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

Province’s oldest lawyer shares advice for living well at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Swimmers, advocates plead to Victoria council for new Crystal Pool facility

Many swimmers dependant on the pool are afraid to be without any athletic resources

Saanich swaps last propane-powered Zamboni for electric model

Pearkes arena’s all-electric ice resurfacing fleet to reduce carbon emissions by six tonnes

PHOTOS: New BC Ferries hybrid vessels arrive in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

The ferries will run two gulf island routes in upcoming months

Victoria police seek to pilot blue-lighted vehicles for increased visibility

Police have already purchased the lights and are awaiting provincial approval

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Dashcam records driver’s near-miss near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Most Read