From Strategy Page:
Canada is finding it’s easier to buy new helicopters, than find the people it needs to operate and maintain them. Such is the case with a new CH-47 transport helicopter squadron, which will require 482 pilots, maintainers and support staff. Pilots are in training, as are some of the maintainers.
The problems is that the Royal Canadian Air Force has only 14,500 personnel and it’s difficult to round up 482 specialists for a new squadron. The new unit does not reach full strength until 2014, and three years is believed sufficient to recruit or transfer the people needed for the new unit. But maybe not, because it’s always a problem with smaller armed forces in this age of ever evolving technology. The U.S. Air Force has 330,000 personnel, and has been downsizing for the last two decades. All those people give you a lot more flexibility, and fewer problems in forming new units.
Canada has been leasing and trying to buy CH-47s for the past four years. That’s because the CH-47 is the best helicopter for use in Afghanistan, having proved able to deal with the dust and high altitude operations better than other transport choppers. The CH-47 has been engineered, over the years, to deal with the dust, and always had the engine power to handle high altitude operations. For these reasons, Canada is buying fifteen more CH-47Fs and forming another air force squadron to operate them.