DND News

RCAF resumes Chinook flights

Three days after two RCAF officers died in the crash of a Boeing CH-147F helicopter during a night training flight, the crews of the 14 remaining Chinooks at 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at Garrison Petawawa resumed flying operations June 23.

Two of the four crewmembers aboard the twin-rotor helicopter were rescued and taken to hospital shortly after the June 20 crash but the bodies of the two others were not recovered from the deep fast-flowing waters until later in the day.

Both Captains, they were identified June 23 by the Department of National Defence as David Domagala, 32, and Marc Larouche, 53.\

Domagala was an Army reservist before applying for flight training. After graduating from Royal Military College, was posted in 2019 to 450 Squadron, which flies all the RCAF’s Chinooks on military and humanitarian missions. n 2019. Deployed first as a liaison officer with Operation Calumet, the multinational peacekeeping operation in the Sinai Peninsula, for which he received a commendation from Canadian Joint Operations Command, he began Chinook flight training upon redeployment.

Larouche was a licensed civilian pilot before joining the RCAF, where he won his military wings in 1993, first flying single-rotor Bell helicopters, the CH-135 Twin Huey and CH-146 Griffon, before transitioning to Chinooks. He deployed internationally on Operation Deliverance in Somalia, the UN-led peacekeeping mission in the early 1990s and then domestically on Operation Podium in support of the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia.

Meanwhile, as regular operations resumed at Petawawa, the RCAF Directorate of Flight Safety continued to investigate the cause of the crash.

A knowledgeable source explained to FrontLine that operating over water, even in daylight, can be a challenge due to a loss of depth perception. The crew of the Chinook which crashed into the Ottawa River in the early hours of June 20 would routinely be training with night-vision devices due to low-light conditions.