By Mark Seibutis
Sarnia’s COPA Flight 7 members assisted the local chapter of The Canadian Air Force Association - Sarnia 403 Wing, with the inspection of the F86 Sabre “Golden Hawk” which sits above the Air Force memorial in Sarnia’s Germain Park, on April 13.
The Sabre was purchased from the Canadian Government when it was struck off strength in 1971. Prior to being erected at the monument and while still in storage, it was damaged in a fire that occurred at the warehouse where it was being stored. At that time the local association had it restored and painted in the Golden Hawks scheme.
Due to the construction of the monument and sensitive grounds surrounding it, an aerial device that could reach it from an access road would be needed. Some of COPA Flight 7’s members work for the Sarnia Fire Dept. and with the assistance of Fire Chief Pat Cayen, a plan was put in place to use Sarnia’s Aerial Apparatus – Tower #4 to set up and make the inspection easily from the road.
The jet has been on top of its mount for 30 plus years and had underwent some cosmetic work approximately 20 years ago. The exterior is once again in need of a refurbishment and new paint. A surplus canopy is coming from Vintage Wings of Canada and will be installed on the aircraft during the refurb - many thanks to them.
Members of Flight 7 assisted with the inspection to make sure the plane was able to be safely worked on and that the original mounting structure was sound, which it was found to be.
Flight 7 will work closely with the Wing and the local Sabre Restoration group to help bring the jet back into fitting condition for display and to honor the local veterans and family, as well as the community who made the monument possible.