THE RCAF LIVES ON…and the past carries forward into the future.
We shan't forget!
Why would we? These were the start of glory years for Canada! Think British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
By 1939, Canada was a nation at war with Nazi Germany and beehive of military activity!
Of readying for war, and fighting in the war.
Until 1941, America was still a neutral nation…so on the open seas, U-boats bypassed American vessels and routinely engaged Canadian and British ones.
TENS OF THOUSANDS of Canadians and British subjects were being trained in Canada on all fronts, for the war.
Until 1941, everyone knew where the action was on the North American continent!
MANY AMERICANS couldn't take it…
Being on the sidelines that is.
And so they came north to Canada. In droves.
HUNDREDS Of AMERICAN FLYERS a month were joining the RCAF for various duties. And they donned the RCAF blue uniforms. 9,000 eventually. 800 eventually died in RCAF service.
There was one notable difference between American and Canadian joiners.
Americans in the RCAF remained under jurisdiction of the RCAF. They swore allegiance ONLY TO THE RCAF and not to the Crown. Swearing allegiance to the Crown, the British monarchy, resulted in forfeiture of citizenship for an American.
And when America joined the war, two years and three months later…these very Americans were free to go back home and join the USAAF. 1, 759 left right after Pearl Harbour. 2,000 more later on, and the rest? Well they stayed.
But those that left took with them one major advantage.
Many had already seen combat and/or had hundreds of hours of flying experience in various military aircraft.
And that's all I have to say on this little trip down memory lane…
Saturday, August 30, 2008
THE RCAF LIVES ON…and the past carries forward into the future.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
…and others…well…they’ll always be a little bit of a mystery…
Fortunately, you can see right through…OR right into…this Canadair SABRE.
Remember long before the SNOWBIRDS…there were the GOLDEN HAWKS!
Formed in 1959, the Golden Hawks were created to celebrate the 50th Year of powered flight in Canada.
They were disbanded in 1964 after 317 airshow demonstrations.
The GOLDEN HAWKS pioneered the “starburst” maneuver and the use of two solo pilots working together as part of the overall team demonstration. Pretty much all aerial demonstration teams have adapted this setup since–
The GOLDEN HAWKS were famous for wrapping up their demonstration by doing a low level flyby, with canopies open, and waving at the adoring crowds.
This Canadair Sabre was made in Montreal (under license from North American Aircraft) and the Orenda engine was made in Toronto. How’s that for an all-Canadian effort!
“CANADAIR SABRES were dominant in the two major conflicts in which they were employed: the Korean War where F-86 Sabres racked up an impressive 11-1 kill record and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. In January 1966, Germany sold 90 of its Canadian Mk 6 Sabres to Iran. These aircraft were quickly transferred to Pakistan and became the main day fighter of the Pakistan Air Force.
In 1952, Jacqueline Cochran, then aged 47, decided to challenge the world speed record for women, then held by Jacqueline Auriol. She tried to borrow an F-86 from the USAF, but was refused. She was introduced to an RCAF Air Vice-Marshal who, with the permission of the Canadian Minister of Defence, arranged for her to borrow 19200, the sole Sabre 3.
CANADAIR sent a 16-man support team to California for the attempt. On 18 May 1953, Ms. Cochran set a new 100 km speed record of 1050.15 km/h (652.5 mph). Later on 3 June, she set a new 15 km closed circuit record of 1078 km/h (670 mph). While she was in California, she exceeded 1270 km/h in a dive, and thus became the first woman to exceed the speed of sound.” (Wikipedia)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
COURSE, THAT NEVER happened…(see quote within photo)
Had the AVRO ARROW, Number 106, flown with the newly completed and newly fitted “MIGHTY” IROQUOIS Orenda engines, the world speed record would have been shattered! Not just broken.
Unofficially, the Arrow had already broken the record with only the American Pratt and Whitney jet engines.
And Orenda’s “Mighty Iroquois” were just that, with a tested (at the Nobel, Ontario Orenda facility) and confirmed 27 % more engine thrust…than the Arrow’s then currently used Pratt and Whitneys.
The Federal Government of the day, led by Canada’s most inept Prime Minister of all-time, John G. Diefenbaker, that obtuse, small-town prairie lawyer, who gave the word to the RCAF that 106 was not to fly…
It was not, must not, be allowed to break the world speed record with those new Canadian engines.
If the record was smashed, the rationale went, how could “Dief” explain to the Canadian public, that in spite of that notable accomplishment, he was cancelling the Arrow and Iroquois Projects, and he would also be destroying all existing Arrow aircraft and Iroquois engines…blueprints, tooling, jigs etc., until not a trace was left.
Well, he couldn’t.
But despite John G.'s megalomaniac order, and decree of absolute destruction, some of Canada’s aviation love story did survive!
The nose, wings, and front undercarriage of Arrow 106 remain intact today. And are on display in Ottawa, at the Canadian Aviation Museum.
The Arrow presently gets hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.
So a nation that was supposed to forget…didn't.
Arrow 106 was a Mark II, meaning it came with Orenda Iroquois engines.
But how, HOW did these parts escape……when all the others didn’t?
Because someone in the RCAF, at great personal risk (criminal prosecution) had these top secret project artifacts hidden away…until such a time when “cooler heads would prevail.”
Course…that never happened either. Canada as a nation never did get over the debacle.
So, when it was safe to do so…when "Dief" was out of office, the remaining Arrow treasure was “discovered” at some RCAF Station and transported to the Canadian Aviation Museum in the early 60s.
And remember, if my party was in charge, under our “Right Those Wrongs” Policy we would commission an Arrow II Project that would aim to be all the present F-22 is and more…and its design would be based on an evolved Arrow.
The AVRO Newsmagazine featured on an all-Canadian quilt, was an in-house Avro Canada production produced twice monthly for Avro personnel. It had the latest company news, featured entertainment reviews by legendary Canadian Elwy Yost!…and even had a classifieds section.
This edition, only three months away from infamous Black Friday (February 20th) noted that the Arrow pre-production projects would be cancelled in February of '59…because the federal Government had concluded fighter interceptors were obsolete! AVRO Canada was openly optimistic that line of reasoning could be countered noting various USAF commitments to similar US jet interceptor programmes that were contracted through to the mid 70s. If unmanned Bomarc missiles were the answer…why was the USAF so committed to these non-missile, fully manned, aircraft programmes?
ALSO IN THIS EDITION, in response to media requests, the general public was informed that the Mark II Arrow fitted with Iroquois engines would be able to set a new world speed record “anytime we wanted to” but such an achievement would be a secondary byproduct of aircraft testing and not a goal, in, and of itself–
(That's Avro test pilot, "Spud" Potocki, in that Mark I Arrow. Spud was the test pilot who flew one of the Arrows "unofficially" to Mach 2.1)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
…but not a frequent one. Lest not on these WW II “beasties”.
AIR MILES while fabulous…don’t try them here.
At the Canadian Warplane Heritage.
“But I should be able to use them to fly on these planes!” slurs some malcontent behind me.
“Did you just say planes?”
“Listen you mealy-mouthed…(fairy). These aircraft are the royalty of the aviation world. Former RCAF, not commoner aircraft like Air Canard flies. Now, get lost before I forget I’m Canadian, and am supposed to be a nice guy!“
And you, walkaway babe in blue…dressed more for the Promenade, than a flight aboard a warbird…you have yourself a grand flight! And I’ll catch you on the flyover.
The CWH (Canadian Warplane Heritage) Bolingbroke restoration has been plodding along for 25 slow years with the nose, fuselage and wings now about 70% complete.
The present “Boly” (photo, far left) has been cannabalised from about six or seven different Bolingbrokes and will be restored to FLYING CONDITION.
But it has taken the legendary Canadian Warplane Heritage a quarter of a century to get even this far.
And the hunt for those rare, much needed parts, to complete the historic warbird has so often been fruitless. Sand through the hands.
Located parts have been found incomplete, or decimated through time, by exposure to the ravages of our harsh Canadian winters. Sometimes parts found were rendered useless simply by the owner's prolonged utilitarian use or abuse.
Many former RCAF Canadian bombers were actually sold to prairie farmers after the war. For use down on the farm. Chicken coups etc. And the farmers often didn’t even pay for said bomber, they really just paid for the gas that was still inside said bomber!
So when these forlorn, discarded bombers are found…well, sometimes, it just ain’t pretty!
But amid all those routine deadends… a miracle finally happened.
A rural rumor of a COMPLETE CANADIAN BOLINGBROKE turned out to be more than that.
A farmer in the province of Manitoba who was blessed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) bought himself a “Boly” two years after the war. Mostly for its’ package deal of discounted gas that could be drained from its four fuel tanks.
He dutifully towed it home, put it up on blocks, drained that precious gas, and left it just like that…for the next 60 years!
During that voyage through time, not even a single part of his Boly" had been lost!
Some did fell off through those tortuous years for sure…but, no problem, they were promptly gathered, and carefully stored away in his barn.
Now we don’t want to say that this miraculous discovery made some CWH men cry, because we are talking about men here, and we are talking about crying…but when you’ve toiled so long and so hard, and suddenly you are given everything you need to complete that impossible, lingering project, well…you know.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage is keeping this whole discovery on the “downsy”.
The location of the “bird” has not been disclosed, nor will it be. There is only one known photograph of it, in its present state (see Manitoba Bolingbroke, above), as it waits for the IODE (Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire) to provide funding for its clandestine move from a field near Winnipeg, to Hamilton.
THIS GODSEND means that the CWH Bolingbroke should be flying inside of about three years!
And this was that secret, I promised to share about two months ago, but forgot to, amid house renos, car crash recovery and all.
Friday, August 1, 2008
…there was always that…in the RCAF.
During WW II. And during the Cold War.
Right up to the very end.
Of the services.
Trudeaupean years, of course ~
Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Great, grand visions of Canada. Horrendous execution…
THE SPITFIRE, of course, was/is an icon in the world of aviation.
BUT THE SPITFIRE was always more than just an airplane…it became the simultaneous symbol of the Allies' defiance, relentlessness, and victory.
The Hawker Hurricane was the "workhorse" of the Battle of Britain, and the arrival of the American fighterplanes later in the war ensured our eventual win, but the Spitfire gave a country hope in its' darkest hour.
When THE SPITFIRE joined the fray in the skies, it lead everyone to believe THREE THINGS: that "we can do it (we can win this war)", " we will do it", AND "we are going to look good, when we do it!"
And we did.
Posted by Never Was An Arrow II at 11:55 AM