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Convention Report

Over sixty CAHS members tore down the 401 to join us in London, Ontario, 8 - 11 June 2017. The convention kicked off with tours of London International Airport aviation facilities. Trevor Mustard and Brent Eddington showed us the Diamond Aircraft factory, where DA-20, DA-40, and DA-62 all composite aircraft are assembled. The factory itself was used during the Second World War as an assembly plant for Canadian build de Havilland Mosquitoes, and the original structure is still very obvious. The dichotomy of some of the most advanced civilian aircraft being built in the former Central Aircraft Company Mosquito plant was not missed. No photos were allowed inside the plant, unfortunately.

Diamond Aircraft DA-62 company demonstrator aircraft parked on the apron outside the factory.

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A photo of Mosquito fuselages was on the wall in the reception area. Diamond is very proud of the history of their building.

From there, half of our group visited the Fanshawe College aviation training facility, properly known as the Norton Wolf School of Aviation Technology. School chair Steve Patterson and one of his students took the time to walk us around the former Air Ontario maintenance hangar, now used to train apprentice aircraft maintenance engineers.

Steve Patterson describes one of the college's project aircraft, a Piper Tri-Pacer.

The rest of the group visited the airport operations building. London International Airport gave us some insight into a modern airport with a tour by manager Steve Faulkner. We learned about the huge amount of work that goes into keeping the manoeuvring areas up to standard, the airport fire fighting service, and something none of us were thinking of on a +30C day, snow clearing.

We rejoined at the Jet Aircraft Museum for a talk by Simon Pont, the Director of Communication and Events. Simon gave a spirited presentation of JAM's mission, history, and operations. Besides four ex RCAF Canadair Silver Stars, JAM also holds a Hawker Hunter T.Mk.7 and a BAe Strikemaster. They offer flights in the Strikemaster, and expect to have the other aircraft ready for flights soon.

Simon Pont speaks to our group in front of a Silver Star.

The staff stepped up to show us the International Test Pilot School hangar after our planned tour guide became unavailable. The IPTS is the only private test pilot school in North America, and hosts students from around the world. The fleet includes an Aero L-39 Albatros, two Aero L-29 Delphins, a Rockwell Commander RC700, and several helicopters and other aircraft.

The Czechoslovakian built Aero L-29 Delphin was widely used by Warsaw Pact nations as an advanced jet trainer.

Our tired and hungry group retreated to the No 427 Wing, RCAFA, BCATP era canteen for dinner and additional talks from David and Ramona from the Waterloo Warbirds and the Secrets of Radar Museum's Maya Hirschmann.

No 427 Wing's canteen features an impressive collection of memorabilia.

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Waterloo Warbirds' David and Ramona chat with Jim Bell after their presentation, which included some inspiring GoPro video of a Silver Star flight. Photo by John Bertram.

The Secrets of Radar Museum will soon be housed in the No 427 Wing canteen. Maya created a temporary display for our attendees to show the scope of the collection.

Friday included a full day of talks, plus the CAHS annual general meeting. The full speaker list, with some video, will be posted on the website. CAHS thanks all of the speakers for their significant contribution to the success of the convention. Friday evening featured John Bertram's showing of aviation related Twilight Zone episodes.

On Saturday morning, we boarded a school bus to travel to Tillsonburg, the home of the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association. In advance of the convention, CHAA had offered our attendees a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly in a four aircraft Harvard formation, or to come along on an aerobatic flight in a Harvard. Four members, Marco Jonker, Jack Twells, John Bertram, and Jim Bell flew as passengers in the formation flight, Robert Orr took the aerobatic flight, and Marco and Hugh Halliday took regular flights. More information about the CHAA FlyDay event is in Gord McNulty's report below. More photos and information will be posted on the CAHS website.

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Terry Scott and former astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason spoke to us about CHAA at the beginning of the FlyDay. Bjarni later took some of our convention attendees flying.

A short (and noisy) video of the formation flight.

By 2 pm we were back at the hotel to hear from two additional speakers, before breaking to prepare for our annual banquet. The banquet opened with the Airman's Grace, followed by an excellent meal, presentations of the CAHS Journal awards, auctions, and John Bertram's presentation of the history of aircraft spotting.

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Part of the crowd at the banquet.

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Though frustrated by technical issues, John Bertram gave a spirited presentation.

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CAHS Vice President Gord McNulty presents CAHS Journal editor Terry Higgins with the C. Don Long Award for the best article in the 2015 publishing year. The winner of the Mac MacIntyre Award for best research was Dr Michael Deal, who was not present.

Sunday included our farewell breakfast and our final two speakers. The convention was very successful in all respects. We thank all of our sponsors and partners, especially the Air Force Heritage Fund, the London International Airport, and No 427 Wing RCAFA. Besides being a terrific opportunity for members to meet and make connections with other members and aviation professionals, a successful convention is a significant source of income for the CAHS. Plan now to attend the 2018 CAHS National Convention in Calgary, Alberta, 30 May - 3 June.

John Bertram has compiled images from various Convention events. Please click here to view.

Thank you to our Sponsors and Partners!

Sponsors: Air Force Heritage Fund, London International Airport, CanMilAir Decals, CANAV Books, CAE Inc.

Partners:  Best Western Plus, Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, 427 (London) Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association, Challenge Publications