RCAF Station Gimli
|RCAF Station Gimli / CFB Gimli
(closed September 1971)
|IATA: none – ICAO: none|
|Operator||Royal Canadian Air Force|
|Elevation AMSL||753 ft / 229 m|
|Elevation and coordinates from COPA.|
On September 6, 1943, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan established No. 18 Service Flying Training School (No. 18 SFTS) to train aircrew for Second World War operations using the Avro Anson. No. 18 SFTS ceased operation on May 30, 1945.
During the Cold War period, many Second World War air stations were reactivated. Gimli was one of these, and was reopened in 1950 to become a jet aircraft training station. Flying training schools located here include No. 2 Flying Training School, No. 3 Advanced Flying School (redesignated in 1964 to No. 1 Flying Training School), and No. 1 Advanced Flying Training School.
After unification of the three services in 1968, RCAF Station Gimli became a Canadian Forces Base (CFB). CFB Gimli closed in September 1971 and the flying schools moved to other Canadian forces bases. Part of the aerodrome is now used as an industrial park and a racetrack. Flying related activities include use by Manitoba Provincial Government water bomber squadron, the Regional Gliding School (Prairie), and two private flying schools. Gimli is also used by No. 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at 17 Wing Winnipeg, for training purposes.
Air Canada Flight 143 (Gimli glider)
The Gimli airfield became the focus of international attention on July 23, 1983, when Air Canada Flight 143 made an emergency landing there after a 17-minute powerless glide due to fuel exhaustion. On that day, the runways were being used for race-car activities on 'Family Day' for the Sports Car club from Winnipeg. Flight 143's captain executed a sideslip, before touching down 800 feet from Runway 32L. None of 69 people on board the Boeing 767 aircraft were killed, due to the cooperation between Captain Robert 'Bob' Pearson, and First Officer Maurice Quintal, although several were injured as they came down the evacuation chutes.
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