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A Saturday Drive: BC Stars Visit to The Canadian Museum of Flight, Langley BC

A Saturday Drive: BC Stars Visit to The Canadian Museum of Flight, Langley BC

British Columbia
Saturday, March 3, 2018 -
10:00am to 12:30pm
Langley
British Columbia

Langley Airport in British Columbia, is the home of the Canadian Museum of Flight. It was started in the 1970’s by aircraft enthusiasts who wanted to stop our historic aircraft leaving permanently for the US and Europe. A non-profit society was created, to buy up and restore as many aircraft as possible.

 

According to their website, “The Canadian Museum of Flight is a non-profit, volunteer-driven museum dedicated to restoring, preserving and showcasing Canada's rich aviation heritage.” http://canadianflight.org/content/about-us One Saturday recently, 20 of our BC Stars Members and friends visited this treasure trove of artifacts, celebrating Canada’s rich contribution to the history of flight. There is a small paid-staff, but most of the running of the museum, tours, and aircraft preservation, are carried out by impassioned volunteers. Friendly Administrator, Brenda Radstaak, met us in the Gift Shop, and introduced us to Peter Graham, our Guide. Peter took us outside to the fenced yard, for our first stop, to see the Museum’s collection of non-flying aircraft.

 

 

It is a small facility, but the Museum has over 25 static, and flyable aircraft on display. The Museum owns the world’s only restored and displayed Handley Page, Hampden bomber. Recovered off the BC coast, it had lain underwater from the 1940’s to 1985.

 

http://www.canadianflight.org/content/handley-page-hampden

 

 

The RCAF’s first jet fighter type, a wood and metal framed De Havilland “Vampire”, of the 1940’s, is under restoration. Notable too, are some unique Canadian aircraft and variations, an Avro CF-100 all-weather interceptor jet from the early 50’s, a Canadair-built T-33 “Silver Star”, and a later, CF-104 “Starfighter” variant, as used by the RCAF. We had the unexpected opportunity to get a good look into the cramped quarters of the Hampden, and we could actually go inside a 1937 Beechcraft Expeditor, and an early Sikorsky S-55 helicopter!

 

 

Peter told us that many of their aircraft have been restored and rebuilt to fly, as well. The indoor exhibition area housed many restored and replica aircraft. The Museum, as small as it is, and staffed by volunteers, sent over several replica WW1 era fighters for the 2017 Vimy Memorial flypast in France, a Sopwith Camel, an SE5A, and two Sopwith Pups, Very impressive!

 

 

Our Members had a wonderful time poring over the history of flight memorabilia and curiosities on display in the hanger, before gathering ‘airside’ for a photo. The Museum’s yellow Harvard Mk IIBTrainer is one of their aircraft that is flown regularly, and it made a fitting backdrop for a ‘Museum Tour’ group photo.

Many of us lingered in the Gift Shop on the way out. The Museum, in addition to mugs and model kits, has a large collection of used aircraft books and photographs for sale, at affordable prices. A pleasant surprise was the huge collection of inspiring Eagle, Dan Dare comics for boys, from the early 1950’s age of jet flight.

 

 

In no time, our 90 minute tour ‘flew’ by, for want of a better word, and it was time to leave for our lunch. As an aside, the adjoining restaurant, “I Fly for Pies”, was another popular attraction. More than a few of our number took home some famous home-made pie for later.

Many thanks to our Museum hosts, Brenda, who set up such a great day, and Peter, who made it a fascinating and enjoyable experience. Thanks also, to Senior Manager Dave Arnold, for accommodating our large group.

 

For those who didn’t come this time, be sure to do so when you get the chance. The Museum runs on dedicated volunteers, and donations. I urge your support for their fine work by buying a Museum Membership,

http://canadianflight.org/content/join-team

or contributing to their Aircraft Sponsorship Programs.

http://canadianflight.org/content/aircraft-sponsorship

 

Many of us gathered afterwards at Milestones in Langley, to chat about our experience over a good lunch or a beer. The Club was kind enough to donate a few appetizers for the meal. Thanks, Matt !!

 

To add a bit of a driving component, some of us headed up to Napier’s Collectibles on 216th Street. Napier’s has long been a warehouse of everything you had forgotten about, and never knew you needed. From car badges, to vintage cooler chests, to pop bottles to signs and furniture, they have everything! It was a nice little trip down memory lane, and a nice drive to get there.

 

Thanks to all of those who came out and shared in a great day. When the skies are a bit clearer, I know some of us are hoping for a flight in the Harvard…

 

Photo Credits: Matthew Peck and Sean Clark

 

Please use these links for Matt”s photos and video:

 

Photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b4l58ui5alpk0sr/AAARqtDPkiCkMKa_fJAwgGhla?dl=0

 

Video: https://youtu.be/Bz198WGnahk

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