C-27J FWSAR E-Newsletter - November 2013

November 1, 2013 | In The News

Flying the C-27J: A Q&A With Alenia Aermacchi’s Steve Lucas

Team Spartan's latest edition of their FWSAR newsletter has been issued. This edition provides updates relating to the RCAF's FWSAR draft RFP, a short insight piece from Steve Lucas - Team Spartan's newest Canadian team member and former Canadian Forces Chief of Air Staff, a recap of the team's activities at recent tradeshows, and a spotlight piece on one of Team Spartan's newest partners, CMC Electronics.

Below is an excerpt from the newsletter.

Steve Lucas is the newest addition to Alenia Aermacchi's Team Spartan. Over his 38-year career with Canada's Armed Forces, Lucas has gained extensive search and rescue (SAR) experience. He spent four years as a CC130 Hercules crew member on a Fixed Wing SAR Squadron, served as the commanding officer of 435 Squadron (FWSAR Squadron), was commander of 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg (double-hatted as the Region Commander for the Trenton Search and Rescue Region), and was commander of Canada's Air Force from 2005 - 2007. 

Lucas has a unique perspective on FWSAR aircraft. He has logged more than 4,000 hours flight time in CC130 Hercules aircraft as a navigator and has also flown aboard both the CC115 Buffalo and C-27J Spartan. During a recent Q&A session in Ottawa, Lucas provided insight into his experience flying in the Spartan, noting how it is particularly well-suited for the FWSAR role and how it compares to the CC130 Hercules and CC115 Buffalo.

Q: Why is the C-27J ideal for Canada's FWSAR requirements?
SL: Canada currently utilizes two different types of aircraft for search and rescue operations. The CC115 Buffalo is being used for SAR in Canada's mountainous regions and the CC130 Hercules for longer range missions in Central and Northern Canada and along coastal regions. The C-27J Spartan is ideal for FWSAR as it's extremely versatile. It covers the complete performance spectrum - from its speed that allows it to cover vast territory to its manoeuvrability that allows it to fly in mountainous regions at low speeds. It can be used for any FWSAR scenario in Canada and would allow the Air Force to use a single aircraft for all its FWSAR requirements. Overall the C-27J is a great match for what Canada needs for FWSAR. 

Q: What are the specific characteristics that give the C-27J an advantage over other FWSAR aircraft?
The Spartan has a distinctive advantage in that its capabilities meet the requirements of a full range of mission scenarios. Specifically it has excellent speed and range, exceptional short take-off and landing distance, outstanding maneuverability, superior cockpit visibility, and cargo space that will adapt well to the new FWSAR mission.

Q: How does the C-27J stack up against the CC130 Hercules?
SL: The Spartan has excellent speed characteristics, compared to the older Hercules aircraft. Additionally, the Hercules is an extremely large aircraft, one that is larger than necessary for the FWSAR mission. Although the newest Hercules model has good speed and represents a faster solution, it comes with a greater operational cost, and therefore does not represent the best value solution. By comparison, the Spartan is less costly to fly and the aircraft's speed still allows it to reach incident locations well within expected response times.

Q: Does the Spartan's size and fuel capacity limit its range in any way?
SL: Not at all. The C-27J is a two engine aircraft with the fuel capacity to reach any point in Canada's vast SAR area of responsibility. Canada has the world's second largest land mass, and the country is responsible for large areas of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It has one of the most demanding SAR terrains of any country in the world and the C-27J has the ability to take off from Canada's existing major operating bases and easily reach any point in the SAR area of responsibility. 

Q: How do the Spartan's take-off and landing capabilities give it an advantage over other FWSAR aircraft?
 The C-27J doesn't need a lot of space to land and take-off. Canada is serviced by countless short runways and the Spartan can take advantage of most runways in the country - significantly more than the CC130J and other FWSAR aircraft currently deployed in Canada. The short take-off and landing requirements are especially important in Canada's North which is primarily serviced by short, narrow runways. 

To read the full story, go to www.c-27j.ca.

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