Nfld. & Labrador

Air Force training at 5 Wing Goose Bay wraps up

Royal Canadian Air Force members have completed a two-week-long training exercise in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Friday.
A CC-130J Hercules lands on a runway outside Happy Valley-Goose Bay during an exercise this week. (Submitted by 5 Wing Goose Bay)

Royal Canadian Air Force members completed a two-week-long training exercise in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Friday.

Since May 31, about 170 Armed Forces personnel have been at 5 Wing Goose Bay taking part in an exercise called Phoenix Warrior, with a focus on removing individuals from a hostile environment.

Members from 2 Wing Bagotville, Que., and 8 Wing Trenton, Ont. were in the big land for the sessions.
Capt. Dan Pigeon-Fournier says bad weather means at times, personnel were stranded at the site of an exercise taking place just outside Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (CBC)

Capt. Dan Pigeon-Fournier, from 2 Wing Bagotville, says having so many personnel from different parts of Canada working together for the first time posed some challenges.

"It is indeed a challenge, but that is the very purpose of our exercise," he said.

"It's about increasing communication and although yes, it's about planes as well, but it's also [about] talking to very different Wings."

Members set up a runway in the middle of the woods at a spot just large enough to allow military planes to land and take off.

The runway is made up of mostly dirt, and Pigeon-Fournier said the runway needs to be groomed with a grader between landings because of deep ruts created by the plane's wheels.

Because of the equipment, or lack thereof, pilots are only able to use the runway if they have visual of it, which means inclement weather caused some problems.

Some of the members were stranded at the site of the runway as a result of some bad weather this week.

"You can say they're stuck but hey, we're comfy down there, we've got cooks cooking nice food and there's some sort of infrastructure as well already down there, so they're comfy," said Pigeon-Fournier.