Show-and-tell show stopper: 14 Wing helicopter crew pays visit to school kids

News Article / June 24, 2019

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By Sara White

While the mayor of Kentville, Nova Scotia, and honorary colonel of 14 Wing Greenwood’s 415 Long Range Patrol Force Development Squadron was dancing in her seat on board a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter on June 12, 2019, 600 elementary school students were screaming in excitement as it landed on their soccer field.

“This is so exciting – it’s like the best day ever!” Honorary Colonel Sandra Snow said as she jumped off the ramp of the settled helicopter to greet lines of students ready for a tour. “They let me fly sitting on that ramp part, with my feet hanging out!”

The visit was an end-of-year highlight at Kings County Academy, in Kentville, Nova Scotia, and school principal Victoria Laurence said her phone was ringing off the wall once word spread the helicopter was coming. “We’ve had other schools call – ‘How can we get in on this!?,’” she said, greeting the 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron crew with the Cormorant. “Thanks so much for coming – this is awesome!”

Two 413 Squadron technicians arrived early at the school to check the soccer field for a safe landing space, and mark out where students should sit as it appeared over the tree line and made a couple of loops before landing. Once on the ground, the crew toured the 600 kids through the helicopter, answering questions, seating almost every one of them in the cockpit, and handing out posters describing the helicopter

In the meantime, Honorary Colonel Snow worked the students waiting in line, talking about her roles both as an honorary colonel and as mayor of the town where Kings County Academy is located, and about her own years of military service. She gave high fives, rolled posters, answered questions – and didn’t stop smiling.

“I knew the helicopter was coming to Kentville because, as mayor, I had to sign off on the permission for them to bring an aircraft into the space,” she said. “Then, I was at a meeting of honorary colonels at 14 Wing and I met the commanding officer of 413 Squadron – he asked me if I wanted to go with the helicopter. I did a happy dance!”

413 Squadron Captain Steve MacDonald’s daughter is in Grade Primary at the Academy.

“We flew over the school one day,” he said. It happened to be recess and the kids were outside. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could stop?” Subsequently, he talked to the teachers and the principal, and then to squadron leadership and fellow crew members, “to see if we could make it happen.” He was just as excited as Honorary Colonel Snow and the students to have the day come together.

“Guys, thank you so much for today,” he said over the aircraft’s radio as they lifted off to return to Greenwood. Everyone on board said they enjoyed themselves, and wished they could visit such a fun group more often.

Sara White is Managing Editor of the Aurora, the base newspaper of 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia.


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