In the mid-July heat, a crowd gathered outside of Creston’s Millennium Park to witness the dedication of the new CT-114 Tutor Jet.
The jet was mounted to honour Clarence “C.B.” Lang, squadron leader of the Golden Centennaires.
Born in 1937, Lang was raised on a farm in the Creston Valley and worked his first job at the J.H. Huscroft Sawmill. It was there, by chance, that he took his first flight with sawmill owner Ken Huscroft, who had trained in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) during the Second World War.
This first flight inspired Lang’s passion of aviation, so he went on to join the RCAF as a fighter pilot. His talents led him to be selected for the RCAF Golden Hawks aerobatic team in 1963.
Then to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday in 1966, the Golden Centennaires was formed with Lang as squadron leader.
The team performed at over 100 shows across the country during the cenntennial year in 1967.
Many experts in the field believed the Golden Centennaires to be the best in the world.
In fact, Neil Eddins, the commander of the American Thunderbirds, said in a letter that their demonstration at the Thunderbird Reunion in 1967 was “the finest exhibition of precision flying ever seen.”
With the previous success established by the Golden Hawks, the Golden Centennaires’ standards for excellence paved the way for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in 1971.
On July 26, the CT-114 Tutor Jet was officially dedicated by local dignitaries, followed by a special flyover from the Snowbirds.
The jet is painted with the tail number 179, which is the craft Lang flew over Creston for the airshow on July 14, 1967.
“He was a humble man with a wonderful sense of humour and a positive outlook on life,” said his wife, Anne Lang-Harris. “Clarence loved his family and the life he lived growing up on a small dairy farm in Creston, and that’s part of what drew him back here. If he were here today, I’m sure he would be embarrassed but immensely proud to be recognized by the people living here in this valley that he loved so much.”
This project was made possible by the late Johnny Huscroft (son of Ken Huscroft), who died suddenly in February 2022.
Huscroft had been a friend of Lang’s and shared his passion for flight.
After his service in the RCAF, Lang returned home to the Creston Valley where he spent the rest of his life.
In 1984 after Lang was diagnosed with cancer, Ken Huscroft, who had taken him on his first flight, also took him on the last flight of his life to the cancer clinic in Vancouver.
Johnny Huscroft always remembered Lang’s kindness and friendship and wanted to find a way to honour who he considered to be a local hero.
For over a decade, Huscroft worked on this project by buying the Tutor Jet with his own money, painting it in the iconic colours of the Golden Centennaires, and trying to secure a location for its display.
Since his untimely passing, Mayor Ron Toyota took up the helm to collect funds and ensure the completion of the project in Huscroft’s memory.
The total cost of the project was $110,000, of which Huscroft had personally contributed over $70,000.
“Today is a culmination of the dreams that Johnny Huscroft worked on tirelessly and carried with him for over 10 years,” said Toyota. “It has been nothing short of amazing to have witnessed the sheer amount of people who dedicated their time, money, and resources to make Johnny’s dream a reality. For all those that helped all of this to happen as quickly as it has, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks.”