The Tribute

Number 11

Fall 2014

Recently painted CF-5 - Photo by Gary Watson

The Chairman's Message

Contributed by our Chairman of the Board of Directors - Don Matthews

The aircraft shelters have been raised and we will complete final inspection in November. Both the  The CF 104 and  the CF 18 are on site.  Obviously it has been a very busy time and the results are excellent!!

CF-104 846 in the simulated HAS at the museum - Photo by G Watson

Thanks to hard work and perseverance on the part of BMP and Sprung we have pretty much stayed on schedule, working around the monsoons of June, the heat of the 2 month summer and the SNOW of September.  Many thanks to Keith Thomas from BMP,  Mitch Campbell from Sprung and their teams for making this happen.

On the aircraft side, the 104 is looking better every day.  We are thankful to the many companies and individuals who worked with us on the 104.  Our core team of Jim Kulak, Vic Lukatwitski and Marty Doyle continue to impress with their "metal-bending" brilliance as they work hand in glove with Mr 104 -Gary Watson.  Well done gentlemen.

Hornet 719 arrived from  4 Wing Cold Lake on 15 Oct and is ready to become part of the Cold War exhibit

CF-18 719 in front of the simulated Hardened Aircraft Shelter - Photo by Gary Watson

We are still searching for a Sabre and if successful will install it in the Spring of 2015.

Planning has been going on for some time to develop the Ken and Roma Lett Cold War Exhibit once the shelters are built and the aircraft installed in their final positions.  We are taking a phased approach to this challenge and the plan will come as we develop a full awareness of the real gem that has been created here at TMM.

And let's not forget our CF5 - TMM's road sign that shows how to find us.  "It's on Crowchild where the jet is going up."  Freshly cleaned, primed, painted in Cold War colours and sealed, CF5 #707 is ready for many more years of marking our place in Calgary.  Great job by Jason at Color Shift - appreciated. Check out the new look here: 

As well as keeping up our administration and liaison for all of this work,  we (the volunteers and our curator Alison) have also had a part in the following:

a.            Completed  work on the Search and Rescue Display that replaced  the Korean War display.

b.          Continued the rebuild of the  complete audio visual network that operates the multiple video and interactive displays in the Museum.  This is going well and needs to be operating smoothly before we take the next IT step with the Ken and Roma Lett Cold War Exhibit.

c.        Extensive work, discussions and negotiations on the Cold War Exhibit  resulted in the Cold War Exhibit being designated as property of the Air Force Museum of Alberta.

d.            Tendered an RFP on the Cold War exhibits development.  We will continue assessing the options available until the two shelters and three aircraft have been under our control for a period of time to better assess what needs to be done.

e.            We continue with an active presence on Facebook - Thanks Gary!

f.            Funded plans are being developed to improve the visual impact of the Lancaster Bomb Bay display.

g.            AGM held on June 3rd.

h.           Golf Tournament held in August. A good time was had by all in spite of the inclement weather. Thank you to the organizing committee and all those who golfed.  This is a big fund raiser for us and your support is greatly appreciated.

i.        This year several of our members and friends of the Air Force Museum Society welcomed 2014 while working at the Elbow River Casino.  The board and several members of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association provided the corps of working members to service our Casino on December 30/31, 2013.

As you can see it has been a very active time and I want to thank all of our volunteers, board members and hosts for their hard work and dedication. The day to day business of the Society does not stop when we take on these mega projects and I am thankful that our team is so dedicated and capable.  A special thank you to Jim Powell for his day to day presence in the office.  Couldn't do this without him.

This brings me to my last point.  The Ken and Roma Lett Cold War Exhibit will need more volunteers to act as hosts and guides.  The exhibit must have someone from the Society in the  shelters to extend hospitality, keep a safe and secure environment and to provide information on the Cold War. So, if you have Cold War experience under your belt or you just feel that it would be a great place to volunteer please let us know.  Training is provided.

Fifth Annual Air Force Museum Charity Golf Tournament

Seventy two avid golfers were treated to cool wet weather while participating in our fifth annual tournement held at SilverWing golf course on 20 August. Eleven of the eighteen foursomes completed 18 holes while seven teams bowed out early because of the inclement weather. Despite the angry storm gods, everyone enjoyed the day which was topped off with a superb beef dinner served up by the SilverWing kitchen staff. After dinner a live aution was held and tickets were drawn for door prizes and for the raffle. Winners of the raffle were: First prize ( two tickets anywhere WestJet flies) - Ashley Emery; second prize ($500) - Pat Sulek; third prize ($200)Junior McCoy

Winners of the team golf prizes were: Low gross - Mike McLeod, Ian Swift, Paul Mullen and Ken Lloyd; First low net - Phil Sprung, Jim Avery, Ken Carr and Dave Dyer; Second low net - Brian Moore, Tom Zuarro, Hugo Potts and Matthew Potts; Third low net - Ed McGillivray, Randy Shaw, John Hutt and Dean Buckland.

Our thanks go out to all the sponsors and participants who made this tournament such a success. We will clear approximately $15,000 which will be used to offset overhead and exhibit costs at the Air Force Museum.

Food for Thought

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the
university of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the
Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior: "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a Dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from
the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During
those 200 years, these nations always progressed through
the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith; 
From spiritual faith to great courage; 
From courage to liberty; 
From liberty to abundance; 
From abundance to complacency; 
From complacency to apathy; 
From apathy to dependence; 
From dependence back into bondage."


THE LIGHTER SIDE                             
RCAF IDENTITY BRACELET                          
RETURN OF CF-104 #12846 - Part 2                             

Air Force Museum Exhibit Update  

Contributed by Gerry Morrison

This has been a summer to remember at the Air Force Museum of Alberta. Major projects have moved forward at Mach speed. Construction of the two simulated Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) is nearing completion, the CF-104 has been moved from Springbank airport to The Military Museums and the painting of the CF-5 is completed. As well the CF-18 Centennial Hornet has arrived from 4 Wing Cold Lake.

With this activity level it is obvious that we have been busy, but the story is not finished as you will see elsewhere in the newsletter. I will leave the Chairman to expand on the Cold War Exhibit in his column.

The Search and Rescue Exhibit has been up and running for a few months and has received many favourable comments. The exhibit highlights this important role of the RCAF which Canadians tend to take for granted. The exhibit will be in place until early 2015.

The final planning for enhancing the Bomb Bay exhibit is underway. Sound and lights triggered by a motion sensor as one approaches the Bomber Command area of the museum will add a new dimension to the present display. The sound of Merlin engines and air raid sirens, with search lights illuminating the bombers, anti-aircraft detonations and bombs exploding will add realism to the exhibit. We expect the project to be completed before the end of the year.

Also completed is a new graphic display which will tell the story of Group Captain/Colonel Cliff Black, DFC and his “lost and found” identification bracelet. The bracelet will be part of the exhibit and add meaning to this display. A picture of this display is found below in this newsletter

A major task facing the museum is the planning and production of graphics and displays to complement the aircraft in the two simulated HAS. This will be our main focus for the next year. As we move forward our requirement for individuals to volunteer as “HOSTS” to welcome and assist our visitors understand the Cold War will be a challenge. If you have been a “Cold War Warrior”, that is one who served in the Air Force between 1949 and 1989, or are interested in this period of Canada’s history please consider joining our team of volunteers. We will welcome you with open arms and provide the training to become a museum host.

Until the next issue Per Ardua Ad Astra

Curator's Corner

Contributed by our curator Alison Mercer

With our two new Hardened Aircraft Shelters nearing completion, we are on the cusp of moving the first phase of our Cold War exhibit into the new space. It will be developed in stages: this first stage will provide basic Cold War history as well as information about the aircraft themselves. Over the winter, we will refine the content for the next stage, gather applicable images, and start crafting the storyboard.

Our board members and volunteers have been a wealth of information so far. Most served in this period and have been very willing to share their experiences for incorporation into the exhibit. It's been a fantastic learning opportunity. Back in grad school, I spent most of my time analyzing leadership in the Canadian Army during the Second World War and so my knowledge of the Cold War is a bit... rudimentary. But by collaborating with the AFMSA Board and our excellent volunteers, we are piecing together an exhibit that will be entirely unique. I am excited to see it develop over the next year.

Work downstairs continues to plug along. I was joined this spring by Mara Garbutt, a recent graduate of the Greek and Romans Studies Department at the University of Calgary. She has generously volunteered her time to help with the minutiae of collections work. We have recently freed up some extra space in our storage area and will acquire more cabinets to house additional artefacts. Storage is always a primary challenge for museums. Potential donations have to be vetted first - do they fit the museum's collection mandate? Do we have similar pieces already? As the years pass, our collection grows and our space must be planned accordingly.

Recently, we acquired the collection of D.D Bergie, a Cold War-era pilot, who enlisted in 1951. He went on to fly Sabres, T-33s, CF-104s, and CF-5s. By the time Bergie retired in 1977, he had flown 4,840 hours. Many thanks to Patricia Bergie for donating her father's materials.

Don Bergie during his CF-104 days

The Directors & Staff

Matthews, Don - Chairman of the Board of Directors

Gerwing, Michelle - Secretary

Morrison, Gerry - Past Chairman & Exhibit Chairman

Nixon, Kenn - Casino and website

Powell, Jim - Treasurer.

McGillivray, Ed - Vice Chairman & Fund Raising .

Mercer, Alison - Curator
Tel: 403-410-2340 Ext 2661

Watson, Gary - Video Displays & Project 846

Todd, Gordon - Membership & Newsletter Editor   

Ricketts, Michael - Director at large

Norrie, Gordon - Director at large 

Norrie, Don - Researcher

The Lighter Side

A senior citizen drove his brand new Corvette convertible out of the dealership. Taking off down the road he floored it to 130 kmph enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left. Amazing he thought as he flew down the highway, pushing the gas pedal even more. Looking in his rear view mirror he saw a police car behind him - lights flashing and siren blaring. He floored it to 150 kmph, then 170, then 190. Suddenly he thought " What am I doing? I am too old for this" and pulled over to await the policeman's arrival. Pulling in behind him the officer walked up to the Corvette looked at his watch and said "Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a good reason for speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go." The old gentleman paused - then said "Years ago my wife ran off with a policeman and I thought you were bringing her back." "Have a good day" replied the officer.

Editor's Note: The above picture depicts the Clifford Black Identity Bracelet exhibit that is currently located in our Air Force Museum. The square outlined in the bottom centre is where the actual bracelet is located.


Return of an iconic RCAF fighter to Alberta (Part 2 of 2 - Part 1 appeared in the Spring issue of Tribute)

Contributed By Gary Watson, Director of Project 846

The F-104 Starfighter was designed conceived and built by the legendary aircraft designer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, chief engineer at the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation’s “Skunk Works” in Burbank, California. It is a high performance single-engine jet interceptor that was designed to counter the threat of Soviet nuclear-equipped Bombers. Korean War pilots had asked for a new fighter to replace the F-86 Sabres, Lockheed proposed the F-104 as a small high-speed fighter interceptor. The Starfighter was the first fighter capable of sustained flight at speeds in excess of Mach 2. It simultaneously held both altitude and world speed records. In Canada, the Starfighter holds the Canadian altitude record. In 1967, as a centennial project, Wing Commander R.A. White flew aircraft 12700 (actually a lighter F-104C) to a Canadian record height of 100,110 feet on December 14, 1967.

The aircraft has several unique design features such as a small-thin wing with sharp leading edges that were canted down 10 degrees to improve stability. The General Electric J-79 turbojet engine had the highest thrust to weight ratio of any contemporary engine and its small cross-section provided the ideal engine for the aircraft. The avionics included the latest in inertial navigation and radar. First flown in 1954, only one year after receiving a contract from the USAF, the aircraft had limited acceptance by the US military as they had moved away from the fear of manned bombers to that of intercontinental ballistic missile threats and decided the F-104 was not the aircraft they wanted for their air superiority role. As a result, the US Forces reduced their initial order from 722 and only 155 saw US service.

However in 1959, Canada had cancelled the CF-105 Arrow program and was looking for a replacement for their aging F-86 Sabres and the Starfighter was determined to be the best choice. The CF-104 was an upgraded version of the earlier F-104A with a higher thrust J-79 manufactured under license by Orenda Aircraft Canada. An order for 200 CF-104s (at a price of $1.90 million each) was placed with Canadair Aircraft, Montreal, Quebec who would build them under license from Lockheed. An additional 38 two-seater CF-104Ds were ordered directly from Lockheed in California. Following Canada’s lead, many NATO countries purchased the F-104G which was a heavier model that had won the NATO competition for a fighter–bomber and the aircraft eventually served with the air forces of fifteen nations. A total of 2,578 Starfighters were built and the last operational users were the Italian Air Force who retired them in 2004 – 50 years since their first flight, truly a remarkable career for the fighter.

825 and 759 in Sardinia 1968 with the practise bomb-dispenser - photo by Gary Watson

The Starfighter also has fostered a fan base of thousands which is truly international and multi-generational in scope many, who as children, have only seen the aircraft in flight.

Significant facts about the CF-104 Starfighter:


Length 54’9” (16.687 m)

Wingspan 21’ 11” (6.679m)

Height 13’ 6”(4.19m)

Fuel and Weight

Fuel load in Recce Version (mains and tips) 1,132 Imperial gallons (5,146 Litres)

Operational Take-off weight approximately 26,500 lbs (12,020 Kg)


Orenda Canada (GE licensed) J-79-OEL7 producing 10,000 lbs thrust at 100% power or 15,800 lbs with afterburner. This was the most advanced fighter jet engine of its day. If left in afterburner it could consume all the fuel onboard in 17 minutes.


A single Vulcan M61 multi-barrel 20 mm cannon with 725 rounds firing at 6,000 rounds per minute (approx. 7.25 seconds of shooting).

External weapons consisted of a US-controlled nuclear weapon. The thermonuclear bomb was more powerful than the total tonnage carried by more than 100 Lancaster bombers during World War II. During the ground attack role an assortment of conventional weapons were carried.

Additionally 2 squadrons were equipped with the Vinton Vicom reconnaissance camera pod carrying four 70mm high speed film cameras.


A clean CF-104 (with no external tanks) could go from a standing start takeoff to 35,000 feet and Mach 2.0 ­­­in 6 minutes.

Top speed:                   Mach 2.0 (1,452 mph; 2,336 (Kmh) (approx.)
Rate of Climb:            up to 48,000 feet per minute