Thanks to a legacy fund set up by a pilot honoured in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, the Alberta Aviation Museum will be getting its own F-104 Starfighter aircraft.
The Edmonton museum had been looking for seven years for an F-104 to add to its collection when one came available in the Netherlands at a price of $70,000. Fundraising efforts had stalled about $47,000 short of purchase price as the December sale deadline neared. At nearly the 11th hour a legacy fund set up by Don Hamilton of Air Spray Ltd., who died in the summer of 2011, said it would donate the money needed.
The aircraft is well loved in Edmonton, and up in Cold Lake where it was serviced.
The F-104 flew twice the speed of sound and was affectionately known as “the missile with a man in it.” The Canadian Forces owned 40 two-seat Starfighters, which were used at CFB Cold Lake until the 1980s.
Most of the 30 aircraft displayed at the museum were donated, or salvaged and restored. It was unlikely the museum could restore a salvaged F-104 due to its complexity. It was equally unlikely someone would donate one, as apparently they’re hot collectors’ items.