T-33 jet soars over Woodhaven Park again

June 30, 2019

T-33 jet soars over Woodhaven Park again

Jet refurbished and painted to honour the Red Knight Aerobatic Program

Released: 10:00 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB – The RCAF jet that was originally gifted to the City of St. James and displayed in Woodhaven Park to commemorate Canada’s Centennial in 1967 has been restored to its new glory. The recently refurbished and repainted aircraft has been remounted on its concrete pedestal in Woodhaven Park and accompanied by an informational panel honouring the Red Knight aerobatic program, its pilots and the aerobatic performances of Brigadier-General Bill Slaughter who piloted a similar jet as a flight officer in the 1963/1964 season. 

“The T-33 jet has been a striking feature and landmark in St. James for the last 52 years for all to enjoy,” said Mayor Brian Bowman, “With this extensive refurbishment project now complete, the legacy will continue into the future to commemorate the history of this aircraft for Winnipeggers and all Canadians.”

“With its new brilliant Red Knight colour scheme, the T-33 is an impressive local landmark,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham, St. James Ward, “It is a fitting honour to one of the model’s pilots and St. James resident, the late Bill Slaughter.”

“The RCAF has a long and storied history with our City, and the work that the men and women of the RCAF do to protect our freedoms and way of life is extraordinary,”  said Councillor Shawn Nason, Transcona Ward and Veteran & Military Affairs Liaison, “I am honoured to be a part of the unveiling ceremony of the refurbished T-33 Jet in Woodhaven Park.”

“A common phrase in aviation is keep the blue side up, said Cori Slaughter-Sahota, daughter of Brigadier-General Bill Slaughter, “Dad was never one to heed practical advice.” 

Since 1990 the condition of the concrete pedestal, steel mounting arms, and the aircraft itself had deteriorated, so the extensive restoration project involved:

  • Using a crane to remove the approximately 7000 lb aircraft from the pedestal and covering it with a tarped scaffolding in a fenced area of Woodhaven Park
  • removing the paint and corrosion on the aluminum skin with a soda blasting process
  • repairing the aluminum skin and steel mounting arms
  • re-painting and re-decaling the aircraft to Red Knight specifications
  • repairing and repainting of the concrete pedestal and mounting plates
  • re-mounting the aircraft on its concrete pedestal.

This particular T-33AN Silver Star Mk. 3 aircraft entered service with the RCAF in 1955, serving the first part of its service life in RCAF Stations Gimli and McDonald as a trainer, and later serving in Ontario and Nova Scotia. It was declared surplus in 1967 and as part of the Canadian Centennial it was presented to the City of St. James to commemorate the long connection between the RCAF, the aviation industry and the City of St. James.

From 1967 to 1990 the aircraft wore the pre-1967 RCAF silver finish colours, and in 1990, the aircraft was repainted in the Golden Centennaires aerobatics team colors, as one T-33 jet had been dressed in 1967. The 2018 restoration was initiated about six years ago by the Royal Military Institute of Manitoba, and the aircraft was refurbished and repainted in the Red Knight colour scheme.

Three funding sources made the $180,000 restoration of the T-33 Jet Air Frame in Woodhaven Park possible including; $100,000 from the 2018 City of Winnipeg Capital Budget, $50,000.00 from the Assiniboia Community Committee, Land Dedication Reserve Fund, and $30,000.00 from the Slaughter family.