CH-147F Chinook flight engineer earns top honour
March 12, 2015, Ottawa - Corporal Reid Bellamy achieved a significant milestone for his squadron – 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron – late last month.
On February 24, 2015, the squadron’s commanding officer,
Lieutenant-Colonel Chris McKenna, presented CH-147F Chinook helicopter
flight engineer (FE) wings to Corporal Bellamy. To earn his wings,
Corporal Bellamy successfully completed operational cadre training for
the new category II CH-147F flight engineer qualification.
And why is this special?
As Lieutenant-Colonel Mckenna noted, these are the first 'made in
Canada' flight engineer wings awarded to aircrew for Canada’s new
CH-147F Chinooks. All of Corporal Bellamy’s training took place in
Canada, at 450 Squadron.
“It's an honour to be part of this organization” said Corporal
Bellamy. “I'm looking forward to being able to contribute more to
growing the squadron to its full potential.”
A seasoned Royal Canadian Air Force aviation technician, Corporal
Bellamy was the first untrained FE to undertake operational cadre
training without any previous experience on CH-146 Griffon or CH-147D
Chinook tactical aviation helicopters.
He began his training in September 2014 with an intensive ground
school phase, followed by 110 hours in the flying phase and advanced
tactical phase. He applied his new skill sets in a low-altitude,
high-threat environment by day and night. During his training he learned
basic sequences, tactics, accurate judgement of height and distance,
confined area operations, troop insertions and extractions, pinnacle and
slope landings, and load slinging.
Not only is he the first Canadian-made F-model Chinook FE, Corporal
Bellamy achieved such a high standard during the training that he was
awarded the status of FE assessor.
He came to 450 Squadron from 431 Air Demonstration Squadron – the
Snowbirds – and immediately transferred his maintenance expertise to the
CH-147F Chinook, conducting pre-flight inspections, refueling, ground
runs, walk-throughs and 100-hour inspections.
The Royal Canadian Air Force received the last of its 15 new CH-147F
heavy-lift, tandem-rotor helicopters in July 2014. They all belong to
450 Squadron, which is part of 1 Wing Kingston, Ontario, but located at
Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario.
Squadron personnel are actively acquiring the knowledge, skills and
expertise needed to establish an in-Canada training capability,
including the operational cadre training that Corporal Bellamy achieved,
followed immediately by progressive levels of operational capability.
It’s anticipated that the Chinook fleet will become fully operational
by 2017, with some 25 FEs in 450 Squadron going, in the words of the
squadron motto: 'By Air to Battle'.