Why you’re seeing a Herc back in the air over Yellowknife

A Globemaster aircraft seen from Yellowknife's Grace Lake in April 2020
A Globemaster aircraft seen from Yellowknife's Grace Lake in April 2020. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

There are some relatively uncommon aircraft overhead in Yellowknife these days. If you look up, you might spot a Globemaster or a Hercules in the sky.

The Royal Canadian Air Force on Monday took steps to reassure residents that the presence of extra aircraft in Yellowknife is an operational change designed to help halt the spread of Covid-19.

The planes have been temporarily moved to Yellowknife from their regular CFB Trenton base, in Ontario, to cut down on refuelling stops while operating in the Canadian Arctic.

They are carrying out operations like resupplying the Canadian Armed Forces base at Alert, Nunavut.



“While normally based in 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, Ontario, aircraft have been forward deployed to Yellowknife to eliminate the need for refuelling stops they normally are required to make when operating out of southern locales, thereby helping to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19,” read a Royal Canadian Air Force statement.

“Aircrew taking part in these missions have been sequestered prior to engaging in these flights and use personal protective equipment, as appropriate, to ensure the health of everyone in northern communities and Canadian Armed Forces establishments,” the statement continued.

“The aircrew are staying in separate military accommodations outside of Yellowknife.”

Lieutenant-Commander Tammy Audet, a public affairs officer for Joint Task Force North, said: “It is unusual to see so many large aircraft here in town and we wanted to ensure the public understands why.”

Yellowknife used to be home to Hercules aircraft operated by First Air.

The airline, now amalgamating with Canadian North, operated its last Hercules flight from Yellowknife almost exactly five years ago, on April 21, 2015.