Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984

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This is the first book to tell in detail the story of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Forces Air Command. It begins with early developments in Canadian military aviation leading to the formation of the Canadian Air Force in 1918 and the RCAF in 1924. The fledgling RCAF was equipped mainly with wartime hand-me-downs and performed such civilian duties as photography, forestry patrols and spotting rum-runners. By 1936 a small number of obsolete combat aircraft such as the Siskin and Wapiti had been acquired, but most squadrons existed only on paper.

With the Second World War the RCAF grew almost overnight into the fourth largest Allied air force, training thousands of air and ground crew, and operating in major war theatres from the North Pacific, to the North Atlantic War against Hitler's U-boats, to the bombing offensives against Germany. After the war the RCAF was quickly reduced to almost nothing; then, with the impetus of events in Korea and Europe, it rose again to become one of the world's best equipped and most effective air forces, a vital part of NATO, NORAD and United Nations operations.

With unification of the armed forces in 1968 the RCAF ceased to exist and its units became part of the Canadian Armed Forces. Finally, in 1975, CF Air Command was formed, giving Canada an identifiable air force again.

Sixty Years is the story of the people and planes from the early Avro 504 and Vedette to such recent acquisitions as the Aurora maritime patrol aircraft and the CF-18 fighter. The book ends with a look into the future by LGen Paul Manson, Commander of Air Command. It is handsomely illustrated with the finest and largest collection of over 90 specially commissioned colour profiles of RCAF/CF aircraft.

To this day Sixty Years remains the only (and by far the best ever) single-volume history of the RCAF in print. At 480 pages, 8.5x11-in. and with some 800 photos and a gallery of 95 beautiful paintings by Canada’s top aviation artists, there’s nothing remotely comparable. Its subject matter is never out of season. The book reviewers have loved Sixty Years from Day 1. The UK's revered “Aircraft Illustrated” concluded: “One of those all too rare aviation books … a joy to possess and treasure … a masterpiece”. “Aviation News” added, “… a magnificent effort and should be on every bookshelf”. Foreword by Air Marshall Hugh Campbell, RCAF Chief of the Air Staff 1957-1962.

Appendix, chronology, index.