Saturday, 14 November 2015

HMCS PRESERVER: Helicopter Hangar tour

If one ignores the three aircraft carriers, the RCN ships with the largest helicopter hangars (each for three CH-124 Sea Kings) were the three AORs collectively in service from the 1960's through to the 2010's: HMC Ships PROVIDER, PROTECTEUR, and PRESERVER. Unlike the earlier PROVIDER which had a single funnel on the ship's centreline, splitting the hangar in two and requiring two hangar doors to port and starboard, the later PROTECTEUR and PRESERVER had twin funnels port and starboard which allowed one large uninterrupted hangar space and a single hangar door. 

Looking aft from a platform at the forward end of the hangar, with the hangar door in the background.
PRESERVER's hangar has a narrow throat aft at the hangar door, and widens out as it goes forward. Storage for a full complement of three Sea Kings would have two helicopters port and starboard at the forward end of the hangar, and a single Sea King aft. 

Hangar from deck level looking aft.
The hangar was mostly given over to exercise equipment during my visit, and it will almost certainly never see a Sea King again.

Helicopter tractor in front of the hangar door.
The AOR's were big enough that they did not require the Beartrap helicopter hauldown system (presumably the hangar configuration and helicopter stowage positions would have complicated things anyway), and they instead required a tractor to haul a Sea King back and forth from the hangar to the landing deck. To the left of the photo, behind the door, is the ladder up to the FLYCO office on the starboard side of the hangar. The FLYCO office is effectively the ship's Air Traffic Control tower for helicopter flight operations.

FLYCO office looking aft.
The port side of the FLYCO office looking aft.
View from FLYCO.
View to starboard from FLYCO.
The view out the starboard window is partially blocked by one of the Hepburn cranes, and the starboard LCVP is visible to the bottom left of the photo.

1 comment:

  1. One of the last things I did as D/CSEO aboard was to get a TV mounted in front of those treadmills. Also, nice pic of old Clinker with the tractor.