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Gatineau - Canada’s First EAA Fly-In

Mark your calendars for the first Canadian National EAA Fly-in!  From September 17 through 19 Canadians will have the opportunity to take part in the inaugural EAA fly-in at the country’s Capital. 

On May 31, EAA representatives Adam Smith, Mike Bourget, and Jack Dueck met with Robert Fleck, Carolyn Leslie, and Mary Lee representing Vintage Wings of Canada, and Guy Masse’, General Manager of the Gatineau Airport to map out the details of this exciting event.

September 18 is Vintage Wings of Canada’s Victoria Cross Airshow.  The yearly event draws hundreds of aircraft and spectators.  This year will feature, among other aircraft, their Goodyear FG-1D Corsair in honour of the Victoria Cross posthumous recipient, Lt. Robert Hampton Gray.

Corsairs were first operated from carriers by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. Trained in the US, RNFAA pilots including Canadian Lt. Robert Hampton Gray were deployed on carriers such as HMS Formidable and Victorious and carried out daring fighter escort and attack operations in the North Atlantic. This included the famous raids against the holed-up German battleship Tirpitz. HMS Formidable also fought in the Pacific theatre later in the war where Lt. Gray won the Victoria Cross.  The Vintage Wings of
Canada Corsair, presently in standard U.S. “shipyard blue” markings, will be painted in markings to honour Hampton Gray.

This date also coincides with the Battle of Britain celebration held at Rockcliffe on September 19.  Flying aircraft will include the ‘Merlins’, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Lancaster, Spitfires, Hurricanes, and perhaps Russell’s Bf 109 Messerschmitt.

The Lancaster was the Allied Command’s “Best of the Bombers”.  Powered by four Rolls Royce or Packard-built Merlin engines, it was the only aircraft capable of carrying the 22,000 pound “Grad-Slam” bomb.  It had speed, ceiling, and lifting power that no other aircraft of the day could match.  Weighing 36,000 lbs empty, it was capable of lifting another 33,100 pounds of fuel and bombs. 

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s AVRO Lancaster Mark X is painted in the colours of Lancaster KB726 (VR-A).  This was the aircraft that earned Pilot Officer (P/O) Andrew Charles Mynarski the Victoria Cross posthumously, the Commonwealth’s highest honour for valour.

Tentative plans include Vintage Wings Victoria Cross Airshow together with a tour of the Vintage Wings collection of pristine warbirds, and collector’s aircraft at Gatineau; a bussing excursion to Rockcliffe for the Battle of Britain celebration and re-enactment; a tour of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum; all together with the camaraderie and making of friends from across the nation that is expected from an EAA Fly-in.  Aircraft parking and camping with showers, etc., camping and parking for the wheeled variety of RV’s, will make the visit comfortable and convenient.  Local EAA Chapter 245 and a newly formed EAA Warbird Squadron will host the fly-in. 

Nav Can will declare the airspace as Class F with arriving and departing aircraft under air traffic control.  Transponders are not required, but radio communications will be. 

Other plans include a giant B-B-Q on Friday night hosted by Vintage Wings, breakfast on Saturday morning hosted by EAA Chapter 245, and a sit-down dinner with French Canadian cuisine and live entertainment in the theme of the events on Saturday evening.  Breakfast on Sunday morning will also be available. 

So check off these attractions:  the sight and sounds of these magnificent aircraft; Vintage Wings’ salute to the Victoria Cross winners with their annual airshow; EAA playing a supportive role to the event with our first Canadian Fly-in; the battle of Britain re-enactment; the Canada Aviation and Space Museum; the camaraderie of aviation enthusiasts; airplanes; our unique cultural diversity; fantastic fall colours; French cuisine.  What’s not to like?

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