Cold War-era fighter jet finds new home in Calgary

The aircraft — known as the T-Bird — made its way to Calgary from a museum in Cold Lake, Alta., and joins the current collection at the Air Force Museum of Alberta.

CT-133 Silver Star joins other jets on display at Air Force Museum of Alberta

Crews unload Calgary museum's newest Cold War era jet

3 months ago
Duration 1:47
One of the first planes to usher the Royal Canadian Air Force into the jet era now has a permanent home in Calgary. The Canadair CT-133 Silver Star trained many Canadian pilots for more than five decades and is now part of a Cold War exhibit at the Air Force Museum of Alberta.

A Cold War-era jet aircraft — known as the T-Bird — has made its way to Calgary from Cold Lake, Alta., finding a new home at the Air Force Museum of Alberta.

The Canadair CT-133 Silver Star is joining the museum's Cold War Exhibit. 

The T-Bird, or T-33, was in service with the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Forces for more than five decades. Its roles ranged from advanced pilot training to transport.

Calgary's newly arrived jet had been on display at a museum in Cold Lake. 

Bob Wade, a retired air force pilot and a former member of the Snowbirds, flew the T-Bird and believes the jet will add another element in efforts to educate people about the era and aviation.

"We're volunteers, it's not-for-profit, and we do it because it's an important story that we want the public to recognize," Wade said. 

The newest addition to the Alberta Air Force Museum was placed onto a temporary spot just outside the museum's Cold War Exhibit. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Volunteers with the Air Force Museum Society of Alberta are hopeful the aircraft can serve as another teaching tool about that period of history and the Canadian veterans who served.

The T-Bird joins a collection of other Cold War-era fighters, including a CF-18 Hornet, a CF-104 Starfighter, and an F-86 Sabre Jet fighter on display in the hangars.

That display, and the jets, are part of an exhibit that describes the history of the period and Canada's contribution to NORAD and NATO.

The exhibit also pays tribute to the many Canadians who fought for Canada throughout the era.

Ed McGillivray was among those who showed up to mark the aircraft's arrival.

Volunteer Bob Wade said the jet will help educate people about the Cold War. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

"We have to make sure that the people of Canada know about the contribution that was made by the Royal Canadian Air Force," said the retired Royal Canadian Air Force brigadier-general.

"This is part and parcel of that history."

Museum society volunteers say they are working on plans to expand the exhibit and are looking to acquire two more aircraft as part of that initiative.


Omar Sherif is a journalist with CBC Calgary covering evenings and weekends. He can be contacted by email at

With files from Dave Gilson


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