Otter Tales (by Jack Ireland)
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Wind, fog, smoke and fire were just a few of the flight concerns that Jack experienced while flying aircraft in Northern Canada and the Arctic. Prior to the wonders of GPS, navigating in unknown and often marginal weather conditions across the Arctic tundra could be challenging on many days. Whether flying a Turbo Beaver or a Single Otter on floats out of isolated camps, surrounded by partially frozen lakes, the lack of communications and weather information each day could and did provide unpredictable adventures. And, when that wasn’t an issue, some of the aircraft Jack flew had tendencies to disrupt otherwise routine days.
Besides flying, Jack unexpectedly spent several years with Transport Canada involved in space operations. TC assigned Jack to determine the safety requirements for approvals to launch large, orbital and sub-orbital rockets from Churchill, Manitoba. Initially considered a small task, the investigation into international treaties and requirements related to space found it otherwise. This resulted in the formation of TC’s ‘Launch Safety Office’ and a multi-year tasking as a ‘Launch Safety Specialist’ to learn and develop the necessary requirements. He also represented Canada on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Committee for Space Operations.