
and tail, the Auroras will be restored to a “like new” configuration in
terms of the critical structural components, extending the structural
life to 2030. At that time, Canada will be better placed to buy its next
Canadian multi-mission aircraft.

The addition of four more updated Aurora aircraft is Canada’s best
means of ensuring effective piloted airborne intelligence, surveillance
and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities into the future, and the best use
of taxpayer dollars.

The four additional aircraft will be modernized and life-extended
under the existing competitively-awarded industry contracts. These
enhancements and modifications are expected to be completed by 2021, and
extend the operational effectiveness of the 14 modernized Aurora
aircraft from 2020 to 2030

The CP-140 is the CAF’s primary piloted Intelligence, Surveillance
and Reconnaissance (ISR) plane, ensuring the military’s ability to
detect threats to Canadian security as early as possible.  The Aurora
fleet contributes directly to all three Canada First Defence
Strategy roles – domestic, continental and international. The Auroras
conduct ISR in both the maritime and overland roles.  In the maritime
role, the CP-140 contributes to sovereignty, fisheries enforcement,
smuggling and pollution patrols, counter-narcotics missions, and
maritime counter-terrorism operations. It also fulfills an important
anti-submarine role, as the only CAF aircraft able to react and quickly
respond from long-range in the event of unauthorized presence of
submarines in Canada’s coastal approaches. The Aurora can fly
approximately 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) without refuelling and so
gives the Government of Canada a means to deter and control illegal or
hostile activity anywhere in Canada’s maritime approaches from the
Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.

The Aurora fleet is also playing an increasingly important role as an
overland ISR platform, both domestically for surveillance of our Arctic
territory and other security operations, and in support of missions
abroad. For example, Aurora aircraft was used during the CAF’s
contribution to security efforts for the Vancouver Olympics and the 2010
G8 and G20 Summits; and the two Auroras deployed on Operation MOBILE
were critical to the success of our mission in Libya, where they
identified targets for allies and Canadian CF-18s.

Air Force Heritage Park

Summerside PEI is home to a small but well kept Airforce Heritage Park. It is worth a Stop if you are there.

 (Above) CP-121 Tracker  Number 12131

 (Above) CP-107 Argus Number 739.

(Above) CF-101B Voodoo Number 101037

For More Photos, View the Full Set on Flickr

Air Force Heritage Park, a set on Flickr.

Find out more about the Park at

New Fire Equipment

The first of two new Rosenbauer Panther 3000 fire trucks was delivered to YHZ On Aug 16th. Rosenbauer is a us Firm that makes all sorts of fire apparatus, but has a line of specialty airport equipment which is in use all over north America.

Rosenbauer provided these photos (below) on their webpage.

Hopefully the equipment stays shiny and new, and only gets pulled out for Photo Ops.

Fixed Wing SAR

(Above  Left-Right) CC-115 Buffalo, CC-138 Twin Otter, CC-130 Hercules (DND Combat Camera Photo) Above we have the Existing Fixed Wing SAR Fleet. The Buffalo and Twin Otter are both DeHavilland Canada Designs, and the C130 is built by Lockheed.

The RCAF currently designates 13 CC130H Hercules and six CC115 Buffalo aircraft for FWSAR response. The Hercules operate from CFBs Greenwood, Trenton, and Winnipeg, while the Buffalos are all based at CFB Comox.  Of these, the six Buffalos and the Hercules at Greenwood and Trenton are dedicated to SAR. The Buffalos have been in service since the 1960s, while many of the Hercules date from the1970s, and all are now approaching the end of their effective service lives. The RCAF Twin Otters are currently based in Yellowknife.

its worth noting that canada currently has two Models of C130 –  H and J. the J models are current and are used for transport. the Older H models are dedicated to SAR.

The Contenders:

Dash-8 with Field Air Operable Door

The Dash8, is also a DeHavilland Canada design though now built by Bombardier and marketed as the Q400. The Stock aircraft is modified for SAR use by Field Aviation, and includes an air operable side  doors. it has the longest range after the C130, is built in Canada, and the modification is in use with 29 Aircraft already in service. Transport Canada’s Arial surveillance program uses Dash-8 -100 aircraft, so the type is quite Familiar to Canadian’s (Porter and Westjet Encore also use the type exclusively)

The above Photo shows a Swedish plane, prior to delivery, still with Canadian Registration.

Airbus Military C295

The Smaller Sister of the C295 is currently in use with the US Coast Guard for FWSAR. it is seen as an excellent compliment to the C130, for medium range missions, with an 8 hour flight time. The C295 is slightly larger, but has all the same basic features. The aircraft is in use in role by a close ally, with great success.
Interestingly, the US Airforce wants to shed itself of its C-27J, and they may go to the USCG as hand me downs for SAR conversions..
Alenia Aermacchi C-27j Spartan

Viewed from the onset as the favorite by DND, This Italian aircraft began as the Fiat g.222 and was updated in partnership with Lockheed. One benefit is that the C-27J is in many ways compatible with a C130. It is the Fastest, and has the longest range, but it is also the heaviest, limiting use on northern airstrips, and features poor low speed performance. It should be noted that the Italians don’t use the aircraft for FWSAR, Favoring much smaller aircraft, and leaning towards a variant of the ATR-42 commuter plane, a contemporary of the Q400.

Viking Air DHC-5NG Buffalo

Viking Air Purchased the type certificates for All Dehavilland Canada Aircraft except the Dash-8. The DHC-5NG is a proposed new production run of the Same aircraft to be replaced. the aircraft would be outfitted with modern systems and electronics, however the airframe would remain the same. Viking recently re-launched Twin Otter Production, with a modernized airframe and has had good success with it. The Buffalo is certainly suited to the Job – It performs it currently, and the aircraft is light, and has good slow speed performance. Its not pressurized however, so Altitude is Limited.

The Original development of the Buffalo occurred at the same period as the g.222, predecessor of the C27J

  C-27J   DHC-5NG   C-295 Q400 HC-130J
Wing span 94′ 2″ 96′ 0″ 84′ 8″ 93′ 3″ 132′ 7″
Overall length 74′ 6″ 79′ 0″ 80′ 4″ 107′ 9″ 97′ 9″
Overall height 34′ 8″ 28′ 8″ 28′ 5″ 27′ 5″ 38′ 9″
Cabin length 28′ 1″ 31′ 5″ 41′ 8″ 61′ 8″ 40′ 0″
Cabin width 8′ 0″ 8′ 9″ 8′ 10″ 6′ 8″ 9′ 9″
Cabin height 7′ 4″ 6′ 10″ 6′ 10″ 6′ 5″ 9′ 0″
Operating Weight Empty  [lbs] 37,480 24,000 24,251 39,284 89,000
Max Take Off Weight [lbs] 70,106 49,200 51,150 65,200 164,000
Max Payload [lbs] 19,842 *18,000+ 20,400 18,716 35,000
Maximum speed [knots] 325 *300+ 311 360 360
Range [nm] 2,300 *600+ 2,430 1,500-3,000 3,480
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