Royal Canadian Air Force squad trains with local search and rescue on Shuswap Lake

From Summerland Review – link to source story

ZACHARY ROMAN | Oct. 19, 2021

Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)

Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) could be seen parachuting towards Shuswap Lake on Oct. 13.

The Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited the lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members that day.

Rob Sutherland, RCMSAR Shuswap Station 106 leader, said both of the station’s fast-response vessels were deployed for the exercise. The RCAF sent a C-115 Buffalo fixed wing search and rescue aircraft, its crew and three search and rescue technicians and their specialized equipment for the practice mission, which took place near Annis Bay.

The exercise simulated two boats crashing into each other, causing three serious injuries, a fuel spill, and both boats to take on water, said Sutherland. Part of the scenario included Station 106 being unable to respond due to other search and rescue tasks, and RCAF’s Buffalo aircraft being in the area and tasked to the rescue.

The training exercise began with RCAF attempting to find the incident location through spotty information from a 911 call, said Sutherland. Once the location was found, the RCAF crew completed fly-bys to assess the situation. When they saw the simulated fuel spill, it meant they could not use dye markers to mark the scene and assess drift in the area.

Instead, said Sutherland, the crew used coloured streamers for that task; then, they dropped a handheld radio on a 600-foot rope to one of the crashed vessels to establish contact. Through the radio, the crew found out the state of the crashed vessels and how many casualties were on board.

Since both vessels were taking on water, two life rafts were deployed; and since the casualties’ injuries were serious, three search and rescue technicians parachuted into the 15 C water. After a short swim, the technicians boarded the vessel with casualties and provided first aid, saving them, said Sutherland. When an RCMSAR vessel arrived to evacuate the casualties, the training mission was complete.

“What a fantastic opportunity this was for our Shuswap Station 106,” said Sutherland. “If this scenario ever occurred for real, we are now fully versed in the RCAF procedures and protocols.”

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Royal Canadian Air Force squad trains with local search and rescue on Shuswap Lake

Picture 1 of 3PreviousMembers of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron visited Shuswap Lake for a training exercise with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Shuswap Station 106 members on Oct. 13, 2021. (Contributed)Next

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Royal Canadian Air Force to upgrade CF-18A Hornets with Raytheon AESA radars

From Flight Global – Link to source story

By Garrett Reim | 24 September 2021

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) plans to upgrade some of its ageing Boeing CF-18A Hornets with Raytheon Technologies’ APG-79(V)4 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.

The US Department of Defense granted Raytheon a $140 million Foreign Military Sales contract to supply 36 examples of the system, it says on 20 September. Deliveries are anticipated to be finished by March 2024.

RCAF CF-18

Source: Royal Canadian Air Force

The RCAF CF-18A is in need of upgrades

The APG-79(V)4 radar, which uses gallium nitride components, is more capable and reliable than older radars, says Raytheon.

“This upgrade to AESA radars with [gallium nitride] supports longer detection ranges and multiple-target tracking,” says Eric Ditmars, Raytheon Intelligence & Space vice-president of secure sensor solutions.

The radar’s targeting capability is enhanced for a variety of roles, including air-to-air, maritime and air-to-surface strike applications, says the company.

The CF-18A is based on the F/A-18A “Classic Hornet” manufactured originally by McDonnell Douglas. In 2019, the US Marine Corps signed a contract to upgrade its Classic Hornet fleet with APG-79(v)4s.

Raytheon believes the sale to Ottawa opens opportunities to sell the system to other international customers.

“The expansion to support the Royal Canadian Air Force allows [Raytheon] to outfit allies with the same advanced technology provided to US military aircrews,” the company says.

The RCAF’s 60 CF-18As are, on average, 35 years old, according to Cirium fleets analyser. The service is upgrading a portion of those through its “Hornet Extension Project”, which aims to expand the usefulness of the jets until Canada decides to buy new fighters.

Through its Future Fighter Capability Project, Canada’s Department of National Defence is looking to buy 88 advanced fighters, and related equipment and services, for an estimated C$15-19 billion ($11.9-$15.1 billion). The RCAF intends to choose in 2022 between the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin F-35 and Saab Gripen E. The first aircraft is anticipated to be delivered by delivered by 2025.

Canadian aviation scion pilots CF-18 at international air show

From the Toronto Sun – link to source story

Liz Braun  •  1 Aug 22, 2021

Toronto native Capt. Daniel Deluce, 37, was chosen by the RCAF as the pilot for the 2021 CF-18 Demonstration Team. PHOTO BY SUPPLIED PHOTO /TORONTO SUN

A hometown guy will be piloting the CF-18 fighter jet when the Canadian International Air Show thunders in over Labour Day Weekend.

Toronto native Capt. Daniel Deluce, 37, was chosen by the RCAF as the pilot for the 2021 CF-18 Demonstration Team.

Like a lot of kids growing up in Toronto, Deluce remembers looking forward to the annual air show; to many children, it’s a huge end-of-summer event that also marks the start of another school year.

“This is like a homecoming to me,” said Deluce in a recent interview.

“I remember every year watching the aircraft fly around — and down on the water is such a great location. I’ve seen the Toronto air show from many different angles: in a condo with friends, while working downtown, with friends and family on the island, or at the CNE.”

Aviation is a family affair for Deluce. His grandfather was an RCAF Hurricane pilot during the Second World War. His father was a commercial pilot for more than 40 years and got Deluce flying in childhood.

“He’d let me take control of the aircraft and let me have that early exposure to aviation,” Deluce said.

Deluce has six uncles who are pilots; his mother has a pilot’s license and 10 of his 30 cousins also fly.

Both his grandfather, Stanley Deluce and his “Uncle Bob” — Porter Airlines founder Robert Deluce — are in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Deluce had a private pilot’s license by age 16. Upon finishing a degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto, he returned to the skies. In 2010 he was accepted into the RCAF to follow his dream of becoming a fighter pilot.

He became an instructor in 2018, teaching Canada’s newest fighter pilots under the NATO Flying Training in Canada program. (He remained dual-qualified on the CT-155 Hawk and continued to fly the CF-188 in training and operational roles.)

In 2021, Deluce began his current position as instructor at 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, home of the CAF CF-188 Hornet pilot training.

After the air show season is over, Deluce will begin instructing the next generation of CF-188 pilots.

“I went from teaching on the Hawk right into the air show routine,” said Deluce, who heads up the 13-member CF-18 demonstration team.

“There are about 25 flights or so to get ready for the season. Some have an instructor in the back, but most of it is on my own,” he said.

Flying in the air show is outside what he’d normally do — Deluce lists dizzying details about drag, G-force, dynamic maneuvering and a 300-foot floor.

“In order to operate at that 300 feet, you have to be in good shape,” he adds. “You have to have good rest, a good mindset,” Deluce said.

“There’s a lot of mental rehearsal involved for me.”

The Canadian International Air Show thunders in over Labour Day Weekend. SUPPLIED PHOTO
The Canadian International Air Show thunders in over Labour Day Weekend. SUPPLIED PHOTO

It’s also different for him to be in the public eye, flying aerobatics for a crowd.

“This is my 10 minutes of fame,” he said, laughing.

“It’s like game day, if you’re playing sports. When you see the crowd there, it’s motivating. It pumps you up a bit.”

He also interacts with the crowd over the radio.

“I don’t really have a set speech. I usually just talk about where I am and what it means to me to do that particular show, and for me, there’s a little bit of meaning in every location, especially in Canada,” he said.

Doing the show and performing at your best, “Is a good feeling. I like how it puts a smile on people’s faces,” said Deluce.

“And not just other people —  sometimes I’m by myself just smiling at how awesome a job this is, how awesome this aircraft is. And how awesome an opportunity it is to represent Canada.”

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SNOWBIRDS TURN 50

It’s a big year at the Canadian International Air Show.

Cancelled by COVID last year, the 2021 show marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the aerial display will also include the CF-18 Hornet demo, a Quicksilver — P51 Mustang and F-35 stealth warplane, among other aircraft.

The show is on Sept. 4 and 5, from noon to 3 p.m. There’s no separate airshow zone for spectators this year and no tickets.

To watch in person, you can stand anywhere along the lake between the Humber Bridge and Billy Bishop island airport; physical distancing must be maintained.

You can also watch at home. The show will be live-streamed as a special thanks to Canadians for their endurance during COVID.

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Endurance is part of this year’s CF-18 demo team theme: “Strong At Home”

Strong At Home acknowledges both the strength of Canadians who have shown tremendous resiliency throughout COVID, and the RCAF and CAF commitment to domestic operations  — protecting Canadians 24/7through NORAD operations, aeronautical Search and Rescue, rapid response to natural disasters, and operations to combat the ongoing pandemic.

The theme is captured through various symbols painted on the CF-18.

Eight maple leaves represent eight of the nine iconic CF Snowbirds Tutor aircraft that perform during an air show; the ninth is missing in remembrance of members of CAF and the Snowbirds’ Capt. Jenn Casey, who died last year in an accident near Kamloops.

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The signature Snowbird “speedbird” emblem, symbolic of the missing Snowbird, is painted on the underside of the CF-18 to the exact dimensions of the CT-114 Tutor.

“We all felt the loss last year over Jenn Casey, and when the Stalker 22 Cyclone crashed with six members on board, and all the people we lost due to COVID in the last year and a half,” said Deluce.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

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  3. Air show takes over CNE this weekend

“It’s interesting to share what we do, especially in a fighter force, and what better way to show what we do than to max-perform the aircraft,” he said.

“One of our primary jobs is defending Canada with NORAD,” added Deluce, “and it’s a real honour to be on guard 24/7. That’s what we do, and we’re very proud of what we do.”

You can follow the CF-18 team on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Canadian history being recovered off the coast of Sweden

From CTV News – link to source story

Kevin Fleming, CTV News Calgary Video Journalist | Thursday, August 12, 2021

halifax, destroyer, sunk,

Divers reveal a Halifax Bomber that’s rested at the bottom of the Baltic Sea for 78 years

CALGARY — An international team is in its second week in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Trelleborg, Sweden recovering pieces of RCAF Halifax bomber HR871 from 405 squadron, and a slice of Canadian military aviation history.

Karl Kjarsgaard is the project manager overseeing the dive team charged with recovering the bits and pieces of Canada’s military past.

“They’re actually cutting with compressed air tools and hand tools,” said Kjarsgaard. “They’re cutting through the bent ends of the Halifax wing main spar to get another piece of wing off and save it and its very critical to our wing build in Canada.”

Kjarsgaard has spent decades collecting Halifax parts from all over Europe. The goal of the project is to combine parts from the underwater Halifax with parts from the Nanton museum to build a complete plane so it can be displayed at the museum next to the Lancaster.

Those parts, it turns out, are pretty pristine considering they’ve been taking on water for the best part of eight decades.

“What really gets me is that this airplane has been underwater for 78 years and it looks like it came out of a fresh water lake, not the Baltic Sea,” said Kjarsgaard.

In 1943, a Royal Canadian Air Force Halifax bomber with a crew of seven was on a bombing mission when it was struck by lightning.

Pilot Alwin Phillips headed towards safety in Sweden. Running on only two of its four engines, the crew bailed out of the bomber and it kept flying over the Baltic Sea before crashing into the water.

Bomber Command Museum historian Dave Birrell knows the story well.

“Unfortunately it went in pretty hard because it wasn’t ditched but crashed-landed into the sea, so I think it’s in a lot of pieces – but pieces are what we need to put it back together.”

NOT MANY LEFT IN THE WORLD

Kjarsgaard found another Halifax in a lake in Norway that was fully restored between 1995 and 2009 and is now on permanent display at the National Air Force Museum of Canada. But there aren’t many left in the world.

“There’s another one that’s restored in the UK,” said Birrell. “Not very well but it’s restored and then there is one that is displayed in the Royal Museum in London which is just how they found it crashed in the bottom of a lake or the sea.”

Birrell said more Canadians flew in Halifaxes and more Canadians were killed in Halifaxes than any other bomber made. Over 40,000 bombing missions were done by Canadian squadrons and of those two-thirds were done by the Halifax bomber. There were three main bomber types that were used by Canadians: the Halifax, Lancaster and the Wellington.

“Every single one was turned into pots and pans and it’s amazing and they’re not the only type, the Stirlings and the Whitleys, they didn’t keep a single one of those either,” said Birrell. “You’d think when they got to the very last one that (they might have said) ‘maybe we should save this one’, but they didn’t.”

Birrell said that’s why this recovery project is so important to Canadians.

“It’s vital for us as Canadians because it’s a Royal Canadian Air Force airplane, it’s 405 squadron so it’s pretty special,” said Birrell. “The other Halifaxes are not Royal Canadian Air Force airplanes, they’re RAF so we’d be happy to have Halifax pieces from any airplane, but helping to put this project together using Canadian airframe and Canadian airplane is really important.”

The $52,000 recovery project is funded primarily by private donations and will be finished August 15th. It has been delayed for a few years because of poor weather conditions in the Baltic. So far crews have only lost a couple days to rough seas this month.

“We’re doing this for our veterans,” said Kjarsgaard. “We’re doing this for all of you folks in Canada who had guys in Bomber Command and we’re not giving up even if its rough weather we’re going to be out there.”

For more information on the Halifax 57 Rescue project or to make a donation click here: www.57rescuecanada.com

RCAF looking overseas to fill pilot shortage as commercial aviators stay away

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

LEE BERTHIAUME, OTTAWA, THE CANADIAN PRESS | 10 May 2021

Members of the RCAF take part in a Royal Canadian Air Force change of command ceremony in Ottawa on May 4, 2018. The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping Canada will open its doors to military pilots from other countries as it seeks to address a longstanding shortage of experienced aviators. PATRICK DOYLE/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada should open its doors to military pilots from other countries as it seeks to address a critical shortage of experienced aviators to fly its helicopters and planes, according to the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger said the military is currently working with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to facilitate and streamline the enrolment of seasoned pilots from overseas.

“We would not be in a position to influence … or demand certain outcomes,” he said. “But I do think it’s a valuable opportunity space for us to continue to leverage individuals who want to come to Canada and want to serve still as an air force member.”

The initiative is the latest in a long list of moves by the air force in recent years as it has scrambled to make sure it has enough experienced pilots to both train new recruits and lead air missions at home and abroad.

The seriousness of that pilot shortage has been repeatedly noted by military officials and others such as the federal auditor general, prompting concerns about the short- and long-term impacts on Canada’s defence and security.

Meinzinger said there has been some progress in addressing that shortage. The air force is supposed to have about 1,500 pilots and was short around 225 at the end of December 2019. Currently, Meinzinger said, the air force is short about 130.

Yet most of that progress can be traced to a reorganization that saw about 60 unfilled pilot positions reclassified into what the air force calls “air operations officers,” which are responsible for planning and co-ordinating missions rather than flying them.

“We’re short 130 pilots,” Meinzinger said. “But if you add 61, you’re really at a number closer to 195. … So there’s been a small improvement in the aggregate.”

The progress has been less than the military and government had hoped.

Efforts to retain experienced personnel have been underway since 2018. They include providing better supports for military families, tapping reservists to help with basic maintenance work and creating the air operations officer position to keep pilots in the air rather than working desk jobs.

There was also optimism at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the financial difficulties facing commercial airlines would result in an influx of former military pilots who had left for private-sector gigs but were now furloughed or unemployed.

Despite a dedicated unit in his office responsible for reaching out to former air force personnel and an advertising campaign touting the benefits of re-enlisting, however, Meinzinger said only about 15 pilots have decided to put their uniforms back on.

“It’s not a significant number,” he acknowledged. “I would rationalize it in that individuals may have already transitioned into a civilian job and they’re probably trying to ascertain whether they can maybe get their old job back or in some cases, individuals have been furloughed.”

It is in this context that Meinzinger is hoping to ensure pilots who have flown with other militaries and now want to fly for Canada aren’t blocked by bureaucratic red tape or other technical barriers.

The air force commander suggested the majority of those who would be interested in putting on a Canadian Armed Forces uniform are from NATO or European countries, but may also hail from others such as India.

“Of course, we would value that clearly because often they have thousands of hours of experience and it’s a great opportunity,” he said.

The push for more pilots comes amid challenges in the military’s entire recruiting and training systems caused by the global pandemic. Acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre has said recruitment was down by two-thirds last year.

Meinzinger said that decline has had an obvious impact across the air force, which was exacerbated by the closure of various training institutions due to the pandemic.

“That will be a challenge for us,” he said. “We will strategically have to manage that demographic issue.”

The RCAF and the Battle of the Atlantic

“VC Attack”, by Graham Wragg, illustrates Flight Lieutenant David Hornell’s valiant attack on a U-Boat during the Battle of the Atlantic. PHOTO: DND

Related Links

Veterans Affairs Canada: The Battle of the AtlanticRoyal Canadian Navy: History of the Battle of the AtlanticCanadian War Museum: The Royal Canadian Navy and the Battle of the AtlanticBiography and VC citation – David Hornell

News Article / May 3, 2021 / By Joanna Calder

The Battle of the Atlantic, which continued throughout the Second World War, was the longest and largest campaign of the war. Canadian men and women, serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and the Merchant Navy, bore a heavy burden in this struggle for control of the shipping lanes on the North Atlantic Ocean.

Britain desperately needed supplies, particularly from North America. Germany, however, was determined to sink that incoming shipping with their stealthy U-Boats (submarines). So feared was this undersea menace that the Allied war leaders at the 1943 Casablanca Conference declared the elimination of the U-Boat threat as its number one priority.

The Royal Air Force’s Coastal Command, which included seven Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons, fought against the enemy’s U-Boats, merchant ships and warships. Coastal Command aircraft escorted convoys sailing from North America to Britain, and searched the seas from Iceland to Gibraltar. Coastal Command crews destroyed more than one-quarter of all German U-Boats “killed” during the war: 212 out of 800.

RCAF squadrons in Coastal Command and in Canada accounted for 19 U-Boats, while RCAF crews serving in Royal Air Force squadrons involved in many more “kills” in the North Atlantic.

The tide began to turn against the German submarine “wolf packs” in 1943, in part due to the introduction of American-made Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber. The aircraft, used by Coastal Command as a long-range patrol aircraft, helped close the “Atlantic Gap”, the part of the ocean where U-Boats had prowled unmolested because they were out of range of aerial attack. Technological advances such as sonar helped Allied ships and aircraft target U-Boats that had previously operated safely under cover of darkness. Losses to German U-Boats continued, however, right up until the end of the war.

The cost of winning the Battle of the Atlantic was high. Most of the 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy who died during the war lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic. More than 750 members of the RCAF died in maritime operations as a result of enemy action and flying accidents in the unforgiving environment. And the Book of Remembrance for the Merchant Navy lists the names of nearly 1,600 Canadians and Newfoundlanders – or those who served on ships of Canadian or Newfoundland registry.  

The Battle of the Atlantic is commemorated annually on the first Sunday in May.

Meet Flight Lieutenant David Hornell – a hero of the Battle of the Atlantic

A Consolidated Canso “A” aircraft of 162 Squadron, RCAF, photographed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1943. This is the aircraft that Flight Lieutenant David Hornell was flying during the 1944 U-Boat attack and subsequent crash that led to his being awarded the Victoria Cross. PHOTO: DND Archives, PMR77-147

Flight Lieutenant David Hornell flew with the Royal Air Force’s Coastal Command, stalking German U-Boats during the Battle of the Atlantic.

His heroism earned him the Victoria Cross. He was the first member of the RCAF to be awarded the Victoria Cross and one of only two RCAF members to earn this highest decoration for valour during the Second World.

Flight Lieutenant Hornell, who was born in Ontario in 1910, was the aircraft captain of a PBY-5A Canso amphibious aircraft with the RCAF’s 162 Squadron, temporarily attached to Coastal Command and conducting anti-submarine warfare in the North Atlantic.

On June 24, 1944, he was on a patrol out of Iceland; his wireless gunner – Flight Sergeant Sydney Cole – spotted a sub in the distance and Flight Lieutenant Hornell turned to attack it. But the U-Boat had already seen the aircraft and the sub commander returned heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire.

Just as he gained speed to attack the submarine, one of Flight Lieutenant Hornell’s guns jammed and two shells hit his aircraft, starting a fire inside the plane and knocking out one engine. Despite the chaos, he still managed to drop his depth charges and send the U-Boat to the bottom of the ocean.

After the Canso crash-landed into the rough and icy sea, only one of the two inflatable dinghies was serviceable. It was too small for everyone, so crew members took turns sitting inside or partially immersed in the water while clinging to the dinghy’s sides. Two of the crewmen died during their 21-hour ordeal. By the time the remaining crew were rescued, Flight Lieutenant Hornell was blind and completely exhausted; he died shortly after being picked up. He is buried in Lerwick Cemetery, located in Scotland’s Shetland Islands.

Flight Lieutenant David Hornell’s Victoria Cross was announced in the London Gazette on July 28, 1944. He was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974.

With files from articles by David Krayden, published in On Windswept Heights, and from the Veterans Affairs Canada website.