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Anticipation Building for a Great Canadian AirVenture
By Ian Brown, Editor, Bits and Pieces, EAA # 657159
May 2016 - Last month we mentioned several items of Canadian content at Oshkosh 2016, including the Canadian breakfast and the Snowbirds. We’re beginning to flesh out more details of our seminars in the Canada Tent, which you will see in a separate article. You will discover a few more items of Canadian interest, but undoubtedly the Martin Mars will be an impressive display. The biggest water bomber in the world lives in Canada and is deployed all over the Americas in times of raging forest fires. Four remaining Martin Mars aircraft were converted from transport to water bombers—two were destroyed early on, and two have been serving for over 30 years without accident. They are based at Sproat Lake, Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.
The Martin Mars is the largest flying boat ever flown operationally, with a height of 38 feet, a length of 120 feet, and a wingspan of 200 feet (approximately the wingspan of a Boeing 747). Only six of the massive aircraft were built, with Coulson Flying Tankers of Port Alberni, British Columbia, owning the two remaining examples since 2007 and using them as water bombers on forest fires throughout the western United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Check out this link to the EAA announcement about the planned activities for the Martin Mars water bomber at AirVenture. She will be based on Lake Winnebago but will do flying demonstrations during the air show. I can recall locals telling me that Winnebago is so shallow that sometimes boats bottom out in stormy weather. Let’s just hope the draught of a Martin Mars is not a problem.
Canadian kit manufacturer Zenair, Midland, Ontario, has announced a partnership with M-Squared Aircraft of Mobile, Alabama, to produce a fully completed version of the STOL CH 750 light-sport aircraft (S-LSA), which will also be available for sale in Canada for a base price of $99,990 U.S., complete with a Continental O200 D and touch-screen glass cockpit. According to Kathy Lubitz, president of the Ultralight Pilot's Association of Canada (UPAC), the CH 750 is already approved as an advanced ultralight whether it's kit or factory built.
The EAA B-17 is coming to Western Canada in June and July. Check out this link for more information about what it would take to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime flight in a B-17 Flying Fortress. The B-17 will be coming to Calgary, Regina, and Gimli before heading off to Wisconsin for some AirVenture-related activities.
A special thanks to our contributors this month—J. Davis for his report on Sun ‘n Fun, and Jack Dueck for his information about the upcoming Canadian events at AirVenture Oshkosh 2016. How is your spring opening up? How about writing up something about that special project you are working on? Your fellow Canadians might love to read about it.