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

 

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

Langford considers regulating sale of spray paint following string of vandalism

Regulations could involve restricting sale to minors, locking up spray paint

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

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

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read