Some of those who turned their eyes skyward to gaze at the haze of smoke that has drifted into the Shuswap from Albertan wildfires may have seen a military aircraft circling above.
According to public affairs staff for 19 Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), a CC-115 Buffalo was in the area on Wednesday, May 29, conducting routine training.
According to the RCAF information page on the Buffalo, it is well-suited for its search and rescue role in the mountainous terrain of Western Canada. The twin-engine turboprop is 24 metres long and can take off and land on rugged terrain in areas as short as a soccer field.
The six CC-115s based at CFB Comox are responsible for a search and rescue zone stretching from the B.C.-Washington border to the Arctic, and from the Rocky Mountains to 1,200 kilometres out over the Pacific Ocean.
This is not the first time Buffalos flying from Comox have used the Shuswap as a training ground. In April, a Buffalo was used for practice parachute drops involving Search and Rescue Technicians at the Salmon Arm airport before landing to pick them up.