Military patrol plane makes emergency landing in Sydney
SYDNEY — What started out as a routine patrol for the crew of a lumbering Aurora aircraft based out of Greenwood ended with an unscheduled landing at J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, Thursday evening, after smoke was detected in the cockpit.
The plane, a CP140 four-engine patrol aircraft, was carrying a crew of nine, including Capt. Hilary Harris-Kavanaugh.
She guided the large plane at Sydney shortly before 7 p.m., greeted by an army of fire, police, hazmat and airport personnel.
“ We noticed a very minor smoke problem while on patrol earlier today (Thursday) and landed in St. John’s, N.L., as a precaution,” Harris-Kavanaugh said shortly after the plane touched down in Sydney.
The aircraft was checked out at St. John’s and deemed safe to continue back to Greenwood.
“The smoke started again en route from Newfoundland to Greenwood and we decided to divert to Sydney,” she said. “It was a minor smoke problem.”
After transport personnel were notified of the decision to reroute to Sydney, the aircraft was greeted
The smoke started again en route from Newfoundland
to Greenwood and we decided to divert to Sydney.
Capt. Hilary Harris-Kavanaugh
The cause of the smoke was undetermined Thursday night and an investigation was continuing.
The crew was put up at a Sydney hotel and it’s believed they will return to Greenwood some time today. It’s undetermined whether they will return by the same aircraft or have a second plane brought in to pick them up. A thorough investigation will be needed on the suspect aircraft.
As well, three EHS vehicles were at the scene. The crew of the by up to 15 fire vehicles, according to Reserve Mines Chief Gary O’Brien. Fortunately their assistance wasn’t needed. Crews from Dominion, Glace Bay, Grand Lake and Reserve Mines were on the scene for up to two hours.
Harris-Kavanaugh said the smoke was a distraction in the cockpit but not serious enough that visibility was endangered. Aurora was checked over by the EHS personnel.
“As you can see everyone is fine,” Harris-Kavanaugh said.
Staff-Sgt. Ken O’Neil of the Cape Breton regional Police Service said they had several units on the scene.
The crew appeared relaxed immediately following the landing, despite the ordeal. The airport was all but empty as nervous response crews on the ground awaited the arrival of the Aurora. CBRM police sealed off the airport except for rescue personnel.
“ We were so pleased at the tremendous response by everyone in Sydney. We were truly grateful by the fire people, emergency responders and airport personnel who greeted us upon our arrival,” Harris-Kavanaugh said.
The Aurora was introduced to the Canadian Military in the early 1980s. They were built at a cost of $24.9 million each. They weigh approximately 28,000 lbs. and are a familiar sight in the Valley area of Nova Scotia as a training aircraft.
During the emergency, a flight carrying oil workers from Alberta was not permitted to land at Sydney and was delayed at Moncton until the all-clear was given. The flight touched down about 8 p.m., only 30 minutes late.
From left, Capt. Hilary Harris-Kavanaugh, Capt. Jan Douglas and Capt. Jeff Reeves take a break at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, Thursday night. They’re part of the crew of an Aurora aircraft based out of Greenwood that was forced to make an unscheduled landing after smoke was detected in the plane’s cockpit.