The first class of graduates ever to train and qualify on the CH-147F Chinook helicopter in Canada was formally recognized at Garrison Petawawa on Feb.8. The members of the 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (450 THS) who graduated consist of six pilots, two flight engineers, and two loadmasters.
The aircrew completed a 24-week course, the first of its kind exclusively conducted in Canada. The course was a combination of computer-based classroom and academics, flight simulator training and actual flying time.
(Lt.-Colonel McKenna, Commanding Officer of 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron talks about the first class of graduates to train and qualify on the CH-147F Chinook helicopter in Canada)
The Squadron will now be providing operational on-type training to all of its crew.
The course enables 450 THS to move one step closer to full operational capability. The Squadron was re-established after a 14-year hiatus on May 2, 2012, to fly the CH-147F Chinook. The Squadron is equipped with 15 aircrafts.
Two members of the graduating class were presented their wings.
“I would like to congratulate the ten graduates before me and recognize not only the effort you have put forward to reach this point, but the efforts made by every member of 450 Squadron that helped you get here. Although your success is an individual achievement, it is the work of a team – from the instructors to the technicians, the civilian contractors to the clerks and your own course mates – all of them played a part in getting you where you are today. Your achievements have made this unit a stronger, and more capable team, and I look forward to seeing you at work and in the field,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher McKenna, Commanding Officer of 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.
The “F” model Chinook is more advanced than its predecessor; it includes systems like extended-range fuel tanks and state-of-the-art Electro-Optical/Infra-Red sensor systems that allows the crew to operate in conditions of low visibility.