Polaris Fleet Under Pressure

It’s been a busy week at 437 Transport Squadron as the RCAF team that moves senior government officials around dealt with two (out of five) broken airplanes and its top two clients overseas. Can Force One, the CC-150 Polaris that is normally used to fly the prime minister and visiting royalty was badly damaged in a ground handling accident at CFB Trenton in early November. So, Trudeau, his staff and the various other folks who needed to be with him on his trip to the G7 Summit in London used his backup plane, a Polaris without the modest bedroom and bathroom that the main aircraft has. Meanwhile, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and her entourage boarded a third Polaris for a Second World War commemoration in Italy.

On arrival, Trudeau’s plane was grounded in the U.K. with an engine issue. Both he and Payette needed to be in Ottawa by Thursday morning for the speech from the throne. Trudeau took Payette’s plane and both of them were on time for the big day in the House of Commons. It’s not clear how Payette and her people got home. Meanwhile, Can Force One, which somehow rolled through a hangar at Trenton and smashed into the back wall, will be out of service for millions of dollars in structural repairs that will take nine months. It has raised questions whether it’s time to consider a modern, efficient and more effective aircraft for transporting our heads of state.