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Anniversaries in 2023
Selected Events in Canadian Aerospace History

25th Anniversary (1998):

17 Apr - 03 May 1998. Mission Specialist Dr. Dave R. Williams becomes the seventh Canadian astronaut in space and the first non-American medical officer on a space shuttle mission when he joins six crewmates for mission STS-90/Neurolab, the last mission on the Spacelab module, in the cargo bay of Shuttle Columbia.

30th Anniversary (1993):

Jun 1993. Space Agency headquarters completed in Saint-Hubert (Longueuil), Quebec. The design evokes the space station. The building houses the astronaut training facilities, the RADARSAT Mission Control Room, the MOC (MSS Operation Centre) and labs devoted to life sciences, robotics, space systems, optics, and computer technology. In 1996, the building is officially designated as the John H. Chapman Space Centre, commemorating the scientist Canadians consider the father of their space program.

50th Anniversary (1973):

20 Apr 1973. Launch of Anik A2, Canada's second communications satellite. Anik A2 is launched to bring network radio, TV and improved telephone services to Canadians living in the North.

60th Anniversary (1963):

Jan 1963. The Canadian Aviation Historical Society was formed and issued its first journal.

11 Oct 1963. The Boeing Vertol CH-113 Voyageur helicopter entered RCAF service.

29 Oct 1963. The Canadair CT-114 Tutor jet trainer entered RCAF service.

31 Dec 1963. The DHC-2 Mk. 3 Turbo Beaver prototype was test flown at Downsview, Ontario by R.H. Fowler.

75th Anniversary (1948):

17 Jan 1948. The first DH.100 Vampire Mk. 3 in Canada made its first flight from Downsview, Ontario. It was turned over to the RCAF a few days later.

23 Jan 1948. The RCAF commenced taking delivery of the DH.100 Vampire Mk. 3, the first jet fighter to enter RCAF squadron service.

08 Feb 1948. The RCAF Flyers hockey team won the Olympic gold medal and World's Amateur Ice Hockey championship during the Olympic Winter Games in Switzerland.

17 Mar 1948. The first Canadian jet engine was run successfully. The Chinook, designed and built by the Engine Division of Avro Canada Ltd, was tested at Malton, Ontario.

23 Mar 1948. The RCN aircraft carrier HMCS Warrior was paid off and returned to the Royal Navy. HMCS Warrior was replaced by HMCS Magnificent on 07 Apr 1948, which arrived with the first batch of Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 fighter aircraft to replace the RCN's Supermarine Seafire Mk. XVs flown by No. 803 and No. 883 Squadrons.

01 Apr 1948. Air Transport Command was formed.

20 May 1948. George F. Beurling, top-scoring Canadian fighter pilot of the Second World War, was killed in an aircraft accident at Rome, Italy.

16 Jun 1948. S/L Stan Broadbent crashed his de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk. 3 (Serial No. 17009) into Lake Ontario, becoming the first RCAF jet casualty.

10-13 Sep 1948. The NRC tailless glider made a 3700 km (2,300 mile) towed flight from Namao, Alberta to Arnprior, Ontario via Winnipeg, Chicago and Toronto, piloted by F/L C.F. Phripp and F/L G.A. Lee and towed by an RCAF Douglas Dakota.

12 - 24 Sep 1948. The RCAF and the USAF carried out a search for a missing RN aircraft with RN and USN Naval attaches on board which was lost on a flight from Churchill to The Pas, Manitoba. The RCAF found and rescued the missing men.

15 Oct 1948. No. 403 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was formed at Calgary Alberta. On 3 Sep 1952 it was titled No. 403 "City of Calgary" (Fighter Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary). On 16 Nov 1953 it was redesignated No. 403 "City of Calgary" (Fighter) Squadron (Auxiliary). The squadron flew North American Harvard Mk. II, North American Mustang Mk. IV fighters, and the Canadair Silver Star Mk. 3.

19 Nov 1948. Fairey Aviation Co of Canada was established and took over the facilities of the Clark-Ruse Aircraft Company at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

01 Dec 1948. No. 410 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec. The squadron was the first post-war Regular Force fighter unit, the first to fly the de Havilland Vampire Mk. III, the Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 and Mk. V. It was the first unit to join No. 1 (Fighter) Wing of No. 1 Air Division Europe.

80th Anniversary (1943):

01 Jan 1943. No. 6 (RCAF) Group assumed operational status at 0001 hours. Under the command of Air Vice Marshall G.E. Brookes, the group was initially comprised of six RCAF bomber squadrons located aft four stations with No. 427 Squadron at Croft, No. 428 Squadron at Dalton, No. 425 and No. 426 Squadrons at Dishforth, and No. 419 and No. 420 Squadrons at Middleton St. George. No. 408 Squadron at Leeming joined the group on 2 Jan 1943, and No. 424 Squadron at Leeming joined the group on 3 Jan 1943.

01 Jan 1943. No. 430 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, "City of Sudbury", was formed at Hartford Bridge, Hampshire, England as the RCAF's 30th (3rd and last) AC squadron formed overseas. On 28 Jun 1943 it was redesignated No. 430 (Fighter Reconnaissance) Squadron. This unit flew Curtiss Tomahawk Mk. I and II, North American Mustang Mk. I and Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk. XIV fighters on air intelligence work, carrying out photographic reconnaissance for Allied invasion planners and before-and-after photographs of air attacks on German "No-ball" V-1 flying bomb launch sites.

01 Jan 1943. The RCAF badge was approved by HM the King.

13 May 1943. F/L J Musgrave and crew of a Short Sunderland W6006 of No. 423 Squadron attacked and sunk German submarine U-753 (shared with HMCS Drumheller and HMS Lagan).

16-17 May 1943. No. 617 (RAF) Squadron, led by W/C GP Gibson (RAF), breached the Mohne and Eder Dams in the German Ruhr. Twenty-nine of the 133 men in the attack were members of the RCAF and seven of them were decorated.

Jun 1943. The first four-engine civil aircraft was registered in Canada, a British-built Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. III, CF-CMS, operated on Transatlantic service by Trans-Canada Air Lines.

13 Jun 1943. No. 434 (Bomber) Squadron was formed at RAF Tholthorpe, England on 13 June 1943. It was initially equipped with the Handley Page Halifax Mk. V. On 13 Aug 1943 it flew its first operational sortie, a bombing raid across the Alps to Milan, Italy. In May 1944 the unit received Halifax Mk. IIIs to replace its Mk. Vs.

23 Jun-01 Jul 1943. First Transatlantic glider flight: A Waco CG4A, co-pilot S/L FM Gobeil (RCAF) was towed from Montreal, PQ to Prestwick, Scotland, in stages by a Douglas C-47 Dakota piloted by F/L WS Longhurst, a Canadian in the RAF.

11-12 Jul 1943. F/O JH Turnbull, a Canadian in No. 600 Squadron (RAF), flying a Bristol Beaufighter, destroyed three Junkers Ju 88 bombers in a night interception over Sicily.

22 Jul 1943. The first regular Canadian transatlantic air service was inaugurated, operated by Trans-Canada Air Lines for the Canadian Government using one Avro Lancaster Mk. III for freight/mail service and priority passengers and nine 10-passenger Avro 691 Lancastrian aircraft for freight/mail service and priority passengers from 1943 to 1947.

28-29 Jul 1943. No. 6 (RCAF) Group despatched over 200 bombers for the first time on an attack on Hamburg, Germany. 22 bombers did not return.

29 Jul 1943. The Canadian prototype of the Curtiss Helldiver, designated SBW-1, was test flown at Fort William, ON.

01 Aug 1943. The prototype Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. X was test flown at Malton, Ontario by EH Taylor and crew, the aircraft was later christened "Ruhr Express" on 6 Aug.

04 Aug 1943. F/L AA Bishop and crew of a Short Sunderland of No. 423 Squadron sank the German submarine U-489. The Sunderland was shot down by the submarine; five crew members were lost and six saved.

07 Sep 1943. P/O EM O'Donnell and crew of a Vickers Wellington of No. 407 Squadron sank the German submarine U-669 to the west of the Bay of Biscay.

15 Sep 1943. First Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. X arrived in England after a transatlantic delivery flight.

25 Sep 1943. No. 433 Squadron was formed at RAF Skipton-on-Swale, but was without aircraft for nearly two months until it was equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk. III.

Sep 1943. No. 404 Squadron converts to the Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk. XIC, becoming the first and only Canadian Torbeau squadron.

08 Oct 1943. F/L AH Russell and crew of a Short Sunderland of No. 423 Squadron sank the German submarine U-610 in the North Atlantic.

06 Nov 1943. Spilsbury and Hepburn Ltd, Vancouver, BC, purchased YKC-S, CF-AWK and started flying operations on what later became Queen Charlotte Airlines Ltd.

On 18 Nov 1943, No. 118 (F) Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario. Initially equipped with Hawker Hurricanes, this unit was the first of six home squadrons transferred overseas in preparation for the invason of Europe. On 18 Nov 1943, the squadron was redesignated No. 438 (Fighter Bomber) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England, flying the Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV and the Hawker Typhoon Mk. IB.

10 - 11 Dec 1943. F/O RD Schultz, No. 401 Squadron, flying a DH.98 Mosquito, destroyed three Dornier Do 217 bombers in a night interception sortie.

1943. Construction of Abbotsford Airport (CYXX) in Abbotsford, British Columbia, was completed as a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) base and was initially home to No. 24 Elementary Flying Training School (24 EFTS).

100th Anniversary (1923):

01 Jan 1923. The National Defence Act takes effect, creating the Department of National Defence. The Air Board ceases to exist, and the Canadian Air Force (CAF), Department of Naval Service and Department of Militia and Defence now fall under the new Department of National Defence (DND).

15 Feb 1923. King George V approves the prefix "Royal" for the CAF.

19 Mar 1923. The RCAF adopts the blue-grey RAF uniform.

23 Apr 1923. The CAF motto, Sic itur ad astra (Such is the pathway to the stars), is replaced by the new RCAF motto, Per ardua ad astra (Through adversity to the stars), which is borrowed from the RAF. The CAF does not make formal application to use the motto, however, until the summer of 1928.

Jun 1923. Canadian Vickers ventured into aircraft manufacturing when it won a contract to supply Vickers Viking flying boats to the recently formed Canadian Air Force. Between 1923 and 1944, Canadian Vickers produced over 400 aircraft, some of which were original Vickers' designs while the remainder were other manufacturers' designs built under license.

A Full Listing of Historical Events in Canadian Aerospace History may be found here:

RCAF and Canadian aviation history Part One: 1909 - Aug 1939
Illustrated chronology of RCAF and Canadian Aviation events from 1909 to 1939.

RCAF and Canadian aviation history Part Two: Sep 1939 - Dec 1945
Illustrated chronology of RCAF and Canadian Aviation events from 1946 to present.

RCAF and Canadian aviation history Part Three: 1946 - 1950
Illustrated chronology of RCAF and Canadian Aviation events from 1946 to present.

RCAF and Canadian aviation history Part Four: 1951 - Present
Illustrated chronology of RCAF and Canadian Aviation events from 1946 to present.

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