The CP-140 Arcturus tail number 120 flew its last flight to its retirement home at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in Tucson, Arizona, on Feb. 28 2011.
The CP-140A is basically an Aurora (Lockheed P-3 Orion ) without the antisubmarine-warfare-related systems. As such, it was seen as valuable for crew training duties, general maritime reconnaissance regarding surface vessels (counter-drug operations, detecting smuggling of illegal immigrants, fisheries protection patrols, pollution monitoring, etc.), search-and-rescue assistance, and Arctic sovereignty patrols. Three CP-140A aircraft – which were, in fact, the final three P-3 Orion airframes manufactured on Lockheed's California-plant assembly line – were ordered in 1991.
Three Arcturus, tail numbers 119, 120 and 121, were delivered to 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S., in 1993; now only 119 is operational and is used as a training aircraft for the school at 404 Long Range Patrol and Training (LRP&T) Squadron, at 14 Wing. Arcturus 120 was retired with 10,300 flying hours on its airframe and more than 23,000 landings.
“Aircraft 120 performed magnificently en route to Arizona,” said Major Mike Smith of 14 Air Maintenance Squadron (AMS), who has worked on the CP-140 Aurora fleet since joining the Canadian Forces in 1990. “14 AMS and the wing should be very proud of the product delivered to AMARG, as there was a tremendous level of effort to prepare the Arcturus for its final flight. The moment it was signed over, bidding adieu to the Arcturus, was truly a sad day for all persons there.” It joins the 4,900 aircraft stored on AMARG’s high-security, 1,052 hectare area.
Photo source: Canadian Department of National Defence
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