RCAF Aircraft Colour Schemes

A recent photo of Canadian soldiers embarking in a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CC-150 Polaris transport aircraft is interesting for the colour scheme of the aircraft.  It appears the aircraft is painted for government use and not in the usual RCAF colours.  Interest is piqued what with the soldiers flying into an area of operations in an aircraft with non-tactical colours.

Polaris CC-15001 (note 1) received that colour scheme a few years ago when it went in for scheduled heavy maintenance (the RCAF’s blue is a different pantone from that of the then-Government, something that has had to be repeatedly stressed).  Jim Belliveau, graphic designer for 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, was the creator of the inspired design.  (For more about Jim Belliveau, see “High-flying design.”)

Whilst 01 was the aircraft intended to be used for high-profile flights (Governor-General, Head of Government, trade missions), it was made clear that 01 was still a RCAF transport.  And its first mission in fact was to fly Forces soldiers off on a deployment, just as pictured here.

As an aside, the term ‘livery’ is used in connection with civilian aircraft and airlines, and largely by UK-based aviation magazines.  In North America and for RCAF aircraft, the term ‘colours’ is more widely used.

Note 1: An aircraft of the RCAF is type designated with two letters indicting primary role (CC = Canadian transport [‘cargo’]), three numerals for the specific type of aircraft (150 = the Airbus A310 in RCAF service), and two or three numerals for the particular aircraft.

Comment on “Western Canadian soldiers relieve Quebec-based counterparts on Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine.”

Further, 9 August 2016: RCAF staff have brought attention to “The True North Strong and Free – New Look for the RCAF’s CC-150 Polaris Aircraft 15001.”

Colin Darlington

Colin Darlington is a retired naval officer of the Canadian Armed Forces.

This work is the sole opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia.