RCAF Sabre pilot recounts unforgettable Cold War experience

For a young Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, flying the Canadair Sabre Mk6 and tangling with other NATO fighters in the skies of Cold War Europe was something never to be forgotten

On a cold and windy day in mid-March 1960, my wingman and I launch our Canadair Sabres for a radar check. Canada had an enormous radar site in Metz, France, with a 200-mile radius called Yellowjack. Our mission is to fly a straight line north for almost 200 miles and return to Grostenquin, our home with 2 (Fighter) Wing, in eastern France. The radar site would calibrate the system using our identification friend or foe equipment. As we approach the overhead of RAF Jever in northern Germany we see two Hawker Hunters curving towards us. A great air battle ensues. My number two takes on his Hunter opposite number, and I fight the lead. Starting at 45,000ft, we twist and turn until just before we reach the undercast… at 20,000ft.

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