North American F-86 Sabre History

Just as World War II began to come to an end, initial plans for the Sabre were being drawn up. It was the straight winged North American FJ-1 Fury that provided the basis for developing the F-86. Howevere, when the completed aircraft left the factory in 1947, however, bared very little resemblance to what was initially proposed.

On the 18th of May, 1945, the F-86, initially named NA-140, passed the proposition stage. The problem, however, was that the F-86 would be required to pack a top speed of at least 600 mph (965.4 km/h). The prototype drawing would only be capable of a maximum speed of about 582 mph (936.4 km/h).

The following month, the team responsible for building the prototypes analyzed the design of the suggested F-86, and the research that was put into the aerodynamic design of the body. Very quickly the verdict was reached that the required speed could be made easily if, rather than building it straight winged, they made use of swept back wings. By sweeping the wing, it will delay the onset of shockwaves as the aircraft approaches the speed of sound. This reduces drag, allowing the aircraft to go faster.

The brand new NA-140, renamed the F-86, rolled out in August of 1947. The Sabre very quickly gained the admiration of everyone there to see it. The swept back wings, sleek body, and several other features new to aircraft gave it an image which impacted very positively on all.

After being moved to the High Desert in September, the Sabre made its first flight on October 1, 1947, with George Welch as the pilot. Welch was to make the flight last no longer than 10 minutes, however, this plan did not last, when Welch tried to lower the landing gear. Both back wheels of the plane worked well enough, but the nose wheel light in the cockpit didn’t light. After flying past the control tower, the operators could see that the front wheel was only halfway down. After 40 minutes of working at trying to bring the wheel down all the way, Welch said he would attempt to land with the nose up, so as to cause the least possible damage. He was lucky, however, for when the back wheels hit the runway, the jolt loosened the nose wheel, and it dropped down all the way, locked in position, and the landing was made successfully, without any damage.

Through out the duration of the Korean War, the F-86 Sabre made itself a place in the warplane hall of fame. The Sabre reached this standard of excellence due mainly to the high percentage of enemy planes shot down.

The Sabre also played its part in NATO, after soon finding its way overseas, where it was most noted for its use with the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE). Overseas production, however, was started by Canada, who were anxious to obtain more modern equipment in order to meet its commitments to NATO. However, the Sabre would go on to fly with many of the NATO Airforces, and Air Forces of other countries as well. In fact, some F-86 Sabres remained in front line service with Third World Countries until the Late 1970’s early 1980’s.

Total Canadair Production

Sabre Models Serial Number Range Quantity Produced Additional Information
Sabre Mk. 2 19102-199 98 RCAF
2 19201-452 252 Including 60 F-86E-6- CAN to USAF as 52-
2833/892 and three to  RAF
Sabre Mk. 3 19200 1 Orenda-powered prototype
Sabre Mk. 4 19453-890 438 All for RAF including US-funded machines with US identities 52-
Sabre Mk. 5 23001-370 370 Including 75 for Luftwaffe
Sabre Mk. 6 23371-760 390 RCAF
6 2021-2026 6 Columbian AF
6 350-383 34 South African AF
6 1591-1815 225 Luftwaffe

Total Quantity 1,815

Information on this page was collected from Classic Warplanes – North American F-86 Sabre.

CF-104 Starfighter

The first flight of F-104 took place in 1954 under the control of Lockheed test pilot Tony Le Vier. The USAF purchased 676 of the new fighter plane. Very few flew with the USAF, many were supplied to other countries. In 1959, the CF-104 was selected by the Royal Canadian Air Force to replace the Sabre for use with the Air Division in Europe. These aircraft were built under license by Canadair in Quebec. The aircraft were built and used in the attack role instead of it’s designed fighter role. In service these aircraft were initially used for photo recce and nuclear strike missions. Later in their career they reverted to a conventional strike role.

Canadair rolled it’s first CF-104 out of the Cartierville plant on March 18, 1961 it was the first of 238 built for the RCAF Canadair built an additional 150 Starfighters for other NATO Nations. First flight of a CF-104 occurred on August 14 1961. Some components for the CF-104 program were built by Enheat in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

In Canadian service the CF-104 performed very well, it was loved by it’s pilots and was a powerful aircraft to fly. In the ground attack role the 104 could out run any of it’s opponents, however, it was not a forgiving aircraft to fly at low level. During the CF-104 era 37 pilots lost their lives flying this aircraft. Unfortunately the CF-104, while fast, was not as maneuverable as many other types of aircraft. At low level, this lack of maneuverability could be dangerous if a pilot was not paying close attention. Canadian pilots, excelled with the Starfighter, some being considered among the best pilots in NATO.

The last of these great aircraft where transferred to Turkey in 1986, where some were flew into the late 1990’s. Canada’s Starfighters were replaced by the CF-18 Hornet. Other Starfighters had also been transferred to Norway and Denmark, in the 1960’s although these are now retired from service as well, being replaced by the F-16 Fighting Falcon in the 1980’s.

In Canadian service the CF-104 flew with the following squadrons: 417 (The Operational Training Unit), 421, 422, 427, 430, 434, 439, 441, and 444. Not all of these squadrons served during the entire life of the 104.

Common Nick Names for the CF-104 Starfighter:
Zipper, Aluminum Death Tube, The Lawn Dart, The Silver Sliver, Missle with a man in it, the Widow Maker, Starfighter and 104

Specifications for the CF-104 Starfighter:
Powerplant: one General Electric J79-GE-11A turbojet of 7076 kg (15,600lb) afterburning thrust.
Perfomance: maxium speed 1845 km/h (1,146mph) at 15240 m (50,000 ft); service ceiling 15240 m (50,000); range 1740 km (1,081 miles)
Weights: empty 6348 kg (13,995 lb); maxium take-off 13170 kg (29,035 lb)
Span    21 feet 11 inches
Length   54 feet 9 inches
Height    13 feet 6 inches

CF-104 Starfighters on Display in Atlantic Canada:

104783 Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum (Halifax International Airport, Halifax, Nova Scotia)

CF-101 Voodoo History

(A.K.A. The Washing Machine)

In June of 1961 the Canadian government placed an order for 56, 2 seat F-101B Voodoo fighters  plus 10 dual control F-101Fs. These aircraft were purchased to augment the failing Bomarc missiles that were purchased when the CF-105 Arrow, being manufactured by Avro, was canceled.

The first Voodoos were available to the RCAF by November of the same year. Eventually it would equip 5 squadrons (410 Cougars, 409 Nighthawk, 414 Black Knight, 416 Lynx, and 425 Alouette). These aircraft were tasked with the Defense of Canada and would play a major roll as part of NORAD.

With a maximum speed of Mach 1.85 and armed with either a pair of nuclear tipped Genie missiles and 2 infrared Falcon missiles, the Voodoo was a formidable weapon, in its day. In fact the Voodoo would be the last nuclear weapon system in Canada, a roll they did not completely give up until they were stood down by the military in 1984.

In August of 1970 an unusual deal was worked with the USAF, in which the surviving 58 CF-101s were swapped for 58 ex-USAF F-101s plus an additional 8 aircraft to replace those lost in crashes. The former Canadian aircraft were then converted to RF-101B’s by the USAF and used in the Recce roll for many years. The CF-101s were flown by the CAF for another 14 years until the entire force was replaced by the CF-18 Hornet.

CF-101s in Atlantic Canada:

CF-101 Voodoos were based at CFB Chatham in New Brunswick from November 1962 until the Voodoo phase out in December 1984. They could be armed with nuclear weapons. In fact, there were nuclear armed Genie missiles stored at CFB Chatham from April 1963 until June of 1975. After that, in times of tension or war, the 416 (Lynx Squadron) Voodoos would receive their Genies by flying to CFB Bagotville in Quebec.

Specifications for the CF-101B

  • Weight Empty 13,141 kg (28,970 lbs)
  • Take Off Weight 23,768 kg (52,400 lbs)
  • Max. Speed 1,965 km/h (1,221 mph) or Mach 1.85 at 40,000 feet
  • Max. Ceiling 54,800 feet
  • Range 2,494 km (1,550 miles)
  • Span 39 feet 8 inches
  • Length 67 feet 4 3/4 inches
  • Height 18 feet

Voodoos That Can Be Seen In Atlantic Canada:

101043 Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum (Halifax International Airport, N.S.)
101063 Shearwater Aviation Museum (CFB Shearwater, Dartmouth, N.S.)
101006 Gate Guard at the former CFB Cornwallis
[The last Voodoo to fly in the world] (Cornwallis, N.S.)
101028 Hillsboro Transportation Museum (Hillsboro, N.B.)
101053 Gate Guard at the former CFB Chatham (Mirimachi Airport, Mirimachi, N.B.)
101037 Gate Guard at the former CFB Summerside (Summerside Airport, Summerside, P.E.I.)
101003 Gate Guard CFS Goose Bay
101065 North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Gander Newfoundland.

NOTE: All of these Voodoos finished there service with 416 Lynx Squadron, with the exception of 101006 which finished its career with 414 Black Knight Squadron. As well, 101003 is painted in 410 Cougars Squadron colors.

CF-100 History

CF-100 Canuck History

The first requirements for an aircraft similar to the CF-100 were published by the Air Force as early as January of 1945. However, with the end of the war and a return to peace, the requirement for such an all weather fighter was temporarily put on the hold. By November of that same year, A.V. Roe Ltd. was contracted to design and construct and airframe that would eventually be called the CF-100.

After some development problems that plague any new fighter design, the first CF-100 was completed in late 1949. On January 17, 1950, taxi trials occurred and the first flight was just 2 days later, with Bill Waterton at the controls.  This was the first of 692 models that were eventually produced. There were many variants, culminating in the CF-100 Mk 5, which was the ultimate rocket armed interceptor version. Many Mk 5’s were later converted to electronic warfare birds. In this role the CF-100s simulated the enemy bombers they were designed to defend against. By simulating enemy aircraft, the CF-100’s of 414 squadron helped to keep NORAD in a high state of preparedness to guard North America against Soviet air attack.

In many ways, the CF-100 provided Canada with a first rate aircraft. It had a good range and payload carrying ability but the CF-100 was not considered to be a great dog-fighter, when compared with the Sabre. However, in the all weather interceptor role, it was second to none. When compared to its American counterpart, the F-89 Scorpion, the CF-100 Canuck is considered to be superior in all aspects.

The last CF-100’s were retired from Canadian service in 1981, some 29 years after the first aircraft joined the ranks of the RCAF. The CF-100 was designed and built by AVRO Canada. To this day it remains the only Canadian fighter that was designed, built and put into Canadian service with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Canuck also served in the Royal Belgium Air Force from 1957 to 1960. They purchased a small force of 53. These were replaced by the F-104 Starfighter in Belgium service. When Belgium retired its force, they scrapped them so fast that not one aircraft was preserved. In 1971, Canada sold a CF-100 to Belgium to put on display in Brussels, where it remains today.

The AVRO Arrow was to replace the CF-100 in its roll as defender of Canadian airspace. However, with the cancellation of the Arrow in 1959, the RCAF would be forced to buy American and eventually purchased the CF-101 Voodoo for the manned air defense of Canada.