By Captain Chelsea Dubeau
Four short pips come over the ship’s public address system, then “Flying stations!”
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg’s CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter is on the flight deck as the flight crew prepares to take off. It’s just another day for the air detachment, charged with ensuring Winnipeg’s Cyclone is ready for the task at hand.
Winnipeg’s Cyclone goes by call-sign Stinger 09, and it is something to see in action.
The first opportunity the ship’s company had to see the helicopter operating from the ship was during the August 6 sail past departure for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMAPC) Exercise, when both Stinger 09 and HMCS Regina’s Bronco flew in consort with both ships.
RIMPAC provided an excellent platform from which to see both helicopters in action and marked the first time the Cyclone had participated in the multi-national exercise. It also provided an opportunity for the ship’s crew to understand with greater depth the immense capabilities of the aircraft and how they enhanced Winnipeg’s situational awareness.
“During one surface exercise, it was one task group versus another task group, so we were deployed as the air asset to advance and find the enemy fleet,” says Major Kris Sutton, Winnipeg’s Air Detachment Commander about RIMPAC.
“Probably within 15 minutes of launching, we climbed to an appropriate altitude, picked up the radar tracks, and identified them while remaining outside the threat…