Home CFB Borden CFFCA CFFCA Borden Receives CC-115 Buffalo SAR Aircraft Gift

CFFCA Borden Receives CC-115 Buffalo SAR Aircraft Gift

A CC-115 Buffalo aircraft stands ready, a symbol of unwavering dedication to search and rescue (Caleb Hooper/Borden Citizen)

This summer the CFFCA was given a Buffalo Search and Rescue aircraft from BC

In June of 2023 the Canadian Forces Fire and CBRN Academy (CFFCA) received a very special gift from 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia. The gift was a disassembled a CC-115 Buffalo Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft (tail number 465). This aircraft had a long and illustrious career as a SAR aircraft, serving from 1967 to 2022.

The aircraft flew from 19 Wing Comox in British Columbia and landed at 8 Wing Trenton. The Buffalo was disassembled in Trenton with the pieces loaded on several flat bed trailers for delivery to the CFFCA training area. Upon arrival, a dedicated team comprised of military and civilian personnel from 19 Wing Comox, Ottawa, and CFB Borden worked diligently over a period of two weeks to re-assemble the aircraft.

CFFCA will make good use of the Buffalo. It will be used as a training aid for aircraft rescue firefighting (ARFF). The Georgian Bay Volunteer Search and Rescue Team has also utilized it for their canine training.

History of the Buffalo

Born out of the crucible of necessity during the mid-20th century, the CC-115 Buffalo was initially conceived as a short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility transport aircraft. Designed by de Havilland Canada, it first took to the skies in 1965, sporting a distinctive twin-engine configuration that would prove crucial in its later search and rescue role.

Over the decades, the Buffalo underwent various modifications and upgrades, transforming it into a dedicated search and rescue aircraft. Its ability to access remote and rugged terrains with ease made it the go-to choice for lifesaving missions in Canada’s vast and challenging landscapes.

One of its most significant contributions was during the infamous “Arrow Air” disaster in 1985 when 248 American peacekeepers tragically lost their lives in a plane crash in Gander, Newfoundland. The Buffalo played a pivotal role in the search and recovery efforts, solidifying its status as a hero in the skies.

Canadian Armed Forces members construct a CC-115 Buffalo for use in the Canadian Forces Firefighting and CRBN Academy training grounds at Canadian Forces Base Borden on 22 June, 2023 (Image courtesy of Borden Base Imagery)

As technology advanced, the Buffalo received upgrades, including state-of-the-art avionics and search equipment, enhancing its capabilities further. Its ability to conduct searches over vast bodies of water and rugged terrains, day or night, made it an invaluable asset for both military and civilian search and rescue operations.

The CC-115 Buffalo served as a symbol of hope and salvation. Its iconic yellow paint scheme was a beacon of assurance for those in distress, signifying that help is on the way. It stands as a testament to the dedication of the men and women who have piloted and maintained these aircraft, saving countless lives over the years.

In an ever-changing world, the CC-115 Buffalo remains a living legend in the history of aviation and search and rescue.


Many thanks to the personnel who worked on the Buffalo:

MWO Geoff Robbins – 442 Squadron, Comox

Sgt Cory Bakker – 418 Squadron, Comox

Cpl Daniel Raghunath – 442 Squadron, Comox

Cpl Alex Duguid – 442 Squadron, Comox

Mr. William Brunskill – DAEPM 4-3 Ottawa

Mr. Richard Lein – Kelowna, BC

Augmentees from CFB Borden

MCpl Dustin Harold – CFSATE

MCpl Steve Halleran – CFSATE

MCpl Andrew Maxwell – CFSATE

Avr Kris Montgomery – CFSATE

Special Mention

MWO Jamie McCreight – CFFCA

Mr. Tyler Branson – CFFCA

Cpl Evan Dixon – CFFCA

By CWO Donnie Matthews, CD (CFFCA)