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CFB Goose Bay

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5 Wing Goose Bay
Goose Bay Airport;
CFB Goose Bay;
CFS Goose Bay;
Goose Air Base
Goose Bay, Labrador in Canada
280px
CYYR
5 Wing Goose Bay
Location in Newfoundland and Labrador
Coordinates

53°19′09″N 060°25′33″W / 53.31917°N 60.42583°W / 53.31917; -60.42583{{#coordinates:53|19|09|N|060|25|33|W|type:landmark_region:CA-NL | |name=

}}
Type Military Air Base / Civilian Airport
Site information
Owner
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Operator 22x20px Royal Canadian Air Force
1941 (1941) - Present
22x20px United States Air Force
1942 (1942) - 1976 (1976)
Controlled by
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Status
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Civilian Operator Goose Bay Airport Corporation
Website 5 Wing Goose Bay
Goose Bay Airport
Site history
Built 1941 (1941) - 1943 (1943)
Built by 22x20px Royal Canadian Air Force
22x20px United States Air Force
In use
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Garrison information
Current
commander
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Past
commanders
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Occupants 444 Combat Support Squadron
1993 (1993) - Present
5 Wing Air Reserve Flight
Airfield information
Identifiers IATA: YYR, ICAO: CYYR, WMO: 71816
Runways
Direction Length and surface
08/26 Script error: No such module "convert". Concrete with Asphalt overlay
16/34 Script error: No such module "convert". Concrete with asphalt overlay

Hosted Deployments of Units From:
20px Royal Air Force (United Kingdom) 1942–2005[1]
20px Luftwaffe (Germany) 1980-2005
20px United States Air Force
20px Aeronautica Militare (Italy) 2001-2005

20px Royal Netherlands Air Force 1985-2005

Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay (IATA: YYRICAO: CYYR) (also CFB Goose Bay), is a Canadian Forces Base located in the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. CFB Goose Bay is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is the site of NATO tactical flight training in Canada. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 5 Wing, commonly referred to as 5 Wing Goose Bay.

The base was initially a Royal Canadian Air Force station[2] and later a United States Air Force base known as Goose AFB, housing units of the Strategic Air Command[3] and Aerospace Defense Command. It was later home to permanent detachments of the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe, Aeronautica Militare, and Royal Netherlands Air Force, in addition to temporary deployments from several other NATO countries. The base is the home of 444 Combat Support Squadron and also serves as a forward operating base for RCAF CF-18 Hornet interceptors.

CFB Goose Bay's airfield is also used by civilian aircraft, with civilian operations at the base referring to the facility as Goose Bay Airport. 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.

Goose Bay was the site of the first US nuclear weapons in Canada, when in 1950 the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command stationed 11 model 1561 Fat Man atomic bombs at the base.[4]

Founding and construction

While the flat and relatively weather-favored area around North West River had for years been under consideration for an airport for the anticipated North Atlantic air routes, it was not until Eric Fry of the Dominion Geodetic Survey investigated the area on 1 July 1941 that the Goose Bay location was selected. Fry beat by three days a similar USAAF survey team under Captain Elliott Roosevelt; the American team had first investigated nearby Epinette Point before joining Fry at the sandy plains that would become Goose Bay. These surveys used amphibian aircraft that landed at the Grenfell mission; from there the teams explored by boat.[5]

Eric Fry recalled: "The airport is actually located on the plateau at the west end of Terrington Basin but it is only five miles inland from the narrows between Goose Bay and Terrington Basin. Having a Gander air base in Newfoundland I suggested we call the Labrador site Goose Bay airport and the suggestion was accepted."[6]

Under pressure from Britain and the United States the Canadian Air Ministry worked at a record pace, and by November three 7,000-foot gravel runways were ready.[7] The first land aircraft movement was recorded on 9 December 1941. By spring of 1942 the base, now carrying the wartime code-name Alkali, was bursting with air traffic destined for the United Kingdom. In time, the USAAF and the RAF each developed sections of the triangular base for their own use, but the airport remained under overall Canadian control despite its location in Newfoundland and Labrador. The 99-year lease arrangement with the United Kingdom was not finalized until October 1944.[8]

The story of the base’s founding was evocatively told in a wartime Canadian book by William G. Carr: Checkmate in the North (1944).

Royal Canadian Air Force

File:5 Wing Goose Bay.jpg
5 Wing Goose Bay
File:Luftwaffe Goose Bay.jpg
Luftwaffe Tornados at CFB Goose Bay
File:RAF Panavia Tornado GR1A.jpg
Royal Air Force Panavia Tornados at CFB Goose Bay
File:BellCH-135TwinHuey135127.JPG
CH-135 Twin Huey from Base Rescue Goose Bay (later 444 Squadron)
File:AvroVulcanGooseBay.JPG
Avro Vulcan XL361 on display at CFB Goose Bay

The former U.S. facilities were re-designated CFB Goose Bay (the second time this facility name has been used). The value of the airfield and facilities built and improved by the USAF since 1953 and transferred to Canada were estimated in excess of $250 million (USD).[citation needed]

The Canadian Forces continued to use Goose Bay for staging interceptor aircraft, however Canadian Forces Air Command concentrated on purchasing the new CF-18 interceptor in the late 1970s and early 1980s. CF-18s for eastern Canada were to be based at CFB Bagotville in Quebec, thus the future was looking bleak for both CFB Goose Bay and CFB Chatham.[citation needed]

In 1983, a NASA Boeing 747 transport aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Enterprise landed at CFB Goose Bay to refuel on its way to a European tour where the shuttle was then displayed in France and the United Kingdom. This was the first time that a U.S. space shuttle ever "landed" outside the United States.[citation needed]

In response to lessons learned from the Vietnam War and the growing sophistication of Soviet anti-aircraft radar and surface-to-air missile technology being deployed in Europe, NATO allies began looking at new doctrines in the 1970s–1980s which mandated low-level flight to evade detection. CFB Goose Bay's location in Labrador, with a population of around 30,000 and area measuring 294,000 km2, made it an ideal location for low-level flight training. Labrador's sparse settlement and a local topography similar to parts of the Soviet Union, in addition to proximity to European NATO nations, "sealed the deal" which saw CFB Goose Bay grow to become the primary low-level tactical training area for several NATO air forces during the 1980s.[citation needed]

The increased low-level flights by fighter aircraft was not without serious controversy as the Innu Nation protested these operations vociferously, claiming that the noise of aircraft travelling at supersonic speeds in close proximity to the ground ("nap of the earth flying") was adversely affecting wildlife, namely caribou, and was a nuisance to their way of life on their traditional lands. Many protests evolved into dangerous activities, including trespassing into the low-level flying ranges (at detriment of the safety of protesters), and even to shooting hunting rifles at the fighter aircraft. The protests, while having died down with changes in operating areas and raising of flight altitudes, have never really disappeared.[citation needed]

During the 1980s–1990s, CFB Goose Bay hosted permanent detachments from the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe, Royal Netherlands Air Force, and the Aeronautica Militare, in addition to temporary deployments from several other NATO countries. Goose Bay was a very attractive training facility for these air forces in light of the high population concentration in their countries, as well as numerous laws preventing low-level flying. The thirteen million hectare (130,000 square km) bombing range is larger than several European countries.[Note 1]

In 1988, the Pinetree Line radar site at CFB Goose Bay was closed. The permanent RNAF detachment left CFB Goose Bay in the 1990s, although temporary training postings have been held since.[citation needed]

On 11 September 2001, CFB Goose Bay hosted seven trans-Atlantic commercial airliners which were diverted to land as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon, following the closure of North American airspace as a result of terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. It was also the first Canadian airport to receive diverted aircraft.[citation needed]

In 2004 the RAF announced its intent to close the permanent RAF detachment, effective 31 March 2005. The German and Italian air forces had agreements signed to use the base until 2006, however they were not renewed as of 2004. These air forces still operate at Goose Bay, but plan to initiate simulator training instead.[9] The base continues in its role as a low-level tactical training facility and as a forward deployment location for Canadian Forces Air Command, although the total complement of Canadian Forces personnel numbers less than 100.[citation needed]

Base Rescue Flight and 444 Combat Support Squadron

To provide rescue and range support to the jet aircraft operating from Goose Bay the Canadian Forces provided a Base Rescue Flight consisting of three CH-135 Twin Huey helicopters. In 1993 the Base Rescue Flight was re-badged 444 Combat Support Squadron and continued to operate the same fleet of three helicopters. In 1996 the CH-135s were replaced with three CH-146 Griffon helicopters.[10][11]

Ballistic Missile Defence

Labradorian politicians such as former Liberal Senator Bill Rompkey have advocated using CFB Goose Bay as a site for a missile defense radar system being developed by the United States Department of Defense. Executives from defense contractor Raytheon have surveyed CFB Goose Bay as a suitable location for deploying such a radar installation.[12]

Strategic Air Command Weapons Storage Area

Construction of the Strategic Air Commands' Weapons Storage Area at Goose Air Base was officially completed on 19 February 1954. Original design plans for the area were dated 8 May 1952 by Fay, Spofford & Thorndike (Architect - Engineer, Boston, Mass.), but on a 30 September 1952 a revision was made adding three additional buildings, and revisions to an existing building, providing quadruple the storage capacity for nuclear detonator "pit" storage. The final design plans which were constructed created a high-security double barbed wire enclosed area with one entry way and the following buildings:

  • One Guard House
  • One Administration Building
  • Three Warehouses (Base Spares #1, Base Spares #2, Supply Warehouse)
  • Six Guard Towers
  • One Plant Group building
  • Five Earth Covered Magazines for non-nuclear weapon storage
  • Four Earth Covered Magazines for pit storage (constructed with vaults and shelving to store pit "birdcages")

Design and layout of the Goose Air Base Weapons Storage Area was identical, with only slight modifications for weather and terrain, to the three Strategic Air Command Weapon Storage Areas in Morocco located at Sidi Slimane Air Base, Ben Guerir Air Base, and Nouasseur Air Base which were constructed between 1951 and 1952 as overseas Operational Storage Sites. The last nuclear bomb components that were being stored at the Goose Air Base Weapons Storage Area were removed in June of 1971.

Air Defense Command Ammunition Storage Area

On 26 June 1958 the construction of the Air Defence Command Ammunition Storage area at Goose Air Base, built directly beside the Strategic Air Command Weapons Storage Area, with a separate entrance, was completed. Initial designs were drafted 7 December 1956 by Fay, Spofford & Thorndike (Architect - Engineer, Boston, Mass.), and consisted of three storage buildings, one guard house, and one missile assembly building. The storage was being built to accommodate components of the GAR-11/AIM-26 "Nuclear" Falcon, which is normally stored in pieces, requiring assembly before use.

Airlines and destinations

Civilian flights use a smaller terminal structure located on Zweibrucken Crescent. A new terminal structure was being built in 2012 to accommodate civilian use.[13]

An increasing number of airlines (especially smaller range aircraft like the Boeing 757) have resorted to using Goose Bay for emergency fueling stops, especially amongst trans-Atlantic flights impacted by the jet stream over the North Atlantic.[14] Many aircraft landing are not regular scheduled airlines using the airport.

Airlines Destinations

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Fixed base operators (FBOs)

The following fixed base operators are based at CFB Goose Bay:

External links

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References

12px This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ "British take their leave from Goose Bay". CBC News. 31 March 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Military Presence In Labrador
  3. ^ "Strategic Air Command Bases". strategic-air-command.com. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Clearwater, John (1998). Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 18. 
  5. ^ Hansen, 195-7
  6. ^ Carr, 84–85
  7. ^ Carr, 111
  8. ^ Christie, 129
  9. ^ "To Cope with Flying Restrictions, German Pilots Turn to Simulators". Defense Industry Daily. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  10. ^ Air Force Public Affairs / Department of National Defence (15 June 2007). "444 Squadron History". Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  11. ^ AEROWARE / RCAF.com (n.d.). "No. 444 Squadron". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  12. ^ U.S. missile company scouts Labrador
  13. ^ "CBC.ca - Labrador Morning Show - A tour of the New Airport in Happy Valley Goose Bay (Part 1)". cbc.ca. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Strong jet stream forcing airliners to make Labrador retrievals". thestar.com. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  • A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 – 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.
  • Information for Melville AS, Goose Bay, NL
  • Carr, William G.: Checkmate in the North. MacMillan, Toronto, 1944.
  • Christie, Carl A.: Ocean Bridge. University of Toronto Press, 1995.
  • Hansen, Chris: Enfant Terrible: The Times and Schemes of General Elliott Roosevelt. Able Baker, Tucson, 2012.
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Notes

  1. ^ The thirteen million hectare (130,000 square km) bombing range is larger than Iceland; Portugal; Serbia; Austria; Czech Republic; Ireland; Slovakia; Netherlands; Denmark; Switzerland; Belgium. see List of countries and dependencies by area.

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