“To date, Air Detachment (North) has employed a 440 Transport Squadron aircrew on a CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft to deliver personal protective equipment—masks and gloves—to seven 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group [CRPG] patrols around Great Slave Lake.”
“These flights are not out of the ordinary as one of 440’s main roles is to support 1 CRPG in their mission,” says Major Steve Thompson, the Air Detachment (North) commander for Operation Laser, the CAF’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. “The completion of these flights enables the Rangers in these communities to conduct any potential Operation Laser tasking while adhering to personal protective equipment guidelines set out by the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Looking back at his career, Major Thompson considers himself lucky. He spent his teenage years flying gliders as an Air Cadet in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario. When he joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1997, the timing of his courses lined up perfectly and he was winged as a fully qualified RCAF pilot and posted to 440 Transport Squadron in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, by 1999.
However, working at the northern squadron wasn’t how he originally pictured his career starting, but when given the opportunity, he jumped at the chance.
“When I joined the military, my goal was to fly Hercs, says Major Thompson about his first posting as a trained pilot, but when the opportunity came up, I told them I’d gladly take that slot to fly Twin…