Air Force Life

RCAF Flyers hockey players

THE Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) FLYERS

RCAF Flyers hockey players hoist figure skater Barbara Ann Scott on their shoulders after her Gold Medal win in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1948.

The Air Force won the gold in February 1948 when the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Flyers hockey team came in first at the Olympic Winter Games held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Named to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, the Flyers were not expected to win anything at the games. After all, they were current and ex-Air Force members, along with some Army colleagues, who just happened to play hockey in their spare time! But the Flyers surprised everyone and proved that the old Air Force adage of “max flex” means you can do just about anything in the line of duty!


The evolution of the RCAF roundel.

The roundel helps distinguish “our” aircraft from “theirs”. When the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) arrived in France in 1914, their pilots took hits from both friends and enemies, so some identification mark was needed.

The Royal Flying Corps borrowed an idea from the French, who were using a roundel of concentric red, white and blue circles based on the tri-colour flag of France. The British reversed the colour order, placing the blue on the outside and the red in the centre.

In 1940, during the Second World War, the RCAF was authorized to replace the inner red circle with the red maple leaf. But Canadian military aircraft only made the change after the Air Council, on January 17, 1946, gave their approval. In 1965, the 11-point, stylized maple leaf of the new national flag replaced the older, more naturalistic maple leaf as the centrepiece of Canada’s roundel.