Canada's navy has hired a private contractor to fly civilian helicopters out to its ships at sea, as a way of reducing the flying pressures on the military's aging Sea Kings.
In a major naval training exercise this month, the navy hired an American civilian helicopter service to make transport flights to the four helicopter-carrying Canadian ships, sailing roughly 100 kilometres off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia.
Civilian helicopters and pilots have been ferrying people, mail and other supplies to and from the fleet -- creating the unusual spectacle of shiny, blue Bell helicopters landing on the decks of naval ships in the midst of military operations.
The head of Canada's East Coast fleet says it's the first case he knows of in which civilian helicopters have been hired to service the navy's ships. "I'm trying to save money," says Commodore Tyrone Pile, "and I'm trying to save Sea King flying hours, by contracting a helo-delivery service."
I could rant and rave but unless this becomes a major issue in the next election it will not do any good. What’s next? Contract out our peacekeeping commitments to the French Foreign Legion? But really people when is enough, enough?