I know everyone enjoys the monthly Aviation Moments from our Regina Chapter member, Dennis Casper. His field of interest is on the Canadian military aspect of history and he is excited to see others offer Aviation Moments from any and all other avenues of Canadian aviation history. The inclusion of moments from any of our members is welcomed and appreciated. I only ask for a couple of conditions. First, please follow the same format that Dennis has established where the source for the question and answer are included with each moment. Secondly, I feel that we need to limit the number of moments each month to a total of six, three from Dennis and three for any other contributors on non-military themes. I look forward to seeing the interest in this project and the depth of questions and answers offered by our membership. 

Thank you for your cooperation and support.

Gary Williams

The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. The questions and the answers are now being published together in the same e-newsletter, rather than questions one month and the answers the next. We are hoping this instant gratification might encourage more interest and research by our readers. So spoiler alert - if you read any further, you will find the answer to October's questions directly below. Good luck and have fun!


The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for October are:

Question 1: What was the initial role of the Canadian Sea Kings when they reached the Persian Gulf on September 26, 1990?  

Question 2: Which RCAF squadron was the first to win gallantry awards amongst other firsts during WWII?  

Question 3: What three-seat advanced trainer was used for all aspects of aircrew training during the Second World War? How many did  the  RCAF have on strength from 1939 to 1947?

Answer to Question 1“Ernie then detailed the varied taskings given the Canadian Sea Kings once they reached the Persian Gulf on 26 September 1990. The initial task of the multi-national force was to enforce the embargo against Iraq. Naval ships and aircraft ‘hailed’ each vessel in its patrol area. With only three ships in the Gulf, Canada conducted 25 percent of the total challenges to merchant shipping. That Canadian ships conducted such a high percentage of the challenges was “mainly because of their Sea Kings,” Ernie said. The Canadian Sea Kings are the only Allied helicopters in the Gulf equipped with FLIR, which meant they could read the names on ships’ hulls even in the dark. Because Canada’s Sea Kings had normally been used for anti-submarine warfare, their pilots were also very experienced at flying and hovering just above the waves. Canada’s Sea Kings were ready to insert armed boarding parties even at night. The Canadian routine, known as “Visit” for Vertical Insertion Search and Inspection Team, called for  two Sea Kings. The first used its door mounted C6 machine gun to cover the second while it hovered over a ship to allow its armed boarding party to rappel down on the ship’s deck. Then, the Sea Kings would change roles, inserting the second half of the boarding party. Canadians became very proficient in the Visit manouevre, inserting ten men from two helicopters in less than two minutes.”

Source: The Observair – Ottawa Chapter Newsletter – Canadian Aviation Historical Society – Page 2 – Past Meeting – Ernie Cable – The CH-124 Sea King and OP Friction – Written by Timothy Dubé

Answer to Question 2: “Formed as a Fighter unit at Trenton, Ontario on 21 September 1937 with Siskin aircraft - the nucleus had come from the Fighter Flight of No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron on 17 May - the squadron moved to Calgary, Alberta in August 1938, and was re-equipped with Hurricane aircraft in February 1939. It was mobilized at St Hubert, Quebec, on 10 September, and on 5 November it moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. On 28 May 1940, before going overseas, it absorbed No. 115 (Fighter) Squadron of the Auxiliary from Montreal. On 26 August 1940, the unit had its first encounter with German aircraft, and was the first squadron of the RCAF to engage the enemy, to score victories, to suffer combat casualties, and to win gallantry awards. The squadron was renumbered No. 401 (Fighter) Squadron at Driffield, Yorkshire, England on 1 March 1941.” “Summary (Canada September 1939 - February 1940) Sorties: 28 Operational/Non-Operational Flying Hours: 12 / 139 Casualties: Operational: Nil Non-Operational: 2 aircraft  Summary (England June 1940 - February 1941) Sorties: 1694 Operational/Non-Operational Flying Hours: 1569 / 1201 Casualties: Operational: 10 aircraft; 13 pilots, 3 killed Non-Operational: 2 killed  Victories: Aircraft: 30 destroyed, 9 probable, 34 damaged  Top Scores: S/L E.A. McNab, DFC; 4 1/3, F/L McGregor, DFC; 4, F/O B.D. Russel, DFC; 3, F/O J.W. Kerwin 3 Honours and Awards: 3 DFC's 

Source: RCAF.COM » The Squadrons » 1 - 100 Series Squadrons » No. 1 Squadron

Answer to Question 3: “The Airspeed Oxford was a three-seat advanced trainer used for all aspects of aircrew training during the Second World War. The first versions were received in Canada from Great Britain in 1939 and were used in numerous roles for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Among others, these roles included navigation training, communication training, radar calibration, air ambulance duties and training of anti-aircraft crews.” “Number: 1425”

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Page 5