Thursday April 11 2024 – The Role of Helicopters in Guarding Coastal Sovereignty – Ottawa Region In-Person Event


The Montreal-Ottawa Chapter of the Vertical Flight Society is happy to present an in-person event in the Ottawa region on April 11th, 2024. The theme of the evening will be the role of helicopters and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in guarding coastal sovereignty, with a focus on shipborne maritime operations and challenges.

In 2015, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) took delivery of the first of 28 Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclones, which is widely regarded as one of the most advanced maritime helicopters flying in the world today. The CH-148 is a military fly-by-wire version of the Sikorsky S-92A commercial helicopter.

Tim Garriok will present us the challenges of operating a military helicopter at sea, in austere sea state conditions, from a pilots’ perspective. The sea state environment and the difficulties encountered when planning those types of flight operations and missions will be described in detail. Mr. Garriok will explain the purpose of deploying military helicopters with the right mission sets.

Then, in order to support efficiently and safely the flight crew throughout military helicopter maritime missions and operations, Jeremy Graaskamp will present us the engineering challenges to integrate the right set of technologies onboard.

Additionally, Mark McKeeman will speak about wildlife survellance being done by Transport Canada with aerial assets. Since 2018, Transport Canada has been testing the use of RPAS mapping cameras and AI in the detection of North Atlantic Right Whales (NARW) in the Gulf of St Lawrence. The presentation explores the development of RPAS based detection technologies in support of NARW management measures.

A light meal and drinks will be offered during the event. Doors will open at 17:30, with presentations beginning at 18:30. Visitors will need to register with General Dynamics Mission Systems – Canada (GDMS-C) security so please allow time to check in.


Tim Garriock is the Operations Manager for the Maritime Helicopter Project at GDMS-C. In his past 10 years at GD, he led the execution and validation of integrate mission system flight test requirements for Canada’s newest naval helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, and spearheaded the establishment of the GD In-Service Support processes and structure. Tim Garriock is a former senior military officer with more than 3000 hours of flight time on rotary wing aircraft; serving two tours as a commanding officer and has instructional experience across an array of flying and non-flying disciplines.

Jeremy Graaskamp is Chief of Engineering for the Canadian Airborne ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) Programs at General Dynamics. His experience at General Dynamics covers a variety of fields, from system integration, test, training and design for the maritime helicopter project (CH-148 Cyclone replacement of Sea Kings). He is also the Program Manager of the CP-140 Aurora Programs, including the Aurora Block IV upgrade of mission systems, as well as ongoing in-service support and software sustainment.

Mark McKeeman is the Director of Transport Canada’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Project. Mark heads a small team within Aircraft Services Directorate (ASD) dedicated to acquiring a highly capable Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for the Government of Canada. Mark joined Transport Canada in 1995 as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) and has held various management positions within the maintenance organization before joining the joining the RPAS project. Mark is a licensed Private Pilot and holder of a small RPAS Pilot Certification and a keen interest in the future of RPAS operations in Canada.

The event will be held at GDMS-C Nepean, ON facility in building 5 located at:
1941 Robertson Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 5B7