Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Warplane Heritage Museum

With the ladies out perusing dress shops, Tom and I decided we needed something to do. For years I have wanted to attend the Warplane Heritage Museum adjacent to the Hamilton Airport, but never managed to get a Round Tuit.

We drove down Highway 8 and followed the GPS directions to the museum. It was easy to spot with the dramatic mount of this CF-104 Starfighter out front.

After paying the admission, we started working our way through the displays. Here is a small selection of what we saw.

The Silver Dart

The Silver Dart made the first controlled, powered flight in the British Empire in Baddeck, Nova Scotia in 1909 under the hand of John McCurdy. Alexander Graham Bell was heavily involved in its development and, true to Canadian style, it's first flight was made off a frozen lake.

Avro Arrow

One of the greatest planes that never happened, the Avro Arrow had reached the test flight stage when it was suddenly cancelled for political reasons.

This tiger striped CF-104 was an unusual exhibit

Lancaster Bomber

The signature Lancaster overlooks the head table of a wedding reception occurring later in the day. The hall is available for rent for social gatherings and they have their own on-site catering service.

The Lancaster, like most of the prop aircraft in the museum, is airworthy and flies from time to time. This restoration is dedicated to Pilot Officer Andy Mynarski, posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross in WW II.

F-86 Sabre

When I was a little gaffer, probably ten years old or younger, the Golden Hawks aerobatic team, operated by the RCAF, came to town for an air show. After the show, a local reporter was looking for a kid to put in the cockpit of one of the aircraft for a photo opportunity. Thus I appeared in the Timmins Daily Press sitting in the cockpit of a golden F-86 Sabre wearing a flying helmet while the pilot, named Lang IIRC, looked on.

I wonder if this was the same aircraft or just one of its select few brothers.

Avro Anson

The Avro Anson was a bomber trainer used to train pilots in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during WW II. The aircraft was constructed entirely out of wood and was the first RAF monoplane with retractable landing gear.

This particular aircraft, a 1944 Anson Mk V, spent its post-war years flying geophysical surveys for Inco as CF-HOT. It was kept airborne by its pilot, Norm Linnington, who rebuilt the wooden airframe several times by hand. With receiving coils wrapped around its wooden fuselage, it was more efficient and cheaper to fly than the other craft, primarily Twin Otters. During the last few years of its exploration job, I was responsible for collecting all the costs associated with it, paying the gas bills and making provisions for reserves for airframe, engine and avionics rebuilds. When Linnington retired, having no understudy, HOT was donated to the museum.

One time, doing survey work in Alice Springs Australia, the aircraft dried out so much that they needed to steam is to prevent the wings from breaking on take-off. Now again, in the hanger environment, it has dried out and is now parked outside in an attempt to moisturize the wood so it can be returned to flying status.



These two photos are of the same aircraft. They show the type of work done by the restoration crews at the museum. There were many more things than what I have shown here and I encourage anyone in the area to drop by for a visit if they can.

Thanks to Tom Gronek for the photos. Sandy had taken my camera (OK, our camera) on the bridal gown hunting exercise.

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