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Trip to National Air Force Museum of Canada
among highlights of a rewarding 2018

Report and photos by Gord McNulty, CAHS Vice President

Blue skies prevailed as a group of Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum members and supporters enjoyed a visit to the National Air Force Museum of Canada (www.airforcemuseum.ca) at 8 Wing CFB Trenton on 21 Sept.

Our tour began with an overview of the base, originally conceived in 1929 as part of a work relief plan, by Major Bill March, RCAF Historian, with the Directorate of History and Heritage, and a CAHS member. Bill’s presentation was followed by NAFMC Executive Director Kevin Windsor, who succeeded Chris Colton after Chris retired in June after 16 years of dedicated service.

The fuselage of Avro Lancaster Mk X KB882 at NAFMC Sept 21 2018

The fuselage of Avro Lancaster Mk. X KB882 at NAFMC.

The restoration of Lancaster Mk. X, ex-RCAF KB882, is among the museum’s largest undertakings. A photo reconnaissance version of the Lancaster, KB882 was transferred to the NAFMC in the fall of 2017 from Edmundston, NB where it had stood at the entrance of the airport since 1964. The City of Edmundston selected the NAFMC for a full restoration after an agreement with the Alberta Aviation Museum fell through due to the initial costs of dismantling and shipping the aircraft.

KB882 flew 11 operations with 428 “Ghost” Squadron, wearing the Squadron code NA-R, before hostilities ended in 1945. In 1956, it was taken out of storage, modified for photo reconnaissance, and delivered to 408 “Goose” Squadron at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, ON. The most notable modification to KB882 was a 40-inch extension ahead of the cockpit to house additional camera and radar equipment.

For the next eight years, KB882 flew a wide variety of photo mapping, intelligence gathering and photo reconnaissance assignments, including surveillance of numerous Soviet ice stations. It was also tasked to conduct photo and intelligence gathering during the Cuban missile crisis in October, 1962.

The aircraft will be restored in the attractive scheme that it wore in during its post-war service, to recognize RCAF crews who flew Cold War missions from 1946 to 1964. The NAFMC plans to complete the restoration by 2024, the 100th anniversary of the RCAF, and house the aircraft in a new building.

A view from the mezzanine at NAFMC of the rebuilt Halifax Mk VII NA337 the museums pride and joy

A view from the mezzanine at NAFMC of the rebuilt Halifax Mk. VII, NA337, the museum's pride and joy.

Rebuilt Halifax Mark VII NA337 shown at its dedication at the National Air Force Museum Trenton Nov 5 2005 Gord McNulty

Rebuilt Halifax Mk. VII NA337, shown at its dedication at the National Air Force Museum, Trenton, Nov. 5, 2005.

A large and appreciative throng of supporters enjoyed the dedication of the Halifax at NAFMC

A large and appreciative throng of supporters enjoyed the dedication of the Halifax at NAFMC.

It will be exciting to display the Lancaster as an ideal complement to the museum’s famous Halifax Mk. VII, ex-RAF NA337. The Halifax, officially unveiled in 2005 after a 10-year recovery and restoration project, is displayed in an extension that showcases an aircraft representing Canadian aircrew who served in Halifax operations.

Avro Anson Mk II at National Air Force Museum of Canada Sept 21 2018

Avro Anson Mk. II at National Air Force Museum of Canada.

Another view of the Anson Mk II at NAFMC Sept 21 2018

The museum’s Anson Mk. II, completed in 2017 after a seven-year restoration, is another fine display. The fuselage and assorted parts of this aircraft were acquired with the assistance of Byron Reynolds, of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, AB, in October 2005. The serial number of this aircraft isn’t known, as it was only a steel frame with two Jacobs engines when it arrived at the museum from a farmer’s field in Wetaskiwin.

The NAFMC chose s/n 7207 to display the aircraft in honour of its local history. It was taken on strength with the RCAF in January 1942 and placed with No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at Picton, ON. At 11:00 hours on 28 June, 1942, during a mutual instrument training flight, the Anson was observed to do a stall turn, then loop and strike Lake Ontario north of Waupoos Island, 16 km east of Picton.

Sergeant William Craig Rodger (RAF) and Sgt. Raymond Cecil Evans Brown (RAF Volunteer Reserve), were killed. The aircraft was recovered from the lake and officially struck off strength on 26 July 1943 by No. 6 Repair Depot at RCAF Station Trenton.

Canadair Sabre Mk V at National Air Force Museum of Canada Sept 21 2018 restored as it appeared at CFB Chatham NB in 1960

Canadair Sabre Mk. V at National Air Force Museum of Canada, restored as it appeared at CFB Chatham NB in 1960.

The museum’s Canadair Sabre Mk. V, ex-RCAF 23257, stands proudly in the 16-acre RCAF Memorial Air Park, wearing the colours it displayed when it appeared on the ramp at RCAF Station Chatham, NB, in 1960. It had previously been painted in Golden Hawks colours. The Sabre is one of those classic aircraft that looks great in many different paint schemes.

Lockheed CP 140 Aurora 140102 being reassembled at NAFMC Sept 21 2018

Lockheed CP-140 Aurora 140102 being reassembled at NAFMC.

2nd view of Lockheed CP 140 Aurora at NAFMC Sept 21 2018

In September, the NAFMC made the news with another major acquisition as a Lockheed CP-140 Aurora, s/n 140102, arrived at Trenton. The fuselage and other components were shipped from 14 Wing Greenwood, NS, by truck in a five-day trip. Number 102 was retired from RCAF service in 2015, dismantled by IMP Aerospace and offered to the museum in 2017. It’s being reassembled for future display in the Memorial Air Park. In fact, the wings arrived on Sept. 13, a few days before our visit. The restoration team has taken a break over the winter but they will be back in the spring to complete re-assembly of the Aurora. Most of the useable parts were removed by IMP to help maintain enough spare parts to keep the current Aurora fleet flying.

Restoration of the Beech Expeditor 3TM nears completion at the NAFMC Sept 21 2018

Beech Expeditor 3TM, s/n1560, in the restoration compound at NAFMC.

A side view of the Beech Expeditor 3TM at NAFMC Sept 21 2018

The restoration team has also completed a Beech Expeditor 3TM, s/n1560. It is currently in the back restoration compound awaiting paint. Once painted, it will join the collection in the Air Park. The NAFMC acquired the ex-RCAF aircraft in 2013 after it was discovered in Portage la Prairie, MB, where it had been on a pedestal in front of a recreation centre. It likewise had been dismantled, loaded on a flatbed truck and driven back to Trenton.

A remarkable year for the museum culminated on November 20 when a CH-124 Sea King, s/n CH12405, landed at Trenton to join the collection. The first four Sea Kings in service in Canada were built by Sikorsky at its factory in Connecticut, but no. 124 was the first of 37 to be built in Montreal.

Six RCAF aircrew flew the Sea King on a six-day flight from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in Patricia Bay, BC, to Trenton. They stopped in places such as Penticton, BC, Medicine Hat, AB, Winnipeg, and Green Bay, Wisconsin. The addition of a Sea King, officially retired in December after 55 years of exceptional service with the RCN and RCAF, is yet another reason to celebrate the success of the NAFMC.

Not to be forgotten, certainly, is the ongoing restoration of the Hudson Mk. VI, ex-RCAF FK466, acquired by the NAFMC in 2010. Chris Colton gave a comprehensive presentation on the Hudson to the Toronto Chapter in April and there isn’t any doubt about the significance of this project as the museum looks forward to an exciting future.

Our thanks to the museum staff for an excellent outing and to Clare Short of the CWHM Volunteer Committee, who organized the bus trip.

 Canadair Sabre Mk V 23257 at National Air Force Museum of Canada Oct 20 2013

Canadair Sabre Mk. V 23257 at National Air Force Museum of Canada, Oct. 20, 2013.

National Air Force Museum of Canada Sabre Mk V 23257 Trenton Oct 20 2013

National Air Force Museum of Canada Sabre Mk. V 23257, Trenton, Oct. 20, 2013.