Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Prince Edward Island, Canada: Pilot gets a talking to for Coast Guard helicopter Tim Hortons run

OLEARY, P.E.I. – A helicopter pilot who dropped into a Tim Hortons restaurant at O’Leary Corner, while on a flight from Charlottetown to Miminegash in March, has been provided verbal instruction regarding future use of Canadian Coast Guard aircraft.

Seeing a Coast Guard helicopter touch down in a field beside the restaurant was enough to cause local residents to post photos of the unusual spectacle on social media, and that soon caught the attention of local media and the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard.

“Canadian Coast Guard helicopters are flown by Transport Canada pilots who adhere to Government of Canada protocols that stipulate government aircraft be used safely, efficiently, and with the utmost respect for taxpayer dollars,” Vance Chow, communications advisor for Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, explained in an emailed response to an enquiry regarding the March 16 landing.

Chow said local residents reported that all onboard exited the helicopter and entered the restaurant to purchase food.

The Commissioner of the Coast Guard requested an internal fact-finding exercise to determine whether any unusual circumstances required the helicopter to land near the restaurant.

“The fact-finding exercise determined that the aircraft did not have to land in this location for operational reasons,” Chow confirmed.

He noted that, in some cases, Coast Guard helicopters may land in the vicinity of commercial establishments, but indicated this is only done in very remote locations, where airports or heliports are not accessible, and only when deemed safe and absolutely necessary.

“Transport Canada has discussed the aircraft usage with the pilot and provided verbal instructions about future aircraft use. Specifically, crews have been instructed not to land at similar locations in the future,” Chow noted.


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