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WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT AMERICA... (RANT)

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I've been trying to avoid this.I really have.  I know if I start talking about American politics I run the risk of devolving into a dangerous rant spiral I may not be able to escape from...But we have to talk about it. In much the same way that 2020 has become a defining year of a generation, the upcoming American election has become a crucial turning point in American history.  Election 2020 is not simply a matter of Republican versus Democrat.  Election 2020 is the point at which America either continues down the path of Trumpian demagoguery or manages to hit a soft "reset" button to go back to the pre-2016 "normal"...  Flawed as it was.  Don't worry, I will resist the urge to count down all of Donald Trump's sins against democracy and common decency.  Those are plentiful and well publicized.  I won't even go into Trump's disastrous negligence in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.  Instead, I will concentrate on the two (three?) possible o…

HINDSIGHT 2020: LESSONS LEARNED

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Welcome to Hindsight 2020!  For this series we will be taking a look at Canada's past fighter purchases and asking a simple question:  "Did we make the right decision?"We will look at the aircraft itself, compare it to the alternatives available at the time, and determine whether or not Canada picked the right aircraft.  
Canada's history of fighter selection has been a bit of a mixed bag.  
While there have been nothing that can be classified as a dismal failure, there are a few instances where we simply could have done better.  In some instances, better options were available.  In other cases, we picked a decent fighter, but placed it into the wrong role.  
The Winners:



The CF-18 Hornet, CF-100 Canuck, and CL-13 (F-86) Sabre all stand out as excellent fighters.  Not just for Canada, but all around.  Each one has earned their place in history.  
The CF-18 earns it place thanks to its workhorse nature.  As it nears its fourth decade in RCAF service, the Hornet has been re…

HINDSIGHT 2020: CL-13 (F-86) Sabre

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Welcome to Hindsight 2020!  For this series we will be taking a look at Canada's past fighter purchases and asking a simple question:  "Did we make the right decision?"We will look at the aircraft itself, compare it to the alternatives available at the time, and determine whether or not Canada picked the right aircraft.  The F-86 Sabre is one of the greatest jet fighters of all time.  Of that there is simply no debate.  With almost 10,000 airframes built all over the world, the F-86 remains the most prolific western fighter of all time.  It could be argued that the Sabre's overwhelming success in the early days of jet propulsion led the America's eventual dominance over the fighter industry.  The reasoning behind the F-86's success is simple:  IT WAS A DAMN GOOD FIGHTER.Most early jet fighters suffered from underwhelming performance.  Despite the additional power provided by a jet turbine, aircraft like the Gloster Meteor and P-80 Shooting Star did not live u…

HINDSIGHT 2020: CF-100 Canuck

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Welcome to Hindsight 2020!  For this series we will be taking a look at Canada's past fighter purchases and asking a simple question:  "Did we make the right decision?"We will look at the aircraft itself, compare it to the alternatives available at the time, and determine whether or not Canada picked the right aircraft.  
Alright.   I'm not even going to pretend that Canada might have had better options than the CF-100 Canuck.  The CF-100 Canuck was the first and only Canadian-designed fighter to see production.  Its intended successor, the CF-105 was infamously cancelled.
While it may seem ungainly and archaic now, remember that the CF-100 was designed in the 40s and first flew in 1950.  The "Clunk" was at the forefront of the jet age.  Equipped with two jet engines, a radar, and rockets; the CF-100 would have been in the realm of science fiction just 10 years prior to its introduction.  
Instead of pondering whether or not Canada should have bought something…

HINDSIGHT 2020: CF-101 Voodoo

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Welcome to Hindsight 2020!  For this series we will be taking a look at Canada's past fighter purchases and asking a simple question:  "Did we make the right decision?"We will look at the aircraft itself, compare it to the alternatives available at the time, and determine whether or not Canada picked the right aircraft.  
The CF-101 Voodoo is a Cold War icon.  
Operating between the years 1961 and 1987, the McDonnell Douglas CF-101 Voodoo served as Canada's chief air defence against the threat of Soviet bombers.  Stationed all over the country, the Voodoos were readily available at any time to meet possible air threats at a moment's notice.  Big, loud, and with the iconic red and white lightning bolt painted on its flank, the CF-101 was unmistakable.  So much so that the Voodoo is more often remembered for its RCAF service than its time in the USAF.  
Acquired to replace the aging CF-100 Canuck, the CF-101 filled the role of long range, all weather interceptor.  
Ini…

HINDSIGHT 2020: CF-104 Starfighter

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Welcome to Hindsight 2020!  For this series we will be taking a look at Canada's past fighter purchases and asking a simple question:  "Did we make the right decision?"We will look at the aircraft itself, compare it to the alternatives available at the time, and determine whether or not Canada picked the right aircraft.  
The CF-104 Starfighter is aptly named.  Its sleek, pencil-like fuselage and razor blade wings give an appearance that would look right at home on the cover of a science fiction novel.  Developed under the supervision of Lockheed's legendary Kelly Johnson; the Starfighter offered the ultimate in speed, altitude, and climb performance.  The first production aircraft to achieve Mach 2, the F-104 immediately set records for speed, climb rate, and altitude.   The F-104 Starfighter was an impressive fighter.  Designed with input from Korean War fighter pilots, it stuffed a powerful General Electric J79 turbojet into the bare-minimum of fighter.  Its signatu…