Because of its unique twin boom design, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning was the most easily recognized U.S. Army Air Force fighter in use during the Second World War. It accounted for more Japanese aircraft losses than any other American warplane and was nicknamed "the Fork-Tailed Devil" by the German Luftwaffe in the North Africa Theater. The Lightning was ideal as both a gunnery platform and a photo-reconnaissance airship because everything could be consolidated in the nose. With counter-rotating propellers and no torque, centrally concentrated firepower, twin-engine safety, hydraulically boosted ailerons and range, the P-38 was America’s first truly modern military aircraft.
The Lightning on display was manufactured by Lockheed in the spring of 1944 as a P 38L, S/N 44-27083, and then sent to Dallas where it was converted to a photo recon F 5G 6 LO before being transferred to Tinker Field, Oklahoma. In January 1946 it was dropped from the U.S. Army Air Forces inventory and sold to civilian buyers ending up with Mark Hurd Aerial Surveys of Santa Barbara, California. Bruce Pruett of Livermore, California bought it from Hurd in 1968, essentially for scrap value. In 1990 Jack Erickson acquired it for the museum and in 1995 restoration was started, the first flight being made in early 1997.
The Ki-43 Hayabusa, a light, fast and maneuverable fighter that excelled in dogfighting and known to the Allies as Oscar, was the most important fighter of the Japanese Army Air Force. Often being mistaken for the Zero, it saw service on every front the Japanese fought in and production continued until the surrender of Japan in August 1945. Late in the war, however, the Oscar began to show its age and was outclassed by many Allied aircraft. Towards the end it was used heavily in Kamikaze suicide attacks. A total of 5,919 were produced, of which very few remain today.
The museum's Oscar is powered by a 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engine, which is fitting since the Japanese were also under license to build Pratt & Whitney R-1830 powered Douglas DC-3 aircraft in the 1930s. This engine is only 4 inches larger in radius than the original Nakajima powerplant and fits snugly into the nacelle. The propeller is a Hamilton Standard DC-3 hub with re-profiled Lockheed Lodestar blades. Acquired by the museum in 2006.
This Harvard Mk 4, CCF 4-34, was built by the Canadian Car & Foundry company in Thunder Bay, and rolled off the production line in 1952.
The RCAF assigned the Harvard s/n 20243, and was delivered to the No. 4 Flying Training School initially at Calgary, and then at Penhold, Alberta where it remained for its military life. The plane was moved to Saskatoon 1965 and sold in July 1967. New owners Art Knutsen and Al Myers registered the aircraft with civil registration C-FVYF, and flew the aircraft around Saskatchewan until 1981.
Wayne Watson purchased the aircraft and brought it to Alberta in September 1981. Wayne flew the Harvard well and often, usually with other members of the Western Warbirds Association during the 1980s and 1990s.
Interestingly, this Harvard was never “restored”, but has been re-painted over its lifetime, and the engine was overhauled in 2003. Other parts have been overhauled or replaced as required. With the exception of the radio equipment, this Harvard is completely original (the old, heavy radios were removed and replaced with modern radios for safety reasons)!
David has flown this Harvard since 1985, and bought the plane from his father in 2009. Today, this Harvard lives in Ponoka – in the same hangar as its best buddy – Drew’s Harvard Mk 2. In fact, the two Yellow Thunder Harvards have shared a hangar since approximately 1984.
This Harvard was a United Kingdom contribution to the BCATP, and was built for the RCAF in Inglewood, California in 1942. The RCAF assigned this Harvard with s/n 3776 where it served as an advanced flight trainer – preparing students to be competent in the skills required as a fighter pilot.
During the war, Harvard 3776 was flown by No. 2 Service Flying Training School (Uplands, ON). Post-war, 3776 was flown by No. 1 Flying Training School (Centralia, ON). Harvard 3776 suffered a category B training accident in 1948 after an engine failure, and was repaired (airframe was reset to zero hours). Harvard 3776 was struck off strength in 1960, and given the civilian registration CF-PST.
CF-PST exchanged hands several times before being purchased by Don McTaggart in 1976. Mr. McTaggart flew the airplane with his friends in the Western Warbirds through the 1980’s. Mr. McTaggart based PST in Camrose, Alberta where he flew numerour formation flights with his friends, including Drew’s father Wayne Watson. On Mr. McTaggart’s birthday, and retirement from flying, he sold PST to Drew Watson.
CF-PST has never been restored. Amazingly, because of its long term storage, this Harvard has a total airframe time of a mere 1000 hours! With the exception of PST’s radios, the cockpit still looks just like it did in the 1940’s.
The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) EC120 Colibri (English: hummingbird) is a 5-seat, single-engine, single main rotor, light helicopter. Jointly designed and developed by Eurocopter, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation, Harbin Aviation Industries Ltd and Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd at Eurocopter France's Marignane facility, the EC120 B is assembled by Eurocopter in France and Australia.
The EC120 is the quietest helicopter in the world and is also called the COLIBRI, which in French means hummingbird”.
The EC 120’s enclosed tail rotor assists with the noise cancelling, and is much safer than the open rotating tail rotors which injure and kill people every year. The enclosed tail rotor is called a fenestron and comes from the French word fenetre which Means window.
In addition to its civilian roles, the Colibri is also used by the military for training, observation and light utility missions. In the latter role, it can carry a sling load cargo of up to 700 kg (1,543 lb).
The Waco Aircraft Company of Troy, Ohio was a major manufacturer of aircraft in the U. S. from 1928 - 1935. Beginning in 1921 as the Weaver Aircraft Company they moved to Troy in 1924 and became the Advance Aircraft Company keeping the Waco logo. From 1929 they changed the name to the Waco Aircraft Company. The Waco (wah-co) series of four-seat cabin biplanes were initiated in 1931 and were produced continuously in progressively refined models until 1939.
The Waco system of model designation takes some time to understand - the first letter identifies the engine type, the second the wing style, and the third the fuselage design. The Museum’s aircraft was manufactured in 1937 at Troy, Ohio as a ZQC-6 model (285 hp Jacobs L-5MB engine) but was converted to an AQC-6 (330 hp Jacobs L-6MB) in 1947.
Purchased new by the Department of National Defence, Ottawa, it was operated by the Department of Transport until 1949, when it was moved out to the British Columbia coast. It was then operated by B.C. Airlines, followed by a logging company. Dr. Jack Pickup of Alert Bay was the next owner, who acquired the airplane in 1953 and routinely used it as a "flying doctor" float plane. During its long career it suffered several landing accidents.
The Waco was donated to the Canadian Museum of Flight in 1980 by Dr. Pickup. Although the aircraft was donated on floats, it is now operated on wheels. The first test flight in over 30 years was carried out on February 13th, 2002 after a twenty-year restoration by volunteers at the Canadian Museum of Flight. This aircraft is one of the Museums flight worthy fleet.
Flown for the first time on October 26, 1931, the Tiger Moth was derived from the DH 60 Moth. The Moth design, with the fuel tank directly above the front cockpit, restricted cockpit access for air force pilots wearing a parachute. The solution was to move the upper wing forward and sweep the wings back for correct positioning of the centre of lift. Initially the DH 82 was powered by a 120 hp Gipsy III engine, but the DH 82A received the 130 hp Gipsy Major. More than 1,000 Tiger Moths were delivered before World War 2, and subsequently 4,005 were built in the U.K. and shipped all over the world; 1,747 were built in Canada between 1938 and 1942, 1,085 in Australia and 345 in New Zealand.
The first Canadian-produced Tiger Moth flew in December 1937, with some being powered by the Menasco engine. The majority were DH 82Cs, powered by the 140 hp DH Gipsy Major 1C engine and with enclosed cockpits, cockpit heaters, brakes and tail wheels. Other changes to make them more suitable for operation in Canada included wider walkways on the lower wings, mass-balanced ailerons, metal interplane struts and heavier axles.
The Tiger Moth was a basic trainer with the BCATP (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan) during WW2, whereby aircrew from all over the British Commonwealth trained in Canada; and with the RAF in India, South Africa and elsewhere. In 1940, there were 120 Tiger Moths based at Boundary Bay, near Vancouver, BC
The Soviet team in the 1976 World Aerobatic Championship, although dominating the championship, finishing first and second in the individual competition and also winning the team and women's competitions in their Yakovlev Yak-50s were impressed by the performances of competing foreign aircraft which could carry out the required manoeuvers in less space than the Yak-50. A team in the Yakovlev design bureau, lead by Sergei Yakovlev, and with V.P. Kondratiev and D.K. Drach as chief engineers, therefore set out to design an all new dedicated aerobatic aircraft, unrelated to the Yak-50, which would be able to match the tight, low-speed style of Western aircraft.
The resulting design, the Yakovlev Yak-55, was a single-engined all-metal cantilever monoplane. The aircraft's wing is mounted mid-way up the fuselage and is of thick, symmetrical section to aid inverted flight. The pilot sits in an enclosed cockpit under a sliding teardrop canopy level with the trailing edge of the wing and with the seat below wing level. The powerplant is the same tractor configuration 360 horsepower (270 kW) Vedeneyev M14P engine driving a two-bladed V-530TA-D35 propeller, as used by the Yak-50, while the aircraft has a fixed undercarriage with titanium sprung main gear and tailwheel.
The prototype Yak-55 first flew in May 1981 and was unveiled at the Moscow Tushino air show in August 1982, and was displayed (but did not compete) at the 1982 World Aerobatic Championships. By this time, fashions in aerobatic flying had changed, with the high energy aerobatics demonstrated by the Yak-50 back in fashion, leading to the Yak-55 being rejected by the Soviet team. The Yak-55 was therefore redesigned, with new wings, with shorter span, reduced area and a thinner but still symmetrical aerofoil section, giving an increased rate of roll and speed. Series production finally began in 1985 at Arsenyev, with 108 aircraft being delivered by 1991.
In the late 1980s, work began on a revised version of the Yak-55, the Yak-55M, to meet demands from DOSAAF for an aircraft with further increased rates of roll, and to compete with new designs from the Sukhoi design bureau. The Yak-55M had a still smaller wing, which resulted in the required improvement in roll-rate. It first flew in May 1989, entering production in 1990. 106 Yak-55Ms had been built by the end of 1993.
The Yakovlev Yak-18 (Russian: Як-18, also transcribed as Jak-18, NATO reporting name Max) was a Soviet tandem two-seat military primary trainer aircraft. Originally powered by one 119 kW (160 hp) Shvetsov M-11FR-1 radial piston engine, it entered service in 1946. It is also produced in China as the Nanchang CJ-5.
A member of the second generation of Russian aircraft designers, and best known for fighter designs, Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev always retained a light aircraft design section. In May 1945, Yakovlev initiated design of the Yak-18 two-seat primary trainer. He designed it to replace the earlier Yakovlev UT-2 and Yak-5 in service with the Soviet Air Forces and DOSAAF (Voluntary Society for Collaboration with the Army, Air Force and Navy, which sponsored aero clubs throughout the USSR). In 1944, an advanced version of the UT-2 had been built and featured an enclosed canopy and fixed landing gear which bears a striking resemblance to the new Yak-18. The new aircraft flew a year later, powered by a 119 kW (160 hp) Shvetsov M-11 five-cylinder radial engine and featuring pneumatically operated retractable main landing gear and a fixed tailwheel. It entered service as a trainer later that year and was built by Yakovlev up until 1956. Examples were exported to China in kit form beginning in 1950. The Chinese began producing license built copies in 1954 with the designation CJ-5.
The Yak 18's greatest claim to fame is its use as a night bomber by the North Korean Air Force during the Korean War. The aircraft were modified with bomb racks on the wing center section and flew over UN troop locations at night to drop bombs and harass UN forces. The single most successful attack of the North Korean aviation during the war was destroying of a fuel dump with nearly 5.5 million gallons of fuel in Inchon area in June 1953 by 4 or 5 Yak-18s. The five-cylinder engine reminded many of the US troops of the sound made by early gasoline powered washing machines earning them the name: "Washing Machine Charlie". The name "Bed Check Charlie" was also used for these night intruders. The Yak-18's along with Polikarpov Po-2's became quite a nuisance until US night fighters began shooting them down.
Other claims to fame for the Yak-18 are an international speed record for class in 1951 as well as being the aircraft used for initial flight training by Yuri Gagarin (1st human in space) and Ken Rowe (No Kum-Sok: defected with a Mig-15 during the Korean War). Later, as the need for conventional landing gear trainers abated Yakovlev re-designed the Yak-18 with retractable tricycle landng gear and an Ivchenko AI-14RF radial, 224 kW (300 hp) and was designated the Yak-18A. The design proved exceptionally easy to build and maintain.
There are an estimated 40 original Yak-18's in existence worldwide. Five are currently flyable in the USA, three are flyable in Europe, and the Chinese Air Force has one flyable with several other airframes in storage. Approximately four other aircraft worldwide are currently being restored for flight. Many are found in major aviation museums worldwide including the National Air and Space Museum in the USA. The CJ-6a, produced in China, is sometimes quoted as a variant but is a completely different aircraft designed in China by Bushi Cheng and built by Nanchang Aircraft Company
The aircraft Jon flies is the awesome looking Black/Yellow factory built Pitts “Muscle” Bi-Plane. With a 330+ H.P. six cylinder Lycoming motor and 3 bladed “Claw” Propeller, this aircraft has all the ingredients for a great performance. With a single seat and light weight, it provides a perfect platform for flying high energy aerobatics! It cruises at 195 MPH which makes Jon’s “aerial commute” from show to show very quick. Fuel capacity on this aircraft is 28 gallons in the main tank, with a 5 gallon reserve used for fuel and/or smoke oil. He uses two on-board GPS navigation systems, both providing moving map display. Jon flies his Plane to any show in North America.
In the late 1950s, the Soviet Air Force was seeking a jet-powered replacement for its fleet of piston-engined trainers, and this requirement was soon broadened to finding a trainer aircraft that could be adopted in common by Eastern Bloc air forces. Aero's response, the prototype XL-29 designed by Z. Rublič and K. Tomáš first flew on 5 April 1959, powered by a British Bristol Siddeley Viper engine. The second prototype was powered by the Czech-designed M701 engine, which was used in all subsequent aircraft.
The basic design concept was to produce a straightforward, easy-to-build and operate aircraft. Simplicity and ruggedness were stressed with manual flight controls, large flaps and the incorporation of perforated airbrakes on the fuselage sides providing stable and docile flight characteristics, leading to an enviable safety record for the type. The sturdy L-29 was able to operate from grass, sand or unprepared fields. Both student pilot and instructor had ejection seats, and were positioned in tandem, under separate canopies with a slightly raised instructor position.
In 1961, the L-29 was evaluated against the PZL TS-11 Iskra and Yakovlev Yak-30 and emerged the winner. Poland chose to pursue the development of the TS-11 Iskra anyway, but all other Warsaw Pact countries adopted the Delfin under the agreements of COMECON.
Production began April 1963 and continued for 11 years, with 3,600 eventually built until 1974. A dedicated, single-seat, aerobatic version was developed as the L-29A Akrobat. A reconnaissance version with nose-mounted cameras was built as the L-29R.