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Future for Two Vintage Aircraft Uncertain

Officials in Calgary are trying to determine what to do with two vintage aircraft that are owned by the city. The city council voted to seek an experienced restoration company outside of Calgary rather than spend public funds to finance a restoration by local groups. The two-year fight over the fate of the WW-II era aircraft centers around the desire to keep the airplanes in Calgary and still determine the best way to restore them to flying or museum condition. 

The Calgary Sun ran the following article by Shawn Logan on March 23, 2010.

de Havilland Mosquito

The fate of two vintage aircraft owned by the city remains up in the air after council decided Monday to look for outside help to restore them.

Balking at the $1.6 million price tag to restore the pair of Second World War-era planes, a de Havilland Mosquito and a Hawker Hurricane, the city will instead look to farm out the restoration job with the hope of keeping them in or near Calgary.

Alderman Gord Lowe, who formerly sat on the board for the AeroSpaceMuseum of Calgary, said the city’s best option is to look for expert help to spruce up the rundown aircraft instead of dipping into public coffers to restore them to museum quality.

“The idea is the get the broadest expressions of interest we can and get the best deal for the city and the aircraft,” he said.

“We’re doing a course correction and going where we should have gone in the first place.”

The city has been trying to determine what to do with the planes for two years after the original plan to sell the Mosquito bomber to a British collector for $1.5 million was scuttled following outrage from local aerospace enthusiasts.

Lowe said any decision to have outside help and funding to restore the planes would focus on keeping them in the community.

But Alderman Bob Hawkesworth said the city shouldn’t risk seeing the classic planes shipped elsewhere if the best rebuilding bid isn’t local.

“People want these aircraft to stay in Calgary, and we’ve lost two years of work in the process of trying to decide what to do,” he said.

“There are people here interested in raising funds as well as contributing their knowledge and skill in the restoration.”

Hawker Hurricane
Aviation enthusiasts are still divided over the fate of these aircraft; the above article only focuses on one side of the continuing argument. There still remains a strong feeling that the offer from the British collector should have been accepted. The decision to “Bondo up” these two aircraft for a static display would probably prevent them from ever being rebuilt into flying aircraft. The argument goes: Better to have the Mosquito restored to flying condition in Britain than to have them consigned to a static museum display in Canada.

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