Historic Canuck to be Revived

Story and photos by John Chalmers,
CAHS Membership Secretary

00Anyone visiting the small Alberta city of Wetaskiwin (pop. 13,000) can’t miss seeing the historic and preserved water tower that is the city’s predominant landmark. Built in 1906-07, the 150-foot high tower is Canada’s oldest functioning municipal water tower.

Like the water tower, aviation is an important aspect of Wetaskiwin. Dozens of small hangars are located at the city’s airport, and the runways are active with light aircraft. Adjacent to the airport is the Reynolds-Alberta Museum with its large collection of historical aircraft and home to Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

At the airport are the facilities of Historic Aviation Services, Inc. (HASI), operated by Byron Reynolds. He is a nephew of the late Stan Reynolds, an RCAF pilot of Beaufighters and Mosquitos during the Second World War. Stan’s vast collection of farm machinery, automobiles and aircraft comprised the basis of the museum that bears his name. He was installed as member of the Order of Canada in 2000, and became a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009. Byron has been involved for many years in bringing life back to historic aircraft through restoration. Most recently, the RCAF Hawker Hurricane at Calgary’s Hangar Flight Museum was restored under his direction and made its debut at the museum in November 2019. (See “A Hurricane Comes Home” in the CAHS online newsletter of December 2019)

01HASI now has another aircraft from The Hangar Flight Museum at the facility for restoration. It is an Avro CF-100 Canuck, at left, on display for decades outdoors in Calgary, with weather taking its toll. Moved to Wetaskiwin in November 2019, the jet aircraft is now dismantled for rejuvenation. It is expected to be returned to its home in the summer of 2023 after restoration.

“We are excited to preserve this aircraft for future generations,” says Museum executive director, Brian Desjardins, who saw an immediate response to a call last year for funding to restore the aircraft. “It was amazing to see donations come from all across Canada and funding support from the City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta. We raised $400,000 in less than a year!” The aircraft is owned by the City of Calgary, which contributed $240,000. The Government of Alberta provided $25,000, and individual donations totalled $135,000. Of the funds raised, most will go towards restoration and $40,000 is to be spent on a new exhibit telling the story of the CF-100.

02CF-100s began service with the RCAF in 1953 and continued in service with the Canadian Armed Forces until 1981. Powered by twin Orenda jet engines, the CF-100 is the only Canadian-designed fighter to enter mass production, and served as a well-armed interceptor/fighter aircraft capable of supersonic flight in a dive. Calgary’s Canuck is #18126.

Byron Reynolds, seen above at far right, welcomed visitors from The Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary to his shops on September 29 to see progress on the restoration of the museum’s CF-100. In the foreground is a plexiglass panel from the Canuck’s cockpit.

03Shown with both wings of the CF-100 is Byron Reynolds’ son, Ted, who removed the wings from the aircraft prior to it being transported to Wetaskiwin. Named for his great-grandfather, Ted is fourth generation in the family to be involved in aviation. An aircraft built and flown by Ted’s great-grandfather hangs suspended in display at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. The appearance of the Canucks’ wings belies their actual condition, as weathering and corrosion necessitate that new skins be installed.


Hidden art scratched into the primer of a wing was revealed when a section of the outer skin was removed! Created by an unknown worker who helped build the aircraft, this artistic gem will go back into hiding when new exterior skin is installed.

05Shown here is one of the internal fuel cells of the CF-100. As the aircraft is being restored for static display, there is no need to re-install the fuel cells, but at least one will be retained and inflated for a new exhibit with the aircraft when it returns to the museum in Calgary. Now dismantled, components of the Canuck are housed in three buildings of Historic Aviation Services Inc. at the Wetaskiwin airport.


Visitors from the The Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary look over one of the Rolls-Royce Orenda turbojet engines from their CF-100. Like the rest of the aircraft, the engines suffered from exposure to weather. As the aircraft won’t fly again, the engines will not be reinstalled, which would just add to the Canuck’s weight, but one will be dressed up for display with the aircraft.

07Avro CF-100, #18126, was the 26th Canuck built by A.V. Roe Canada and completed January 27, 1953. It first served with No. 440 RCAF Squadron at Bagotville, Québec, in 1953, one of the first to be put into service, and is now one of the oldest surviving Canucks in the world. A total of 692 CF-100s were built in Canada. Years ago, this aircraft was painted black to resemble the livery of the first CF-100 prototype in 1950. In restoration, the aircraft will be restored to its original silver colour, and is believed to be the last surviving dual control variant of the Canuck.


The visit of representatives of The Hangar Flight Museum provided the first opportunity to check on the progress of the restoration project. Shown here is the CF-100’s fuselage, with the tail assembly appearing at left rear bearing #18126.

09Yes, they really are smiling after checking the progress of their classic and legendary CF-100! Left to right are Byron Reynolds; Liam O’Connell, Rob Ballantyne and John Melbourne of the CF-100 restoration committee, and Brian Desjardins, executive director of The Hangar Flight Museum. During these troubled times in the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are worn even in restoration shops! Any having or knowing of CF-100 components that may be of interest to the Museum, can let Brian know by writing to