Canada and the T-bird
In support of the NATO buildup during the Cold War, Canada undertook to provide training to not only its own
aircrews, but also for several thousand Allied personnel. To provide for the jet training phase of the program,
Canada was initially given twenty T-33A-1LO T-birds by the U.S. government, and loaned an additional ten by the
USAF. These T-birds were later returned to the USAF, or transferred to other NATO countries after the RCAF
standardized on the Canadian-built version of the T-33.
Canada began building its own T-birds in 1951, the first flight taking place on November 27, 1951. Powered by a
5100 lb. thrust Rolls Royce Nene engine, in place of the Allison J-33 fitted to the American version, the
Canadiar-built version was known within the company as the CL-40 but designated T-33A Silver Star Mk.3 by the RCAF,
later renamed CT-133, but was usually referred to simply as the T-bird.
Eventually, a total of 656 Canadair-built T-birds would be delivered to the RCAF, serving in various roles
such as armaments training, photo-recon, pilot training, target tug, ejection seat trials aircraft and
hack. The well-liked aircraft would continue in Canadian service until its retirement in 2004. Canadian-built
T-birds were also operated by the air forces of France, Greece, Portugal, Turkey and Bolivia.
... Read on for a build description ....
Model and photos by Dave Askett.
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