An airline is a company that provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines utilize aircraft to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for codeshare agreements. Airline companies are recognized with an air operating certificate or license issued by a governmental aviation body. Airlines vary in size, from small domestic airlines to full-service international airlines with double decker airplanes. Airline services can be categorized as being intercontinental, regional, or international, may be operated as scheduled services or charters; the largest airline is American Airlines Group. DELAG, Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft I was the world's first airline, it was founded on November 16, 1909, with government assistance, operated airships manufactured by The Zeppelin Corporation. Its headquarters were in Frankfurt; the first fixed wing scheduled airline was started on January 1, 1914, from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Tampa, Florida.
The four oldest non-dirigible airlines that still exist are Netherlands' KLM, Colombia's Avianca, Australia's Qantas, the Czech Republic's Czech Airlines. The earliest fixed wing airline in Europe was Aircraft Transport and Travel, formed by George Holt Thomas in 1916. Using a fleet of former military Airco DH.4A biplanes, modified to carry two passengers in the fuselage, it operated relief flights between Folkestone and Ghent. On 15 July 1919, the company flew a proving flight across the English Channel, despite a lack of support from the British government. Flown by Lt. H Shaw in an Airco DH.9 between RAF Hendon and Paris – Le Bourget Airport, the flight took 2 hours and 30 minutes at £21 per passenger. On 25 August 1919, the company used DH.16s to pioneer a regular service from Hounslow Heath Aerodrome to Le Bourget, the first regular international service in the world. The airline soon gained a reputation for reliability, despite problems with bad weather, began to attract European competition.
In November 1919, it won the first British civil airmail contract. Six Royal Air Force Airco DH.9A aircraft were lent to the company, to operate the airmail service between Hawkinge and Cologne. In 1920, they were returned to the Royal Air Force. Other British competitors were quick to follow – Handley Page Transport was established in 1919 and used the company's converted wartime Type O/400 bombers with a capacity for 12 passengers, to run a London-Paris passenger service; the first French airline was Société des lignes Latécoère known as Aéropostale, which started its first service in late 1918 to Spain. The Société Générale des Transports Aériens was created in late 1919, by the Farman brothers and the Farman F.60 Goliath plane flew scheduled services from Toussus-le-Noble to Kenley, near Croydon, England. Another early French airline was the Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes, established in 1919 by Louis-Charles Breguet, offering a mail and freight service between Le Bourget Airport and Lesquin Airport, Lille.
The first German airline to use heavier than air aircraft was Deutsche Luft-Reederei established in 1917 which started operating in February 1919. In its first year, the D. L. R. Operated scheduled flights on routes with a combined length of nearly 1000 miles. By 1921 the D. L. R. Network was more than 3000 km long, included destinations in the Netherlands and the Baltic Republics. Another important German airline was Junkers Luftverkehr, which began operations in 1921, it was a division of the aircraft manufacturer Junkers, which became a separate company in 1924. It operated joint-venture airlines in Austria, Estonia, Hungary, Norway, Poland and Switzerland; the Dutch airline KLM made its first flight in 1920, is the oldest continuously operating airline in the world. Established by aviator Albert Plesman, it was awarded a "Royal" predicate from Queen Wilhelmina, its first flight was from Croydon Airport, London to Amsterdam, using a leased Aircraft Transport and Travel DH-16, carrying two British journalists and a number of newspapers.
In 1921, KLM started scheduled services. In Finland, the charter establishing Aero O/Y was signed in the city of Helsinki on September 12, 1923. Junkers F.13 D-335 became the first aircraft of the company, when Aero took delivery of it on March 14, 1924. The first flight was between Helsinki and Tallinn, capital of Estonia, it took place on March 20, 1924, one week later. In the Soviet Union, the Chief Administration of the Civil Air Fleet was established in 1921. One of its first acts was to help found Deutsch-Russische Luftverkehrs A. G. a German-Russian joint venture to provide air transport from Russia to the West. Domestic air service began around the same time, when Dobrolyot started operations on 15 July 1923 between Moscow and Nizhni Novgorod. Since 1932 all operations had been carried under the name Aeroflot. Early European airlines tended to favor comfort – the passenger cabins were spacious with luxurious interiors – over speed and efficiency; the basic navigational capabilities of pilots at the time meant that delays due to the weather were commonplace.
By the early 1920s, small airlines were struggling to compete, there was a movement towards increased rationalization and consolidation. In 1924, Imperial Airways was formed from the merger of Instone Air Line Company, British Marine Air Navigation, Daimler Airway and Handley Page Transport Co Ltd. to allow British airlines to compete with stiff competition from French and German airlines that were enjoying heavy government subsidies. The ai
The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs. A design requirement from the Brabazon Committee, it entered service in 1953 and was the first turboprop-powered airliner; the Viscount was well received by the public for its cabin conditions, which included pressurisation, reductions in vibration and noise, panoramic windows. It became one of the most profitable of the first post-war transport aircraft; the Viscount was a response to the Brabazon Committee's Type II design for a post-war small medium-range pressurised aircraft to fly less-travelled routes, carrying 24 passengers up to 1,750 mi at 200 mph. During discussions between the committee and Vickers' chief designer, Rex Pierson, Vickers advocated turboprop power; the committee was not convinced and split the specification into two types, the Type IIA using piston power, which led to the Airspeed Ambassador, the turboprop-powered Type IIB which Vickers was selected to develop in April 1945.
British European Airways was involved in the design and asked that the aircraft carry 32 passengers instead, but remained otherwise similar. The first design in June 1945 was based on the Viking with four turboprop engines and 24 seats and designated the VC-2 or Type 453. A double-bubble fuselage was proposed to give extra underfloor cargo space. Neither was pressurised but it was soon realised that for economical operation an altitude above 20,000 ft was needed, thus pressurisation was required. The decision for pressurisation resulted in the double-bubble and elliptical fuselage designs being abandoned. A circular cross-section variant was offered at the beginning of 1946; the resulting 28-seat VC-2 was financed by the Ministry of Supply with an order for two prototypes. But, before the contract was signed, the government asked for the capacity to be increased to 32; this stretched the fuselage increase from 65 ft 5 in to 74 ft 6 in and meant an increased wingspan of 89 ft. The contract for the aircraft to Air Ministry specification C.16/46 was signed on 9 March 1946 and Vickers allocated the designation Type 609 and the name Viceroy.
Although George Edwards had always favoured the 800 hp Rolls-Royce Dart other engines were considered, including the Armstrong Siddeley Mamba which the government specified for the two prototypes. The choice of the Mamba engine increased the weight but Vickers made sure the engine nacelle would fit either the Mamba or Dart. While the Dart progressed better in development, the government asked in August 1947 for the second prototype to be Dart-powered; the second prototype was named as the Viscount. The first prototype under construction was converted to the Dart as a 630 as well; the resulting Vickers Type 630 design was completed at Brooklands by chief designer Rex Pierson and his staff in 1945, a 32-seat airliner powered by four Dart engines for a cruising speed of 275 mph. An order for two prototypes was placed in March 1946, construction started in the company's Foxwarren Experimental Department. Viceroy after the viceroy of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the aircraft was renamed Viscount following India's independence in 1947.
There was work on replacing the Darts with the Mamba, but this was dropped by the time the prototypes were reaching completion. After Pierson's death in 1948, George Edwards took over as chief designer and assumed all technical control over the Viscount project; the prototype Type 630, registered G-AHRF, made its maiden flight from the grass airfield at Wisley on 16 July 1948, piloted by Joseph "Mutt" Summers, Vickers' chief test pilot. The design was considered too small and slow at 275 mph, making the per passenger operating costs too high for regular service, BEA had placed an order for 20 piston-engined Airspeed Ambassadors in 1947. Retrospectively commenting on Britain's aviation industry, Duncan Burn stated: "Had BEA committed itself to full support of the Viscount... it was quite that the smaller version would have gone into production... It was in a sense BEA's lack of enthusiasm for the 630 which made possible the success."Early flight trials, showed the qualities of a turboprop, resulting in a February 1949 order from the Ministry of Supply for a prototype of a stretched version with more powerful engines, the Type 700.
Meanwhile, the first prototype Type 630 was awarded a restricted Certificate of Airworthiness on 15 September 1949, followed by a full certificate on 27 July 1950, which allowed the aircraft to be placed into trial service with BEA on 29 July to familiarise the pilots and ground crew with the new aircraft. It flew scheduled flights between London and Paris, London and Edinburgh until 23 August 1950. 29 July 1950 flight between Northolt and Paris – Le Bourget Airport with 14 paying passengers was the first scheduled airline flight by any turbine-powered aircraft. The second prototype Viscount, the Type 663 testbed, had two Rolls-Royce Tay turbojet engines and first flew in RAF markings as serial VX217 at Wisley on 15 March 1950, it was demonstrated at the Farnborough SBAC Show in September and was used in the development of powered controls for the Valiant bomber. It saw use as a test bed by Boulton Paul Ltd for the development of electronic flight control systems; the designers went back to the drawing board and the aircraft emerged as the larger Type 700 with up to 48 passengers, a cruising speed of 308 mph.
The new prototype G-AMAV first flew from Brooklands on 28 August 1950, served as a development aircraft for
Canada Border Services Agency
The Canada Border Services Agency is a federal agency, responsible for border protection and surveillance, immigration enforcement and customs services in Canada. The CBSA is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; the CBSA was created on December 12, 2003, by an order-in-council amalgamating Canada Customs with border and enforcement personnel from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The Agency's creation was formalized by the Canada Border Services Agency Act, which received Royal Assent on November 3, 2005. Since the September 11 attacks against the United States, Canada's border operations have placed an enhanced emphasis on national security and public safety; the Canada–United States Smart Border Declaration, created by John Manley and Tom Ridge first U. S. Secretary of Homeland Security of the Department of Homeland Security, has provided objectives for co-operation between Canadian and American border operations.
The CBSA oversees 1,200 service locations across Canada, 39 in other countries. It employs over 12,000 public servants, offers around-the-clock service at 119 land border crossings and thirteen international airports, it works with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to enforce Canada's immigration laws by facilitating the removal of inadmissible individuals from the country and assisting local police in the investigation of violations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The Agency oversees operations at three major sea ports and three mail centres, operates detention facilities known as immigration holding centres in Laval and Vancouver; the CBSA operates an Inland Enforcement branch, which tracks down and removes foreign nationals who are in Canada illegally. Inland Enforcement Officers are "plain-clothes" units, are armed with the same sidearm pistol as port of entry Border Services Officers. Prior to 2004, border security in Canada was handled by three legacy agencies: Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Citizenship and Immigration Canada Canadian Food Inspection AgencyThe CBSA was created in an attempt to address issues found in a review by the Auditor General, including an inability to share certain security information and shortcomings in inter-agency communication.
In addition to using generic identifiers imposed by the Federal Identity Program, the CBSA is one of several federal departments that have been granted heraldic symbols by the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The coat of arms was granted on June 15, 2010, presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on July 6, 2010; the ceremony was the Queen's last function on her 2010 Canadian Royal Tour. In attendance were Governor General Michaëlle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Use of the coat of arms is reserved for special occasions, it is associated with the office of the CBSA President; the heraldic badge was approved for use at the same time as the coat of arms. It portrays a gold tressure; the portcullis represents Her Majesty's agents responsible for border services. The Latin motto of Protectio Servitium Integritas translates as "Protection, Integrity"; the badge figures prominently in the television series Border Security: Canada's Front Line. A flag was approved for use on December 20, 2012, it is meant to resemble Canada's Blue Ensign, flown on government vessels prior to 1965.
Canada Customs officers, their successor officers of the CBSA during the latter's initial years, did not have firearms, instead relying on a local RCMP detachment to provide backup if armed force was required. Since the creation of the Agency in 2003, the CBSA has undergone significant changes to its overall structure, as services offered by different agencies are now housed under a single banner. Not only has the structure of the organization changed, but the range of duties and the institutional priorities have changed. Where the prior coupling of Canada Customs with the Canada Revenue Agency lent itself to a focus on tax collection, the new Agency was created to address heightened security concerns post-9/11, to respond to criticisms from the United States, that Canada was not doing enough to ensure the security of North America. Substantial changes began before the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. In May 1998, the Government of Canada passed an Act to amend the Customs Act and the Criminal Code, which changed agency policy to allow the officers to arrest and detain individuals at the border for non-customs related violations of Canadian law.
These new responsibilities led to the implementation of use of force policies. Border Services Officers across Canada started to carry collapsible batons, OC spray and handcuffs, although it was still several years before they would be equipped with firearms; the 2006 Canadian federal budget introduced $101 million to equip Border Services Officers with side arms and to eliminate single-person border crossings to help officers perform their duties. The decision to arm BSOs has been a subject of some controversy in Canada for several years since previous governments felt that unarmed officers made the country less intimidating to visitors, as opposed to the U. S. Customs and Border Protection, whose officers have carried side arms for decades. Supporters of arming BSOs said that this would help the CBSA shed its lax reputation an
Port of entry
In general, a port of entry is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. It has border security staff and facilities to check passports and visas, inspect luggage to assure that contraband is not imported. International airports are ports of entry, as are road and rail crossings on a land border. Seaports can be used as ports of entry; the choice of whether to become a port of entry is up to the civil authority controlling the port. An airport of entry is an airport that provides customs and immigration services for incoming flights; these services allow the airport to serve as an initial port of entry for foreign visitors arriving in a country. The word "international" in an airport's name means that it is an airport of entry, but many airports of entry do not use it. Airports of entry can range from large urban airports with heavy scheduled passenger service, like John F. Kennedy International Airport, to small rural airports serving general aviation exclusively. Smaller airports of entry are located near an existing port of entry such as a bridge or seaport.
On the other hand, some "former" airports of entry chose to leave their name with the word "international" in it though they no longer serve international flights. One example is Osaka International Airport; when it had ended all international services and became a purely domestic airport after the opening of Kansai International Airport in 1994, it kept its original name of "Osaka International Airport". Many airports in the nearby region have the same situation, like Taipei Songshan Airport. Songshan retained its official Chinese name, Taipei International Airport, after Chiang Kai-shek International Airport opened. Similar cases of transitions of international airports such as Seoul, Nagoya, Hong Kong, Tehran, etc. For the European Union, flights between countries in the Schengen Area are considered domestic regarding passport and immigration check. Several international airports have only intra Schengen-flights. Several of these have occasional charter flights to foreign countries; some cases of statelessness have occurred in airports of entry, forcing people to stay there for an extended period.
A famous case was of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an expelled Iranian who lived in the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France for eighteen years after being denied entry to the country. There are two films about Tombés du ciel and The Terminal. Another case is Zahra Kamalfar who lived in the Sheremetyevo International Airport for many months before getting refugee status in Canada; the formal definition of a port of entry in the United States is something different. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, "the terms'port' and'port of entry' incorporate the geographical area under the jurisdiction of a port director." In other words, a port of entry may encompass an area that includes several border crossings, as well as some air and sea ports. This means that not every border crossing is a port of entry. There are two reasons for this: Every port of entry must have a Port Director, a higher pay grade than a typical border inspector; the U. S. government has determined. As a result, border stations like Churubusco and Fort Covington, New York are considered "stations" within the Trout River Port of Entry.
Many roads entering the U. S. had no border inspection station. Before September 11, 2001, it was permissible for persons entering the U. S. to do as long as they proceeded directly to an open border inspection station. In fact, the U. S. Customs Service and U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service rented property in houses, post offices, storefronts far from the physical border, people entering the U. S. were expected to travel to these locations without stopping so they could make their declarations. This policy has since changed, most of the roads entering the U. S. at locations other than an open and staffed border inspection station have since been barricaded. In some countries, immigration procedures are carried out by the armed forces rather than specific immigration officers. However, in most, the levying of duty on imports is still carried out by customs officers. Immigration clearance in some ports of entry have automated sections open to the country's own residents or citizens, such as the E-Channel found in Hong Kong and Macau, Global Entry found at some airports in the United States.
On some international borders, the concept of a port of entry does not exist. Travelers may cross the border wherever and whenever convenient, for example within the Schengen Area. In some cases this may be restricted to citizens of specific countries and to travelers who are not carrying goods over the customs limits. Border Border checkpoint Border control Customs Schengen Agreement
North American T-6 Texan
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan is an American single-engined advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force, other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1970s. Designed by North American Aviation, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force; the United States Army Air Corps and USAAF designated it as the AT-6, the United States Navy the SNJ, British Commonwealth air forces the Harvard, the name by which it is best known outside the US. Starting in 1948, the new United States Air Force designated it the T-6, with the USN following in 1962, it remains a popular warbird aircraft used for static displays. It has been used many times to simulate various Japanese aircraft, including the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, in movies depicting World War II in the Pacific. A total of 15,495 T-6s of all variants were built; the Texan originated from the North American NA-16 prototype which, modified as the NA-26, was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat" aircraft competition in March 1937.
The first model went into production and 180 were supplied to the USAAC as the BC-1 and 400 to the RAF as the Harvard I. The US Navy received 16 modified aircraft, designated the SNJ-1, a further 61 as the SNJ-2 with a different engine; the BC-1 was the production version of the NA-26 prototype, with retractable tailwheel landing gear and the provision for armament, a two-way radio, the 550-hp R-1340-47 engine as standard equipment. Production versions included the BC-1 with only minor modifications, of which 30 were modified as BC-1I instrument trainers. Three BC-2 aircraft were built before the shift to the "advanced trainer" designation, AT-6, equivalent to the BC-1A; the differences between the AT-6 and the BC-1 were new outer wing panels with a swept-forward trailing edge, squared-off wingtips, a triangular rudder, producing the canonical Texan silhouette. After a change to the rear of the canopy, the AT-6 was designated the Harvard II for RAF/RCAF orders and 1,173 were supplied by purchase or Lend Lease operating in Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
Next came the AT-6A, based on the NA-77 design and was powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1340-49 Wasp radial engine. The USAAF received 1,549 and the US Navy 270; the AT-6B was built for gunnery training and could mount a.30 caliber machine gun on the forward fuselage. It used the R-1340-AN-1 engine, to become the standard for the remaining T-6 production. Canada's Noorduyn Aviation built an R-1340-AN-1-powered version of the AT-6A, supplied to the USAAF as the AT-16 and the RAF/RCAF as the Harvard IIB, some of which served with the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Canadian Navy. In late 1937, Mitsubushi purchased two NA-16s as technology demonstrators and a licence. However, the aircraft developed by Watanabe/Kyushu as the K10W1 bore no more than a superficial resemblance to the North American design, it featured a full monocoque fuselage as opposed to the steel tube fuselage of the T-6 and NA-16 family of aircraft, as well as being of smaller dimensions overall and had no design details in common with the T-6.
It was used in small numbers by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1942 onwards. None survived the end of the war, after the war, the Japanese Air Self Defense Force operated Texans; the NA-88 design resulted in 2,970 AT-6C Texans and 2,400 as the SNJ-4. The RAF received 726 of the AT-6C as the Harvard IIA. Modifications to the electrical system produced the AT-6D and SNJ-5; the AT-6D, redesignated the Harvard III, was supplied to the Fleet Air Arm. When the USAF was created in 1948, its final production variant was nominated T-6G and involved major advancements including a full-time hydraulic system and a steerable tailwheel and persisted into the 1950s as the USAF advanced trainer. Subsequently, the NA-121 design with a clear rearmost section on the canopy, gave rise to 25 AT-6F Texans for the USAAF and 931, as the SNJ-6 for the US Navy; the ultimate version, the Harvard 4, was produced by Canada Car and Foundry during the 1950s, supplied to the RCAF, USAF and Bundeswehr. A total of 15,495 T-6s of all variants were built.
Twenty AT-6 Texans were employed by the 1st and 2nd fighter squadrons of the Syrian Air Force in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, providing ground support for Syrian troops, launching air strikes against Israeli airfields and columns, losing one aircraft to antiaircraft fire. They engaged in air-to-air combat on a number of occasions, with a tail gunner shooting down an Israeli Avia S-199 fighter; the Israeli Air Force bought 17 Harvards, operated nine of them in the final stages of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, against the Egyptian ground forces, with no losses. In the Sinai Campaign, IAF Harvards attacked Egyptian ground forces in Sinai Peninsula with two losses; the Royal Hellenic Air Force employed three squadrons of British- and American-supplied T-6D and G Texans for close air support and artillery spotting duties during the Greek Civil War, providing extensive support to the Greek army during the Battle of Gramos. Communist guerillas called these aircraft "O Galatas", because they saw them flying early in the morning.
After the "Milkmen", the guerillas waited for the armed Helldivers. During the Korean War and
RAF Transport Command
RAF Transport Command was a Royal Air Force command that controlled all transport aircraft of the RAF. It was established on 25 March 1943 by the renaming of the RAF Ferry Command, was subsequently renamed RAF Air Support Command in 1967. During the Second World War, it at first ferried aircraft from factories to operational units and performed air transport, it took over the job of dropping paratroops from Army Cooperation Command as well. After the Second World War, it increased in size, it took part in several big operations, including the Berlin Airlift in 1948, which reinforced the need for a big RAF transport fleet. The Handley Page Hastings, a four-engined transport, was introduced during the Berlin Airlift and continued as a mainstay transport aircraft of the RAF for the next 15 years. In 1956, new aircraft designs became available, including the de Havilland Comet, the Blackburn Beverley. In 1959, the Bristol Britannia was introduced. During the 1960s the command was divided into three different forces: Strategic Force which operated the Comets and Britannias.
Medium Range Force which operated Beverleys and Hastings. Short Range Force which operated helicopters, Scottish Aviation Pioneers and Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneers; the principal RAF Transport Command functions of this period were support operations involving the evacuation of military personnel from the Suez Canal Zone prior and after the Suez Crisis of October–November 1956. In addition, Transport Command ran scheduled routes to military staging posts and bases in the Indian Ocean region, Southeast Asia and the Far East, to maintain contact between the UK and military bases of strategic importance, it carried out special flights worldwide covering all the continents bar Antarctica. Many varied tasks were undertaken during the 1950s; the 1960s saw a loss of independence of the former functional commands. Transport Command was renamed Air Support Command in 1967. Becher's Brook was a major operation of Transport command – the ferrying of 400 Canadair Sabre fighters from North America to the UK.
This required pilots and ground crew to be transported to Canada. The Sabres were flown via Keflavik from there to mainland Scotland. Transport Command supported the British North Greenland Expedition a research expedition over two years on the Greenland ice. Commanders-in-Chief included: 25 March 1943 – Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Bowhill 15 February 1945 – Air Marshal Sir Ralph Cochrane 24 September 1947 – Air Marshal Sir Brian Baker 31 March 1950 – Air Marshal Sir Aubrey Ellwood 1 January 1952 – Air Vice Marshal Robert Blucke 3 June 1952 – Air Vice Marshal Sir Charles Guest 15 March 1954 – Air Vice Marshal Sir George Beamish 15 October 1955 – Air Marshal Sir Andrew McKee 16 May 1959 – Air Marshal Sir Denis Barnett 30 April 1962 – Air Marshal Sir Edmund Hudleston 1 December 1963 – Air Marshal Sir Kenneth Cross 27 January 1967 – Air Marshal Sir Thomas Prickett Aircraft List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force List of Royal Air Force commands Royal Air Force station "Transport Command" on YouTube
Royal Canadian Air Force
The Royal Canadian Air Force is the air force of Canada. Its role is to "provide the Canadian Forces with relevant and effective airpower"; the RCAF is one of three environmental commands within the unified Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2013, the Royal Canadian Air Force consists of 14,500 Regular Force and 2,600 Primary Reserve personnel, supported by 2,500 civilians, operates 258 manned aircraft and 9 unmanned aerial vehicles. Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger is the current Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Chief of the Air Force Staff; the Royal Canadian Air Force is responsible for all aircraft operations of the Canadian Forces, enforcing the security of Canada's airspace and providing aircraft to support the missions of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army. The RCAF is a partner with the United States Air Force in protecting continental airspace under the North American Aerospace Defense Command; the RCAF provides all primary air resources to and is responsible for the National Search and Rescue Program.
The RCAF traces its history to the Canadian Air Force, formed in 1920. The Canadian Air Force was granted royal sanction in 1924 by King George V to form the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1968, the RCAF was amalgamated with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army, as part of the unification of the Canadian Forces. Air units were split between several different commands: Air Defence Command, Air Transport Command, Mobile Command, Maritime Command, as well as Training Command. In 1975, some commands were dissolved, all air units were placed under a new environmental command called Air Command. Air Command reverted to its historic name of "Royal Canadian Air Force" in August 2011; the Royal Canadian Air Force has served in the Second World War, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, as well as several United Nations peacekeeping missions and NATO operations. As a NATO member, the force maintained a presence in Europe during the second half of the 20th century; the Canadian Air Force was established in 1920 as the successor to a short-lived two-squadron Canadian Air Force, formed during the First World War in Europe.
John Scott Williams, MC, AFC, was tasked in 1921 with organizing the CAF, handing command over the same year to Air Marshal Lindsay Gordon. The new Canadian Air Force was a branch of the Air Board and was chiefly a training militia that provided refresher training to veteran pilots. Many CAF members worked with the Air Board's Civil Operations Branch on operations that included forestry and anti-smuggling patrols. In 1923, the CAF became responsible including civil aviation. In 1924, the Canadian Air Force, was granted the royal title. Most of its work was civil in nature. After budget cuts in the early 1930s, the air force began to rebuild. During the Second World War, the RCAF was a major contributor to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was involved in operations in Great Britain, the north Atlantic, North Africa, southern Asia, with home defence. By the end of the war, the RCAF had become the fourth largest allied air force. During WWII the Royal Canadian Air Force were headquartered in London.
A commemorative plaque can be found on the outside of the building. After the war, the RCAF reduced its strength; because of the rising Soviet threat to the security of Europe, Canada joined NATO in 1949, the RCAF established No. 1 Air Division RCAF consisting of four wings with three fighter squadrons each, based in France and West Germany. In 1950, the RCAF became involved with the transport of supplies to the Korean War. Members of the RCAF served in USAF units as several flew in combat. Both auxiliary and regular air defence squadrons were run by Air Defence Command. At the same time, the Pinetree Line, the Mid-Canada Line and the DEW Line radar stations operated by the RCAF, were built across Canada because of the growing Soviet nuclear threat. In 1957, Canada and the United States created the joint North American Air Defense Command. Coastal defence and peacekeeping became priorities during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1968, the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Army were amalgamated to form the unified Canadian Forces.
This initiative was overseen by Liberal Defence Minister, Paul Hellyer. The controversial merger maintained several existing organizations and created some new ones: In Europe, No. 1 Air Division, operated Canadair CF-104 Starfighter nuclear strike/attack and reconnaissance under NATO's 4 ATAF. Aviation assets of the Royal Canadian Navy were combined with the RCAF Canadair CP-107 Argus long-range patrol aircraft under Maritime Command. In 1975, the different commands, the scattered aviation assets, were consolidated under Air Command. In the early 1990s, Canada provided a detachment of CF-18 Hornets for the air defence mission in Operation Desert Shield; the force performed combat air patrols over operations in Kuwait and Iraq, undertook a number of air-to-ground bombing missions, and, on one occasion, attacked an Iraqi patrol boat in the Persian Gulf. In the late 1