updated 11 June 2008
early Canadian military organizations operated aircraft, or were
planned to. This includes the Canadian Air Corps, the RFC/RAF schools
in Canada, the Canadian Air Force in the UK, and the Royal Canadian
Naval Air Service (RCNAS).
|Aircraft with uniquely Canadian serial
numbers or registrations
updated 17 December 2006
Air Board years, 1919 to
1927. In this period, the newly formed Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
operated government owned,
civil registered aircraft, on a mix of military and civil tasks.
Some Air Board registered aircraft remained in use until the middle
updated 5 February 2010
1928, the RCAF was relieved
of most of its civil tasks, and began marking its aircraft with
numerical serial numbers. This group extends from this date to the
early part of World War II.
updated 6 March 2016
numbers reached 1000 in
the early days of WW II, when aircraft procurement exploded. 9999 was
reached in just another 3 years. Some reserved blocks in this range
not completely allocated until the 1950s and 60s.
updated 27 March 2016
10000 was reached, massive
procurement continued in support of the British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan and home defense. The
general series was continued after the war's end, and included the NATO
period, some RCN aircraft, and the brief lived Canadian Army air arm.
updated 12 January 2008
WW II, some wartime serial
numbers were reused for new procurement. I have listed these separately
to avoid confusion (especially my own).
|Canadian Armed Forces
updated 28 June 2015
the RCAF was merged into
the Canadian Armed Forces in February 1968, the in-service aircraft
(ex Air Force, Army, and Navy) carried a mix of their previous serial
number styles. To help sort out this mess, the existing
aircraft were given
new, "unified" serial numbers over the next few years. This
scheme continues in use today for
the Canadian Forces have been allowed to start using the name
"RCAF" for some of its air components again. These are still part
of the integrated Canadian Forces, so for these web pages I will
continue to use "Canadian Armed Forces" (CAF) or "Canadian Forces" (CF)
for current aircraft, and
restrict use of "RCAF" to prior to integration in 1968. I'm not
trying to make any sort of a political statement with this, just trying
to keep confusion to a minimum.
updated 8 April 2015
|Both the RCAF and the Canadian
Forces kept seperate registers for aircraft used as training aids at
various schools,and with operational units. Most, but not all, of
these Instructional Airframes had a previous Canadian military serial
number. This page identifies the previous identity (when one
existed), and provide details on those airframes with no previous
Canadian military serial.
|Canadian owned or controlled aircraft with
other serial numbers or registrations
|RNAS, RFC, and RAF serials
updated 9 April 2016
Air Board, The Canadian Air Force, and the Royal Canadian Air Force all
owned and operated aircraft with RFC and RAF serial numbers, from their
earliest days up to the end of the Second World War.
Some of these
aircraft continued to carry RAF style serial numbers after the war was
over, until they were retired or renumbered in the integrated Canadian
Those aircraft known to have been assigned to the RCNAS in 1918 are
also included here.
updated 3 March 2013
American aircraft, received from the USAAF during and shortly after the
War, and from the
USAF during the Cold War, were operated by the RCAF with their original
American serial numbers. In addition, the Canadian Forces have
received at least 2 non-flying USN aircraft, that have kept their US
serials. The US helicopters leased for use in
Afghanistan were operated initially with US serials, see the Canadian Armed Forces page for
updated 16 July 2015
number of aircraft with
Canadian or other civil registrations were owned or leased by the
Canadian government, and used by several different military arms, from
the 1920s up until today.
This list also includes civil registered aircraft owned by the
Department of National Defense and used at civilian flying
clubs, and the aircraft of the Air Cadet League glider program.
Note that the civil registered
aircraft operated by the Canadian Air Board are listed seperately.
|The Royal Canadian Navy, 1945 to 1968
|Royal Canadian Navy
updated 5 February 2007
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) used a wide range of serial number types
during the years that it operated aircraft. Starting with British
numbers, then US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics numbers, they also operated
ex RCAF aircraft with their original RCAF serial numbers, and finally
marked their own serial numbers. To add to the confusion, the RCN
often marked a three or two digit pennant number on their aircraft,
which may or may not have been based on the serial number. I try
to explain this in more detail on this page.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR RCN
The information on these pages was largely based on the thin published
literature available to me up until January 2007. It is far from
complete, and, I now realize, contains several errors.
Fortunately, Patrick Martin
has published an extremely detailed and well researched book on the
aircraft of the RCN, that covers the topic in far more detail than I
ever did. Rather than repeat Pat's efforts here, I will leave
these pages as they are, in order to concentrate on the many other gaps
in my web site. The interested reader should get a copy of Pat's book as soon as possible!
|Aircraft owned by others, and operated by
Canadian military units
|RAF Owned Aircraft
updated 5 February 2016
RCAF's major operational contribution to the Second World War was to
provide personnel to operate RAF owned aircraft, under RAF control, in
Europe, North Africa, and the Far East. This is a partial list of
the RAF owned aircraft operated by RCAF squadrons during, and
shortly after, the War. A few RAF owned aircraft operated by the
RCAF for test purposes in Canada, and for training in the NATO period,
are also listed.
|U.S. Owned Aircraft
updated 29 July 2005
|A number of American
transport and utility aircraft were loaned to the RCAF and the RCN
during the construction of the DEW Line in the 1950s. Also, small
numbers of US military aircraft were loaned to the RCAF for evaluation
purposes. This list is far from complete.
updated 12 September 2009
|A number of civil registered
aircraft were operated by several Canadian military arms, without being
owned by, or leased by, the Canadian government. Most of these
were operated for evaluation or training purposes, in anticipation of
later purchase of the aircraft. This list, too, is far from