Sea Kings’ final flight holds special meaning for Vancouver Island family

Dozens of people turn out with family of pilot to wave farewell to Sea King helicopters

Retirement for some aging war birds held special meaning for a Nanaimo family this week.

Ronei Faganello and about 40 friends and supporters holding signs and Canadian flags braved a cold, stiff breeze at Pipers Lagoon for more than an hour Monday morning as they waited for a special fly-over by four CH-124 Sea King helicopters. The machines were making their final flight before being retired from service with the Canadian Armed Forces.

Faganello’s brother, Maj. Paul Faganello, with the 443 Maritime Helicopter Sdqn. and 24 years’ service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, piloted the lead helicopter in the four-aircraft formation.

“It was pretty exciting, not only for them to fly over, but for them to do a loop around and back again,” Faganello said. “To seee them so up close and one of the fellows that was there watching, said he saw my brother wave from his cockpit, to give an indication of how close they were.”

The Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings have been in continuous service with Canada’s military since 1963. The aging machines have been refurbished and upgraded over the decades, but have become increasingly difficult and costly to service. Twenty-eight of the original 41 CH-124s purchased by Canada in 1963 are still flying.

“For me it was very heartfelt because my brother has done three tours of duty in the Persian Gulf in those helicopters and, you know, to know that … those ‘copters – even though they may have a little bit of a bad rep about needing so much maintenance after every flight – they kept my brother alive and safe during those tours,” Faganello said.

Faganello’s mother Alice and father Ron, both 83, were also there to witness their son’s flight.

“For them to be out there to see their son, in their final years, doing something so impressive really just fills up their bucket,” Faganello said.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ron, left, and Alice Faganello, both 83, walk to Pipers Park Lagoon causeway with daughter Ronei, second from left, and family friend Lindy Dines, to witness the final flight of four CH-124 Sea King helicopters, led by their son Royal Canadian Air Force Maj. Paul Faganello on Monday. CHRIS BUSH/ The News Bulletin

About 40 people, including the parents and several family members of the flight’s lead pilot, Maj. Paul Faganello, turned out to Nanaimo’s Pipers Lagoon Park to wave farewell to four Sikorsky CH124 Sea King helicopters on their final flight Monday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Just Posted

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Victoria police seize replica handgun and bullets

Unrelated call leads police to functional replica

Alf Todd on a mission to fight Parkinson’s disease

Todd and group hope to raise $10,000 riding bikes to Port Alberni

Flaming object thrown through Victoria restaurant window

Police looking for any witnesses to early-morning incident

Colwood construction site break-in leads police to narcotics, prohibited weapons

33-year-old man charged with break and enter, weapons offences and possession of a controlled substance

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Addition pending to Cape Scott Provincial Park?

BC Parks will wait before announcing plans for nearly $1 million old growth land purchase

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Most Read