PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

A CF-101 Voodoo sits at the front entrance to 19 Wing Comox. Photo courtesy Department of National Defence
The CF-101 Voodoo at the front entrance to 19 Wing Comox is covered by a protective tarp while restoration work continues. Photo by Terry Farrell
Rob Saywell, of Saywell Developments, scrubs the fuselage of the CF-101 Voodoo. Photo by Steve Perry.
Rob Saywell, of Saywell Developments, scrubs the fuselage of the CF-101 Voodoo. Photo by Steve Perry.
“One-O-One” was the shorthand nickname for the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo, a twin engined, two crew jet interceptor. Designed to carry fuel and weapons over long ranges, this escort fighter was a brute of an Aircraft. The RCAF acquired this Aircraft after the infamous cancellation of the Avro Arrow program in 1959. Photo courtecy DND

Driving up to the entrance to 19 Wing Comox lately, it’s hard not to notice that the historic aircraft at the gates is completely under wraps.

So what is happening?

The CF-101 Voodoo aircraft at the entrance to 19 Wing Comox is in the process of receiving a well-deserved facelift and some TLC.

The Voodoo is the focal point of the entry to Canadian Forces Base Comox, making the visit to 19 Wing Comox memorable to military and civilian visitors alike.

After putting the project to tender, the winning bid by Saywell Construction meant that the Voodoo restoration could start in early 2020. All the work is being done in situ, at the front gate to the Wing, to minimize the stress to the aging metal frame. The restoration work is set to finish at the end of March, 2020.

The Voodoo was due for a refurbishment as the weather of the Comox Valley significantly impacted the paint on the aircraft. To help protect this icon of Canadian aviation history, the aircraft and pedestal will be wrapped with a vinyl coating. This vinyl coating will have a computer-generated image that mirrors the existing paint scheme.

The Comox Air Force Museum notes that the CF-101 Voodoo was acquired by the RCAF in 1961 and was active at CFB Comox with the 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, the ‘Nighthawks’ (now located at CFB Cold Lake). With twin-engines and two crew members (a pilot and navigator), its high speed, extreme combat radius, exceptional climb performance, and ability to operate at great heights gave the Voodoo unusual striking power.

The Voodoo served as an integral part of Canada’s contribution to NORAD (North American Air Defence Command). In 1984, after more than 20 years of service operating out of Comox, the Voodoo was retired.

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