It was once a key piece of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Now, it sits in deterioration outside the Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary.
Taking to the skies in January 1950, the Avro CF-100 Canuck began operations with the Canadian military and NATO.
While the Canuck wasn’t the fastest of the contemporary fighter jets deployed around the world, the twin-engine aircraft had all-weather capabilities: perfect for defending the country in the extreme conditions of Canada’s northern borders during the Cold War.
“The CF-100 was really the first fighter jet that was designed, built and became operational in Canada.” Hangar Flight Museum board member Gord Lowe said “It was really the backbone of the RCAF for more than a decade.”
Fast-forward nearly 70 years, and one of the remaining models of this Canadian relic sits in decay, braving the elements because they don’t have room to store the aircraft inside.
Riddled with rusted out holes and peeling paint, there is concern the planes wings won’t last much longer and its landing gear may collapse.
“It’s seriously deteriorated,” Lowe said. “To the point where we know we have to do something in the short term.”
Now, museum officials are asking the City of Calgary for help, since the city technically owns the Cold War-era artifact.
“What we need to do, initially, is at least get the aircraft inside and out of the elements. Beyond that, the ultimate goal would be to have it restored to full display condition,” Lowe said.
The repairs are expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A recent report at a city committee shows the museum is strapped for cash, making it difficult to grow operations.
“We will be starting a fundraising campaign, a capital campaign in the very near future,” Lowe said. “Our goal is to build a restoration and display space.”
The museum hopes the new space will help with the condition of the aircraft while expanding the museum.
In the meantime, the museum and the city are working together to develop a plan. There is no word on when any financial decisions will be made.
While the plane will never fly again, Lowe hopes it’ll be restored to what it once was before it’s too late.
“It’s part of our aviation history, it’s part of our military aviation history, it’s part of our engineering and design culture in aviation in Canada.”
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