A group of former Air Force men and retired airplane mechanics are employed in a labour of love at the Springbank Airport, sharing stories while restoring a vintage cold war fighter jet.

The plane, a CF-104 Starfighter, was the fastest plane ever employed by the Royal Canadian Air Force and a major work horse during the cold war. Capable of launching nuclear strikes, this specific aircraft was based in Germany and flew reconnaissance missions over Europe between 1962 and 1986.

The Air Force Museum of Alberta purchased the jet from a collector in Maine last summer. Since the jet arrived in our province, volunteers have spent more than 2,000 hours restoring the plane so it can be placed on display.

“We think Canadians in general don’t know much about the cold war,” said Gerry Morrison of the Air Force Museum of Alberta. “By having 2 or 3 planes from that era, they’ll tell a story youth will hear for the first time.”

Organizers plan to have the fighter jet restored by the end of July, at which time it will be moved to a new hanger being built at the Military Museums.

The museum purchased the jet for $95,000 and the budget for its refurbishment was $50,000.

With files from CTV's Bill Marks