T-33 Mako Shark Jet Flight

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Aircraft Type History

The Silver Star is more often referred to as the T-33 or T-Bird. The CT-133 Silver Star has a long and distinguished history with the Canadian Forces. The world’s first purpose-built jet trainer, the T-33 evolved from America’s first successful jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star which briefly flew operationally during the Second World War. Initially known as the P-80C, the trainer variant flew better than its single seat cousins. Powered by an Allison J33-35 single-shaft, turbojet engine with a thrust rating of 5,200 lbs, the improvements to the trainer meant it climbed faster, cruised better and overall was slightly faster than the fighter version. In May 1949, the designation for the aircraft was officially switched to T-33.

The RCAF’s introduction to the aircraft followed two years later, when the first of twenty Lockheed built T-33As were delivered on loan. The aircraft was designated by the RCAF as the Silver Star Mk 1. This first batch was followed by a second loan of ten more aircraft. On September 13, 1951, Canadair signed a license agreement with Lockheed to build T-33 aircraft for the RCAF.

The Canadair built version was powered by an up-rated Nene 10 engine licensed by Rolls Royce and supplied by Orenda Ltd. Once in production, the aircraft was designated T-33 Silver Star Mk 3. Initially, the RCAF ordered 576 aircraft, but eventually a total of 656 would be delivered between 1952 and 1959. The T-Bird was used by a wide variety of Air Force and Navy units, until being de-commissioned in 2005. The Bolivian Air Force acquired some of these aircraft, using them until 2017.

Our T-33’s History

T-33 577 Historic Photo

Waterloo Warbird’s Silver Star was built in 1957 by Canadair and entered RCAF service with tail number 133577. She served with 414 Squadron, based on Vancouver Island at CFB Comox in British Columbia and later with 417 Squadron, based at Cold Lake, Alta. Our aircraft was used for training, electronic warfare and target towing roles while in RCAF service. As with all other RCAF T-Birds, our plane received an extensive avionics upgrade and overhaul performed by Kelowna Flightcraft in 1996 (known as the “AUP” upgrade). She was placed into flyable preservation in 2002 and then acquired in 2007 by an ownership group that eventually became Waterloo Warbirds. Her unique “Mako Shark” paint scheme is based on a similar commemorative livery that flew for one season in 1992 with VU32 Squadron, based at CFB Shearwater in Nova Scotia. The Mako Shark is very popular wherever she flies!


The Technical Stuff

General Characteristics

  • Crew: one/two
  • Length: 11.48 m (37 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.93 m (42 ft 5 in)
  • Height: 3.55 m (11 ft 8 in)
  • Empty weight: 3830 kg (8440 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 7630 kg (16800 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Nene 10 turbojet, 22 kN (5000 lb)


  • Maximum speed: 920 km/h (500 kn, 570 mi/h)
  • Service ceiling: 14000 m (47000 ft)


    The only place in Canada to fly the well-known and popular, Canadair T-33 Mako Shark!

    Your day starts with a safety briefing followed by a verbal test and question period. Then, you are off to pull on your flightsuit, (after a bathroom break) and prepare for your flight. You may be waiting prior to your flight depending on your time slot. You get to enjoy the excitement, sounds and seeing the crew and pilots prepare for flight, until your time slot arrives. The flight experience will last 30 minutes from taxi out to taxi in. The flight begins with a rumble of the jet engine start-up, a quick taxi out, and then lift off; your flight is underway!

    Operating at speeds up to 650km/hr and altitudes of up to 12,000ft you and your pilot will be at the controls of a beautiful, historic jet aircraft. During your flight you will be able to enjoy low level passes, overhead breaks, and aileron rolls; while feeling the onset of G’s as you are pressed into your seat.

    BUT, the flight is yours to experience. This is not a scripted routine. Once the wheels tuck up into the jet, the flight is between you and your pilot. Take it as it unfolds to determine your level of thrill. You are in constant contact with your pilot to share what works for you, and what does not.

    At the Pilot’s discretion you may be able to get a feel for the flight attributes of the jet and ‘take the stick’ for a moment. Do not take it personally should the Pilot decline. The Pilot is making the safest decisions based on numerous factors happening during the flight.

    After the flight it is time for pictures and a quick debrief with your pilot. You will be awarded your certificate


    All passengers MUST attend a safety briefing on the aircraft; to be held the morning of your flight. Safety Briefings begin at 0830. Please be at the hangar by 0815 latest. Flights will then take place in sequence.

    Please ensure you are dressed in or have packed comfortable clothes. These can be shorts or pants and a t-shirt. Cotton fiber is optimal. Ensure that you are wearing closed toe shoes. We have several flight suit sizes available; and will do our best to outfit you in one for your flight.

    In the event your flight is canceled due to poor weather or an aircraft mechanical snag we will work to reschedule your flight for our next available fly day.

    Family and friends are welcomed to join you on your day up to a maximum of 3 people. Please contact our booking agent for larger numbers.

    Weight and height restrictions are in effect due to the limiting size of the parachutes, seat straps, helmet, flight suit and cockpit dimensions. The passenger maximum weight limit is 250 lbs and height limited to a person no taller than 6’3″. The passenger minimum weight limit is dependent on the passenger’s ability to lift their own body weight, pull the ripcord of a parachute, and punch a hole through the canopy of the jet for emergency exit.

    The passenger is fully responsible for informing Waterloo Warbirds of any sizing variations that may impact the proper fit of safety equipment; including parachute, helmet or flight suit. There are a limited range of flight suit sizes available.

    If the passenger has a history, recent or current medical conditions like heart complications, or any other medical condition that may not withstand the force of 4 G’s, intensely hot environment, permit the passenger to be away from medical support for more than 30 minutes, or impede the passenger’s ability to remove themselves from a flying aircraft using their own strength; a doctor’s note is required in order to clear you for the flight; and said medical information provided to Director of Flight Operations ahead of time.

    All limitations are none negotiable unless a written deferral is obtained from the Director of Flight Operations prior to the flight.

    The passenger must attend and pass a safety briefing on the aircraft type that includes emergency egress training and verbal testing. They must also sign the backseat flight waiver in order to release the aircraft for flight. Additionally, photo and video release forms requiring signing for passenger, family and friends.

    Pilots have the right to refuse any flight due to safety concerns. Even if that passenger/person has a current backseat endorsement.

    Any Questions, please feel free to contact us at info@waterloowarbirds.com