Today in History – August 18-19, 1951 – RCAF’s “Blue Devils” Aerobatic Team fly at National Air Races in Detroit, MI

18-19 August 1951 – RCAF aerobatic team flying DH 100 Vampire fighters performed at the National Air Races in Detroit, Michigan. (1)

The team was originally called “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, and belonged to the RCAF’s first operational jet fighter squadron, No. 410 Squadron.”

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.

The Blue Devils were disbanded in September 1950 as its members were posted to different squadrons and the Vampire was retired in favor 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.” (2)

Source: (1) Wikipedia/Portal: Aviation and (2) Wikipedia The Blue Devils

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