CFB Comox

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CFB Comox
Comox Airport
Comox Airport Logo.svg
IATA: YQQICAO: CYQQ
WMO: 71893
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Government of Canada
Operator DND/Comox Valley Airport CommissionA
Location Comox, British Columbia
Time zone PST (UTC−08:00)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−07:00)
Elevation AMSL 84 ft / 26 m
Coordinates 49°42′39″N 124°53′12″W / 49.71083°N 124.88667°W / 49.71083; -124.88667Coordinates: 49°42′39″N 124°53′12″W / 49.71083°N 124.88667°W / 49.71083; -124.88667
Website CFB 19 Wing Comox
Map
CYQQ is located in British Columbia
CYQQ
CYQQ
Location in British Columbia
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 10,000 3,048 Concrete
18/36 5,000 1,524 Asphalt
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
1 100 30 Asphalt
2 100 30 Asphalt
3 100 30 Concrete
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft movements 20,244
Source: Canada Flight Supplement[1]
Environment Canada[2]
Movements from Statistics Canada.[3] and Transport Canada[4]
A^ Airport terminal only

Canadian Forces Base Comox (IATA: YQQICAO: CYQQ), commonly referred to as CFB Comox, is a Canadian Forces Base located 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) north northeast of Comox, British Columbia. It is primarily operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is one of two bases in the country using the CP-140 Aurora anti-submarine/maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 19 Wing, commonly referred to as 19 Wing Comox.

CFB Comox's airfield is also used by civilian aircraft. The civilian passenger terminal building operations are referred to as the Comox Valley Airport operated by the Comox Valley Airport Commission.

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport currently can handle general aviation aircraft only, with no more than 15 passengers

History[edit]

The Royal Air Force (RAF) constructed the airfield at the strategic location of Comox in spring 1942. RAF Station Comox was built to guard against any possible Japanese threat to North America.

In 1943, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) took over control of the airfield, renaming the facility RCAF Station Comox. The RCAF used Comox for training crews of transport aircraft for the rest of World War II, basing a training squadron flying the Douglas Dakota in 1944.

From 1946 until 1952 the base was mothballed until tensions resulting from the Korean War and Cold War prompted reactivation and the establishment of a permanent RCAF base on Canada's Pacific coast.

No. 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron initially used the Avro Lancaster then Lockheed P2V Neptune, followed by the Canadair CP-107 Argus and currently the CP-140 Aurora.

No. 409 All Weather Fighter Interceptor Squadron was equipped with the Canadair CT-33 Silver Star and Avro CF-100 Canuck, followed by the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo, an example of which can be found on display at the main entrance of 19 Wing.

In 1954, Comox became home to a Pinetree Line radar early-warning station, operated by the "51 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (radar)". This facility was closed in June 1958 with the advent of more advanced radar systems such as the Mid-Canada Line and the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line).

In 1964, RCAF Station Sea Island near Vancouver International Airport was closed and turned over to the Canadian Coast Guard. Sea Island's "121 Composite Unit" moved to Comox and was reorganized as "442 Transport and Rescue Squadron", flying the Grumman Albatross fixed-wing and Piasecki H-21 helicopter, later re-equipping with the CH-113 Labrador and CC-115 Buffalo. The Labrador helicopter was replaced with the CH-149 Cormorant starting in 2001.

On February 1, 1968, the RCAF merged with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canadian Army to form the unified Canadian Forces. RCAF Station Comox was renamed Canadian Forces Base Comox, shortened to CFB Comox. During a 1975 reorganization of the Canadian Forces, Air Command (AIRCOM) was created to operate the air element.

In 1980, 407 Squadron began re-equipping with the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora. In 1984, 409 Squadron moved from CFB Comox to CFB Cold Lake leaving the base with the duties of coastal patrol, anti submarine and transport missions, and Search and Rescue (SAR) missions.

Current use[edit]

Military use[edit]

CFB Comox is the primary air defence installation on Canada's Pacific coast and serves as the home base for maritime patrol/anti-submarine aircraft and fixed-wing and rotary-wing search and rescue (SAR) aircraft.

Its primary lodger unit, 19 Wing, has two operational squadrons:

19 Wing also includes the 19 Air Maintenance Squadron, and a number of other organizations.

CFB Comox is the location of the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue, where all para-rescue specialists in the Canadian Forces, known as Search And Rescue Technicians or "SAR Techs", undergo training.

CFB Comox serves as a forward operating base for temporary deployments of the CF-18 Hornet fighter-interceptor.

Every April, the Snowbirds practise at 19 Wing Comox.

CFB Comox is used by the Royal Canadian Air Cadets for glider and powered flight training, training Glider Pilots on Schweizer SGS 2-33A's and housing the cadets training on Cessna 172's respectively in the summer months. An annex of CFB Comox, Annex A "Goose Spit", is used by the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets for CSTC HMCS Quadra where 600 sea cadets undergo training in the basic trades of Gunnery, Boatswain, Music and Sail. Also it trains cadets in three specialty trades Marine Engineering, Shipwright, and Silver Sail. It is also host to the local CFSA (Canadian Forces Sail Association).

Civilian use[edit]

CFB Comox's airfield also serves as a civilian airport for commercial flights destined to Vancouver, Calgary, Campbell River, Edmonton and Mexico (Cancun and Puerta Vallarta). The base hosts a biennial airshow (although not held from 2005 to 2012) to celebrate Canadian Forces Day. The base is also home to the Comox Air Force Museum which features several aircraft and other historical exhibits. The base is a primary employer in the Comox Valley.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Canadian North D.N.D. Cadet Flights
Central Mountain Air Vancouver
Flair Airlines Vancouver, Victoria, Fort Nelson, Kelowna
Pacific Coastal Airlines Campbell River, Vancouver
WestJet Calgary, Edmonton
Seasonal: Puerto Vallarta

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]