A Canadian Forces helicopter, perhaps like this one, may be seen flying low over Duncan on Wednesday. (Wikipedia)

A Canadian Forces helicopter, perhaps like this one, may be seen flying low over Duncan on Wednesday. (Wikipedia)

Chopper brings communications exercise overhead Wednesday

Don’t panic on Wednesday.

A large low-flying helicopter may be seen above the Cowichan Valley Wednesday, May 3 as part of an emergency radio communications exercise in which the Cowichan Valley Emergency Program is participating.

As part of Exercise Sweeper 2017, the Canadian Forces are conducting a low-level flight across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the North Shore using Canadian Forces aircraft. During those flights, aerial photos of infrastructure related to post-disaster transportation and logistics planning will be taken.

Radio communications will be tested at the same time.

The flights are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with the aircraft flying relatively low — between 1,000 and 1,500 feet. The general route and direction of travel will be determined on that day.

Exercise Sweeper 2017 was created and is supported by the mid-island emergency coordinators and managers committee, a group of emergency managers representing local governments on mid to northern Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Exercise Sweeper is based on an earthquake scenario affecting the northern communities of Vancouver Island eliminating traditional forms of communications such as land telephone, cellular phone and internet service. Local government emergency communications is centered on the use of digital and analogue amateur radio.