RCAF unveils commemorative Canada 150 CF-18
Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 02:30 pm
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is commemorating Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation in its own way, with a 2017 Canada 150 CF-18 Demonstration Hornet.
On Tuesday, April 4, the RCAF unveiled the CF-18 Demonstration Jet during a ceremony held at 4 Wing Cold Lake. In attendance was Cpt. Matthew Kutryk, who will pilot the jet.
“Seeing this incredible jet in person has made me even more motivated to share it with Canadians,” said Kutryk in a release.
He continued, “I hope that this jet will inspire all Canadians to chase their dreams as I did, because that is what Canada is all about.”
Cold Lake’s very own Jim Belliveau, created the design for the jet. However, this isn’t his first time designing an aircraft for RCAF. Prior to his retirement, Belliveau was the graphic designer for the 410 squadron at 4 Wing. Through his work, he was also responsible for the Demonstration Aircraft paint schemes.
“Really any design we have had for the past 20 plus years, he has been the one that has designed it. He has been such a huge part of this,” said Jennifer Halliwell, 2017 CF-18 Canada 150 Demonstration Team public affairs officer. “It just looks incredible.”
She added, seeing the plane for the first time took her breath away.
“I think our pilot, Cpt. Matthew Kutryk, said it best. He said you are almost speechless when you see it, it’s stunning,” Halliwell said. “It’s not just something that is purely military, it is really about the connection to Canadians.”
Belliveau described seeing the plane for the first time as “a great moment.”
The six-week project was completed through a partnership between 3 Wing Bagotville, QC, and 4 Wing Cold Lake.
The local air base provided the hangar space and support throughout the painting of the aircraft, while 3 Wing supplied the jet and technicians.
Col. Darcy Molstad, Commander of 3 Wing Bagotville said, “3 Wing is honoured to provide our aircraft as the 2017 Canada 150 Demonstration Jet.”
“Our talented technicians have outdone themselves, taking what was once a graphic concept on paper and transforming it into an incredible final paint scheme for the CF-18.”
The red and white design incorporates the Canada-150 logo. The logo, which was created by 19-year-old University of Waterloo student Arianna Cuvin, is composed of a series of celebratory gems, which are arranged into the shape of a maple leaf. The four gems at the bottom of the leaf represent the four provinces that formed the Confederation in 1867: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The nine points on the leaf, made up of the same gem shape, symbolize Canada’s other provinces and territories.
Belliveau incorporated the logo into his design, ensuring he integrated not only Canada’s 150th, but also the relationship between Canada and the RCAF by using the traditional grey tones of the CF-18 for gems on the bottom of the logo.
“What we are trying to do is celebrate the anniversary, but also acknowledge the fact that this is first and foremost, an operation aircraft,” Belliveau explained. “This is one of Canada’s defence assets. By bringing in that grey, it honours the tradition, the men and women that run the fighter fleet, and the RCAF in general. We wanted that tie of Canada’s 150 and the men and women working within the RCAF.”
Maj.-Gen. Christian Drouin, Commander of 1 Canada Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region, reflected those sentiments.
“This incredible Canada 150 CF-18 Hornet is a shining example of the teamwork and professionalism that is embodied by the men and women of the RCAF and is just one of the many ways that the men and women of the RCAF are working to honour their rich heritage, and commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada.”
The jet will be featured in the RCAF Demonstration Team tour, which travels across Canada and the United States to connect with people all across North America. The tour stops at air shows to showcase the professionals of the RCAF, and to provide an opportunity for people to ask questions and learn more about the RCAF.
“There will be no doubt during any of our stops this air show season, that this jet represents Canada and the amazing year we are celebrating,” said Kutryk.
Halliwell added, “We are just really excited to celebrate with everyone, and to go down into the United States and let them know that it’s Canada 150 and what we are excited about in our history. I think it will be a great season, and we are just really looking forward to it.”
A full schedule of their tour is available on the RCAF website.