20-Mar-2015 Source: RCAF
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’.