Skip to comments.Satirical song attacks (Canada) government for failure to replace Sea Kings(choppers)
Posted on 11/20/2002 8:06:36 AM PST by Loyalist
'Goodbye papa, please pray for me...'
CREDIT: Halifax Chronicle-Herald
A Sea King helicopter sits in a bog in April 2000, after a transmission leak forced it to make an emergency landing on a small island off Nova Scotia. None of the five-member crew was injured.
It may not go to the top of the charts in Defence Minister John McCallum's household,, but the latest underground hit in the Canadian Forces is a satirical ditty detailing the government's failure to replace the aging Sea King helicopter.
Sung to the tune of the Terry Jacks hit Seasons in the Sun, the song is now making the rounds via the Internet. The lyrics cynically underscore safety and maintenance concerns Canadian Forces personnel have about flying the 40-year-old Sea Kings.
"Goodbye papa it's hard to fly," sings the anonymous military musician. "When my airframe is cracking in the sky. For every hour in the air it takes them 30 to repair. We fly these things on a dare."
"We've had joy, we've had fun, we've had Sea Kings in the sun. But the engines are on fire and the Sea Kings must retire."
The song was leaked to Esprit de Corps military magazine.
The tune is the second such jab within as many weeks against the Liberal government for failing to purchase new maritime helicopters. Earlier in the month, the Citizen ran a series of fake recruiting posters that were circulating within the Canadian Forces. Produced by Sea King crews, the posters highlighted the dangers of flying the aging choppers.
One poster featured a Sea King crashed on its side with the promotional line, "It's more than a career, it's an adventure." The poster advised potential recruits to check the Yellow Pages under "Lucky" for further information about joining the military.
The recruiting ads prompted an angry response from Mr. McCallum, who criticized the Sea King crews for producing the posters.
"I think it's a serious business," he told journalists. "I think that humour is not in very good taste when one thinks of the men and women of the Canadian Forces who fly in those helicopters, and their families."
Shane Diaczuk, a spokesman for the minister's office, said he has not heard the satirical Sea King tune. But he said any suggestion the Sea Kings are unsafe to fly is inaccurate. "The minister is working as hard as he can" to ensure the Canadian Forces receive a new maritime helicopter, added Mr. Diaczuk.
It has been nine years since Prime Minister Jean Chrétien cancelled the program to buy a fleet of modern EH-101 helicopters that were to take the place of the 1960s-era Sea Kings. The government, however, has yet to announce the purchase of a replacement chopper.
The government was supposed to give aerospace companies the final details on what it needs for a new helicopter and officially call for bids in July, but that never happened. Department of National Defence officials say they have no idea when the bids will be accepted and some aerospace industry executives are suggesting the program is now stalled at the political level.
Mr. McCallum, however, said the delay resulted when helicopter companies made more than 1,000 technical suggestions and recommendations to the Defence Department about the chopper replacement program.
The Sea King replacement has turned into what many in the military community believe is the longest running defence procurement program in Canadian history. The Canadian Forces started the process of replacing the choppers in the early 1980s.
But Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Raymond Henault has said in the past he is confident the first of the new helicopters will be delivered in 2005. Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison also told a Commons committee he is happy with the way the project is proceeding.
But some defence analysts question whether the Canadian Forces will see a new chopper as long as Mr. Chrétien remains prime minister. Mr. Chrétien scored political points in the 1993 federal election, which brought him to power by suggesting a Tory program to buy the EH-101 helicopter was too expensive. He cancelled that project and the military had to restart the process to buy a Sea King replacement.
In August 2000, then defence minister Art Eggleton and public works minister Alfonso Gagliano announced the government was officially proceeding with the replacement program, but it didn't take long for it to miss its deadlines.
The timetable called for the chopper contract to be awarded in August of this year, with deliveries of the aircraft by 2005. That was revised a short time later, with government officials saying a request for proposals from the aerospace industry for a new chopper would be issued in July 2002. That also didn't happen.
The Sea Kings are supposed to be retired in 2005. The Canadian Forces has spent more than $50 million replacing engines and key parts on the machines to keep them flying safely.
Sea Kings in the Sun
(Sung to the tune of Seasons in the Sun)
Goodbye papa please pray for me
My helicopter's crashing in the sea
I honestly don't mean to pout,
but my future is in doubt,
My co-pilot just fell out.
Goodbye papa it's hard to fly,
When my airframe is cracking in the sky,
For every hour in the air,
it takes them 30 to repair,
We fly these things on a dare.
We've had joy, we've had fun,
We've had Sea Kings in the sun,
But the engines are on fire,
and the Sea Kings must retire,
Goodbye Chrétien my stingy one,
You could have bought the
Instead you blew 500 mil,
Just to cancel out the bill,
Now I need an airsick pill.
We've had joy, we've had fun,
We've had Sea Kings in the sun
We'll be lucky if we reach,
a crash landing on the beach.
"To Kill a Whopping Bird" bump!
A Canadian Forces safety flick featuring a fatal Lab crash, for those of you who haven't seen it. Good stuff for the genre - I'd say only "Trial by Fire" and "Man from LOX" are better.
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