NORAD NEWS

Peterson museum unveils Canadian fighter jet display

By Major Jennifer Stadnyk, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | NORAD | June 24, 2016

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Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. --

The Air and Space Museum at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs prides itself on being one of only 12 U.S. Air Force field museums, and Colorado’s oldest aviation museum. Located at the historic site of the original airport passenger terminal for the City of Colorado Springs, the museum boasts exhibits and aircraft telling the story of North American air defense. Featured aircraft on display include first generation USAF fighter interceptors, radar warning aircraft and two Canadian aircraft.  However, one piece of North American defense aviation history has been missing from the museum. Until now.

Today, a third Canadian aircraft was unveiled at the museum’s airpark: a CF-188A Hornet (tail number 188723).  The fighter jet was donated by the Government of Canada to the USAF Heritage Program as a gesture of appreciation for the U.S. and Canada’s longstanding and continued partnership through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

“We are very excited to receive the Hornet as part of the Peterson Air and Space Museum collection,” said Gail Whalen, museum director.  “It will help us share the joint U.S. and Canadian heritage and traditions that keep alive the stories of our military servicemen and women for all generations.”

The donation concept did not happen overnight.  In 2013, then-NORAD Deputy Commanders General (ret) Tom Lawson and Lieutenant-General Alain Parent discussed the lack of modern NORAD aviation representation at the museum.  They both agreed that the museum would benefit from displaying a decommissioned CF-188, the aircraft that has been used by Canada since 1984 to conduct NORAD’s missions. Three years later, their vision was finally realized.

The project manager for the donation, Lieutenant-Colonel Miguel ‘Mig’ Bernard described the efforts over the past three years as a “labor of love”.  A lot of coordination and patience was required to gain the appropriate approvals; decommission the aircraft; agree to the paint scheme; as well as oversee the disassembly, transportation and reassembly of the aircraft in Colorado Springs. It was all worth it, he said. The presence of the Hornet in the airpark will be an "enduring reminder of our two countries' commitment to one another and shared defense of the continent."

The ceremony was attended by the local military and civilian community, and hosted by the 21st Space Wing Commander, Col Douglas Schiess, with the NORAD Deputy Commander, Lt.-Gen Pierre St-Amand invited as the distinguished guest of honor.

Schiess told the audience that the displayed aircraft symbolize a ‘walk through time’ and that the modern multirole fighter is now represented with the permanent addition of the Hornet to the collection. 

St-Amand, who has more than 2,700 hours flying the Hornet and flew the donated jet operationally, called it an “old friend” and while it makes him sad to see such a fine jet retired, he agreed that the Peterson Air and Space museum is the most appropriate place for it to be displayed.

“This aircraft will stand as a symbol of our combined prosperity and a monument to the continued cooperation between Canada and the U.S.,” St-Amand said.

Canadian Forces CF-188 Hornet NORAD Peterson AFB Royal Canadian Air Force