We have some sad news to report. Long time member of YYZ Airport Watch Steve Meaney has passed away. Steve was a stalwart participant in the group, and was one of the first 100 members. He had valiantly fought severe medical problems for several years. He could often be seen spotting at Runway 05 on his breaks from work at Princess Auto, and on the weekends with his buddies in his lounge chair with a cooler beside him at Director`s Gate. His friendly east coast demeanor was contagious, as was his jovial sense of humor. He will be missed by all who knew him There are no funeral arrangements, however, a memorial service may take place at a later date. We will forward details if this transpires.
It has been a busy winter for many of the YYZ executive, and many changes will soon be transpiring within the group. For this reason, combined with many personal commitments, the AGM has not yet been scheduled, and obviously will not be held this weekend, when it usually is each year. As soon as we to sort out the changes, the meeting will be scheduled and the group will be advised at the earliest possible date. We apologize for not sending out notification earlier. If anyone has ideas for the AGM, or possible guest speaker presentations, please contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is with sadness and heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of YYZ Airport Watch member and former Tour Director Derek Horsey. Derek fought a long and valiant battle with cancer but unfortunately he succumbed on Saturday October 29th. Those that knew Derek know what a true gentleman he was, and his characteristic British sense humour and staunch enthusiasm for the hobby were legendary. Derek, who originally hailed from England had many stories to share of aviation in it’s glory years. His role as Tours Director for YYZ Airport Watch saw him organizing virtually every event we have participated in as a group in recent years. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. We know that you will share in sending our condolences to his family. Derek has been cremated, and as per his wishes, there are no plans for a funeral or memorial service. Obituary
It has been a good year for spotting and some interesting developments. The newest on the spotting scene has been GTAA’s announcement in conjunction with the City of Mississauga of a new aircraft viewing facility at the newly developed Danvile Park. This is located on a series of large hills on the west side of Highway 410 between Courtneypark and the 401. The park is a City of Miississauga initiative, which GTAA has kindly supported by donating $300,000 to create a pavilion which will afford a good, although distant view of Pearson to the east. It is located approximately midway between the approach for runway 05 and 06L, and aircraft on arrival can be seen but only from a long distance, and unfortunately can only be photographed with very long telephoto lenses or heavy cropping of the images. GTAA is hoping the park will increase awareness of the airport and it’s role in the community with the general public which will use the park. It also features cricket pitches, toboggan hill, dog park and other attractions.
GTAA also installed an indoor viewing area at the west end of the renovated Terminal 3 Pier (airside) in 2015. it includes stabilised binoculars and interpretive panels. These moves address the general public’s casual interest in aviation in Toronto, but unfortunately do little to address the case for official viewing areas on the periphery of Pearson itself, which would obviously be preferred by enthusiasts such as ourselves. Future plans may include the establishment of other viewing areas at Pearson according to a GTAA spokesperson. YYZ Airport Watch will happily provide information, suggestions and support for any GTAA spotting area initiatives as required.
YYZ Airport Watch Committee Director Andy Cline commented on the new park in an interview with Global News last week.
GTAA provides more information on their website.
This Family Day long weekend, ride UP Express for free – Saturday, February 13th through Monday, February 15th.
UP Express is opening its doors to give families a chance to spend the weekend exploring all Toronto has to offer.
UP Express is a dedicated rail link that speeds from Union Station to Pearson Airport, with convenient stops near shopping and restaurants at Bloor and Weston. It’s a comfortable and reliable 25 minute ride, with trains leaving every 15 minutes, no matter what’s happening on the roads.
Travel Smarter. Take the Train.
UP is designed for travellers – even if your travel plans are local this Family Day weekend. Come and see what great service is all about on UP Express.
Free Ride Service Details
· Saturday, February 13th – 5:30 AM until 1:00 AM
· Sunday, February 14th – 5:30 AM until 1:00 AM
· Monday, February 15th – 5:30 AM until 1:00 AM
Includes up to 2 adults 18 years of age or over and up to 3 children under the age of 18
|Family Meeter and Greeter Return
Families (up to 2 adults 18 years of age or over and up to 3 children under the age of 18) meeting travellers at the airport may purchase this return ticket. Trips must originate from Union, Bloor and Weston stations, with a fare expiration of 4 hours from the trip start.
|Family Long Layover Return
Families (up to 2 adults 18 years of age or over and up to 3 children under the age of 18) with long flight layovers can purchase this return ticket. Valid from Pearson Station only with an expiration of 7 hours from trip start time.
Children under 13 years old always ride free!
Greetings YYZ Airport Watch Membership.
It’s AGM time again, where did 2015 disappear to? Happy New Year to all, and we hope everyone had a great year!
Please plan on attending the YYZ Airport Watch Annual General Meeting on Saturday February 6th at 10:00 (doors should be open early, so please feel free to show up as early as 9:30 to get signed in and membership renewed. As usual the AGM will take place at the GTAA Airport Emergency Support Centre (AESC) at 2935 Convair Drive
Please remember to bring your old ID card, and $10.00 annual renewal fee (NOTE, if you have a friend who is a member that cannot attend, you may renew on their behalf by bringing $10.00 and their old card). The meeting will be approximately 2 hours long, possibly with GTAA / PRP / IAWA officials speaking, as well as The YYZAW committee comments and reports. A few interesting presentations from members will also be carried out.
If you cannot attend the meeting, Membership may be renewed after the fact, instructions will be sent out shortly after the meeting. NOTE: As a method to accumulate renewals as early as possible and to save Committee members from chasing people, we are planning on increasing renewal fee from $10.00 to $15.00 after March 1, so please renew at the AGM, or follow renewal instructions that will be sent out after the meeting. Again, you can have a friend do your renewal for you at the AGM if you are unable to attend, so give them your old ID card and $10.00 cash in advance.
Also, please update your 2015 spotting log hours on the website before the end of the month so we can complete out year end statistics. If you are having problems submitting hours online to contact our web administrator Ken Mist at email@example.com to reset your account. Please provide your full name and APWM number.
Regards, YYZ Airport Watch Committee
EXERCISE HOLLOW POiNT
Story and photos by Andrew H. Cline
A series of rapid fire gunshots rang out in Toronto Pearson International Airport’s Terminal 1 check in area, and passengers and airline staff dove for cover. A man with a hand gun who had been mingling with check in lines had shot off several clips in the midst of passengers in the queue, wounding or killing about 10 people. Peel Regional Police on patrol in the Terminal quickly responded and pursued the suspect, who ran deeper into the terminal building towards the security check in area. As police closed in on the suspect, he committed suicide by turned his gun on himself before he was apprehended. These were the opening moments of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s latest major annual emergency exercise on October 6 2015.
“The aim of the exercise is to provide a challenge to GTAA functional groups and external stakeholders to respond to an act of unlawful interference with civil aviation in accordance with existing plans, procedures and protocols. This is done in order to prepare individuals and agencies for a real world event, improve performances and responses, and to test plans and procedures in order to identify shortfalls.” according to the GTAA.
A year’s worth of planning went into the exercise, led by GTAA Exercise Director Carlos Geraldes and Coordinator Amanda Meehan, the architects for the exercise together with a planning committee of representatives from the various departments and agencies involved. Every major airport in Canada is federally mandated to hold a major emergency or security exercise each year. Magnitudes vary depending on the year, one year is a tabletop size, followed by the same scenario the following year as a full scale exercise. These exercises alternate annually between an emergency exercise such as a crash scenario and a security exercise such as a terrorist attack. The exercises are made as realistic as possible while still safely maintaining normal airport operations. The events often take place late at night for this reason, usually at an isolated area of the terminal or airfield to help prevent upsetting or interfering with passengers and airport staff not involved in the exercise. In this case screening was erected to obscure the exercise area from sight and ample signage and numerous PA announcements alerted passengers and airport staff alike in Terminal 1 that an exercise was under way throughout the duration of event. Due to time constraints, the exercise was limited to the response phase, and did not include the recovery phase.
About 100 volunteers gathered at the GTAA Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) and briefings commenced at 21:00. A number of volunteers were assigned special roles, and were segregated from the rest of the volunteers, arriving early to accommodate having casualty makeup applied to replicate wounded victims. A St. John Ambulance team provided very realistic casualty simulation makeup application (CASSIM) to those volunteers who were designated as gunshot victims. These volunteers were briefed on their scripted parts as victims, some of them were tasked with acting panicked and shocked, some screaming, and running around hysterically after the shooting. Most of the other volunteers were simply briefed to act as they normally would while waiting for a flight at the airport and asked to respond as they normally would to the scenario as it unfolded. This included the use of social media, which the GTAA media department monitors and briefs everyone ahead of time to stipulate clearly that it is only an exercise by using the social media hastag: #YYZEmergEx . “Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!” was heard on GTAA, company and emergency services radio calls at the beginning of each transmission in order to avoid confusion and reaction to a real incident instead of the simulation.
The volunteers as well as the observers and controllers were bussed from FESTI to Terminal 1 prior to the start of the exercise. They gathered in the international check in area of Terminal 1. Volunteers were asked to bring their own carry on bags, and additional empty luggage was provided by GTAA to augment the exercise. Personnel from Copa Airlines and Emirates simulated ‘European Airlines’ flight 002 to Brussels and ‘Bright Star Airways’ flight number BS001 to Dubai for the flights that the passengers were checking in for.
The exercise commenced with the shooting curb side of a Commissionaire when he challenged an assailant who then abandoned his vehicle and fled into into Terminal 1. He then mingled with passengers in the check in lines. The active shooter then unleashing his weapon on the unsuspecting passengers in the queue. Everyone in the crowd immediately dropped to the ground, or took refuge with the airline employees behind the check in counters. Peel Regional Police on terminal foot patrol quickly responded and pursued the active shooter, who killed himself before he could be apprehended. The Peel Regional Police tactical team arrived and methodically secured the area, establishing a perimeter around the scene. Police then started providing first aid to the most seriously injured, and reassuring victims that help was on the way, before fire and medical personnel arrived. The first Peel Regional paramedics commenced triage of victims as soon as they arrived, prioritizing urgency of treatment. Each injured victim had a triage tag filled out and attached to them, categorizing them for immediate or delayed treatment and transportation. Police and fire personnel helped with the triage by moving ambulatory patients and uninjured people to areas away from the seriously injured, this helped expedite the casualty evacuation. Immediate treatment was provided prior to being made ready for transport by ambulance, and loaded aboard by paramedic teams. Once aboard the ambulances, they were hooked up to monitors for the best simulation value possible. Ambulatory and uninjured passengers were kept in concentrated areas for processing and interrogation by officials in order to get as much information about the incident as possible.
Evaluators from GTAA, FESTI, Peel Regional Police other police, fire and paramedic agencies and airlines all oversaw the exercise, as did observers from numerous other airlines and organizations. The entire event was filmed by multiple cameras, still and video, for training purposes. A large debrief was held at FESTI after the exercise for the participants, controllers, evaluators and observers in order to give feedback on all aspects of the exercise from various perspectives. The resulting input became part of the full after action report. Volunteers were given a nice souvenir satchel with an EXERCISE HOLLOW POINT logo and an Emirates sports cushion as well as refreshments and snacks by GTAA after the event as thanks for their participation.
Six YYZ Airport Watch members volunteered for the event, each taking on different roles as passengers. They included Andrew Cline, John Griffith, Rob Jones, Ken Mist, Ron Stanley and Aleksandar Vlasevski. This was not an official Airport Watch event, but a general announcement goes out to group members to help fill the vital volunteer positions. Many members of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team volunteer program also participated as passengers.
EXERCISE HOLLOW POINT was deemed a big success. Lessons learned are applied to help streamline inter-agency interaction and procedures in the event that a similar situation was to transpire for real. The participating agencies use the exercise as a tool to coordinate their responses to emergency situations of this nature. The numerous observers took away a lot of valuable information for their own organizations to maximize the learning benefits of this major exercise.
It is with a degree of sadness we have to report the recent passing of our most senior YYZ Airport Watch member. Christer Sundberg was a good friend and an original member of Airport Watch since 2004, and is very much missed. He was a proud member of the group, and almost every month racked up the highest ‘hours spent’ reported total of any of our members. Although he was retired, he considered Airport Watch his job, and spent about 5 or 6 hours a day at YYZ spotting (and sometimes napping!), usually at the north end or the infield. His totals were very impressive, usually logging over 100 hours a month, a fact very much appreciated by our official partners at Peel Regional Police and the GTAA. Chris had an amazing wit and sense of humour, and although he had a lot of health problems in recent years, he never seemed to let it get him down. He often complained about plants growing too high on the airside of the fence, and obstructing his view, and whenever the airport authority got around to cutting them down, he justifiably took credit for it! We hope he has an even better vantage point for spotting where he is now! Our condolences go out to his daughter Anita and Christer’s family and friends.
Here is the note from Anita:
Hi, I am contacting you regarding my father Christer Sundberg. I just wanted to let you know that he recently passed away at the age of 86. He was a long time member of airport watch and it meant the world to him. I know that he spent many hours, days and years at the airport and he loved it. I don’t know if you know that he was in the Toronto Star on August 15th of 2000. I am his daughter and we lived together. I know that someone would call and ask for his hours. Thank-you for allowing him to spend his days at the airport it really kept him going. Sincerely, Anita Sundberg