Northern Mission Long, Rewarding For 405 Crew

Aviator Tyler Hawes & Corporal Jessica Reynolds,
405 (Long Range Patrol) Squadron, Crew 1

A 14 Wing Greenwood-based CP140 Aurora tactical crew and its ground support technicians played a vital role in Operation LIMPID July 22 to 31, maintaining Canada’s physical presence throughout the North. Op LIMPID is the Canadian Armed Forces’ mission to detect early threats to Canada’s security, 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 patrolled areas of high interest, providing surveillance that ranged from the Western Yukon to Greenland and covering nearly 8.8 million square kilometres. Very few people can say they’ve travelled through such a remote location and, 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 is about 500 kilometres away, and 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 contentious 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 and Canada replacing it with it a bottle of whisky. While it’s still technically 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 Op LIMPID missions were long but rewarding. Crewmembers were able to take in some magnificent views. From the large ice flows to the narwhals swimming below, it was quite the experience for all onboard. For most, it was their first time being in the Canadian Arctic. They made use of as much of the 23 hours of sunlight available, hiking, kayaking and taking in the natural beauty Yellowknife has to offer. While valuable in the protection of Canada’s sovereignty, such is a mission is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience.