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RCAF aircraft flying low in training

People in the vicinity of CFB Trenton, CFD Mountain View, and a designated low flying area that extends north of Toronto and Kingston, may see Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft operating for flight training that includes search and rescue as well as low altitude flight manoeuvres.

These activities are all related to required training or operational search and rescue missions being conducted by squadrons based at 8 Wing Trenton.

“On average, the RCAF flies 393 search and rescue missions a year in our region. These missions are in response to distress calls and are often life-saving,” says Captain Sheila Tham, 8 Wing Trenton Public Affairs. “Aircraft that are participating in search and rescue activities need to fly low in order to see what is on the ground. They sometimes move at slower speeds and circle an area more than once. They may also be accompanied by a helicopter, other aircraft, or boats on the water.”

Tham notes tactical training, which may involve aircraft flying at low altitudes, high speeds, and performing turns, is essential for maintaining the skill of aircrews so they are ready to safely execute Canadian Armed Forces missions around the world, often under challenging conditions.

“Some of this training is required to be flown at night. As the sun sets later in the summer, it often pushes these flights later into the evening than you would normally see in the winter season. It is important that these proficiencies are maintained in Canada so our aircrew are prepared to execute these manoeuvres in potentially life-threatening situations.”

Some RCAF aircraft are larger than many passenger airplanes and may appear to be flying lower than they actually are.

“Although aircraft within the low flying area may operate as low as 200 feet above ground level, RCAF aircrew adhere to strict rules and regulations at all times to ensure safety. Aircraft flight paths are chosen to avoid populated areas to the greatest extent possible.”

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