Canadian SRN6s

Canadian SRN6s


The following information and photographs were kindly sent to me by Paul, an engineer who worked with the RAF, Hovertravel, and in Canada the Northern Transportatioin Company Ltd, and the Canadian Coastguard. He sends these photographs, spanning 20 years, having taken them during his time spent working around hovercraft operations. I leave Paul's commentary intact to explain the photographs. Also please find some photographs he took of the more recent AP1-88 craft now used by the Candian Coastguard here.

SRN6 operations in the Arctic (1975-77)

This first batch were taken during my 2 year term working for Northern Transportation Company Ltd. (N.T.C.L) as an Engineer. Our operation covered the changing of crew members from the Oil-Rigs in the Beaufort Sea during winter. Also, the mandate required for us to be on 24 hr. standby for rescue ops. in case of blow-outs or medical emergencies.

The crews were taken to Tuktoyaktuk on the mainland to be flown out, a distance of 80 miles. All ops. were carried out in harsh winter conditions, temps. reaching –55 Celsius wind chill factor at times. Therefor the Beaufort Sea was frozen solid. Our main base was Inuvik on the McKenzie River and we traveled north to the Rigs regularly to replenish groceries and drill pipe for the Rigs.

The 3 pics. of the craft covered in snow depict the beginning of a recovery operation of NTA 030. The previous winter, during a crew change, the craft hit an ice-ridge during a ‘white-out’at approx. 45 knots, tearing off one side of the craft. Because the ice was very thin at the time, recovery was impossible, so we covered her and prepared to retrieve her in the Spring. The photos were taken on on our arrival. Because of the severe damage to the structure, and the weight of the machine, the ice cracked and water entered the chambers and froze solid. We utilized a ‘Super Steamer’to melt the ice and after 10 days living in the craft (a tale of polar bears and shivering till ones teeth clattered, but that’s another story) we lifted her and ensconced her in Hay River.

Some photographs of North Coast Air Services craft taken while visiting Prince Rupert, British Columbia Canada in 1993. The registration #'s may be of interest.

SRN6 operations with the Canadian Coastguard

I shall give a brief history of 030 and 031 after their discontinued ops. in the Arctic. In 1977, I joined the CCG as an engineer/crewman stationed at Sea Island, Vancouver. Our role was SAR (Search and Rescue) and the area of ops. was 20 miles radius from the Airport.

At the time I joined, they were operating an SRN-5 in the SAR configuration, mainly to assist the rescue crews during an aircraft overshoot of the runway. Only a hovercraft could manage the soft silt from the river McKenzie to reach the stricken aircraft during this kind emergency. During a re-fit of this machine, it became obvious that the structure was corroded so badly, due to seawater, it was decided to abandon the project.

This is when we decided to purchase the two SRN6’s - 030 and 031 after convincing Ottawa to give the go-ahead. 031 was chosen first and a full scale rmodification to CCG standards commenced. It took nearly a year and 031 was given the designation CG 045. The other machine, 030, was eventually given the same treatment and we completed the project in time for EXPO 86. Princess Dianna was one of our first passengers.

Because we were situated near Wreck Beach, a nudist hangout for the beauties, most celebrities asked for a perusal (not Dianna) and many a smile was seen when the girls came into the craft and sat in the Radar Officers seat! I must say, their was a lot of sand to be removed later.

Over the years 045 and 086 carried out hundreds of rescues and medical emergencies. Other ops. were :- Light House re-supply, buoy changes and exercises with the USCG.

After spending fifteen years in the SAR role, in 1992, I was recruited to train the Coast Guard Fleet in the Oil-Spill Response Role and retired in 2008 after 31 yrs.

If you are ever in Vancouver, try to visit the CG Base in Richmond, Sea Island and I’m sure you will be given an interesting tour. There is a plinth outside of the base with 045 atop of it. AP188’s are used now.

Page updated: Saturday, September 13, 2014