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Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce Aviation Dollars
2007 Aviation DollarCF-101 Voodoo
The CF-101 Voodoo was a supersonic all-weather interceptor aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Forces between 1961 and 1984. It was manufactured by the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, for the United States Air Force (as the F-101) and later sold to Canada to replace the obsolete Avro CF-100.
The first F-101A was delivered in May of 1957. Initially designed as a long-range bomber escort (known as penetration fighter) for the Strategic Air Command, the Voodoo served in a variety of other roles, including fighter-bomber, all-weather interceptor and photo reconnaissance configurations. Reconnaissance Voodoos flew sorties over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962, and saw extensive service during the Vietnam War.
The Voodoo set a new benchmark in fighter-interceptor performance with numerous flight records. A JF-101A set a world speed record of 1,207 mph on December 12, 1957; an RF-101A flew from Los Angeles to New York and back in 6 hours, 46 minutes; and an F-101A flew from Carswell, Texas, to Bermuda without refueling. The Voodoo's superior flight characteristics made it Canada's choice to replace the CF-100 fleet following cancellation of the legendary Avro Arrow program.
The Voodoo's primary armament was the nuclear-tipped Genie unguided air-to-air rocket, and there was significant political controversy in Canada about their adoption. Although they never fired a weapon in anger, the CF-101 served as Canada's primary means of air defense throughout its service life from Quick Reaction Alert facilities at Canadian Airbases.
Each Voodoo base was laid out to allow aircraft to be kept at immediate readiness at all times. Two aircraft and their crews were always on "five minute alert" - meaning the aircraft were to be in the air, en route to intercept unknown aircraft, within five minutes of receiving the order. In one instance, 416 Squadron was able to get two alert aircraft in the air only 57 seconds after receiving the alert.
Throughout the 1960's and '70's, the Voodoo routinely stopped at Gander en route to intercept Soviet-era bombers and reconnaissance aircraft in the aerial cat-and-mouse games of the Cold War. In fact, Gander played such an integral role in Voodoo operations that when the fleet was replaced in the early 1980s by the CF-18 Hornet, a retired Voodoo was donated to the North Atlantic Aviation Museum and remains on public display at the museum today.
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