The 2015 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 Demonstration Team (McDonnell Douglas CF-18A Hornet – jet 761 for this year) is painted in a special livery as a commemoration to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. This livery is like RAF and Commonwealth aircraft such as the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane which were painted in an earth tone and dark green camouflage in the early 1940’s. The appearance of the team at Planes of Fame 2015 was a special one as the airshow was a salute to all veterans.
From the RCAF website: More than 100 Canadians flew in the Battle of Britain (July – Sept 1940), principally as members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) No. 1 Squadron (later renamed 401 Squadron) and the RAF’s 242 “All Canadian” Squadron. An estimated 300 Canadians served as ground crew and 23 Canadians lost their lives fighting in the battle.
The CF-18 has different commemorative tail murals and as an ode to the RAF fighters flown in the Battle of Britain even has gun ports painted on the wing as they would have looked in 1940! The tail murals highlight numerous key events and people related to the battle.
On the left tail fin: World War Two British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, a Canadian pilot in his flying cap and goggles (inspired by a May 1942 RAF photo of Flight Sergeant Georges Nadon, a French-Canadian pilot with No. 122 Squadron), St. Paul’s Cathedral surrounded by smoke during the London Blitz and an iconic Supermarine Spitfire.
On the right tail fin: Flight Lieutenant Gordon Roy MacGregor, No. 1 Squadron who became an air ace during the battle and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery, along with the enemy, a German Luftwaffe Heinkel He-111 bomber over the London dockyards and a Messerschmitt Bf-109E fighter.
The RCAF CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team announced in January 2015 that Captain Denis “Cheech” Beaulieu is the pilot for 2015 and airshow training commenced in earnest for the upcoming season. He is a member of 425 “Alouettes” Tactical Fighter Squadron at 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2006 and became a CF-18 pilot in 2011.
Planes of Fame 2015 was the first official airshow performance for Captain Beaulieu (I found it interesting that it was outside Canada). He did a great job and put on an impressive display showing the maneuverability and speed of the CF-18 well!
RCAF personnel from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec and 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta support the team and they keep the CF-18 in top working order. Well done to the RCAF CF-18 Demo Team, this mighty steed looks fantastic and put on a great show!
I saw the demo on the preview Friday airshow and the official airshow Sunday and was impressed with both flying displays. The take off and immediate barrel roll was something special to see along with a very spirited demonstration at both high and low-speed!
The RCAF CF-18 Demonstration Team was a big highlight of Planes of Fame 2015 and something to really look forward to seeing if you get a chance on the North American airshow circuit. They truly represent the excellence required to keep the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) among the world’s best.