If you’ve driven Chemainus recently, you may have noticed something new on the side of the road: a Canadair CT-133 Silver Star jet.
In the market for a Canadian Air Force aircraft? It was never used in combat, only flown for training purposes.
Kevin Smith, owner of the Highway Antique Barn off the Trans-Canada Highway near Chemainus, has a deal for you.
“Everything is for sale,” Smith said Monday from his store.
The Canadair CT-133 Silver Star was installed in front of the popular store and the observation deck was extended to give curious onlookers a closer look at the aircraft.
Smith, who recently bought the store — a 5,500-square-foot antique mall with about 60 vendors — said he bought the airplane to attract customers.
“I looked at my advertising budget and nothing was working,” he said. “So I bought a plane and just put it out there.
“Suddenly I see buses turning around and coming in to look.”
But he said anyone can take it for $60,000 — “as long as it stays in Canada.”
The Silver Star is the Canadian version of the Lockheed T-33 jet trainer aircraft, which was in service from the early 1950s to 2005, mainly as a primary trainer for fighters and interceptors. It had a range of 2,250 kilometers, weighed about 3,800 kilograms, and traveled at a speed of 760 kilometers per hour. Its appearance was distinctive due to the large fuel tanks that were usually carried on each wing tip.
Smith acquired the aircraft from a private collector on the island. The collector received the aircraft from Vancouver Island University, which previously used it for aeronautical studies.
Built in 1956, it was used by 414 Squadron at Canadian Forces Base and Cold Lake until decommissioned in 2002.
Smith said if he hadn’t bought the plane, it probably would have been sold in the United States “and parted with because it’s still being used there.”
He said the plane should stay in Canada, where it is part of history.
Getting the aircraft to the site was no small task, requiring two 40-meter flat decks as well as tractor trailers and cranes for loading and unloading.
The plane is not the first roadside attraction in the antique shop: the previous owners had a 20-foot-tall armored knight that had a tendency to topple over.
Smith also recently purchased a 21-foot steel model of HMCS Rainbow. The Apollo class cruiser was built for the Royal Navy in 1892 and transferred to Canada in 1910 when she arrived at CFB Esquimalt.
The model was used to recruit new sailors and traveled to different cities by rail.
The model previously belonged to a private military museum in Ladysmith.
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