Memories of The Golden Hawks RCAF Aerobatic Team, Sydney Airport, Sydney, Cape Breton

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This article is about the Royal Canadian Air Force aerobatic team-Golden Hawks


The Golden Hawks were a Canadian military aerobatic flying team established in 1959 to celebrate the 35th anniversary or the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the “Golden” 50th anniversary of Canadian flight, which began with the AEA Silver Dart in 1909

Initially a six-plane team was envisioned as performing for only one year with the Canadair Sabre 5, but the Golden Hawks were so popular after their 1959 show season that the team was re-established for 1960, again under team leader S/L Fern Villeneuve. They continued performing for three more seasons until they were disbanded, ostensibly for financial reasons, on February 7, 1964, having flown a total of 317 shows across North America.

Not only did the team perform standard loops and rolls in very tight formation, they also introduced their own trademark maneuvers. One of the Golden Hawks’ signature stunts was a low-level flypast by one of the solos with his canopy open, waving at the spectators. The Golden Hawks pioneered the bomb burst maneuver and a two-aircraft head-on coordinated solo program which virtually every military team since has adopted in various ways. The legacy of the Golden Hawks lives on with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the Hawk One demonstration team estabished at Vintage Wings of Canada in 2009 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada

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