‘Adapt and react’ training for the RCAF

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Parachute training

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel have been taking part in ‘adapt and react’ exercises as part of a team training programme at Victoria International Airport (YYJ), Canada.

Training, which began on 5 February and runs through until 7 February, sees search-and-rescue specialists, pilots, flight crews and ground support taking part in various scenarios crafted to simulate life-like rescue conditions. The programme will utilise a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter, two CC-115 Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Comox, and one CC-138 Twin Otter from 440 Squadron in Yellowknife.

The training aims to sharpen rescue skills and includes activities such as, ‘finding a lifeboat in open water and parachuting in from a Buffalo with medical assistance, then arranging for a helicopter hook-up.’ Major Kristen Simpson of 442 Squadron, who coordinated the exercise, said: “There is always a lot of on-scene decision making, so that’s what we are trying to simulate.”

The ‘team concept’ has personnel training together throughout the day and into the night, and the exercises also allow the 73 RCAF women and men taking part to link up with other agencies such as the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.

“We are hanging from hooks or jumping out of airplanes on a regular basis,” Master Corporal Nathan Seal, a search-and-rescue specialist with 442 Squadron, said. “We often don’t get much time to think. We are just reacting and using our skills and training.”

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