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Military chopper pilots find Windsor ‘gorgeous’

PilotJuly 14, 2011 – A crowd gathered in downtown Windsor on Tuesday night as Canadian Forces helicopters buzzed the Chrysler building.


July 14, 2011
By CBC News

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July 14, 2011 – A crowd gathered in downtown Windsor on Tuesday night as Canadian Forces helicopters buzzed the Chrysler building.

Crews of the CH-146 Griffon helicopters are being trained in night-time urban operations and are using the building on Riverside Drive as their target. They approached the building from all directions, sometimes without lights.

Pilot  
Armed Forces pilots have taken training in night operations in several Canadian cities, says Lt.-Col. John Alexander of the Canadian Operations Forces Command in Ottawa, who is in Windsor for this week’s exercises. (Steven Bull/CBC News)


 

The exercises began Tuesday and, weather permitting, will resume Wednesday starting at 10 p.m. for about four hours.

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Maj. Doug MacNair, spokesman for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, says he’s glad the two-night exercise has drawn spectators.

“I would rather have a lot of people turn out and watch than a lot of people be surprised and upset about what’s happening.”

Lt.-Col. John Alexander of the Canadian Operations Forces Command in Ottawa says Windsor is just the latest Canadian city to be used for urban training.

"Nobody likes to have this in their backyard all the time," Alexander said. "So we do like to travel to different regions of the province — and the country in fact — training in a lot of the larger urban areas, so we've done this previously in areas like Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa."

Alexander, who grew up in London, Ont., liked what he saw when he flew over Windsor.

"Actually, it's a gorgeous city from the air. … Retirement is only 15 years down the road, so for me it's sort of like an opportunity to see where are the great places in the country."

McNair said the crews, from the 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron at CFB Petawawa, need experience approaching the tops of buildings at night, a skill that could be required in response to a variety of situations, including terrorism.

"Could be a hostage-type of incident, something like that," he said. "Any situation where you might want to put security forces onto the roof of the building or pick them up from the roof of the building if an operation is complete."


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