CAF Story: In grade 3 she crashed her home-made hang glider. Now she flies rescue missions. #MyCAFStory

Video / August 19, 2016


My name is Captain Alexia Shore, and I work in Cold Lake at 417 Combat Support Squadron. I’ve been in the military for fifteen years, and flying helicopters for eight of those. For the first seven years I was Tactical Helicopters out of Edmonton at 408 Squadron. And I went to Afghanistan in 2011, and I was flying the Chinooks over there. Did forty combat missions and got just under 250 hours in that machine.

Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to fly. Not so much on the planes’ or helicopters’ side, just by myself. When I was in Kindergarten, I used to run and jump off the school hill at recess time, thinking if I ran fast enough I could fly. But in Grade 3, I got a little bit smarter and decided to try and make a hang-glider. Needless to say, I’m not an engineer; it didn’t go very far and neither did I. So, that was the last time I tried to build an aircraft. And then, basically I didn’t know much about the military before joining, and it’s just turned into a really fulfilling career. Challenging at a lot of times, but definitely rewarding, and I recommend it to anybody that has a love of flying.

I’ve been with 417 for one year, and I’ve had two real callouts. First being a small plane crash. And just a few weeks ago we went up to Fort McMurray to help out with the fires. I was involved in the real SAR callout that we had there. It was one lost person on an ATV. If you’ve ever driven in a snowstorm, looking at the taillights in front of you, and barely seeing the road, you know the lines on the road, just not a really fun time. You can still do it, but in really dodgy weather it’s definitely not the most pleasant flying. Especially with so much traffic in the area. There was a lot of water bombers, and also helicopters that were doing water-bucketing. Everybody is supposed to be up on radios, and giving position reports, and talking at all times. On any given time, you could see, you know upwards of fifteen aircraft just in your immediate vicinity. So it was very, very busy and honestly, the busiest I’ve heard the radios ever, pretty much.

Myself and my crew went out looking for just over an hour before we ran out of fuel and had to return. And fortunately, the second crew that came out was able to locate him, land, pick him up, brought him back home to his family. So it was a really good success story for us, and we were happy to hear that he’s ok. Even if it wasn’t me that found him, it would have been nice, but I’m glad it was somebody else that came in afterwards.

Anything we can do to help the public or the military. In Afghanistan it was good for us. Every time we got to fly, it just meant there was more people that didn’t have to drive on the road. So just feeling that we could really make a difference in some people’s lives and get them out of some harm’s way, was good. And yep, like I said with the fires, we were just on call for anything they needed.

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