To the Stars – Fuelled by Legacy
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2014.
Our story tells of the men and women who have had the guts, determination and vision to serve Canada in the aviation arm of its Armed Forces, from the earliest years until today.
Since its inception in 1924, the RCAF has played a leading role on the world stage as a multi-purpose, combat-capable force that fulfills a variety of domestic and international commitments. Since the Second World War, during which time it grew to be the fourth largest air force in the world, the RCAF has proved to be a leader in aviation as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and as an active partner of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for the continental air defence of North America.
During its 90 years of existence, the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force – and the organizations that preceded it – contributed to two world wars, the Korean War, the Gulf War and more. During our most recent air combat mission, Operation Mobile, the RCAF contributed fighters and other aircraft that flew 1,539 sorties over Libya enforcing a no-fly zone in order to protect its civilians and civilian-populated areas.
The 2014 CF-18 Demo Pilot, Captain Adam “Manik” Runge, along with Canada’s other fighter pilots, today carry on the tradition of courage, pride and professionalism established by Canadians who distinguished themselves as fighter pilots in the First and Second World Wars and in the years that followed.
Fighter pilots like Wing Commanders James “Stocky” Edwards and William George Barker, Flying Officer George Frederick ‘Buzz’ Beurling, Flight Lieutenant Charles W. “Charley” Fox and, more recently, Canadian astronauts Colonel Chris Hadfield and Major Jeremy Hanson have all contributed to propelling the reputation of the RCAF into the stratosphere and beyond.
Whether working with other government departments, supporting humanitarian missions, flying dangerous missions to save Canadians or supporting Canadian Armed Forces operations at home and around the world, our airmen and airwomen are professional, capable and ready.
From humble but distinguished beginnings, progressing through the amazing developments in powered flight and all the way into space, the RCAF will continue to embrace its motto, Sic Itur Ad Astra, reaching towards the stars – fuelled by our extraordinary legacy.
To learn more about the RCAF’s proud 90-year history, see the online edition of On Windswept Heights at www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca