CALGARY – It arrived in Calgary Friday morning in pieces – securely strapped onto a flat bed truck. Not much to look at now, but Gerry Morrison remembers flying an F-86 Sabre during the Cold War.
“This was a beautiful airplane to fly – it was a very good turning aircraft,” said Gerry Morrison.
When he heard one was for sale in Reno, Morrison decided to check it out.
“I flew down and spent a day going over the airplane and talking to people, and when I left I wrote a cheque for it,” added the former RCAF pilot.
The air force museum is happy to have the Canadian-made fighter jet. It was instrumental in keeping the Soviets and Warsaw Pact at bay following the second world war. Gerry Morrison flew an F-86 Sabre.
“It was part of the deterrent that prevented them from coming forward and increasing their influence in Europe by having the Canadians and all of the other NATO nations lined up against the border to say, no you don’t.”
“We were constantly defending the freedoms which had been hard won in WWII. So we were defending those freedoms by constantly being prepared, and this F-86 is one of the ultimate manifestations of that preparedness that we had,” said Don Matthews, a former CF-18 pilot and chair of the Air Force Museum of Alberta.
This particular Sabre ended up in the United States where it was converted into a drone and used for missile target practice.
“It’s called ‘Black Cat’ because they fired nine missiles at it.. none of them hit the aircraft,” said Morrison.
Nine lives later the former interceptor has a new mission – to help tell an important story.
“How we defeated communism without starting a nuclear war. It’s a huge victory and Canadians need to know about it,” said Matthews.
“The best military victory is when you don’t have to fight,” he added.