BC Aviation Museum acquires historic Cold War fighter jet

BC Aviation Museum acquires historic Cold War fighter jet

A Canadair Ltd. CF-104 Starfighter will be the newest addition to the BC Aviation Museum’s hangar.

The historical aircraft was produced in 1962 and based at RCAF Cold Lake, Alberta. The plane is one of 200 like it in the world and the third found in B.C. The Starfighter was optimized for a low-level nuclear strike role in the Cold War.

The aircraft was then flown into storage at CFB Mountain View in June of 1983. It relocated to the Comox Military Museum in 1991, where it remained on display until being donated to the BC Aviation Museum.

The Starfighter was the first aircraft to simultaneously hold world records for speed, altitude, and time-to-climb. It was widely touted as “a missile with a man in it”.

“This very aircraft has flown to mach 2.4 on a test flight in Cold Lake, which is 2,900 kilometers per hour,” said Dan Dempsey, a retired pilot with the Canadian Forces.

The aircraft has a 21-foot wingspan which makes the oversized load a little more challenging to move. The aircraft was transported strictly at night. It left Comox Wednesday and had one overnight layover in Nanaimo. It’s expected to arrive in North Saanich early Friday morning.

“The Starfighter is an iconic aircraft from the 60s and 70s and it will be a really important and really impressive addition to the museum,” said Steve Nichol, the President of the BC Aviation Museum.

The last Starfighters were withdrawn from Canadian Forces service in 1986 and replaced by the CF-18 Hornet.

“The Starfighter is an iconic plane, any fighter pilot would love to fly the Starfighter. There’s almost 800 of us between the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Forces in about a 25 year timeline that actually flew this airplane,” said Dempsey.

Once it arrives at the Museum it will be on display Monday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Hannah LepineHannah Lepine

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