RCMP win Plane Pull Challenge

Put 20 team members, a four-inch wide rope and 132,000 pounds or 56 metric tonnes of Air Canada jet together and you have the 2011 Plane Pull Challenge.

This year, the RCMP beat out the Ottawa Police in this muscle over brain competition held at the Ottawa Airport. More than 1,200 visitors came to the event on Saturday, Sept. 24 and enjoyed a perfect afternoon of fun and a bit of friendly competition.

There were 580 individual team members making up 29 teams of 20 members each. Overcast skies kept the heat off competitors as they took turns trying to be the fastest group to pull the Air Canada jet 12 feet or 3.7 metres. That distance does not seem all that far until you realize how big even a small passenger jet is. The winning RCMP team managed to pull the plane the full distance in only 4.55 seconds.

In second place, with a time of 4.69 seconds were the West Way Taxi Roadrunners and in third place was CIBC with a time of 4.83 seconds.

The event brought in a total of $60,000 to be divided between the Sens Foundation and the Ottawa Airport Authority’s Project Clear Skies. This was the sixth year for the event and when teams were not pulling jet airplanes for a good cause they and their families were enjoying the fantastic music of Bacon Tree, face painting, shriners, a silent auction, a Spartacat slide and vintage airplanes courtesy of Vintage Wings.

On display were two remarkable aircraft, a 1944 P51 Mustang and a 1945 Fairey Swordfish. The Fairey is a torpedo bomber and while it was outdated at the beginning of the Second World War, it still managed to play a pivotal role in taking part in the crippling of the German battleship, the Bismarck.

This was the first year event organizers used an Air Canada Jet. Krista Kealey the event coordinator said the afternoon went very well. The 80 volunteers made the day a success. “They put their heart and soul into every detail,” said Kealey, pointing out that the Plane Pull Challenge is all about helping the community and is, “all about making it a family friendly day.”

Over the past six years, the competition has brought in more than $220,000.

As successful as this year’s challenge was, organizers want to be able to offer visitors more next year. “We want to make it bigger and better every year,” said Kealey.