Last RCAF Buffalo Finds Retirement Home

October 11, 2023, was an important date in the long and storied career of the de Havilland Canada CC-115 Buffalo, for this was the last trip of what served as a workhorse for the RCAF for decades. The Buf’ was stripped of its wings and loaded on board a flatbed trailer for its journey from CFB Trenton to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Its wing and other pieces associated with the aircraft followed behind.

The Buffalo will be on permanent display at the national museum in Rockcliffe.

De Havilland Canada designated the civilian version of the airplane the DHC-5 Buffalo, and its prototype first flew in April 1964. Equipped with a pair of General Electric turboprop engines, it was designed as a Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) aircraft. It was ideally suited for short, unimproved landing surfaces and, as such, was sold to many foreign militaries, including the US Army. Over 120 were built.

While in service with the RCAF, three CC-115s were deployed for duty with the United Nations in the Middle East. All three sported UN livery, essentially all white. One of these was shot down by a Syrian surface-to-air missile in August 1974, with the loss of nine Canadian members of the Canadian Armed Forces. This was the last RCAF aircraft to have been lost to hostile fire.

Stranded aviators, as well as aviation aficionados, welcomed the sight of the brightly painted yellow aircraft, which brought at different times either salvation or thrills when the Buf’ spotted downed pilots or paid visits to rural airports, especially those with short runways.

Watch for a feature article on the Museum’s newly acquired Buffalo by contributing editor Robert S. Grant in the Mar-Apr issue of Canadian Aviator magazine.