To the Stars – Fuelled by Legacy
In 2014, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) celebrates its 90th anniversary.
Our story tells of the men and women who have had the guts, determination and vision to serve Canada in the aviation arm of its Armed Forces, from the earliest years until today.
Since its inception in 1924, the RCAF has played a leading role on the world stage as a multi-purpose, combat-capable force that fulfills a variety of domestic and international commitments. Since the Second World War, during which time it grew to be the fourth largest air force in the world, the RCAF has proved to be a leader in aviation as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and as an active partner of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for the continental air defence of North America.
Whether working with other government departments, supporting humanitarian missions, flying dangerous missions to save Canadians or supporting Canadian Armed Forces operations at home and around the world, our airmen and airwomen are professional, capable and ready.
The Snowbirds – from the pilots to the technicians and support staff – are from all types of squadrons across Canada and represent a diverse range of the RCAF’s aviation capabilities.
Today’s Snowbirds are carrying on the tradition of excellence established by the aerobatic teams of the RCAF’s earliest days. Teams such as the Siskins, flying Siskin IIA biplanes as a three-ship formation between 1929 and 1932, the Golden Hawks, flying their seven gold painted F-86 Sabre jets from 1959 until 1963, and The Golden Centennaires, flying their nine Canadian-built CT-114 Tutor aircraft.
The Snowbirds aerobatic team was formed in 1971 and received squadron status as 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron in 1978. The team pilots, also flying the Tutors that are now painted in the iconic red and white paint scheme, carry on the tradition of these great aviators.
From humble but distinguished beginnings, progressing through the developments of powered flight all the way into space, the RCAF will continue to embrace its motto, Sic Itur Ad Astra, reaching towards the stars – fuelled by our incredible legacy.
To learn more about the RCAF’s proud 90-year history, see the online edition of On Windswept Heights at www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca