Expect to hear the thrum of Canadian military helicopters in the Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Expect to hear the thrum of Canadian military helicopters in the Okanagan

FILE PHOTO - CH-146 Griffon helicopter crews arrive at 5 Wing Goose Bay in preparation for Operation NANOOK on August 14, 2017.
Image Credit: LS Brad Upshall/12 Wing Imaging Services

The thrum of military helicopters will be a new and short-lived addition to the Okanagan this month.

The Royal Canadian Air Force announced that its CH-146 Griffon helicopters, aircrews and support personnel from 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will conduct Exercise FAUCON ALPIN in the Okanagan Valley starting March 11 through until March 30.

Three helicopters will be based out of the Penticton Airport during the exercise and will be flying as far north as Kelowna, Revelstoke and their surrounding areas.

"Exercise FAUCON ALPIN is part of 430 Squadron’s training regime to ensure operational readiness, which includes operating in a mountain environment. Mountain flying presents a variety of challenges for helicopter operations, and it is crucial that crews receive regular training to ensure they can conduct mountain operations safely and effectively," the armed forces said in a press release.

"Communities in the Okanagan Valley can expect to see and hear helicopters flying throughout the region. The Squadron will do everything possible to reduce their impact on communities while completing this essential training."

The 430 Squadron has also put COVID-prevention procedures in place to minimize exposure risks for all involved.

"All members will quarantine and pass a COVID-19 test prior to arriving in B.C., and will abide by all provincial health measures. All RCAF members participating in the exercise, as well as the helicopters, will be transported to and from Kelowna via RCAF airlift (the helicopters will transit to Penticton from there)," the statement reads.

"People in the area can expect to see large military transports flying in and out of the airport in the days before and after the exercise."

Part of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 1 Wing and based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Que., 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron is equipped with CH-146 Griffon helicopters, and has the principal role of supporting Canadian Army units of 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, and land forces in Eastern Canada.

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