The Canadian Armed Forces based in Comox sent their Search and Rescue Squadron to complete a skydiving training course at Qualicum Beach.
The Comox 442 Squadron was made up of SAR Tech members who spent the last twelve days skydiving at the Qualicum Beach Airport. Their jumps started at 5,000 feet from a white Nomad Air Skyvan.
This mandatory military training course brought many onlookers who thought there was an air show going on. Residents in the Qualicum Beach area stood and watched the brightly colored parachutes soaring through the cloudy skies. The team’s accuracy was spot on, and they landed in perfect succession in the airfield.
This military training exercise took place from August 28 to September 7. It was meant to help adequately prepare SAR Tech members for real-life emergency situations. The team has been training for precision, accuracy and canopy handling to better respond to emergency calls. Being a first responder for natural disasters and other emergency situations calls for high intensity training and a mastery of skydiving skills.
Sgt. Alex Neubauer was in charge of overseeing this training exercise. He stated SAR Tech members need to be able to parachute into small spaces. They also need to be adept at landing on different terrains. These precise skills are critical when undergoing rescue missions.
Neubauer insisted this method of training enables the skydivers to pilot the canopy more accurately and make safer decisions when it comes to sticking a solid, safe landing. In order to provide rescue to a person in need of help, the skydiver must be a master of the jump.
The Qualicum Beach Airport was selected for the location of this training exercise due to a lack of domestic and international traffic. The airport is not a very busy one, and the SAR Tech team was able to practice their jumps without interruption from airliners.
Skydive Vancouver Island and the Qualicum Beach FLying Club played host to the SAR tech team of skydivers. The course instruction was conducted by a canopy specialist company known as Flight One. Their specialty is teaching parachute handling skills to both civilian and military applications all across the United States.
Canada’s National Parachuting Team Evolution was also represented by Martin and Benoit LeMay. The two brothers taught the canopy handling course. They are well qualified to do so, and they have both won many skydiving medals at national and international competitions.
Each course spanned over four days and held 10 students. Skydiving students traveled all across Canada from different SAR units. Training was held regardless of inclement weather. The team of skydivers jumped even on cloudy days.
Neubauer stressed that the team would operate under almost every weather circumstance. The only issue that could cause the training to come to a halt would be if the clouds were below 3,000 feet.