Good day to all CANAV fans and readers! You’ll want to take a good look at CANAV’s new booklist. This season has several outstanding new titles from detailed histories of Found Brothers Aviation to Okanagan Helicopters, the Norwegian air training plan in Canada during WWII, and RCAF Station Bagotville through the decades. Besides such top books, we’re also offering Rich Hulina’s magnificent new Vol.2 of Bush Flying Captured. Talk about a magnificent book! Also, check out the CANAV deals, everything from Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace Vols.1-3 at 1/2 price, Air Transport in Canada at $60 off and The Canadair Sabre at $10 off (not to forget about CANAV’s free book” offer on p.4). So … here you go. You won’t go wrong by jumping in to enrich your aviation library today!
CF-104 Warbird Emerges
Those dedicated to the warbird scene are an inveterate bunch. Even though hardly any original WWI aircraft survived the 1920s, all over the world dedicated and amazingly skilled replica builders and pilots have put hundreds of full scale and scaled-down versions into the air of such classic types as the Nieuport, SE.5, Sopwith Pup and Fokker Triplane. Then, ever since war’s end in 1945, countless WWII warbirds have returned to the skies. That movement seems to grow annually, to the extent that in 2017 there are now more airworthy Hurricanes, Mustangs, Spitfires, etc. than ever. The Korean War era is represented by MiG-15s and Sabres, Southeast Asia by anything from the Cessna O-2 to the thundering F-4, on and on.
Canada has kept up with its own flying warbirds. In one case, around 1950 several Lysanders were crop dusting in the prairies (the company had the niftiest motto — “Weed ’em and Reap”), and all through the 1950s Spartan Air Services of Ottawa kept such types as the Mosquito and Ventura busy in the aerial survey business. In the 1960s, a P-40 and Vampire flew privately in Alberta, and there were ex-RCAF Harvards (some bought from the government for a few hundred dollars) flying all across the country. Also from the 1960s, fleets of A-26s, Avengers, B-25s and Martin Mars (even one Lancaster) were busy annually in the west dousing forest fires. As these gradually retired, you could count on them joining the hobby and museum sides of the warbirds movement. Such organizations as the Canadian Warplane Heritage and the Great War Flying Museum have performed miracles in keeping airworthy warbirds and replicas in the public eye.
In the 1960s Canadair at Montreal/Cartierville turned out hundreds of CF-104 and F-104G Starfighters. These served numerous air forces, the RCAF receiving about 200. Dubbed the “Missile with a Man in It”, the Starfighter proved to be a marvellous and versatile design (see such books as Starfighter: A Loving Retrospective of the CF-104 Era in Canadian Aviation 1961-1986 (the original such book, Bashow), Canadian Starfighter: The CF-104 and CF-104D in Canadian Service 1961-1986 (Martin, the newest), Canadian Profile CF-104 Starfighter (McIntyre), Starfighter CF-104 (Stachiw & Tattersall) and Canadair: The First 50 Years (Pickler & Milberry). If you have the least interest in CF-104 history, you can find most of these for sale on line using a Google search).
Many Canadair-built F-104s/CF-104s survive in museums all over the world, and at least four are known to have been restored to airworthiness, including ex-RCAF 12637. Having served Canada from 1962-72, it transferred to the Royal Norwegian Air Force, where it flew into 1983. After years in storage, it was acquired by a group of CF-104 supporters who set out to make it airworthy again. If you go here http://vintageaviationecho.com /starfighter-test-flight/ you can see the full story leading to “637” flying again last year. This is well worth a good look. Meanwhile, enjoy a few miscellaneous CF-104 photos right here:
Starfighter Gallery Here are a few CF-104 photos from my own archive, just typical photos of the millions taken over the decades by those fascinated by this classic “Fighter of the Fifties”. Enjoy these 1-0-4 pix taken in the 1960s-80 by Les Corness and me:
I was on the road again on the weekend of September 1-2, 1971. Most of the aircraft for that year’s CNE Airshow were flying from Trenton, so that was the big draw. A few CF-104s were present, one of which (104772) had some sort of emergency on returning to base. Here it sits mid-field as the base fire fighters stand ready. On April 18, 1973 this 417 Sqn Starfighter crashed on the range at Cold Lake, killing Capt J.K. Salter.
On our August 31, 1975 swan to Trenton to photograph CNE Airshow planes, I snapped this angle on CF-104 104790 (Nick was a proponent of using relevant foreground in photo composition, something that gradually rubbed off on his buddies). This also was the first we had even gotten close to the F-15, and the Thunderbirds with their T-38s were very exciting as they returned from their Toronto performance. After some years as an air force ground training aid, “790” found its way to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton. On 104711 note that small appendage near the exhaust. Maybe a radar warning device? Anyone know? “711” survives today in a Turkish museum.
Having begun photographing in the late 1930s, Les always had his connections around Edmonton’s airports. By some good fortune, on June 24, 1963 he was at RCAF Station Namao a bit north of the city. I wonder what was going on? Maybe these new CF-104s were being tweaked up before delivery to 6 ST/R OTU at Cold Lake or to 1 Canadian Air Group in NATO? Nearest is 12755, which spent its career with 1CAG, before transferring to the Royal Norwegian Air Force in 1973, where it flew for a decade. Today, it’s on display at Kjeller Air Base.
Abbotsford Airshow action … Starfighters on the ramp there on August 13, 1976. A shot like this could be made if a fellow could get up on a refuelling truck, into the cockpit of a C-5A, onto a hangar roof, etc. We always took any such opportunity. Nearest is “750”, which ended its days ingloriously as a ground training aid with 1CAG.
Starfighter 104652 served the Aerospace Engineering and Test Establishment at Cold Lake for years, before being shipped to Toronto, where it’s now memorabilia at Canadian Forces College.
CF-104s ready for action at Lahr on July 7, 1982.
Aircraft “743” at Baden-Soellingen on April 17, 1978. Note the 441 Sqn “Checker Board” emblem on the rudder. In 1986 “743” became one of 54 Starfighters transferred to Turkey. Today, it’s on display at a trade school in Jordan.
Starfighter RT-664, seen at Baden-Soellingen on April 17, 1978, was Canadian to 1972, then Danish to 1984. It went for scrap in 2012. When on any such base it was always great fun when a visitor like this one dropped by.