Kamloops Model Airplane Society, Tolko Industries hosting the Canadian military on their flying field, located in Heffley Creek

Military borrows flying field

The Kamloops Model Airplane Society and Tolko Industries are hosting a special guest at their flying field, located in Heffley Creek.

Four helicopters from the Canadian military — which arrived in Kamloops to assist with wildfire fighting efforts — will conduct training exercises in the area until the end of August, according to Randy Battison, club president for the model airplane society.

Battison said representatives from the military phoned him up in late July to ask if they could use their field.

“They normally do a lot of training around the airport, but with the visibility lower and the tankers coming in fighting the fires, it’s just way too busy. So they were looking for another place to train,” Battison said.

“I said, ‘by all means’. I contacted Tolko Industries, who owns the property, and they said absolutely no problem at all.”

Battison said together with Tolko, the club had previously made the decision to shut down the field down due to the extreme wildfire situation, not wanting to spark a fire from a model airplane crash.

With the field sitting empty, the Battison said this was “a great opportunity” to help out wildfire fighting efforts by letting military helicopter crews perform their training.

“The military provides support, so they’re shuttling crews, or maybe medivac services. They fly at night, whereas the forestry helicopters don’t fly at night, so they’re just providing any support that they are asked to do," Battison said, adding that the field is ideal for the military due in part to its proximity to the airport.

“That’s our little contribution, if you will, providing help towards fighting the forest fires,” he said.

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