Bits and Pieces
First Canadian EAA Convention Coming This Fall
By Jack Dueck, Editor
Canadian EAA members will finally realize an opportunity for the world’s largest recreational flying organization to spread its wings north into Canada. From September 17 through 19, EAA members will be hosting their first Canadian EAA convention. It will be held in conjunction with the Vintage Wings’ “Victoria Cross” air show in Gatineau, P.Q., just 15 minutes northeast of Ottawa.
Vintage Wings of Canada is perhaps Canada’s most prestigious aviation museum of historically significant airworthy aircraft. It was founded by former Cognos CEO and philanthropist Michael Potter, and is open to the public free of charge, Monday to Saturday (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; advance notice is requested so that a hangar tour can be set up). Most of its aircraft are in flying condition, and the list of historic aircraft is most impressive.
Consider: a Canadian Car & Foundry Hurricane Mk XII, Hawker Hurricane Mk IV, Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk, Goodyear FG-1C Corsair, Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI, North American Harvard, North American P-51D Mustang, Canadair Sabre Mk 5 (in the colours of the RCAF Golden Hawk aerobatic display team), Fairey Swordfish Mk III, Westland Lysander Mk IIIA, and a Cornell. These last three are currently being restored and may be flying by the September air show. In addition, two de Havilland Tiger Moths, a de Havilland Fox Moth, a WACO Taperwing ATO, a Beechcraft D17S Staggerwing, and a de Havilland Canada DHC Beaver on amphibs are also included in the Vintage Wings flying arsenal. Last summer, five of these vintage warbirds were flown to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and all five returned to Gatineau with awards.
On Friday, September 17, the day of arrivals, we’ll be treated to a giant barbecue hosted by local EAA Chapters. This will be a time of completing the time-honoured cross-country flight to EAA conventions, a time to meet and greet members from across Canada, and a time to put our feet up to enjoy the comradeship so prevalent at these fly-ins.
Saturday morning, September 18, will give us the opportunity to share in forums, see displays, and inspect aircraft. Then that afternoon, we’ll enjoy the “Victoria Cross” air show from Vintage Wings. It will feature Vintage Wings’ Corsair together with the Lancaster and the PBY Canso from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario.
Sunday morning, September 19, transit buses will whisk us off to the Canada Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe Airport, Ottawa, where the reenactment of the Battle of Britain will take place, starting around 1100 hours. We’ll be treated to the sounds and sights of aircraft, ground equipment, the reenactors, and much more. Imagine two Hurricanes and two Spitfires flying off of the wing of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Lancaster in a fly-past, eight Merlins creating that distinct sound of those famous aircraft. We may even get to see the Russell Group’s BF109 Messerschmitt in flight.
While at Rockcliffe, be sure to visit the museum. If you haven’t yet visited here, you don’t know what you’re missing. Click here for the Canada Aviation Museum and brief yourself on their collections and activities. Bus transportation will again be provided for those camped out at Gatineau.
The plan is to develop this first event into a yearly convention for EAA members in Canada. Vintage Wings will take the lead on the overall event, and local EAA Chapters and members have kindly volunteered to promote and develop the EAA fly-in component with ground-based convention activities important to our members. Both Vintage Wings and EAA feel that such an association will benefit both parties, and will spawn greater and expanded roles for them as each year progresses. The intent is to start with a controllable number of participants and programs, expanding as demand dictates. Our goal this year is to accommodate 200 fly-in aircraft and a number of drive-in and camping participants. On-site aircraft parking and camping facilities are being arranged, and the Gatineau airport management is delighted and fully onboard to see this start to what could develop into a major event. Aircraft movements will be under NavCan control.
So, our invitation goes out to our members across Canada. September is an ideal time to travel across this great country of ours and to take in the incredible fall colours. Ottawa, our country’s capital offers excellent visitor facilities. Our Canadian duality offers English Canada and that wonderful French culture in its people, customs, and food. English Canada, especially from the western provinces, will show our friends the western spirit, the cowboy hats and boots, and our irresistible optimism. Together, let’s offer American visitors true Canadian hospitality. Sounds like a winning combination, doesn’t it?
Mark your calendars. Most of the summer flying activities will have come to an end, and this opportunity for the fall kick is just what many of us need.
Jack Dueck is a member of the EAA Canadian Council.