We have received multiple inquires over the past few weeks of a large white and blue aircraft flying over Oshawa. The aircraft in question is a BT-67 Basslier aircraft (Turbine DC-3) operated by Enterprise Airlines out of the Oshawa Executive Airport. Enterprise has been operating these type of aircrafts for almost 20 years now here in Oshawa. They currently operate 3 of these aircraft and are adding a fourth aircraft to their fleet in a few weeks.
Two of the aircraft undertake geomagnetic and gravitational survey work all over the world and every once in a while they return to Oshawa for maintenance.
The third aircraft and the fourth aircraft that is arriving in October are dedicated to two very unique operations. In the summer months they fly fuel and essential supplies into remote indigenous communities in Northern Ontario and Canada. This summer has been a particularly busy summer for them because the north had a bad winter with limited use of the ice roads that serve these remote communities. In the winter, these two aircraft will head to Antarctica to support the scientific community. Currently, they are undertaking their recurrent Transport Canada mandated training and training for the Antarctic season. The aircraft you have seen flying will be leaving around October 2nd to head to Antarctica. When the second aircraft arrives they will have approximately one week of training to complete before it leaves in mid-October. They also operate a third aircraft which is a Twin Otter but this aircraft is much smaller than the BT-67. It may interest you to know that a few years ago they planted an Oshawa flag at the South pole on behalf of the City.
One of the particularly interesting facets of this operation is that all of the flight tracking, administration, technical support, pilots, mechanics and logistics teams all work here in Oshawa and cycle through the aircraft as needed globally. COVID has resulted in an increase of the staff compliment required in order to accommodate the quarantine times while operating the aircraft on a near daily basis. By example, in order to accommodate one of the research projects the team will require two additional flight attendants for one week. In order to accomplish this, two flight attendants will travel to Capetown, South Africa where they will isolate for 14 days before boarding a flight to Antarctica. They will then work in Antarctica for one week. When finished they will travel back to Cape Town where they will isolate for another 14 days before returning to Canada. In addition they also received two weeks of intense training. In all, they we be paid for 7 weeks of work in order to accomplish just one week of actual work at the south pole. Enterprise employs in excess of 25 full time employees plus a large contingent of part time employees like the two Oshawa residents who will in Antarctica for 1 week referenced above.
Best of all, we only sees these aircraft a couple of times a year and only for a few weeks each time as they serve a global need that we can meet from an Oshawa based business.
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