Aircraft Histories

Museum volunteers who flew and maintained the aircraft which now make up the Canada Aviation and Space Museum’s collection have prepared and continue to work on photo essays detailing the history of these historically significant aircraft. The Museum’s staff and volunteers are pleased to make this material available to the general public to help them better appreciate the importance of Canada’s aviation heritage.

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A North American F-86 Sabre (CASM 19618)

The North American F-86 Sabre is considered one of the most famous aircraft of the post Second World War period. It is described in detail in terms of Canada's air participation in NATO and its employment by other air forces. As well, the various production models are discussed with specific details of the specification and performance of the Museum's aircraft. The history of this aircraft as it was employed by 444 (F) Squadron in the NATO environment is also detailed with a provisional listing of personnel who may have flown the aircraft.

Lockheed F–104A Starfighter

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A Lockheed F-104A Starfighter (CASM 30757)

A fond reminiscence on Canada’s Starfighter fleet which served the RCAF and then the CAF for over a quarter of a century, mainly as part of this nation’s NATO commitment in Europe. Particular emphasis is given to the unique machine which established several Canadian aviation records, and which is now proudly displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

A Fairchild FC-2W-2 (CASM 15782)

The Fairchild FC-2W2, a single-engined cabin monoplane typical of the type used in Canada in late 1920s and early 1930s, is described in some detail. Its design history is highlighted as well as its work in opening up the Canadian north through aerial surveys and mail service. The provenance, operational history and restoration process of the Museum’s aircraft are outlined, explaining how it came to be finished in the colours and registration number of a Canadian Transcontinental Airways aircraft.

A Douglas DC-3 (CASM 16539)

The Douglas DC-3, also known as the C-47 and Dakota, is examined in detail, including its evolution from early passenger carrying airplanes, as well as its development into a wartime transport aircraft of unsurpassed endurance. The durability of this “workhorse of the air” is highlighted, especially as it relates to the Museum’s aircraft — a civilian version C-FTDJ.

HMCS Bonaventure (CASM 28490)

While the Royal Canadian Navy considered the possibility of operating several small coastal aircraft carriers in the mid 1930s financial considerations during the mid 1930s soon saw the idea discarded. Canadian Naval aviators flew from Royal Navy aircraft carriers during the Second World War and from 1943 on two Royal Navy converted U.S. Navy auxiliary carriers provided under USA / Great Britain Lend Lease agreement. From 1946 to 1971 the Royal Canadian Navy commissioned three British-built light Fleet carriers specializing in airborne anti-submarine and fleet support operations. This is that story entitled “ Aircraft Carriers in the Royal Canadian Navy.

A Piasecki HUP-3 (CASM 20586)

This is a history of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Piasecki (Vertol) HUP-3 helicopter serial number 51-16623 (623). It briefly outlines the development history of this helicopter and gives a detailed chronological history from its acquisition in May 1954 until its purchase by the Canadian War Museum in February 1965. It outlines its activities ashore and deployed aboard the ice breaker Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) LABRADOR. It lists the names of the Commanding Officers of the two HUP-3 Helicopter Squadrons and the names of the pilots who flew 51-16623. It also lists the three Piasecki HUP-3s acquired by the Navy, their acquisition and retirement dates and their final disposal.

A Fairey Swordfish (CASM 10874)

The Fairey Swordfish II despite its antiquated appearance was responsible for sinking over 600,000 tons of German shipping during the Second World War. It was also used in the Battle of Taranto, Italy, flying from the aircraft carrier Illustrious.

Grumman CP–121 Tracker

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Grumman (S-2A) CS2F-1 Tracker (Canadian) (CASM 16430)

The design considerations of the Tracker, a twin-engine aircraft designed to serve on smaller aircraft carriers of both the U.S. Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), are outlined in this essay. The acquisition of 100 of these aircraft for the RCN, including the numerous manufacturers involved, is detailed. The functions of each variant of this model are described, as well as the RCN squadrons that flew this aircraft, including their commanding officers and the numerous naval officers who flew the TRACKER. The story of NATO operations and a remarkable sea rescue is included along with many photographs of the aircraft in flight and on the ground.

McDonnell F2H–3 Banshee

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A McDonnell F2H-3 (F-2C) Banshee (CASM 16886)

The McDonnell F2H–3 Banshee was operational in the Royal Canadian Navy between 1957 and 1962. Equipped with the Sidewinder heat-seeking missile it proved to be one of the most potent and successful air defence fighters in Canadian inventory.

A Sikorsky HO4S-3 (CASM 28953)

This history outlines the development, operational employment and configuration of the HO4S-3. It details the chronological history of Sikorsky 55877 from its acquisition in June 1955 to its transfer to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in May 1970, highlighting the spectacular rescues it achieved. It lists the names of the Commanding Officers of the two Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) HO4S-3 Helicopter Squadrons and the names of all pilots who flew 55877. It also gives a listing of all Sikorsky HO4S-3s acquired by the RCN, their acquisition and retirement dates, employment and their final disposal.