Hawker Hurricane 5389 was manufactured in 1942 at Canadian Car and Foundry, in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay). CanCar would build more than 1400 Hurricanes, overseen by Chief Aeronautical Engineer Elsie MacGill.
It was flown to No. 4 Training Command at Calgary, then transferred to No. 133 Squadron in Lethbridge, Alberta to familiarize pilots with the Hurricane, and then to Boundary Bay, British Columbia to be used for aerial reconnaissance and coastal drills. Western Air Command had been established in 1938 and defended Canada’s West coast from potential Japanese threats including submarine warfare and later by Fugo balloons. The balloons were designed to set fire to North American forests, though none succeeded. In late 1944, 5389 was transferred to No. 135 Squadron in Patricia Bay, and later to Yorkton, Saskatchewan to locate and shoot down these balloons.
Hurricane 5389 was flown by several different pilots, including Flying Officer Don Laubman, Flying Officer Fred Sproule, and Flying Officer Gordon Hill.
After the war, the plane was considered surplus, and was sold to a farmer in Saskatchewan.
This Hurricane was one of the first aircraft acquired for the Air Museum of Canada, which was disbanded in 1971. The aircraft was turned over to the City of Calgary and housed at the Planetarium for a number of years until the Aero Space Museum of Canada became the stewards of the City collection. Restoration of the Hurricane was awarded to the Calgary Mosquito Society, and began in 2012 at Historic Aviation Services Inc in Wetaskiwin. Restoration was completed in late 2019, with the plane returning to Calgary in early November. More than 25,000 of work have gone into the restoration.
The Hawker Hurricane was designed in Britain in 1934 by Sydney Camm at Hawker Aircraft Ltd. The first prototype was flown in 1935 and the first Hurricane delivered to the RAF in 1937. The aircraft featured a single wing design with retractable landing gear, a first for the RAF, and a steel frame with a series of wooden formers and stringers covered in fabric. During the Battle of Britain 709 Hurricanes, along with 372 Spitfires, successfully defended Britain against Luftwaffe attacks.
In total, more than 14500 Hurricanes were built, and flew under the colours of 25 countries.
Hurricane aces include renowned author Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, top scoring squadron leader Marmaduke “Pat” Pattle, and Calgary’s own Willie McKnight.