Early History of the RCAF
The Air Force Museum of Alberta chronicles the story of Canada’s Air Force through artefacts, models and interactive displays. The Royal Canadian Air Force was founded in April 1924, and continues in its modern role, continuing the magnificent legacy of Canada’s war-time contributions.
In the First World War Canadian airmen served with the British Royal Flying Corps, and later with the Royal Air Force (RAF). Of these men, 192 emerged as "aces," each having destroyed more than five enemy aircraft. "Billy" Bishop and William Raymond Collishaw topped this list, becoming household names that remain familiar to us a century later.
Second World War
When the Second World War broke out, the RCAF had a total strength of only 300 officers and 2,750 men. By 1943, Canada had its own group within Bomber Command of the RAF, which consisted of fifteen squadrons, flying Lancasters, Halifaxes and Wellingtons. The Bomber Command exhibit retells the story of No. 6 (RCAF) Group and features reproductions of aircraft nose-art painted on original aircraft exteriors.
The museum also includes a tribute to Sydney Shulemson, DSO, DFC, who developed a systematic unguided rocket attack for sinking ships that was used until the invention of laser guided rockets.
The Cold War
With the development of NORAD and NATO, the Cold War saw Canada look to the defence of its northern boundaries. In addition, as part of the nation’s commitment to these alliances, the RCAF deployed operational squadrons to Europe.
Two new hangars on the grounds of The Military Museums (TMM) are home to a CF-18 Hornet, a CF-104 Starfighter, and a F-86 Sabre Jet fighter. The hangars and these Cold War Era fighters are part of a new exhibit that pay tribute to the Canadians who stood ready to defend Canada throughout the Cold War.
The Modern Era
Today, the Canadian Air Force (CAF) fulfills a variety of tasks. View actual footage of day-to-day operations in our theatre, designed to look like the interior of a Hercules aircraft, and learn about fighter pilot training programs at Cold Lake.
Whether through artefacts, models and interactive displays, the museum has something to offer everyone. Come and see a piece of the Red Baron’s plane, view the uniform worn by Wilfrid ‘Wop’ May, and view exclusive movies about Canadian bomber squadrons.