Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence


June 26, 2008 16:34 ET

Two Locals Return to Support SkyHawks

19 WING COMOX--(Marketwire - June 26, 2008) - This weekend Captains Ian MacNeil and Capt. Eric Martinat will return to their hometown of Ottawa to participate in the RCMP Sunset ceremony on 27 June and the Ottawa Air Show on 29 and 30 June. They will be flying the aircraft that the popular SkyHawks Canadian Forces parachute team will jump from, thrilling thousands of spectators. When the two Ottawa natives are not participating in performances for the public, they are busy saving lives along the West Coast of Canada.

Capts MacNeil and Martinat are currently posted to 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Comox, B.C. They fly the CC-115 Buffalo aircraft when called upon for search and rescue missions in British Columbia, the Yukon, and approximately 1100 km out to sea.

Aircraft Commander Capt. Ian MacNeil, a graduate of Western University grew up in Kanata, ON. His First Officer, Capt. Eric Martinat, grew up in Eganville, ON. Martinat attended Carleton University and was a police officer with the Ottawa Police Force for 17 years before joining the Air Force.

"Both my Grandfathers were pilots in WWII so I grew up around airplanes and for as long as I can remember I wanted to be a military pilot," said MacNeil. "The most challenging part of my career so far has been the upgrade to be a Search and Rescue qualified Aircraft Commander. At the start of the upgrade process I was at a stage in my training where I was proficient at flying the aircraft and had a solid understanding of aircraft systems. For the upgrade I had to learn to lead the crew and manage SAR mission requirements while flying in adverse weather conditions in the mountains of BC and out over the ocean."

Staff Sergeant, at the time, Martinat had been learning to fly at the Ottawa Flying Club and heard the military was hiring to address a shortage of pilots. "I loved flying and was interested in a life-change so I applied," said Martinat. "Within 5 months I was in Basic Officer Training at St. Jean, Quebec, and on my way to becoming a CF pilot."

During a major search for a missing Cessna pilot in the B.C interior in the fall of 2007, Martinat said he "was amazing to see how dedicated the military and civilian search organizations were and how hard they worked to try and locate the missing pilot and his plane. We searched for ten days, but unfortunately were unsuccessful in finding any clues; however, I remained impressed with the resolve of the searchers and was proud to be a member of the forces working in search and rescue."

Both pilots are looking forward to returning to their hometown.

Too see image of Capts MacNeil and Martinat, go to:

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