Demonstration Team Celebrates RCAF's 100th Anniversary 

Text and photography by Claude La Freniere
The CF-18 Demonstration Team celebrates 100 years of thriving excellence, the Centennial of the Royal Canadian Air Force, with a special team theme for 2024.
A Legacy of Innovation, Power, Teamwork, and Heritage

April 1, 2024, marked a momentous occasion for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as it commemorated its 100th anniversary as a distinct military element. This milestone provided a unique opportunity to honour the RCAF's rich heritage, recognize the contributions of its exceptional personnel, and build enthusiasm for its bright future.
A CF-18 Demonstration Team's Tribute to a Century of Service

The CF-18 Demonstration Team, proud representatives of Canada and the RCAF, will showcase their aerial artistry at numerous demonstrations throughout 2024. Gracing the skies over 19 locations across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, they will enthrall audiences with their breathtaking manoeuvres and unwavering dedication to excellence.
A Design Born from Passion and Expertise

In anticipation of the 2024 season, an exciting design competition was held, inviting RCAF personnel to submit their creative concepts. The winning design, selected by the RCAF Centennial Planning Team, was envisioned by Corporal-Chef (Cpl) Kevin Kelly of the 10th Technical Applied Instruction Squadron (10 EITA) at 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec.

Cpl Kelly, a native of Quebec City, embarked on his military journey at the age of 16 as a reservist with the Voltigeurs de Québec. He transitioned to the Regular Force in 2006 as an avionics systems technician and currently serves in the 10 EITA's Instruction and Standards Section.
A Vibrant Canvas Honouring the RCAF's Legacy

To commemorate the RCAF's centennial, a unique and colourful design adorns the entire aircraft, meticulously painted by a skilled team of aircraft structural technicians from the 1st Air Maintenance Squadron (4 Wing Cold Lake) in Alberta.
Painted primarily dark blue with red and white accents, the CF-18 Demo's captivating design revolves around four key themes:

Innovation and Technology: Represented by a futuristic and modern interpretation of the RCAF logo on each wing, gears, electronic circuitry, and two motifs painted along the aft fuselage and between the engine intakes. This symbolizes the cutting-edge technology that powers the RCAF's aircraft and enables them to fulfil their missions. The two motifs on the aft fuselage read "RCAF 2024" and "ARC 2024."
Airpower: Emblazoned on the exterior of the port (left) vertical stabilizer are silhouettes of aircraft from the RCAF's fleet. The fighter force is represented by the CF-18 Hornet, maritime aviation by the CH-148 Cyclone, search and rescue by the CC-130 Hercules and CH-146 Griffon, tactical airlift by the CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130 Hercules, and community approach by the CT-144 Tutor.

Teamwork: Illustrated on the exterior of the starboard (right) vertical stabilizer are silhouettes of a non-commissioned member, an officer, and a pilot. To emphasize the RCAF's inclusive approach, generic silhouettes are used, allowing viewers to envision each individual according to the gender and ethnicity that best represents their identity.
The design painted on the starboard stabilizer also pays tribute to the RCAF's heritage and history through silhouettes of aircraft that have played pivotal roles in the RCAF's story. These include:

The CF-100 Canuck, an entirely Canadian-designed and built interceptor fighter that served in the RCAF for nearly 30 years.

The CF-86 Sabre, which served both as a frontline fighter and was flown by the Golden Hawks as an aerial demonstration aircraft from 1959 to 1963.

The C-5 North Star, which was the RCAF's primary choice for supporting troops overseas and delivering humanitarian aid from 1949 to 1963.

The Avro Lancaster, which was used as a wartime bomber and later saw service in search and rescue, maritime patrol, aerial photography, and Arctic patrol roles.
The underside of the aircraft is painted primarily silver, with a large red maple leaf and the RCAF 100th anniversary logo in the center, surrounded by stars on each wing. The Canadian Armed Forces tartan is also painted under the fuselage.
A Centennial Celebration to Inspire Generations

The RCAF Centennial is not merely a commemoration of the past; it is a celebration of the present and a vision for the future. It is an opportunity to inspire the next generation of aviators and to showcase the RCAF's unwavering commitment to safeguarding Canada's skies and contributing to global peace and security.

As the RCAF embarks on its second century of service, it remains steadfast in its dedication to innovation, excellence, and teamwork. The RCAF Centennial serves as a powerful reminder of the remarkable legacy that has been built over the past 100 years and sets the stage for an even brighter future.