RCAF assures Canada’s sovereignty in the North

News Article / September 6, 2019

By Corporal Jessica Reynolds and Aviator Tyler Hawes

From July 22 to 31, 2019, a 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia-based CP-140 Aurora tactical crew and its ground support technicians played a vital role in Operation Limpid, maintaining Canada’s physical presence throughout the North. Operation Limpid is the Canadian Armed Forces’ mission to detect early threats to Canada’s security by keeping routine watch over the country’s air, maritime, land, space and cyber domains.

Under the direction of Joint Task Force North, the Aurora crew, from 405 Long Range Patrol Squadron, provided surveillance of areas of high interest that ranged from Western Yukon to Greenland, covering nearly 8.8 million square kilometres. Very few people can say they’ve travelled through such a remote location. Although the days were long, everyone finished the flights with a strong sense of pride and accomplishment.

One of the most satisfying days for the crew was its mission to the geographic North Pole. Although there are different North Poles, the geographic North Pole is the most northern point on the planet, where all lines of longitude converge at 90 degrees north. The magnetic North Pole, about 500 kilometres away, is actually moving at a rate of about 55 to 60 kilometres per year.

Another interesting mission was flown near Hans Island, a place with a long and interesting history: both Canada and Denmark claim it as their own. The spirited debate continues, with the Danish claiming the land with a bottle of schnapps, Canada replacing it with it a bottle of whisky, Denmark replacing it . . . etc. While it’s still unresolved, the Aurora crewmembers swear they caught a glint from a bottle of whisky lying on the rocks as they flew over the island.

The Operation Limpid missions were long but rewarding. Crewmembers were able to take in some magnificent views; from the large ice floes to the narwhals swimming below, it was quite the experience for everyone on board. For most, it was their first time being in the Canadian Arctic, and they made good use of much of the 23 hours of sunlight available each day, hiking, kayaking and taking in the natural beauty Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, has to offer. While valuable in the protection of Canada’s sovereignty, such a mission is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Corporal Jessica Reynolds and Aviator Tyler Hawes are from 405 Long Range Patrol Squadron (Crew 1).

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