'I flew 200 miles in the Grand Canyon': RCAF Argus pilot memories

Andy Bryski, a former Argus captain and display pilot describes to Tony Fairbairn what it was like to fly this, one of the last great piston-engined heavyweights.

The date was February 1981 and RAF Gibraltar, situated at the foot of the 1,300ft-high ‘Rock’ echoed to the sound of aircraft assembling for ‘Test Gate 81’, one of a series of NATO maritime exercises. The US Navy was represented in the form of VP-8 with P-3B Orions, with spares trucked in by a C-141 from the 437th Military Airlift Wing. The West German Navy fielded two Atlantiques, their engineering personnel flown in by C-160 Transall. From the UK came RN Sea Kings of 814 Squadron, Nimrods from the Kinloss Wing, and a couple of Canberra E.15s from 360 Squadron. However, arguably arousing most interest on this occasion was a pair of Canadair Argus maritime patrollers from the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) Summerside-based VP-415 Squadron. The spotlight was on them because this was their final appearance in Gibraltar before making way for the Lockheed P-3 Orion, or the CP-140 Aurora, as the Canadians call it.

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