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ISSUE 101 - January 2010
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By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Roslin, Ontario, Canada

Eight Rolls-Royce Merlin & Griffon engines growl across the clear, blue sky. In formation are the Vintage Wings Spitfire & Hurricane, The Russell Air Group Spitfire & Hurricane, and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Avro Lancaster performing a pass at Gatineau.

As a young boy who’s father served and flew in the RAF during World War Two, I came to love airplanes and aviation at a very young age. Though he was Flight Engineer/pilot on the Lancaster and Halifax bombers, the first model airplane my father and I ever built together was a Supermarine Spitfire Mk IV. I still have the model today, though a little worse for ware.

CWH Avro Lancaster performing a high speed solo pass for the crowd, left. The Vintage Wings Spitfire breaks from the formation with the Hurricane, heading for the circuit, right.

Some 40+ years later I stood on the grass at Gatineau airport, only 10 minutes from Ottawa, watching and listening to the sound of Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon engines growling above me in the clear, blue sky. Attached to those beautiful sounding engines were two Supermarine Spitire and two Hawker Hurricane fighters and one of only two flying Lancaster bombers in the world, Canadian Warplane Heritages Mynarski VRA. What a sight and what a sound!

Visiting Pitts Special sets a smoke signal to thank the crowd after his aerobatic performance, left. Sandy Thompson comes into the open house every year with his Hawker Sea Fury, right.

This was Vintage Wings of Canada’s September 2009 Open House. An event in south-western Quebec, in the National Capital Region, that attracts spectators, airplanes and pilots from all over. Whether you fly in or drive in to the show, you won’t be disappointed and those who came were not.

Vintage Wings DH Fox Moth gracefully wings its way through the skies, left, followed by the Beech Staggerwing, right.

Founder of Vintage Wings of Canada, Mr Michael Potter along with his team of volunteers have managed to collect an impressive assortment of classic and vintage aircraft representing various stages in Canadian aviation history. Some of the aircraft, such as the Spitfire and Mustang, are well known to airshow buffs. Some are lesser-known aircraft such as the DH Fox Moth and Beech Staggerwing but are no less impressive. Whatever the airplane and its history, they all tell a story and any of Vintage Wings of Canada’s volunteers will take the time to chat with you about them.

The Canadair (Bombardier) CL-415 water-bomber made an appearance. This one flies with the Quebec government fighting forest fires throughout the province.

The September open house saw aircraft from various parts of Quebec, Ontario and the USA fly in for the days events. Canadian Warplane Heritage and the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association brought in aircraft for the show, as did many private pilots flying their own aircraft. From classic biplanes to jet aircraft, there was something to see for everyone.

Mr. Potter put the Mustang through its paces, performing an enjoyable aerobatic display in the Merlin powered machine, left. Rob Erdos flew the Vintage Wings Harvard against a beautiful blue backdrop in a graceful display, right.

Mr. Potter performed an aerial ballet in the Vintage Wings Mustang while NRC and VWC pilot Rob Erdos showed off his aerobatic prowess in the Vintage Wings Harvard. Watching both these aircraft in the air reminds one how and why they came to be some 65-70 years ago. The Harvard, though originally designed and built in the United States as the T-6 Texan, served with the Royal Canadian Air Force as an advanced trainer for the BCATP (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan). Thousands of allied airmen were trained to fly at quickly established airfields across Canada, many of whom went overseas to fly and fight during World War Two. The Mustang, built to specifications and requirements of the RAF, was also designed and built in the USA and became a frontline, long range and very effective fighter, powered by the Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin.

Centennial of Flight CF-18 in a climbing, afterburner turn after take-off, left. Centennial of Flight, Vintage Wings F-86 Hawk One Sabre in a gorgeous top-side, climbing pass, right.

Among some of the other aircraft flying in the open house show were a Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet painted for the Canadian Centennial of Powered Flight celebrations along with a one of a kind former RCAF Sabre (F-86) painted in Golden Hawks colours, designated “Hawk One” all from Vintage Wings. Joining them was a Canadian Forces CT-114 Tutor painted in the livery of the Golden Centennaires 1967 formation aerobatic team. The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association brought three Harvard aircraft and performed their three-plane formation aerobatics display. Some of the other guest airplanes included a Nan-Chang, Yak, Swift, Cessna 190, Stearman, CF-18, and two T-34’s along with several other assorted aircraft.

VWC Kittyhawk with pilot Dave Hadfield taxi’s out with 88 year old former RCAF pilot and ace Stocky Edwards in the back seat, left. The Kittyhawk takes to the air, right.

A special guest at the open house was former World War Two fighter pilot and ace, W/C James “Stocky” Edwards who flew the P-40 Kittyhawk in the desert of North Africa. Stocky shot down 21 confirmed aircraft with an additional 22.5 either probable or damaged. During the open house, Stocky was given the opportunity to fly in the Kittyhawk with VWC pilot Dave Hadfield. Climbing into the fighter must have felt like putting on a pair of old, worn but comfortable pants for Stocky, as he seemed right at home. On take-off, a big ‘thumbs-up’ and off they went for a nostalgic and historic flight. After landing, Dave, Stocky and Mr Potter, along with the Edwards’ family, gathered around the airplane for a photo op. The biggest smile in the group was on the face of the 88-year-old ace. To him it must have seemed like just the end of another mission, and a trip down memory lane.

The Russell Air Group Spitfire and Hurricane in a formation flypast after their Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast practice flight, left. The CWH Lancaster’s Merlin engines powered up during take-off as she heads to the sky for the Battle of Britain flight, right.

Rounding out the day was the Battle of Britain ‘practice’ flypast which consisted of VWC’s Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI and their Hawker Hurricane Mk IV, along with The Russell Air Groups Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX and their Hawker Hurricane Mk XII, and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Avro Lancaster. If you’ve never had the opportunity to see all 5 of these magnificent airplanes in the air, at the same time and in formation, it is well worth the drive or flight to Gatineau to see AND hear them.

VWCs Hawker Hurricane shortly after take-off with gear almost fully up, left. VWCs Kittyhawk with that trademark gear raising configuration, right.

Vintage Wings of Canada has a marvellous collection of both vintage and classic, rare aircraft in their hangar. They fly them, maintain them, and when necessary, restore them with the help of a marvellous group of volunteers. It is a place where history is brought to life and where history begins again.

For more information on Vintage Wings of Canada:

For more information on the Russell Air Group:

For more information on Canadian Warplane Heritage:

For more information on Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association:

Two T-34 Mentors in Canadian markings flew in for the show, a Canadian registered aircraft, left, and an American registered aircraft, right.


One of the most beautiful formations seen in Canadian skies, Vintage Wings RCAF fighters including their Mustang, Spitfire, Hurricane, and Kittyhawk, perform a lovely pass, left. The Centennial of Flight team, CF-18 Hornet, F-86 Sabre, and CT-114 Tutor in a tight pass, right.

Showing off their huge propellers, the VW Kittyhawk, left, and Mustang, right, taxi in after their performances.

Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association Harvard aircraft taxi
in after their formation aerobatic display.

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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