Double Ugly Books: Canadian Silver Stars


Pat Martin and Bryan Volstead


Double Ugly Books, 2015


Scott Van Aken


240 pages, softcover, A4 format.
ISBN: 978-3-935687-97-3

The T-33 is pretty much the iconic jet trainer of the west from the early years of jet aircraft. Developed from the F-80, the fuselage was stretched to include another cockpit and armament was reduced to two guns in the nose. The aircraft was license built by Japan and by Canadair in Canada.

The Canadians were looking for a good jet trainer and decided that the T-33 was the plane to have. The type was modified with a more powerful Nene engine in place of the T-33s J-33. As Canada had to develop all of the tooling for the new plane, a number of standard T-33As were received from the USAF to get things going. These were very early T-33s without ejection seats and with the fuel tanks that attached under the wing tips. As production got underway and Canadair planes started entering service, these early planes were foisted off on other nations under MDAP, most going to Turkey.

The Silver Star was continuously upgraded, though not really by anything major. Mostly some avionics systems and the modification of the airframe by adding vents and scoops. The location of these are the main telling points of difference between Canadair and Lockheed built planes.

The authors start with the history of the P/F-80 up to the point of the development of the T-33. Then switches gears to the Canada side of things with the decision to build the plane locally despite the increased costs and then moves into the production of the aircraft. We next go into the different variants of the aircraft and these are pretty well mission specific. Long after the training role had been taken over by the CT-114, the Silver Star was used for things like target towing, spoof/jamming operations and other special duties. Such was the success of the type that it spent over 50 years on active duty with the CAF, surely some sort of record for a trainer.

The next section is on Canadian service before we enter one on camouflage and markings which includes the special markings many planes carried. Then onto exports to various nations. The book moves onto a look at the airframe before tables of the various Canadian operators. A goodly chunk of the book is a brief history of each of the over 600 airframes before finishing up with several pages of full color profiles.

In all, it makes for the most complete record of the Canadair Silver Star every published, helped out by tons of large, clear photos. An absolute 'must have' for the enthusiast and one that everyone will enjoy. Most highly recommended.

 March 2020

My thanks to Double Ugly Books for the review book. You can find this one at this link.

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