Bits and Pieces
Go Back to School at Warbird U
By Vintage Wings News
Photos by Peter Handley
There are two places where you can become a Harvard graduate. One, we’ve heard, is somewhere in Massachusetts. The other is right here at the Canada Aviation Museum and the Vintage Wings of Canada facility.
Have you ever wanted to know how the landing gear on a Harvard retracts, locks, or drops? How best to do an aileron roll? Or how to do a crosswind landing in this heavy taildragger?
Possibly you have always wanted to ask, how do the wings fold on a Corsair? Or how to start 18 massive cylinders and a 13-foot diameter prop that weighs more than a small car? Or how to fly an approach with 20 feet of nose blocking your view to the runway? Or, damn it - just how the heck do you even get in that big beast?
Perhaps you’ve wondered why the Curtiss-Wright P-40N Kittyhawk made such a good ground attack aircraft. And what’s it like to fly behind an Allison? Why that crazy landing gear retraction sequence? Want to know firsthand how it was to fly with the legendary “Stocky” Edwards?
Well, you can find the answers to these questions and much more in our new series of Warbird Ground Schools. Vintage Wings of Canada has teamed up with the Canada Aviation Museum to bring three information-packed 2-day ground schools dedicated to the idiosyncrasies and habits of three of the most important aircraft of the Second World War. Get firsthand knowledge from the pilots who fly and manage three of Vintage Wings of Canada’s most important aircraft: the North American Harvard, the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, and the P-40N Kittyhawk.
Starting in late February 2010 with the Harvard, these ground schools will offer students a range of experience, firsthand knowledge, technical detail, and shared passion. Each ground school will begin at the Canada Aviation Museum with a full day of presentations, discussions, and audio-visual material. In addition, coffee breaks and lunch will be provided to fuel you as you learn. On the second day, we move across the Ottawa River to the Vintage Wings of Canada facility for additional presentations, a personal cockpit checkout, and then a photo session with you and your warbird. At the end of each ground school, attendees will each receive a certificate of course completion.
The first Warbird U course will be on the North American Harvard. Rob “The Fox” Kostecka has worked for nearly two years to develop spectacularly detailed training programs on every technical system found between the spinner and the tail wheel of the Harvard. Dave O’Malley, Manager of Communications at Vintage Wings, said, “If the BCATP [British Commonwealth Air Training Plan] had had these teaching tools and AV presentations, a lot of lives could have been saved!” Rob’s attention to detail and passion for this aircraft are powerful motivators as he takes you through exhaustive systems checks, equipment function, and control sequences for every phase of a flying circuit. The 2-Day Harvard Ground School will take place February 27-28, 2010. Day one at the Canada Aviation Museum includes detailed technical presentations, discussions, and familiarization with one of the greatest and most ubiquitous warbirds anywhere. Coffee breaks and lunch will be served to break up the first day’s emphasis on technical aspects and details. Day two will continue at the Vintage Wings of Canada hangar in Gatineau and will include a private tour of the VWC Gatineau collection and some private time with our “High Flight Harvard.” Here you will attend more technical briefings in the morning, followed by climbing into the Harvard for your individual cockpit checkout and hero photograph and receiving your Warbird University Harvard Certificate.
The second Warbird University Ground School course will be dedicated to the massive carrier-based Goodyear-built FG-1D Corsair. Your instructors for this in-demand course will be two of Canada’s most experienced test pilots and warbird flyers: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Paul “Rose” Kissmann and Maj. (Ret.) Tim “Midas” Leslie. Tim Leslie has considerable experience on many warbird types, including the P-40, Spitfire, Corsair, Mustang, and Harvard. Tim works every day as a test pilot for the Flight Research Laboratory of Canada’s National Research Council. Paul Kissmann, also a test pilot at the Flight Research Laboratory, comes from a lengthy military career which included command of the famous 433 Squadron “Les Ti-Piques” and many years as the Air Force’s top test pilot with the Aerospace and Engineering Test Establishment. These two experienced warbird pilots will bring unparalleled insight as you learn about the Corsair. The 2-Day Corsair Ground School will take place March 27-28, 2010. Day one includes detailed technical presentations, discussions, and familiarization with one of the most feared warbirds in naval aviation history. Coffee breaks and lunch will be served to break up the first day’s emphasis on technical aspects and details. As the Corsair from the Vintage Wings of Canada is wintering at the Canada Aviation Museum, students will be allowed to spend time in the cockpit and have their hero shot taken by a Vintage Wings of Canada photographer. Day two will take place at the Vintage Wings of Canada hangar in Gatineau and will include additional presentations, a private tour of the VWC Gatineau collection, and receipt of your Warbird University Corsair Certificate. Photos: Peter Handley, DND, and John Brennan
The third in the ground school series will be dedicated to the Curtiss P-40N Kittyhawk. Your instructor will be Dave Hadfield, a born-to-fly, high-time airline captain who comes from a family of aviators. Dave lives and breathes vintage aircraft and managed the Vintage Wings side of the Kittyhawk’s restoration in New Zealand. Dave watched the P-40 throughout its gestation and knows her systems inside-out. With deep experience in flying everything from Tiger Moths to warbirds to wide-body airliners, Hadfield’s perspective and methodical approach will combine a passion for the joys of flight with deep technical knowledge. The 2-Day Kittyhawk Ground School will take place April 17-18, 2010. Day one includes detailed technical presentations, discussions, and familiarization with one of the most versatile warbirds in aviation history. Coffee breaks and lunch will be served to break up the first day’s emphasis on technical aspects and details. Day two will take place at the Vintage Wings of Canada hangar in Gatineau and will include additional presentations, a private tour of the VWC Gatineau collection, your cockpit check in the “Stocky Edwards” Kittyhawk, photo session, and receipt of your Warbird University Kittyhawk Certificate. Photos: Gavin Conroy and Peter Handley.
Each 2-day course will commence at the Canada Aviation Museum where we will be in close proximity to the Harvard, Kittyhawk, and VWC’s Corsair. The museum aircraft will enable us to do walkarounds with students. Photo: Tom Polodec
The Bush Theatre at the Canada Aviation Museum will allow comfortable seating and modern audio-visual equipment to enhance presentations while just outside stand the museum’s Harvard, Kittyhawk, and VWC’s Corsair. Photo: CAM and Richard Lawrence (inset)
Lunch and coffee breaks are included!
For more information about these Warbird Ground School courses and tuitions, please contact: