C Sqn 8CH Helicopter Troop Centennial Project - Fort Chambly W. Germany 1 Jul 67
A Centennial project organized by C Sqn 8CH of 4 CIBG last week won recognition for adding top international flavor to the Brigade’s Centennial activities.
Hosts at a “Fly-in Breakfast” welcoming more than 200 military guests who arrived in more than 80 aircraft of 15 different types were members of the Recce Sqn’s Helicopter Troop commanded by Capt SW (Stan) Cote, a member of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse.
Visitors began arriving shortly after 8 am on Jun 30th at the Brigade air-strip near Fort Chambly and were transported from the landing area in a jeep towed “Prairie Schooner” to a western-style breakfast in the hangar buildings.
A substantial meal of fried eggs, home fried potatoes, pancakes, bacon, beans and coffee were served continuously until early afternoon to cater to pilots and crews from five other NATO nations who arrived and departed throughout the day. Hungry aircrew did full justice to the well-served meal by tucking-away about 90 pounds of bacon, 700 pancakes, 60 dozen eggs, six gallons of beans and 20 gallons of coffee.
Brig EAC Amy, the Brigade Commander, flew in mid-morning to greet and chat with groups of pilots who gathered informally to exchange information and discuss relative merits of the many aircraft marshalled in the hangar area.
Different types of aircraft included the Sikorsky H34 (7), Wessex (1), Allouette 2 (24) and 3 (1), Bristol Sycamore (4), Augusta Bell Sioux (11), Skeeter (13), Scout (2), Huey UH1B (3), OH13H (3) and Hiller CH112, all helicopters and Beaver (4), Cessna L19 (3), Otter (2), Dornier DO27 (4) and Piper Cub (2) fixed wing aircraft. The L19s were from 3 Air OP Troop of 3 RCHA based in Dielinghofen. Pilots and aircraft were Capts John MacGregor, Gerry Gower and Bill Wright flying 723, 720 and 734 respectively.
Visiting pilots were from Navy and Army Air Force and Search and Rescue units of United States, British, Netherlands, German, Belgium and Canadian NATO forces, for a total of 222.
Assisting the Helicopter Troop in planning and organizing their international Centennial project were members of 1 Transport Company RCASC, 4 Signal Squadron RC Sigs, the Aircraft Platoon of 4 Field Workshop RCEME, the Brigade Aviation Unit and Air Traffic Control Officers from RAF Gutersloh.
Brig Amy alights from the Prairie Schooner while Capt Stan Cote looks-on
The two Canadian Army pilots shown are Capts Bill Wright RCHA (left)
and Ken Tryon LdSH (RC) (right)
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A Continuance of Great Memories and Recollections of Subsequent Fly-in BreakfastsWritten and submitted by Maj (Ret'd) Peter Dudley RCAC.
If it can be said that if something is worth doing, then it is worth doing over and over again. To this end the RCAC Helicopter Troop in Germany repeated its successful introduction of the North American custom of a Fly-in Breakfast into Europe by hosting this event for the next five years.
The breakfast became famous among the NATO Helicopter and light aircraft units and grew larger every year with hundreds of aircraft and aircrew attending its final effort at Lahr in 1972. With so many repeat attendees each year the Troop issued a little green imitation passport complete with photo and extra pages to keep a record of those who turned up at this low level international aviation event.
Although mainly involving rotary wing aircraft the events at Lahr included a Luftwaffe VIP B707 on a training flight who stopped in for a coffee in 1971 and the Base Commander from Baden who arrived at the hangar in a dual 104 with his secretary in the rear seat in 1972.
Unfortunately it's success and size ultimately led to a decision that it was impractical to continue the Fly-In Breakfast and another minor aspect of Army Aviation passed into our collective memory bank.
There was, however, a sequel to its passing that surfaced when my wife and I stopped in to the Octoberfest in Munich later that year. The scene in the many tents at this famous fall fair is that of a thousand people sitting down drinking beer and another thousand standing around waiting for a place to sit.
As we were looking around a gentleman seated with a enthusiastic group identified my accent and, when I said I was a helicopter pilot from Lahr, he produced his little green passport with the cry "I was at the Fly-in Breakfast four times". He then waved at the group and said they were all Sikorsky production test pilots and engineers with the German Army H 53 program and of course we must sit down, have a beer and meet the oldest helicopter pilot in Germany.
Needless to say the invitation to drink beer with a bunch of helicopter pilots led to a splendid party and an interesting conversation with Ewald Rohlfs who had made the first flight of the twin rotor Focke - Wulf Fw 61 in 1936. To get a seat, a drink and a party under these circumstances certainly made for a well remembered final epitaph for a unique Canadian Centennial project.