Sabre Pilots Association Of the Air Division   





 SPAADS is made up of pilots who flew the F-86 Sabre with  Royal Canadian Air Force  squadrons in Europe, with NATO, from 1951 to 1963.

NATO - the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - was formed in 1951 by a group of nations concerned with the threat of communism expanding into Western Europe.  As a founding member Canada agreed to provide, along with other military units, an Air Force contribution  which would be tasked with the role of air defence.

 It was against this backdrop that the Royal Canadian Air Force created 1 Air Division with the headquarters to be based in Metz, France. The considerable engineering and industrial capacity of Canada was pressed into action to provide the aircraft needed for the mission. With a sense of urgency  the Royal Canadian Air Force started to train the aircrew and technical personnel. 

In November 1951, 410 was named as the first squadron of the Air Division. It was transported on the RCN aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent to North Luffenham in England, where it would  be joined in 1952 by 439 and 441 Sqns. 

By September 1953 the Air Division had four Interceptor Day Fighter Wings in Europe, No.1 Wing at Marville, France,  the new home to 410, 439, and 441 Fighter Squadrons; No. 2 Wing at Grostenquin, France, consisting of 416, 421, and 430 Sqns; No. 3 Wing at Zweibrucken, Germany, with  413, 427 and 434 Sqns; and, No. 4 Wing at Baden- Soellingen, Germany with 414, 422 and 444 Squadrons. 

In 1956 the decision was made to provide an all-weather and night fighter capability for the Air Division, and by July 1957 four Sabre squadrons: 410, 413, 414 and 416 had been deactivated and replaced by CF 100 squadrons.

With an authorized strength of 300 first rate fighters, plus spare aircraft as replacements when needed, the RCAF 1 Air Division was a force that any opposition would treat with great respect. During the life of the Air Division, the threat was great, and the so called  Cold War was always in danger of turning hot. Training was very realistic and demanding. One hundred and seven Royal Canadian Air Force Sabre  pilots gave their lives guarding the freedoms and ideals for which Canada stands. A monument dedicated in their honour stands in the Air Park of the RCAF Memorial Museum in Trenton, Ontario. 

 This site is also dedicated to them, and to all other  members of SPAADS who have since departed home base. 

In 1962 training began at No. 6 Strike/Recce Operational Training Unit, RCAF Station Cold Lake, on the CF104 Starfighter  which would soon replace the Sabre squadrons in Europe. When you have finished visiting this site go to to read about the Starfighter. In late 1962 the CF100 Squadrons were disbanded, six Air Division Squadrons began a nuclear strike role, and two were assigned to reconnaissance.
 This cartoon depicts the last flight of the Sabre:

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 Web Master: Ron Russell

1 Air Div History Canadair F86 410 Squadron 413 Squadron 414 Squadron 416 Squadron 421 Squadron 422 Squadron 427 Squadron 430 Squadron 434 Squadron 439 Squadron 441 Squadron 444 Squadron Memorial Ceremony P.1 Ceremony P.2 Ceremony P.3 Choloy Cemetery Choloy Military Choloy Civilians Photo Gallery Photos Page 2 Photos Page 3 Photos Page 4 Paintings Links

When you have finished visiting our site   please  Click on the link at the left side  of this note to visit the Royal Canadian Air Force Memorial Museum Web Site.