The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. The questions and the answers are now being published together in the same e-newsletter, rather than questions one month and the answers the next. We are hoping this instant gratification might encourage more interest and research by our readers. Spoiler alert - if you read any further, you will find the answer to March's questions directly below. Good luck and have fun!

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for March are:

Question 1: What were some of the aircraft, part of the Imperial Gift received after WW1, that were tinkered with and how were they modified?

Answer: “The D.H.4s, as received, were judged difficult machines, and almost at once work began to convert several to D.H.4 B standards (an American version). The principal change was moving the fuel tank from a point between the two cockpits to immediately in front of the pilot’s cockpit. This placed the tank nearer the aircraft’s centre of gravity, and thus ensured greater stability as fuel was consumed ( the standard D.H. 4 tended to become nose-heavy during a flight). In 1922, it was proposed to convert a Bristol Fighter to seaplane configuration. It became apparent that even a brand new “Brisfit” could not be modified; wartime experience has shown that whenever the type had been required to lift something extra (such as bombs) it had been necessary to sacrifice weight elsewhere, as with fuel. In January 1924, skis were fitted to D.H.4s at High River. No amount of modification could make the open-cockpit D.H.4s comfortable in winter; official issue clothing (designed for wartime France) was often inadequate and locally produced moccasins were tried.”

Source: Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal – Vol. 47 No 1 – Spring 2009 – Page 30

Question 2: The following questions are in regards to the MAPLE FLAG 2004 exercise:
1. Number of countries participating?
2. Number of personnel participating?
3. Total number of flight hours during Maple Flag ?
4. Fuel Consumed?
5. Food Consumed?
6. Trailers for operations?
7. Chairs?

1. Countries participating: 10 ( Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States) plus a NATO AWACS contingent.
2. Number of personnel participating: 2,200 per period – more than 6,000 cycling through the wing during the entire exercise
3. Total Number of Flight hours during Maple Flag: Approximately 1,098 hours.
4. Fuel Consumed: Up to 1.7 million litres of jet fuel per day.
5. Food Consumed: 330,000 pounds
6. Trailers for operations: 72.
7. Chairs: 2,100.

Source: Airforce – Volume 28 No. 3 – Fall 2004 – Page 35

Question 3: When and for what reason did Rockcliffe’s military history begin and when was it taken over by the RAF?

Answer: “Rockcliffe”s military history began in 1898 when the Department of Militia and Defence needed land for a rifle range. Upon acquiring the area north of the 50-foot limestone escarpment that separates the top part of the base from the lower, more land was added a few years later. During WW1, army units trained there before the Royal Air Force flew thee round-trip air mail flights to Toronto with JN-4 aircraft in 1918.”

Source: Airforce – Fall 2004 – Page 9