The entire airlift issue is a challenge,” a senior Air Force staff officer acknowledged in the Ottawa Citizen in October 2004. The task of moving troops and equipment has been a longstanding challenge, but a glance into Canada’s past might offer a possible solution. Operations in the 1940s demonstrate that gliders, though fanciful to some, should not be so easily dismissed as a means of deploying and sustaining forces abroad.  Before rejecting the idea outright, it should be noted that moving M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks in gliders was discussed in a 1992 issue of the quasi-official U.S. magazine Armor. The online journal of the U.S. Air Force University (and Staff College), Air Chronicles, has an even more recent argument proposing the use of gliders. And Canadian military personnel have participated in experiments that demonstrated the strategic and operational lift capabilities of gliders — not airships. Operation VOODOO in 1943 was the cover name for the tow of a CG4A (Hadrian) glider by a C47 Dakota 3500 miles across the Atlantic. The glider was loaded with 3,360 pounds of medical supplies, engine and radio spares. This epic flight followed the Ferry Command route from: Dorval, Que. to Goose Bay, Nfld.; Goose Bay to Bluie West One in Greenland; Greenland to Reykjavik, Iceland; and finally, from Iceland to Scotland. The pilots of the glider, both Canadian, were awarded the Air Force Cross, as was the pilot of the Dakota, also a Canadian. This successful use of strategic lift by gliders was not adopted as practice. The twin engine propeller driven tug had not been able to bring the “tactical” glider above the turbulence. The pilots had to remain at their controls throughout the flying time of 28 hours. Moreover the glider was not instrumented for night or bad weather flying. Technical limitations led to the decision to drop the idea. Operation VOODOO demonstrated the strategic reach possible with gliders. Exercise Muskox illustrated operational level possibilities in a Canadian setting. This was the designation for the 1946 crossing of the Canadian Arctic primarily above the tree line by a party of 11 modified Canadian Armoured snowmobiles. This trek was supported by aerial re-supply. More than 1,200 parachutes were used. There were eight glider landings to deliver cargo. In most cases, unlike the parachutes, the gliders were recovered by their tugs to be used again. As an experiment, one glider was fitted out as a maintenance facility and provided the shelter so vital for working on vehicles in a treeless environment. site analysis . Such gliders also carried the heavy repair equipment that could not be easily carried with the expedition’s organic vehicles or dropped by parachute without fear of damage. The Exercise Muskox report, based on the use of the glider workshop, went on to point out the potential of glider use for field hospitals and communication centres. webhosting info As had been the case with Operation VOODOO, the glider utilized on Exercise Muskox was the CG4A and the tug, the C47 Dakota. The actual flying of both tug and glider must have been relatively easy as no mention is made of any flight difficulties in the official report, nor did the aircrew receive decorations.  Canadians in uniform demonstrated the potential of gliders, with World War II tactical glider and tug technology, for both strategic and operational air lift. The glider should shed its present “sports sailplane” image and be transformed into an asset for multiplying our Canadian deployment capabilities. Our own military heritage has provided us with some navigation points if we choose to fly this approach.