When I first heard of a CH-146 Griffon pilot taking his ride to a Kenora baseball field in search of A&W Papa Burgers, I knew it was only a matter of time before some nitwit martinet decided the aircrew involved had to be investigated and written up for getting themselves splashed all over the news.
A spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Saturday an investigation has been launched after a Canadian Forces helicopter pilot landed in Kenora Thursday to pick up burgers.
The helicopter touched down on the ball diamond across from the A&W. Restaurant owner Randy Nickle told Canadian Press, “They were hungry, they were looking for food.
“They flew from Edmonton (Thursday) morning and were trying to get to Thunder Bay and of course they needed fuel so they stopped to get gas at the airport,” he said.
“But because there’s no food there they just decided “Hey, Let’s go to A&W for supper.”‘
Nickle said crew members picked up an order of six burgers, four fries and drinks, before lifting off again on their journey.
Dan Dugas, the defence minister’s director of communications, said, “The matter is under investigation to determine what happened. As such, I can’t say much more until all the facts are gathered.”
The minister’s spokesman said there were no public safety concerns surrounding the landing.
“First of all, at no time during the landing or takeoff was there a danger to the public.”
— Mack, Lloyd. “Investigation launched into local takeout run.” Kenora Daily Miner & News, 7 October 2009.
Strictly speaking the landing was not required and yeah, it got exposure so more than the usual parties are going to be interested. But it’s hardly the most outrageous thing CF pilots have ever done. Billy Bishop and his squadron used to pour champagne into pianos, break phonograph records over each others’ heads, and rip each others’ uniforms as a method of ritual celebration. Retired F-86 pilots of my acquaintance took their rides into a steep dive over a neighbouring base, breaking the sound barrier and blowing in the windows of the base’s coveted indoor swimming pool. None of these guys got dressed down for their antics.
Let’s hope some sanity prevails.