After nearly 50 years, the F86 Sabre jet that has stood sentinel beside the roadway into the Royal Military College (RMC) was grounded this week to start a journey of renewal.
As the first step of a restoration project, the jet was removed from its concrete pedestal, dismantled and loaded onto a flatbed truck for transport to CFB Trenton, where it will be refurbished to the colours and insignia it proudly displayed in the 1950s.
The jet was one of the 1,815 aircraft manufactured by Canadair in Montreal for use by the RCAF and other air forces worldwide. The F86 Sabres remained in service for Canada in Europe until replaced by the CF-104 in 1962.
Originally a gift to RMC by the graduating Class of ’68, the jet’s exterior paint and internal support structure has deteriorated over the years, as has its concrete pedestal. Now, thanks to the kind support of the Class of ’68 and the expertise and labour of the Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) in Trenton, the jet will soon look as it did when it was part of Canada’s contribution to NATO during the Korean and cold wars.
ATESS will undertake the restoration project as a training opportunity -- making any needed repairs to the airframe, restoring the paint, and ensuring the F86 Sabre returns safely to where it belongs -- its perch overlooking the Cataraqui River at RMC. Meanwhile, RMC’s Civ Eng students will put their expertise to use assessing the state of the support pedestal.
She will lead the life of a hangar queen for the next year or so, but soon enough, the F86 will be cleared for take-off to once again slip the surly bonds.