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Silver Dart Replica Makes Several Test Flights

Silver Dart
Former astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason lifts off in the Silver Dart at Hamilton Airport in Toronto on Friday.
Photo credit: Bob White, www.best-breezes.squarespace.com

February 11, 2009 — A replica of the Silver Dart, the first airplane to make a powered, controlled flight in Canada 100 years ago this month, successfully flew several times over the past week at Hamilton Airport in Ontario. Bjarni Tryggvason, a former Canadian astronaut, flew the historic replica (C-IIGY) a total of six times Friday, February 6, and twice on Sunday, February 8, according to a report on the Silver Dart Project website.

This paves the way for a planned recreation of the milestone first flight scheduled to take place on February 23 right where it happened a century ago - in Baddeck Bay, Nova Scotia. The original Silver Dart was co-designed by Alexander Graham Bell and piloted by J.A.D. (Douglas) McCurdy.  (Jack Dueck, editor of Bits and Pieces, EAA’s e-newsletter for Canada, will be in Baddeck for the February 23 celebration.)

According to the website report, Tryggvason’s first flight included a 700-ft takeoff roll before lifting off and flying approximately 3,000 ft down Runway 24 at an altitude of about 12 ft. that lasted 50 seconds. Subsequent flights on Friday were about 10 minutes apart, and the longest flight took up the entire length of Runway 24 – about 6,000 ft. Both the CTV and CBC national television networks provided live coverage of the flight on Friday.

Volunteers from the Aerial Experiment Association 2005 Inc. (AEA) built the replica aircraft in Welland, ON, from original plans. AEA is a non-profit organization formed to build and fly the replica for the centennial celebration.

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