If you’ve ever fancied a ride in the same model of jet that the Snowbirds use, it may be possible before too long.
London, Ontario’s Jet Aircraft Museum (JAM) is raising funds to acquire a Canadair CT-114 Tutor jet trainer, currently located in Campbellford, Ont., and restore it to an airworthy condition. “The only aircraft like that, that are flying now, are with the Canadian military’s Snowbirds,” said the museum’s president Scott Ellinor in an interview with the London Free Press. “It’s an incredibly rare aircraft to get a hold of – I’m sure it will be on a lot of people’s bucket lists to go flying in a Tutor jet.”
The not-for-profit museum has set a fundraising goal of $60,000 to purchase and transport the aircraft, with any funds left over applied toward the purchase of a new engine. Said Ellinor, “It will have to be totally rewired, we’ll have to have some parts made. It will be a couple of years before it’s restored to flying condition.”
The Tutor served as a primary jet trainer from the early 1960s to 2000, when it was replaced by the CT-155 Hawk and the CT-156 Harvard II. The Canadian government procured 190 Tutors for the RCAF, and another 20 were produced for sale to the Royal Malaysian Air Force in 1966, who renamed the aircraft to Tebuan (Malay for wasp).
Tutors were first used in an aerobatics team when 10 were assigned to the Golden Centennaires, a team dedicated to celebrating Canada’s centennial in 1967. The team disbanded the following year, but it formed again in 1971, adopted the name ‘Snowbirds’ in 1972 and gained squadron status in 1978, known from then on as the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron. The Tutor JAM will be restored with Golden Centennaires colours.
The museum, located in a hangar at the London airport (CYXU), has gained an international reputation for quality vintage aircraft restoration. Their volunteers focus on restoring an aircraft to an airworthy state that complies with all Transport Canada requirements. “We don’t restore them to look pretty, we restore them to fly safely”, Ellinor told eFlight. “We’ve sold aircraft that we’ve restored to U.S. and French buyers. Funds raised go toward acquiring and restoring other aircraft.”
The JAM is unique in Canada as it offers civilians a chance to fly in a restored vintage aircraft. One of their aircraft, a CT-133 in Red Knight colours, has already taken 25 people for rides since September.
Above: JAM’s CT-114 Tutor