Thursday, June 16, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Today, I saw the departure of “Hawk One”, the only Canadair F86 Sabre aircraft still flying in Canadian skies. For the past three days, the famous fighter aircraft has been on display in the hangar of the Western Canada Aviation Museum, being surrounded and admired by hundreds of interested Manitoba men, women and childred. Many of those attending the event were old members of the RCAF and RAF who either worked on or flew the famous fighter. As it was explained, back in the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties, there were only two kinds of men in the old RCAF . . . those that wanted to fly the Sabre and those that wanted to work on it. Several old members of the RCAF 411 Squadron gathered around to admire the aircraft that had once been part of that squadron. One elderly gentleman, still sporting an distinctive English accent, explained that he had been an Airframe Technician on the Sabres that the RAF had flown in England. Every effort was made by Dan Dempsey, who flew the aircraft, to allow those attending to climb into the cockpit and envision themselves being fighter pilots. He spent many hours explaining the aircraft and it’s history to more than one group of school childred who had been brought to the WCAM as part of a school outing about aircraft and flight. Today, after a slight delay due to weather in nearby Portage La Prairie, Dan was able to make the short flight there and do a practice airshow for aviation students there. Once back, he again displayed the Sabre and then headed off to his next stop in Cold Lake, Alberta, where he will be taking part in this weekend’s airshow.