OTD: CF-100 takes to skies for first time

On today’s date in 1950, the inaugural flight of the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck – the only Canadian-designed fighter to enter mass production – took place in Malton, Ont.

Also known as the “Clunk,” the Canuck was a military interceptor and fighter jet that served during the Cold War.

The Royal Canadian Air Force commissioned Avro Canada to design and build the Canuck in an effort to end its reliance on foreign-manufactured aircraft. After more than three years of planning beginning in October 1946, the first prototype flew its maiden flight on a “cold, sunny Jan. 19” with Gloster Aircraft Company Chief Test Pilot Squadron Leader Bill Waterton at the controls, according to Peter Pigott’s 2002 book, Wings Across Canada: An Illustrated History of Canadian Aviation.

$20 CF-100 COIN

In 1996, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a $20 silver coin commemorating the CF-100.

Composed of 92.5 per cent silver and 7.5 per cent copper, this coin has a Proof finish, a weight of 31.103 grams, a diameter of 38 millimetres and a mintage of 18,508 pieces.

The coin’s reverse design depicts a CF-100 Canuck beneath a portrait of Polish fighter and test pilot Janusz Żurakowski in 24-karat gold plated cameo. It was engraved by Jim Bruce.

The obverse features a right-facing effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by engraver Dora de Pédery-Hunt.

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