Hi gang, Rick here from Used Pontoon Boats with a really interesting article out of Kingston, Ontario.
CFB TRENTON — The next time injured Canadian soldiers return to Canada, their arrival may be a little more comfortable.
That's because staff from 8 Wing's Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) have spent more than a year designing and building a special ramp to help the wounded leave aircraft smoothly.
The people of ATESS are a special breed in the Canadian Forces. When the military needs some innovation or a rush job, it relies upon engineers and workers spread across eight shops in the base's northwestern corner.
"We do a little bit of everything here," said Lt. Grant Anderson, the casualty ramp's project officer. "They come to us when they have something else they want done and nobody else can do it, or can't do it in time."
This time, he said, the assignment came from Land Forces Central Area, the army's regional headquarters in Toronto.
Anderson said the military needed a way to help injured troops leave planes comfortably, and had been using a wooden ramp built by ATESS for the task.
An upgrade was needed, and Sgt. Dan Beaulne, an aircraft structural technician, was assigned to design it.
It was his final assignment before his retirement last fall.
"I thought it was important for them to come back with some kind of welcome back to Canada after what they'd gone through," said Beaulne, a Trenton resident. "I spent a lot of time on it on weekends, trying to finish it before I was retired."
The wheeled ramp prototype resembles the barge-like pontoon boats seen on cottage lakes. It's an eight-foot-by-24-foot platform surrounded by a metal railing and covered by a white canopy.
It's used with airport food service trucks, which already have lift systems for reaching airplane hatches. Once aboard the ramp, the casualties can be lowered to the ground and moved into an ambulance if needed.
A folding ramp is lowered to ensure the wounded enter and exit smoothly.
"I'm pretty proud of it," said Beaulne.
The human side of the project was on the minds of others working on the ramp; that included Cpl. Dan McGinness, who did most of the welding. He said he thought of the injured while working.
"That's why we're here," said McGinness, who stressed many people were involved.
"It's a team effort — all this stuff always is," he said.
Anderson said ATESS, which has worked on everything from drone spy planes to vehicle armour, has done several ground support jobs. They include stairs for VIPs and a stand to be used for quick engine changes.
Six of the unit's eight workshops were involved in creating the casualty ramp, but Anderson said unlike some of their past work, they'd rather not see it in action.
"The whole time we're making it we're hoping it doesn't get used," he said.
"I would be perfectly happy if it could be used as a dock somewhere or for some general visiting ATESS," agreed Beaulne.
The prototype model will soon be tested. Anderson said final models could be stationed at airports closest to some of Canada's busiest military bases, including Trenton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Edmonton.
Thanks to Luke Hendry The Intelligencer.ca for this.