HMCS Calgary’s Cyclone decked out with new decal

Members of HMCS Calgary’s embarked air detachment and flying stations firefighting team stand together with the ship’s CH-148 Cyclone on June 15 in the Indian Ocean.

NCSM Calgary’s Cyclone decked out with new decal

By Peter Mallett
The Lookout Staff

Teamwork and cooperation are the main themes of a new decal now affixed next to the pilot’s window on HMCS Calgary’s embarked CH-148 Cyclone.

Last week, the Polyvinyl Chloride decal, designed by MCpl Andrew Finnigan, was affixed to the metallic grey airframe.

MCpl Andrew Finnigan and Cpl Brendan Wales apply the detachment’s operational decal to the Cyclone helicopter.

The art embraces the many facets of Greek mythology and astrology, says MCpl Finnigan. The golden outer ring represents the Golden Shellback milestone of a person crossing the equator and dateline simultaneously. The second ring in Prussian blue represents the original colour of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Within that circle, the white lettering HMCS Calgary HELAIRDET and CH-148 Cyclone, with the pop of a red maple leaf. In the centre circle, a piece of line art depicts the winged horse Pegasus and the bow and arrow wielding Artemis. A crescent moon and a sprinkling of stars round out the image.

“Pegasus, her brother Apollo, and his horse pulled the sun across the sky and brought light to the world, and this represents the aircraft and the contributions the RCAF brings to the RCN,” explains MCpl Finnigan.

The mythical icons celebrate the common goal of the navy and air force as they work on Operation ARTEMIS, now completed, and Operation PROJECTION in the Indo-Asia Pacific and Middle East region.

The same art is on the morale patch worn by the 21 members of the detachment.

Helicopter Detachment Commander Maj Robert McMullen says getting the morale patches affixed to their uniforms wasn’t unique, but the appearance on the new helicopter is unexpected and a throwback to a bygone era.

“Affixing morale patches is something that we used to do when we took the Sea King [helicopter] on deployment. But honestly, I never thought we’d see a custom decal on the new helicopter,” he says, but adds HMCS Halifax’s air detachment is also designing their own morale patch and decal.

MCpl Finnigan began sketching the morale patch in 2020 during his downtime on Exercise RIMPAC.

“I started making the design and coming up with ideas in my spare time while deployed on RIMPAC,” he said. “I didn’t think it was any good and was surprised people liked it; they kept pressing me to go forward and submit it.”

So far, the reaction to the morale patch and decal is all positive, says Maj McMullen.

“The crew loves the decal and we’ve been receiving compliments on it from the ship’s company all day. I really like the layers of symbolism that MCpl Finnigan integrated into the design.”