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Our Mission

Waterloo Warbirds is dedicated to honouring men and women who have, and currently, serve Canada at home and abroad, while also inspiring a new generation of aviators by keeping historic jets flying and providing an opportunity to experience the thrill of flight in a classic aircraft.

We Do This By

  • Preserving, maintaining and actively flying a unique and rare fleet of historic jet warbirds, allowing their legacy and stories to continue living
  • Telling the stories of past and present aviators through our Stories From My Logbook video interview series
  • Providing the unprecedented ability to see, touch and experience history by getting up close to our aircraft when publicly displayed at airshows and events, and by hearing the stories of our aircraft from our passionate volunteers
  • The opportunity to put yourself in the passenger seat and take flight in a real jet aircraft. You can see, hear, feel and experience exactly what our past and present air force service members experience when flying jet trainers and fighters.
  • Sharing on our Honour Wall the names and stories of Canadians who lost their lives in the aircraft types we operate
  • Inspiring children and future aviators through community involvement at airshows and aviation events
  • Flyovers to honour our country and veterans on days like Remembrance Day, Canada Day, Vimy Ridge Day, and Veteran funeral flyovers

Our History

The core of what was to become Waterloo Warbirds started in 2007, when the first two of the eventual fleet of aircraft were acquired. Canadair CT-133 Silver Stars serial number 577 and 446 had originally been bought surplus in 2003 from the Government of Canada, as the “T-Bird” had been retired from air force duty. By 2007, a golden opportunity presented itself to resurrect this significant jet type, as by that time there were no privately flying T-33s in Canada. Once obtained, it took a hard-working team until 2010 to get our first aircraft flying. T-33 serial number 577 became C-FRGA on the civil registry, and this T-Bird would fly for one season in her original Canadian Forces low-visibility grey military paint scheme.

T-33 First Flight
Pictured here are Bill ‘Turbo’ Tarling and Andrej Janik, who took C-FRGA up for her first test flight. Turbo is the highest time T-Bird pilot in the world with over 7000 hours in the T-33. (picture caption)

While the grey paint was historically accurate, the paint scheme that C-FRGA would take on in 2011 would be much more eye catching. The new paint scheme was based on the commemorative “Silver Shark” T-33 flown in 1992 by VU32 Squadron out of CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia. Thus, the ‘Mako Shark’ was born. At this time, the Mako Shark began to operate under loan to another museum while still being managed by those who would become the Waterloo Warbirds.

The leadership at Waterloo Warbirds had been made aware of another rare aircraft on the market in 2009, and as a result an ex-Swiss Air Force DH-115 de Havilland Vampire became the next addition to our fleet. The Vampire was purchased in the United States and landed in Canada in 2010, to begin a 4 year restoration project to have it return to the skies in peak condition.

During this same time period, Richard Cooper of Viper North decided to bring both of his historic aircraft to Canada from the United States. Viper North operated an Aero L-29 Delfin with a Viper engine upgrade and a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, representing two of the most important early jet technologies of the Soviet Union. Where most people would only experience these aircraft as static examples in museums, they were now able to see Canada’s cold war adversaries up close and flying.

Richard Cooper and the MiG-15
Richard Cooper and the MiG-15

In 2014, to ensure that all these aircraft continued to regularly fly for the public, a decision was made by the aircraft owners to amalgamate their operations, continue financial support and focus the program on pure flying out of Waterloo, with a mission-focused new group.

Thus Waterloo Warbirds was born.

We are a team of just over ten volunteers, many of who helped return these classic aircraft to the air and who continue to keep them flying. Our main goal is to fly these aircraft and introduce a new generation of Canadians to the amazing history behind them, while respecting those that have come before us in Canadian Aviation.