CP-107 / Argus 10739: 739 was the 30th Argus built at the Canadair plant in Cartierville, Quebec. It was Taken On Strength (TOS) by the RCAF on February 22, 1960 and was accepted by 404 Maritime Patrol (MP) Squadron based at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia. In 1965, Argus 739 was re-assigned to 415 (MP) Squadron, RCAF Station Summerside PEI. In Jun/Jul 1966, 739 flew from Summerside to Pisa, Italy via the Azores. While in Italy 739 participated in NATO torpedo exercises and dropped a practice torpedo at the range near Pisa. 739 was probably the only Argus to ever visit Italy. Argus 739 continued operations with 415 (MP) Sqn until 1975 when place in "short-term storage at CFB Greenwood. In 1977, 739 was returned to service at CFB Summerside until 1979 then transferred back to CFB Greenwood. On 5 June, 1980, Maj. Bill Naylor took 739 on her final flight to Summerside and she was prepared for static display. Argus 739 was retired from flying duty after exactly 20 years and 4 months with a grand total of 15, 087.4 flying hours. With an average flying speed of 200 mph, this could represent about 3,017,480 miles.
In 1980, a group of local citizens, led by Lowell Huestis, petitioned DND to have an Argus airframe preserved and mounted just outside the gate of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Summerside). The Base Commander of Summerside assigned Maj. Wayne Griffith of 415 (MP) Squadron to assist with the project. Curran & Briggs Ltd and MF Schurman Ltd, both of Summerside, provided the cement to build pedestals required to mount the aircraft. The photo below shows Lowell Huestis and the Base Commander, Col S. Kinkaid turning the sod for the mounting pads.
On 6 February, 1981, a BAMEO tow crew moved 739 to its present position where it was mounted on its final resting place 21 years and 1 day from the date of her first flight.
During the 40th Anniversary ceremonies of CFB Summerside, the Premier of PEI, Angus MacLean unveiled a granite marker engraved with the names of all flying units to have served at Summerside and fitted with a bronze plaque engraved with details of the CP-107/Argus.
In 1990, shortly before the closure of CFB Summerside, 739 was towed to a hangar where it was sanded and repainted by CF personnel before being returned to its pedestal. Minor repainting was conducted in 2008 and a full scale refinishing was begun in July 2010. Argus 739 will be the focal point of the Air Force Heritage Park, PEI, to be located at Slemon Park.
History of Our Voodoo
CF-101B/ Voodoo 101037: This twin-engine, super-sonic, all-weather Air Defence fighter 037 was originally an F-101B-95-MC / Voodoo built by McDonnell and first entered service with the USAF as s/n 57-366. It was Taken On Strength (TOS) by the CF on 2 December 1970 with 416 All Weather Fighter (AWF) Squadron at CFB Bagotville, Quebec. 416 AWF Sqn later moved to Chatham NB where it operated until disbanded. In addition to its Air Defence duties, Voodoo 037 also participated in the 416 Sqn air demonstration team. On 23 June, 1975, 037 suffered a fuel tank explosion and fire during maintenance. The fire was quickly contained by ground crew and the aircraft was repaired. In 1984, Voodoo 037 became an instructional airframe and was eventually shipped to CFB Summerside for use in battle damage repair training.
When the aircraft was Struck Off Strength (SOS) on 21 June, 1990 it was earmarked for disposal by Crown Assets. After many calls and meeting with politicians and letters from the Summerside Legion and #200 Summerside Wing AFAC, the Hon Paul Dick, Minister of Supply and Services', officially turned Voodoo 037 over to us for future display at the base. Once installed in the display area, the Voodoo was washed, waxed and generally spruced up for display.
Voodoo 037 has been on display here for over 20 years now and has been popular with visitors. However, she is definitely in need of some TLC and a facelift. With some minor repairs and new paint 037 will continue to be a reminder of Canada's participation in North American Air Defence (NORAD) for the two decades in which she served.
History of Our Tracker
CP-121 / Tracker 12131: The Canadian Tracker was designed from the Grumman Aircraft Corp. S2F-1 and licence-built in Canada by de Havilland Canada. A total of 99 Canadian-built Trackers would enter service starting in 1956 to replaced the aging Grumman Avenger. The Tracker was originally built to provide the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) with long-range anti-submarine protection for its aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure (or "Bonnie"). Trackers were built a foot and a half shorter than the regular Grumman S2 in order to fit into the aircraft carrier's hangar bays.
The Tracker boasted a respectable amount of equipment, including a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) boom, surface-search radar, internal bomb bay for bombs, depth charges or torpedoes, a spotlight, flares, sonobuoy dispensers and wing pylons for bombs or rockets. The Tracker was also equipped with a powerful searchlight for the identification of surface contacts at night.
Tracker 131 was the 30th Tracker built by De Havilland in the late 1950s and first carried the RCN serial number 1531. When the Trackers were taken over by the Air Force in 1969, the CF re-roled the aircraft to an anti-shipping role; redesignated the aircraft to CP-121 and renumbered 1531 to 12131. This involved removing all anti-submarine electronics and adding wing pylons to carry the CRV-7 rocket air-to-surface weapons. Tracker duties included anti-drug patrols, fishery patrols, and search & rescue. In addition to primary duties, Tracker 131 was also utilised as an Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator (AESOP) trainer during its time with 880 Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Squadron at CFB Summerside. When Tracker 12131 was retired from DND service in 1990, application was made to DND to have it added to the Argus and Voodoo aircraft display outside the gates of the base.