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TwinHuey

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Feeling a bit nostalgic hearing about the imminent closing of Buttonville as it is where I learned to fly and was based for several years.

I dug up some old photos I took back then and wondered if Urban Toronto has a Buttonville thread. Voila!

Not sure if these should be posted in the Miscellany Toronto Photographs: Then and Now thread, but I don't have any 'now' so here they are. :)

1976 Looking North - West

1976-2.jpeg


Looking West
image_222.jpeg


1978
May 1978 - 3.jpeg

May 1978.jpeg
 
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Looking @TwinHuey 's older photos......

We come to realize he learned to fly before 1978, because there is no Highway 404 beside the airport in those photos; which was built 1978-1980.
 
Looking @TwinHuey 's older photos......

We come to realize he learned to fly before 1978, because there is no Highway 404 beside the airport in those photos; which was built 1978-1980.
Good catch.
Ahhhh, yes, I am of ‘an earlier time’. 😁
Fixed wing training started in 1972, helicopter training in 1974. All at Buttonville.
Before Highway 404.
 
@TwinHuey I found some of the photos I referenced in the other thread:

September 23rd, 1984
1701028368645.jpeg

1701028382410.jpeg

1701028406721.jpeg

1701028416169.jpeg

This is the Dash7 but not the shot I had referenced in the other post when it was just starting engines and I was on the edge of the taxiway. There was a blank spot in the photo album so it had been removed and not returned at some point. Surprisingly, I found the negatives so at some point I should connect my neg scanner and digitize the photos properly.
1701028467640.jpeg

And at Rockcliffe with the updated Boeing livery in 2007
1701029151825.png

1701029215213.jpeg
 
@TwinHuey I found some of the photos I referenced in the other thread:

September 23rd, 1984
View attachment 523018
View attachment 523019
View attachment 523020
View attachment 523021
This is the Dash7 but not the shot I had referenced in the other post when it was just starting engines and I was on the edge of the taxiway. There was a blank spot in the photo album so it had been removed and not returned at some point. Surprisingly, I found the negatives so at some point I should connect my neg scanner and digitize the photos properly.
View attachment 523022
And at Rockcliffe with the updated Boeing livery in 2007
View attachment 523023
View attachment 523024
WOW!! Thanks for those great shots Tim!! Looks like quite the open house day at Buttonville (I don't recall it though).

C-GONT is looking good with a fresh coat of paint (from the 1977 original yellow to the updated orange).

I also notice the snow fence around the landing cart, likely just installed that September in preparation for winter. The landing platform / ground handling cart / system was a clever design. However, one small oversight was snow removal. Blowing snow would drift over the 'pit' (as we called it) with no easy way to clear it. The pit was about 7' deep where it met the hangar. As with all the other crew members, I spent many hours on shift with a small snow blower trying to keep the track cleared. 🤣

As we are somewhat down a memory lane with respect to Buttonville and the EMS helicopter base there, here is a shot of C-GONT and Sikorsky S76A C-GIMT on the ground at Jarvis Collegiate. We used the playing field there to transport patients to the burn unit at the old Wellesley Hospital. The S76's were introduced in the 80's and the Bell 212's were eventually retired.
GIMT and GONT at Jarvis Collegiate.jpeg
 
I have great admiration for the air ambulance crews and their ability to set down in tight, uncontrolled environments. I witnessed this first hand one summer afternoon in the 90s when I witnessed one land on the 403 not far in front of me. The highway was closed for a terrible collision just ahead when it seemed to thread the through the lighting masts and make a gorgeous landing. It takes a special breed to be a rotary pilot to begin with but it's taken to another level with the air ambulance crews! Huge respect.
 
I have great admiration for the air ambulance crews and their ability to set down in tight, uncontrolled environments. I witnessed this first hand one summer afternoon in the 90s when I witnessed one land on the 403 not far in front of me. The highway was closed for a terrible collision just ahead when it seemed to thread the through the lighting masts and make a gorgeous landing. It takes a special breed to be a rotary pilot to begin with but it's taken to another level with the air ambulance crews! Huge respect.
One last episode in the history of Buttonville and EMS helicopter operations (I promise).

In my previous post I made mention of the transition from the Bell 212 to the Sikorsky S76. However, for about 3 years Buttonville was home an EMS BK117. It was the aircraft originally introduced to facilitate the retirement of the 212. It was put into service as the primary EMS helicopter around 1986(?) and the 212 was kept in service as a back up. A new hangar was constructed at Buttonville for the BK.

In January 1987 the BK crew responded from Buttonville to a fixed wing that had crashed into icy Lake Ontario.
Although the EMS helicopter was not equipped with a rescue hoist, nor were the crews trained for water rescue, they managed to rescue one passenger.
One of the medics exited the aircraft, grabbed the patient and draped him over the skid tube.
IMG_3722.jpeg


The other news story about the BK and Buttonville was 2 years later.
January 1989. The crew landed back at Buttonville around 3am after completing a call. As was normal, the First Officer and both Paramedics headed into the base while the Captain completed the shutdown. Shortly after shutting down the second engine, he heard what he described as the 'whomp' sound your gas BBQ makes when it lights after a few tries.
That was the sound of aircraft fuel vapour being ignited by a static charge.
He was able to exit safely and called for the one Buttonville airport fire truck. By the time the truck arrived, the combination of jet fuel and medical oxygen had ignited magnesium airframe components and the aircraft was a total loss. No personnel were injured and no other property was damaged. Interesting to note it was the same Captain who flew the water rescue.

I don't have any photos of the BK at Buttonville, but here is one at the scene of an accident.

image_153-2.jpeg


Here is the BK117 on the roof of the Hospital for Sick Children.
Scan 23.jpeg
 
One last episode in the history of Buttonville and EMS helicopter operations (I promise).

In my previous post I made mention of the transition from the Bell 212 to the Sikorsky S76. However, for about 3 years Buttonville was home an EMS BK117. It was the aircraft originally introduced to facilitate the retirement of the 212. It was put into service as the primary EMS helicopter around 1986(?) and the 212 was kept in service as a back up. A new hangar was constructed at Buttonville for the BK.

In January 1987 the BK crew responded from Buttonville to a fixed wing that had crashed into icy Lake Ontario.
Although the EMS helicopter was not equipped with a rescue hoist, nor were the crews trained for water rescue, they managed to rescue one passenger.
One of the medics exited the aircraft, grabbed the patient and draped him over the skid tube.
View attachment 523488

The other news story about the BK and Buttonville was 2 years later.
January 1989. The crew landed back at Buttonville around 3am after completing a call. As was normal, the First Officer and both Paramedics headed into the base while the Captain completed the shutdown. Shortly after shutting down the second engine, he heard what he described as the 'whomp' sound your gas BBQ makes when it lights after a few tries.
That was the sound of aircraft fuel vapour being ignited by a static charge.
He was able to exit safely and called for the one Buttonville airport fire truck. By the time the truck arrived, the combination of jet fuel and medical oxygen had ignited magnesium airframe components and the aircraft was a total loss. No personnel were injured and no other property was damaged. Interesting to note it was the same Captain who flew the water rescue.

I don't have any photos of the BK at Buttonville, but here is one at the scene of an accident.

View attachment 523491

Here is the BK117 on the roof of the Hospital for Sick Children.
View attachment 523490
BZ to the crew for the water rescue.

MBB helicopters were/are pretty popular in both the UK and US for emergency use. I understand the BK was much unloved due to both the rear clamshell load doors and flight characteristics (vibration) that caused pilot fatigue.
 
You nailed it again @lenaitch! I'm starting to think you are a helicopter pilot.

Absolutely, the crews did not like the BK.

It was much smaller and faster than the Bell 212.
212 = 57' overall length 11,200 lb gross weight - 105k cruise
BK = 42' overall length 7,385 lb gross weight - 135k cruise

The BK flew like a little sports car (twitchy and bumpy in the slightest turbulence). The 212 flew like a big old Cadillac (slow and smooth).
The BK was not an easy aircraft to fly for us pilots (controls were very sensitive and it had less power than the 212 so roof top takeoffs with heavy loads like incubators were challenging).
Paramedics and flight nurses with years of experience in the 212 would get airsick in the BK. It was known by the crews as The Vomit Comet.
As you indicated, hot loading patients in through the clamshell rear doors made everyone nervous as this was very close to the tail rotor.
Nobody cried when it was lost. 🤣
 
I'm starting to think you are a helicopter pilot.
Not I. I wish. Spend a chunk of my law enforcement career being a non-vomiting passenger in both fixed and rotary wing platforms and was part of an in-depth review of our rotary program.
 
@TwinHuey
Your post about the static discharge reminded me of this incident, also caused by static discharge if i recall, at Terminal Two in the early 1970s
1701266226931.jpeg

What was left of it:
1701266260672.jpeg
 
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While that DC8 fire was well before my time at the airport, I was certainly aware of it and was rather nervous anytime I was loading certain types of freight in the belly, particularly on the Fokker 100s which did not have aluminum cargo floors until later. God I hated that thing! Utterly useless aircraft.
 

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