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ISSUE 142 - November 2010
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CWH Flyfest For Fathers

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Roslin, Ontario, Canada

One of the more popular and unique aircraft in the CWH collection is the Canso/Catalina, which will undergo a change during the off-season. The museum has acquired a proper Canso fuselage with a front turret and they will be merging the front section to this airframe.

Every spring, over Father's Day weekend, Canadian Warplane Heritage holds their annual Father's Day Flyfest. It's a day celebrating both Fathers and members, a day when both have the opportunity to fly in an assortment of CWH's assorted aircraft including the Stearman, Chipmunk, Cornell, Harvard, Lysander, Expeditor, Dakota, B-25 Mitchell, Canso and Lancaster.

The Stearman in a steep bank over the museum, bound for the circuit, left.
The DHC Chipmunk turns sharply in the clear, blue morning sky, right.

The event brings in folks from all over Ontario to see these airplanes fly and to watch them perform their "museum arrival" flypasts before entering the circuit for landing. It also allows members to celebrate their work with the museum by means of a flight in one of the beautiful vintage airplanes. From the slow trainers such as the Stearman and Chipmunk to one of the rarest flying aircraft in the world, the Avro Lancaster, flights are done throughout the day, as long as there are no mechanical issues with the airplanes. Unfortunately, with these types of vintage aircraft, mechanical issues do crop up but they deal...... and flying continues if/when airplanes are serviceable again.

The CWH Expeditor (Beech 18) sits on the tarmac (foreground) beside the Fairey Firefly and Sandy Thompson's super Hawker Sea Fury, left. Some of the static aircraft, (left to right), DHC Buffalo, CF-101 Voodoo, CF-104 Starfighter, CF-5 Freedom Fighter, and the Tracker, right.

Pilots at the museum take turns flying their members around the Hamilton and Niagara area for upwards of 30 minute flights, depending on the airplane. While some members are up flying, other members chat with visitors and show them some of the static display aircraft throughout the museum, or those aircraft that may be unserviceable at the time of the event. Visitors can browse the gift shop to find dad that perfect gift for Father's Day, or maybe for a birthday or Christmas.

One of the CWH Harvard aircraft on a member ride, left.
Visiting L-29 Delphin making a nice "museum arrival" pass for the crowd, right.

The training aircraft that fly members throughout the day are the Fleet Cornell, de Havilland of Canada Chipmunk, the Stearman and the Harvard. These are not the fastest aircraft in the air, but each airplane holds a special place in aviation history, not just in Canada but worldwide as well. The DHC Chipmunk was a super little training aircraft that was fully aerobatic. Built by de Havilland of Canada, the CWH 'Chippy' is a beautiful example and popular with many. The Cornell, built by Fleet Aircraft of Fort Erie, Ontario is a larger, less sleek looking airplane, and was used by various air forces around the world for training purposes including the BCATP (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan) which trained Commonwealth pilots at bases across Canada during World War II. Fighter pilots moved on to the Harvard, one of the higher performance of the World War II trainers.

The 1941 HAG C-47 sporting her flags from the cockpit, on the tarmac at Mount Hope, left. The C-47 and the Dak' in a nice formation pass at the end of the day, right.

A special visitor to the event was the 1941 Historic Aviation Group's C-47 from Geneseo, New York in D-Day colours. The C-47 performed formation flypasts with the CWH Dakota in the cool, cloud filled skies over Mount Hope. Seeing two Dak's in the sky at the same time, in formation, was a rare treat for everyone at the museum.

The Canso putting on a show, left. Not to be outdone, the Lanc flight
crew shows off the performance of the big four engine bomber, right.

Two other very popular airplanes that flew during the day were the Canso and one of only two currently flying Lancasters in the world (the other being the BBMF Lancaster in the UK). Unfortunately, both aircraft went unserviceable and were grounded for the remainder of the day. Regardless, the trips and museum passes they made were spectacular and wowed the crowd.

Flying for just over a year, the Lysander comes across the flightline, left.
The B-25 in a nice pass showing the top-side of the aircraft, right.

Rounding out the aircraft flying during the Flyfest were the uniquely painted Lysander, flying now for just over a year since coming off a 22+ year restoration. Finally, the ever popular B-25 Mitchell with a crew that always puts on a wonderful display with their "museum arrival" flypasts.

No longer flying, the Cessna Crane sits on the ramp in front of the CWH Museum building & hangar, left. Visiting but only on static display, the Vintage Wings of Canada P-40 was a popular airplane for spectators, right. (Photos by Janice Boyd)

Non-flying aircraft sitting on the tarmac included an assortment of museum aircraft including the Avro Anson. At onetime, very visible flying museum aircraft, the Anson has been 'grounded' for several years now and won't fly again until, or if/when, it has undergone restoration. Also on the tarmac in static display, the visiting Vintage Wings of Canada P-40, one of the most stunning fighter aircraft gracing the skies of Southern Ontario these days.

As you enter the museum, on the wall across from the front desk is a stunning tribute
to the men and women of the wartime RCAF including these two molded figures.

Of course, the museum isn't just about flying aircraft, it's also about static displays and memorials, tributes, and memories of those who flew and fought for our freedom, those who pioneered flight and set the stage for aviation, not only in Canada, but around the world. Those of us who enjoy flight today; enjoy the freedoms we have today; and the lives we live today have them to thank.

Close up of the cockpit and nose of the Canso as she flies overhead in a turn for the circuit, left. The Lancaster returning from a member ride, making for the downwind leg after a "museum arrival" pass, right.

So, whether you're a father, a dad, a grandfather, grandpa, poppa or pops and you like airplanes, aviation, and/or aviation history, drop some hints to your son or daughter, your wife or your grandchildren. Maybe you're a father to be or maybe you just love airplanes. Well then, Canadian Warplane Heritage Flyfest on Father's Day weekend is a great place to celebrate and remember.

The Dak in a nice tight turn, left. Some of the other CWH static museum aircraft on the tarmac in front of the museum. In the foreground is the de Havilland Vampire, then the Canadair Tutor and the Canadair F-86 Sabre, right.


Two more of the molded figures that appear on the mural
just inside the entrance to the museum.


Tight, close-up of the cockpit of the B-25 Mitchell and crew, left,
and the B-25 in a nice banked pass, right.


Ending the day, the HAG C-47 in formation with the CWH Dak as they approach
the museum with the Ontario, Canadian, and RCAF flags in the foreground.

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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