The Discovery Air Hawk One is a restored F-86 Sabre piloted by former Snowbird commander, Canadian Forces airman and team leader Dan Dempsey. The jet has been painted in the colours of the Golden Hawks, the celebrated Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aerobatic team that last performed in Prince Albert in 1962.
“The Golden Hawks were formed in 1959 to celebrate the golden anniversary of flight in Canada,” Centennial of Flight organizer Bob Spracklin said. “They went on for several years after that performing across Canada, and 50 years ago they performed in Prince Albert.”
Dempsey himself also flew in Prince Albert in 1981 during his first year as a pilot for the Snowbirds, the Canadian military aerobatics (or air show flight demonstration) team.
The Golden Hawks were formed in 1959 to celebrate the golden anniversary of flight in Canada. - Bob Spracklin
Vintage Wings of Canada is the Gatineau, Que.-based charitable organization that maintains and operates the Hawk One. Dempsey and his team are currently on their fourth nation-wide tour to publicize the golden age of Canadian aviation.
“Weather permitting, he’ll be doing a full aerobatic performance,” Spracklin said.
He noted that at the height of the Cold War, the F-86 was the RCAF’s most frequently-operated fighter aircraft, flying both in Canada and overseas throughout the 1950s and ’60s.