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Eye Candy at Vintage Wings

By Don MacNeil

Don MacNeil, a Vintage Wings volunteer, gave Bits and Pieces the following review of the activities ongoing at the Vintage Wings hangar. Vintage Wings in Gatineau, Quebec, offers the Canadian public an incredible flying aircraft museum.

Hawker Hurricane Mk IV
The “Hurry” was a design of many firsts for the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was the first monoplane fighter aircraft of the RAF, the first fighter with both an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear, as well as the first to exceed 300 mph in level flight. While it may have been innovative, it proved to be an exceptional design which could be adapted to just about any role needed from a single seat aircraft - from interceptor to naval reconnaissance to ground attack. The Hurricane Mk 4 of Vintage Wings of Canada is painted in the markings of RAF 6 Squadron, “The Flying Tin Openers,” which operated the Hurry in the tank-busting and ground attack role. Many Canadian pilots flew the cannon-equipped tank-buster variant with RAF 6 Squadron on operations in North Africa

Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane Mk IV

Fairey Swordfish Mk III
Despite the fact that it was slow and lacked adequate defense, the Fairey Swordfish was considered one of the finest naval aircraft of the Second Word War. It was the only Allied aircraft in continuous production from (1934) before the start of hostilities to the end of the war. Originally designed as a reconnaissance aircraft for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, this lumbering biplane anachronism flew on into the era of high-performance monoplanes, even jets, and achieved phenomenal success

Fairey Swordfish Mk III

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI
To the beleaguered population of Britain during the early part of the Second World War, the Spitfire became the ultimate symbol of defiance and the lone British stand against the seemingly unstoppable German advance. Its heritage springs from a long line of float-equipped racing aircraft designed by the legendary R. J. Mitchell and built by Supermarine Aviation Works, a division of Vickers-Armstrongs. Widely considered the most beautiful aircraft design of its day and possibly of all time, the Spitfire’s elegantly shaped elliptical wings, sleek and powerful lines, and role in the Battle of Britain combined to cement its status as symbol of a nation’s will to endure and ultimately triumph. This highly capable fighter was nimble and fast and was much loved by its pilots, most of whom were trained in Canada.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI

The RCAF F-86

By Lt. Col. (Ret.) Dan Dempsey, Team Historian

Canadians witnessed a historic event in 2009 as one of the most famous aircraft to have served in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) toured Canada as the mainstay of the Centennial Heritage Flight celebrating 100 years of powered flight in Canada. Chosen by the RCAF as its frontline day fighter in August 1949, the Canadair-produced F-86 Sabre served in Western Europe as a deterrent to the Warsaw Pact from the early days of the Cold War until it was replaced by the CF-104 Starfighter beginning in 1962.

All told, some 300 RCAF Sabres were based in Europe at the height of the fighter’s operational service as part of Canada’s collective defense contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Spread throughout 12 squadrons on 4 wings, the aircraft saw service in three countries in the interceptor day fighter role: 1 (F) Wing North Luffenham, England, latterly Marville, France; 2 (F) Wing Grostenquin, France; 3 (F) Wing Zweibrücken, West Germany, latterly Lahr, West Germany; and 4 (F) Wing Baden-Soellingen, West Germany.

Westland Lysander
The Westland Lysander was a British Army co-operation and liaison aircraft produced by Westland Aircraft. It was used during the Second World War and was renowned for its ability to operate from small, unprepared airstrips. The aircraft’s exceptional short-field performance made possible clandestine missions behind enemy lines that placed or recovered agents, particularly in occupied France. Like other British Army air co-operation aircraft named after classical warriors, it was given the name of the Spartan general Lysander.

Westland Lysander
Westland Lysander

All of the above aircraft are or will eventually be restored to pristine flying condition. To learn more about this organization and its gift of restored aircraft for all Canadians, visit Vintage Wings.

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