National Air Force Museum

October 2, 2022

On a recent business trip to the Trenton Airforce Base, I stopped and took in the collection at the National Airforce Museum of Canada. All of these photos were taken from outside the fence as I didn’t have time to go in and review the collection properly before my next appointment. There are other aircraft located inside the storage building which tends to house many of the older planes. The museum opened on April 1, 1984, on the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Canadian Airforce.

P-140 Aurora – This long-range patrol aircraft was put into service in 1980 and remained active until 2017. It has a range of 7,400 kilometres and has been used for rescue missions as well to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. After being in storage for a year it was brought to the museum and re-assembled for display.

CC-115 Buffalo. This aircraft was built by De Havilland in Downsview and completed on August 27, 1967, after which it went into service as a transport plane. In 1975 it took on a dual role as a Search & Rescue craft until it was retired in September 2020 after over 50 years of service.

CC-144 Challenger. This aircraft was put into service in April 1983 in Ottawa to provide transportation for VIPs. It got a new assignment in 1995 when it went to Nova Scotia to serve as a training plane for pilots in electronic warfare. Five years later it was back in Ottawa flying VIPs around. It was in Florida in 2012 when it struck a large bird and was damaged requiring extensive repairs. In 2014 the Challenger fleet was reduced from 6 planes to just 4 and this one was retired. It found a new home in the museum in 2015.

CL-28 Mark II Argus. This is one of 20 Mark II aircraft purchased in 1958 and used for maritime patrol. It was stationed at Summerside P.E.I. in the 415 Maritime Patrol “Swordfish” Squadron. It flies at 463 kilometres per hour and was in service until 1982 performing patrols as part of anti-submarine warfare.

CH-124 Sea King went into service on May 14, 1964, performing surveillance and anti-submarine tasks. It has a compact design with rotors and tail that fold up allowing it to land on the smallest warships. It is also amphibious and can make landings in water. This one served in The Gulf War in 1991 as well as East Timor in 1999-2000. When it was retired in 2018 it had the most air-hours of any Sea King having racked up 17,775.3 hours.

The F86 Mark V Sabre is a fighter craft, and the model was purchased between 1948 and 1958. The one in the museum was in service until 1969 serving in Chatham, New Brunswick until it was placed in duty as an instructional airframe. This model of fighter can achieve speeds of 973 kilometres per hour.

CH-147D Chinook was originally a USA army helicopter beginning in 1969. The Canadian Government bought it and five others in 2008 to deploy to Kandahar in Afghanistan. It has been part of the museum collection since 2016.

F-18 Hornet. This aircraft is capable of flying at Mach 1.8, 2,200 kilometres per hour at sea level. The one in the museum was put into service in 1982 as a training craft in Cold Lake, Alberta. All training on the Hornet was conducted at Cold Lake. This airplane was donated to the museum in 2009 as part of the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of flight.

The Spitfire Mark IX was one of the primary fighter crafts of the allied forces in the Second World War. It was in service between 1940 and 1950 and could fly at speeds up to 586 kilometres per hour. This example was donated to the museum in 2001.

Ch-118 Iroquois was a combat support unit which performed search and rescue operations. It was in service between 1968 and 1995 when all Iroquois were retired from service. This machine was then used at CFB Borden and then CFB Trenton for aircraft battle damage repair training. It was placed in the museum in 2007.

Code named “Fishbed” by the Allies, this Russian fighter jet was never flown by the Canadian Military. It was officially known as a MiG-21 and was first put into service in 1959 and was able to fly at 2,230 kilometres per hour. The specimen in the museum was put into service in 1975 in East Germany. After German Unification in 1990 it was soon withdrawn from service and was donated to the Canadian Government in 1993. It has been in the museum collection since then.

The CF-116A Freedom Fighter in the museum was in service from 1968 to 1995 and entered the museum in 1997. It was used at Cold Lake, Alberta as a tactical fighter and training aircraft. In 1976 it was transferred to the 419 Moose Squadron where it was painted red and white like the Canadian Flag.

This is just a sampling of the 37 aircraft in the museum, several of which are housed in the indoor facility. At some point I would love to spend the time to go through the museum properly and see the full exhibit including all the other memorabilia that is on display.

Related Stories: Downsview Airforce Base

Google Maps Link: National Airforce Museum of Canada

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