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RCAF celebrates centennial with unveiling of CF-18 Hornet demonstration team aircraft at 4 Wing Cold Lake

May 6, 2024  By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative, Lakeland This Week

The Demojet refinishing team being awarded the Canadian Air Division Commanders' Commendation to the CF-18. (Photo: Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative, Lakeland This Week)

The Royal Canadian Air Force unveiled a new livery for the CF-18 Hornet demonstration team aircraft at 4 Wing Cold Lake. The uniquely painted jet is designed to commemorate 100 years of RCAF service. The 2024 CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team, led by Captain Caleb Robert was awarded the Canadian Air Division Commanders’ Commendation for their work.

Major-General I. Huddleston, Canadian NORAD Region Commander, started off the ceremony on Friday with words of appreciation for the team that made the unveiling possible. He acknowledged the hard work and dedication that went into preparing for the airshow season.

“It’s great to be here, participating in the unveiling of the 2024 CF-18 demonstration team jet as we begin the final stage of preparing for the 2024 airshow season. I’d like to start by acknowledging everyone who has worked to make this possible here at 4 Wing, across the country at 3 Wing. Initiatives like this are important, but they’re also a lot of work. Both General Eric Kenny of 4-wing and I very much appreciate the great amount of effort that’s gone into making this a success and into preparing for today.”

Huddleston also highlighted the importance of the RCAF’s centennial celebration, saying, “2024 is, of course, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s centennial year, during which we not only recognize the 100 years of RCAF service to Canada – the times of war and peace – but we also look ahead to where we are going. Today, the RCAF is an agile, integrative, and inclusive national instrument of power.”


The 2024 CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team jet’s paint scheme is a significant element of the centennial celebration, incorporating themes of innovation and technology that reflect the RCAF’s evolution over time. The design was created by MCpl. Kevin Kelly, an aviation systems technician at 4 Wing Cold Lake who won a competition held within the RCAF.

Kelly shared his thoughts on designing the jet’s paint scheme, saying, “I’m very honoured to be here today to enact the contest and also have the opportunity to mark the history of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery school (RCAS) by having a wonderful, good time, well executed by such good hard teams. All of this would not have been possible without the organized and committed organization.”

Cpt. Caleb Robert (Tango), the pilot for the 2024 CF-18 Demonstration Team, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming airshow season, stating, “This is fantastic, this is an honour for me to be the CF-18 2024 pilot for this year. This is one way to showcase the bad-ass capability of this airplane. It’s going to be a year to remember.”

The unveiling event also included a special recognition for the team responsible for creating the jet’s intricate design.

Major-General Huddleston presented the Canadian Air Division Commanders’ Commendation to the CF-18 Demojet refinishing team, acknowledging their dedication and tireless efforts in transforming a two-dimensional design into a piece of art.

Huddleston highlighted the team’s commitment, saying, “Encompassing over 300 blocks of hours, the team transformed artwork into images, for stencils, printing, layouts, removing the negative space, and creating new techniques to ensure perfection. Despite facing numerous challenges, including critical infrastructure issues and equipment delays, as well as long hours, their operational focus, enthusiasm, and unwavering commitment to tireless efforts resulted in the successful realization of this historic project.”

The unveiling event concluded with a round of applause for the team that made it all possible, including the 25-person crew from the Air Maintenance Squadron and their partners. This dedicated group worked tirelessly to create the unique paint scheme that symbolizes the RCAF’s centennial and its future.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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