1 Air Division

Aerobatic Display Teams

Sky Lancers 1956

In 1956 4 (F) Wing at Baden West Germany provided the members of "The Sky Lancers". Unfortunately on 2 March 1956, while practicing their routine over the Rhine valley, "The Sky Lancers" crashed near the Vosges mountains south west of Strasbourg killing four of the five team members. This accident put an end to RCAF aerobatic teams for several years.





Number 1

F/O JD McLarty

414 Squadron


Number 2

F/O JH Adams

444 Squadron


Number 3

F/O FK Axtell

422 Squadron


Number 4

F/O EH Welters

414 Squadron



F/O LC Price

422 Squadron


In early 1956 the Sky Lancers were reformed, this time at 4 Wing. The team consisted of F/Os JD "Dale" McLarty (lead), JH "Jake" Adams, FK "Fred" Axtell, LC "Stretch" Price and EH "Ed" Welters. The team got busy with its practicing and the Sabres were painted in an attractive scheme, but all preparations were for naught. At about 2:20 in the afternoon of March 2 near a village close to Strasbourg the Sky Lancers' four-plane formation thundered straight into the ground as it came out of a loop. Everyone except F/O Price was killed, and he hadn't been flying.

Thus, with great sadness, the Air Division terminated its involvement in team aerobatics.

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  1. The 4 Wing Sky Lancers - 1956.
    Courtesy Daniel V Dempsey.

  2. Memories of the Sky Lancers - 1956.
    Courtesy Les Price.

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  1. USAF F-86 Sabre aircraft paid tribute to their Canadian colleagues as the Sky Lancers were laid to rest in the RCAF cemetery at Choloy, France - 4 March 1956.
    Courtesy Claude Gray.

  2. The funeral of F/Os Adams, Axtell, McLarty and Welters at Choloy - 4 March 1956.
    Courtesy DND.

  3. The funeral of F/Os Adams, Axtell, McLarty and Welters at Choloy - 4 March 1956.
    Courtesy Todd Pomerleau.

  4. The Sky Lancers prodly showed off their new paint scheme - 1 March 1956.
    Courtesy DND PC 1229.

  5. F/O Les Price chased his teammates in a T-33 with Louis Le Compte shooting from the back seat to obtain this photo - 1 March 1956.
    Courtesy DND PL 83547.

  6. The 4 Wing Sky Lancers Aeorbatic Team in 4 Wing - 22 February 1956.
    (L-R) F/Os Jake Adams (right wing), Dale McLarty (team leader), Les Price (solo), Fred Axtell (slot), Ed Welters (left wing).
    Courtesy DND PC 1167.

  7. The ill fated Sky Lancers on the tarmac at 4 Wing - February 1956.
    Courtesy LA Cheek.

  8. The Sky Lancers stride in from the flight line following an enjoyable practice - February 1956.
    (L-R) LC "Stretch" Price, EH "Ed" Welters, FD "Dale" McLarty, JH "Jake" Adams and FK Axtell.
    Courtesy Les Price.

  9. A entremely rare photo of one of the Sky Lancers Mk 6 Sabres taken at 4 Wing just days before four of the five team pilots lost their lives - February 1956.
    Courtesy Claude H Gray.

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Updated: September 29, 2004