The poor weather and low temperatures that have dogged Moose Jaw are causing problems for the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program at 15 Wing.
“We’ve been affected by the weather since October,” said Lt-Col. Scott Greenough, Commandant of the 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School. “We’re teaching, out here, four areas of flying ... of the four areas, we need good weather for three of them ... basically blue sky.
“When we have prolonged periods where we’ve got weather like we have outside, low ceilings, small visibilities, freezing rain, icing and that type of thing, it seriously affects our ability to do the job here,” he added.
Moose Jaw has been locked in the midst of what Greenough said is “one of the worst winters in the history of the (NFTC) program out here,” with temperatures routinely dipping below -20 C.
The freezing conditions and frequent precipitation has kept the training aircraft grounded, leaving this batch of NFTC students “about three weeks behind where we ideally want to be,” he said.
The issue with cold weather and poor sky conditions is that the training aircraft used by NFTC students — the CT-155 Hawk and CT-156 Harvard II — are not certified to fly in icing conditions.
“When you go to Regina Airport and jump on an Air Canada or WestJet airplane, those planes are certified to fly in icing conditions. What that means is that they’ll have a number of different pieces of kit on board to deal with the ice,” explained Greenough. “We don’t have any of that. These airplanes that we fly here ... they don’t have any of that kit on board.”