Edmonton·Video

Canadian military's new CF-18 design honours war effort

Canada is saying “thank you” to 130 communities across the country, with a new design on its performance jets.

Air Force pays tribute to Canada’s Second World War contributions with design unveiled at Cold Lake

Artwork on a demonstration CF-18 to be used in airshows across Canada highlights the role Canada played in training pilots. 1:41

The Canadian military is saying "thank you" to 130 communities across the country, with a new design on its performance jets commemorating the air training program begun during the Second World War.

The Royal Canadian Air Force unveiled its new theme in Cold Lake, Alta., for the 2016 CF-18 Hornet demonstration jet on Tuesday.

The jet features colours, patterns, and drawings symbolic of this country's air training program that sprung up in the Second World War.

"The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) came around in the darkest days of the world, in 1939," said James Belliveau, design director for the CF-18 demonstration team.

"Germany had invaded Poland. There was war breaking out in Asia. And we started a multi-front war over the next two or three years."

Canada opened 234 flight training centres in 130 communities under the training plan. Each community's name is listed on the jet's new design.

The jet also features striking yellow wings, the colour of the primary aircraft used during the program, a black fuselage signifying the "darkest days" of World War II, and a red line for what he calls the "life line" of Canadian people towards the war effort.

"All these bases sprung out of nowhere within a very short period of time," Belliveau said.

"It was a tremendous, amazing effort and it actually benefited the world. Winston Churchill called Canada the aerodrome of democracy. A very important time for Canada."

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