Helicopters Magazine

First RCAF Chinook air crews graduate at Garrison Petawawa

February 11, 2016  By Royal Canadian Air Force

During a ceremony held at Garrison Petawawa, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) formally graduated its first class of CH-147F Chinook helicopter aircrews who took part in the new, comprehensive Field Trials Course.

A total of 10 RCAF CH-147 Chinook aircrew – six First Officer’s, two Flight Engineers, and two Loadmasters – officially graduated following an intensive 24-week course.

The first graduating class marks the culmination of a unique partnership between the RCAF and CAE to design and develop a world-class total training system for Canada’s CH-147F Chinook helicopter aircrews. The RCAF’s CH-147F Chinook training program involves a blend of computer-based classroom and academic training, flight simulator and training device instruction, and on-aircraft live flying exercises. Approximately 60 percent of the training program is conducted in both the classroom and synthetic training devices with the remaining 40 percent focused on live flying training and exercises.

“I am very proud of the first class of graduates who have gone through our formal Chinook training program,” said Lieutenant Colonel Chris McKenna, commanding officer of 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron for the Royal Canadian Air Force. “I believe we have put in place a truly world-class training system for our 1 Wing CH-147F crews. I am fully confident that those who graduate this program are prepared to be employed as operational aircrew within 1 Wing, capable of supporting the Canadian Army, and executing the Royal Canadian Air Force mandate at home and abroad.”

McKenna continued, “Standing up a program of this complexity and scope has been an enormous task for my Operational Training Flight instructors and leadership. Our partnership with CAE has been the key to delivering this high level of training and simulation. This graduation represents years of work both in the RCAF and in CAE, all focused on ensuring our crews have the best possible training and exposure on this incredibly advanced combat-capable aircraft.”
Beginning in August 2015, the RCAF’s CH-147F aircrew began classroom and academic training using CAE Simfinity computer-based training courses, desktop trainers and instructor tools to bring high-fidelity virtual training to the RCAF’s CH-147F ground school. Classroom and academic training was complemented by practical training and exercises using the suite of CAE-built CH-147F training devices, including full-motion weapon systems trainer, fixed-based flight training device, deployable tactical flight training device, and integrated gunnery trainer. Throughout the Field Trials Course, the RCAF’s CH-147F First Officer’s, Flight Engineers and Loadmasters received on-aircraft live flying training. Classroom, simulator, and live flying instruction is provided by both RCAF and CAE instructors.


“We applaud and congratulate the first of many classes that will produce qualified aircrew for Canada’s 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron,” said Mike Greenley, vice president and general manager, CAE Canada. “CAE is extremely proud of its contribution to what is undoubtedly one of the world’s most advanced and comprehensive training programs for the Chinook helicopter.”

The RCAF’s new Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopters (MHLH) training facility is located at Garrison Petawawa in Ontario. CAE was the prime contractor responsible for leading the design and development of the RCAF’s CH-147F aircrew training solution, and has now commenced with providing 20 years of in-service support.


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