Twenty years of Magic:
The CF-101 in Canadian Service

By Bob Pearson

With the cancellation of the Avro Arrow, it was evident that Canada was going to need a new front-line interceptor. Therefore it was no surprise when, in 1961, it was announced that the RCAF was going to purchase 66 McDonnell Voodoos from surplus USAF stocks. The first of these arrived in Canada in November as part of No.425 Sqn (Alouette Sqn). Other units to convert to the CF-101 included Nos. 409 (Nighthawk), 410 (Cougar), 414 (Black Knight) and 416 (Lynx). During their period of service, the Canadian Voodoos went through many changes to their markings. Some of which are illustrated below.

No 409 Sqn RCAF
CFB Comox
January 1965

Initial CF-101s were in overall metal finish with the legend "Royal Canadian Air Force" on the fuselage above the black/red/white flash, the fin flash was the RCAF flag. At first the Canadian Voodoos just changed the former USAF serial to RCAF ones by adding "17" to the final three digits. No. 17392 of No. 409 Sqn exhibits all these traits.

No 416 Sqn RCAF
CFB Chatham

The first change to the Voodoo's markings came with the replacement of the fin flash with the new Canadian flag on February 15, 1965. 17400 is representative of this.

On February 1, 1968, all of Canada's Military was amalgamated into a common command. The legend "Royal Canadian Air Force" was no more, and in its place on the port side was "Canadian Armed Forces" while on the starboard it was in French as "Forces Armees Canadiennes". Around the same time serials were changed to reflect the aircraft type, those of the CF-101 now being in the "101" range instead of "17". One other change was the Maple Leaf in the roundel now became more representative than its earlier incarnation which looked fatter on the bottom and had more points to it - the new one has only three for each arm.

No 409 Sqn CAF
CFB Comox

The next change was to paint the aircraft in an overall light grey (not sure exactly when this came about - but mid 70s is a good guess), the fuselage legend became the single word "Canada", while the roundel on the nose was now flanked by the words "Armed Forces" and "Forces Armees". No 10136 shows all these changes.

No 409 Sqn CAF
CFB Comox
September 1977

During 1977 No 409 Sqn was to receive its standard and it was decided to send a Voodoo to Ottawa to pick it up. To mark the occasion 101012 was painted in the squadron colours and emblem as "HAWK ONE CANADA".

No 425 Sqn CAF

In 1984, the remaining Voodoo squadrons painted one aircraft each to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the RCAF/CAF. 409 Sqn again used the Hawk One Canada markings, this time on 101057, but with the addition of rudder stripes. N0 425 Squadron's contribution rivalled that of 409, with their 101014 being dubbed "LARK ONE CANADA". On the opposite side the name was repeated in French as "ALOUETTE ONE CANADA". The fuselage was covered in tiny yellow "feathers" while the wheel doors were painted to represent talons.

Two other Voodoos were also done up in colourful markings - No 416 Sqn had an overall white Voodoo with black trim and "416" on the tail, and also had a Lynx jumping out of a Maple Leaf on the fuselage.

No 414 Sqn CAF
CFB North Bay

The last colourful Voodoo was destined to also be one of the final two Voodoos to fly in Canada. No 414 (EW) Sqn provided all-weather EW training to other units, and in 1982 58-300 was acquired from the USAF, renumbered as 101067 and given a complete suite of EW instruments. To go along with this, the "Electric Voodoo" was painted in overall black. The official reason given was to be visible as "the enemy" when there was more than one Voodoo about.


Sixty years - The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984: Larry Milberry (ed)
F-101 Voodoo - Detail and Scale: Bert Kinsey
Voodoo - Modern Military Aircraft: Lou Drendal & Paul Stevens

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