Blue Devils (aerobatic team)

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Blue Devils
410 (F) Squadron Aerobatic Team
BluedevilsRCAF.jpg
Active 4 May 1949 to 19 August 1951
Country  Canada
Branch Royal Canadian Air Force Ensign (1941-1968).svg Royal Canadian Air Force
Role Aerobatic flight demonstration team
Garrison/HQ RCAF Station St. Hubert
Nickname Blue Devils
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Flight Lieutenant Don C. Laubman
Aircraft flown
Fighter de Havilland Vampire

The Blue Devils or the 410 (F) Squadron Aerobatic Team was a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aerobatic team that flew the de Havilland Vampire jet aircraft from 1949 to 1951. The unit was the RCAF's first postwar aerobatic team,[1] and belonged to the RCAF's first operational jet fighter squadron, No. 410 Squadron.[2]

History[edit]

The Blue Devils started as a team of three by World War II flying ace Flight Lieutenant Don C. Laubman. Later, a fourth member was added to provide a solo performance. The team gained official recognition from the Air Defence Group shortly after its first show at RCAF Station Rockcliffe on 11 June 1949.

Thereafter, the Blue Devils expanded to six aircraft, including a second solo, and went on to fly at airshows around Canada and the United States. Despite a training accident on 25 July 1949 in which Squadron Leader Bob Kipp was killed near St. Hubert, the team went on to become the de facto official RCAF aerobatic team. The team's official name became the Air Defence Group Aerobatic Team in 1950.

Disbandment[edit]

The Blue Devils were disbanded in September 1950 as its members were posted to different squadrons and the Vampire was retired in favour of the F-86 Sabre. The team was temporarily reformed on 8 August 1951, however, because of an air show commitment. The last air show was flown on 19 August 1951 at the Michigan Air Fair in Detroit. During its three years of existence, the Blue Devils performed at 45 air shows in Canada and the United States.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Milberry 1984, p. 358.
  2. ^ Dempsey 2002, p.72.
  3. ^ Dempsey 2002, p.76.
  • Dempsey, Daniel V. A Tradition of Excellence: Canada's Airshow Team Heritage. Victoria, BC: High Flight Enterprises, 2002. ISBN 0-9687817-0-5.
  • Milberry, Larry, ed. Sixty Years—The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924–1984. Toronto: Canav Books, 1984. ISBN 0-9690703-4-9.