The air around Sinclair Avenue and Todd Road was filled with rappelling soldiers as members of the Canadian Armed Forces infantry took part in a week-long master rappelling course, instructed from the Georgetown Armoury. Two helicopters were on site, with one in the training area behind the armoury and the other on Neilson's property adjacent to Sinclair Ave. Many of the soldiers taking part were from part of the reserves from the Greater Toronto Area.
Local residents saw or heard unfamiliar objects in the skies over Georgetown last week as two Canadian Forces CH 146 Griffon Utility Transport Tactical Helicopters were tasked to support Rappel Master Course 0601. The rappel master course was conducted at Georgetown Armouries March 11-19. The aim of the rappel master is to safely dispatch personnel and/or equipment from an aircraft into an area that can not facilitate the landing of a helicopter. To effectively do this requires successful completion of the rappel master course. The nine-day course graduated 13 reserve soldiers from the Greater Toronto Area including two from Georgetown. On this course safety measures are the primary focus and an overwhelming requirement to pay attention to detail, as "lives are hanging by a rope". The qualification will enable successful candidates from this course to conduct training on a rappel tower (like the one behind the armouries) and to dispatch personnel and equipment from the CH 146. Each candidate was required to dispatch a minimum 16 soldiers and one equipment bundle from the helicopter. The candidates were also required to pass one written test and approximately nine practical performance checks. The time restraints and weather conditions worked against the staff and candidates during the first few days of the course but later in the week the weather cleared and the helicopter exercises began. Drawing in a large crowd was certainly bonus to the candidates as it is uncommon for the public to see what the reserves do in action. At the end of the course everyone successfully completed the course with no serious injuries. The Lorne Scots Army Reserve are currently recruiting for summer employment and if interested please call Sergeant Lonnie Naughton at 905-451-2741 or go to www.army.dnd.ca/lorne_scots/