WINNIPEG – The first major air show in Manitoba in almost a decade is days away from taking off in Portage la Prairie.
Global News went behind the scenes with 17 Wing’s search and rescue crew for a look at an emergency training mission in a C-130 Hercules, which will be at the show.
“We go all the way up to the North Pole… we go west all the way to the Rocky Mountains and to the east towards Ontario, Thunder Bay area,” said aircraft commander Captain Nick Heiler.
“We have a lot of life saving equipment in the back of the plane, about 10,000 pounds of it.”
There are seven people on a normal search and rescue crew which usually starts at 6 a.m.
“We are ready at a moment’s notice… if we get a call from the rescue centre we have to be airborne in 30 minutes,” Heiler said.
“If we don’t get a call out we’ll go flying for the day and conduct training.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Inside a C-130 Hercules for a search and rescue mission
The 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron also provides humanitarian aid when needed.
“We did in Haiti years back, a lot of time up north with evacuations as well, Fort McMurray evacuations as well,” Heiler said.
“For the most part in our Hercules we can fit about 112 people in the back if they need to be evacuated out.”
The four-engine turboprop military Hercules aircraft can go up to about 500 kilometers per hour and once on scene of an emergency, slow down to about 200 kilometers per hour.
“The shortest mission I’ve been on is an hour, the longest I’ve been on is coming up on 12-13 hours,” Heiler said. “We also get extended searches sometimes especially if there’s an aircraft missing especially up north or in the mountains…. at that point it can last weeks.”
The Manitoba Air Show starts at 9:30 a.m. on June 4 at Southport Airport and includes performances from the Snowbirds and Skyhawks.
WATCH: GoPro footage of a SAR crew member jumping out of the Hercules