Hawk One and the Mynarski Lancaster take to the skies

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On June 12 / 13, 1944, 419 ‘Moose’ Squadron Avro Lancasters of the #6 Bombing Group, RCAF took to the skies to attack a target at Cambrai, France. Aboard Lancaster KB726 was Winnipeg native, Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski, the mid-upper gunner on the mighty Avro bomber. During the raid, KB726 (VRA) was attacked by a German night fighter and set ablaze. The pilot ordered the crew to bail out, but against orders Mynarski stayed aboard the doomed aircraft to help save the struggling tail gunner, Pat Brophy, who was trapped in the rear turret. After numerous attempts to help Brophy out of his turret, Mynarski, with parachute and flying suit ablaze, finally jumped from the aircraft, but not before saluting his trapped comrade. PO Mynarski survived the jump but perished from his burns upon landing. Miraculously Brophy survived the crash of the Lancaster and was thrown free from his turret when the aircraft hit a tree. Brophy was able to tell the tale of his friend’s heroic actions and as a result, Andrew Mynarski was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his brave efforts.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Avro Lancaster is dedicated to Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski VC.

On June 13, 2012, the 68th anniversary of Mynarksi’s selfless actions, the Lancaster took to the skies over Southern Ontario with the Discovery Air Canadair Sabre V – ‘Hawk One’ for an air-to-air photo mission.

PHOTOGRAPHS: Peter Handley / Vintage Wings of Canada


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The Bagotville air show was held on June 11-12. The team launched off on Thursday and all met up that afternoon. Guy Richard drove his muscle car up, filled with his tools, while Real drove up, script in hand ready for his commentator duties. ‘Scratch’ jumped into his trusty steed and had the opportunity to test out Hawk One’s new avionics in true IFR conditions.

The Bagotville air show turned out to be a bit of a homecoming for ‘Scratch’. Although he departed the region in 1997 after a tour as a CF-18 pilot at 433 ETAC, it felt like home.

Friday was the practice day and while Guy had the chance to experience an air show operation for the first time, Réal reacquainted himself with the script. ‘Scratch’ and ‘HOM’, the CF-18 demo pilot, figured out how to better integrate the heritage flight between their shows

With the threat of poor weather approaching for the Sunday, The performers, organizers and the spectators alike put their best foot forward for Saturday. The crowds were great and very enthusiastic. Many folks remembered the Sabres flying over the region many years ago. ‘Scratch’ was able to fly the heritage flight and his high show in near perfect conditions. Guy Learned the hard way about the dreaded air show injury – too much sun. I guess its not all glory at the air shows after all.

On Saturday, Hawk one was graced by the presence of a Blenheim fighter after the owners wheeled it over to conduct photo shoot. One couldn’t help but think of the history of Canadian fighter evolution with the CF-18 parked on the ramp, the Sabre sitting proudly and Canada’s very first armed aircraft parked of her left wing.

Sunday brought the rain and small but keen crowds. Despite a poor forecast, ‘Scratch’ was able to fly the low show, and once again with the CF-18 for the heritage flight. With thunderstorms on the horizon, the team elected to stay until Monday and had the chance to partake in the wrap–up pig roast.

The show was fantastically run and was a real thrill to be part of. They hosted us very well and we felt very welcome by the folks of the Saguenay Valley. Thank you 3 Wing!

Presenting the Hawk One 2011 Poster to Bagotville. L to R: Rob ''Scratch'' Mitchell; Col Paul Prévost Commandant 3 ERE Bagotville; LCol Christian Larouche, Président du Spectacle Aérien International de Bagotville; Réal Turgeon; et Guy Richard.

The infamous 2011 Heritage Flight, a formation between civilian and military mix jets that was approved by 1 Cdn Air Division back in May in Gatineau, debuts with a stunning performance in front of spectators.

Wings & Wheels Festival at Downsview

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Reprinted from the Toronto Star, by Bill Taylor, published on 20 May.

What do a 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and a 1959 Avro Arrow have in common?

Big fins.

But you can judge for yourself at the sixth annual Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival next weekend, May 28 and 29, at Downsview Park.

The event brings out a mix of classic vehicles and aircraft. Among the stars will be the Canadian Air and Space Museum’s superb full-size replica of the Arrow, Canada’s legendary but ill-fated fighter jet, that was scrapped in ’59.

And formerToronto Star photographer Boris Spremo should be there with his ’59 Coupe de Ville, so you’ll have a chance to compare the two.

The event, put together by a team of organizers with the proceeds going to the museum, is unusual in several ways:

The crowd can get right up close to the planes — perhaps, if they’re big enough, even inside them. When’s the last time you could reach out your hand and touch a Korean War-era RCAF Sabre jet fighter or its Soviet equivalent, a MiG-15?

Yes, there’s a Toronto-based MiG. It’s grounded right now with a spare-parts problem (you don’t just pop into Canadian Tire) but owner Richard Cooper is hoping to have it at Downsview. Second, the show is not by-invitation-only to participants.

Anyone with a plane or special-interest vehicle is welcome simply to show up and show it off.

Third, there aren’t many shows that mix aircraft with cars, trucks and motorcycles. Wings and Wheels always brings out a large turnout of classics, sports and custom cars, bikes and military vehicles.

But it really makes perfect sense, says show spokesperson Diana Spremo.

“In six years, we’ve proved there’s a definite crossover between people who likes planes and people who like cars,” Spremo says. “There’s a common fascination with machines, power, things like that.”

One thing that’s changed over the years, Spremo says, is a greater emphasis on new technology.

“I’ve even joked that we should drop ‘Heritage’ from the name,” she says. “People are very curious about new technologies, such as electric cars. So we invite manufacturers to bring them along.”

And then there’s the power of the sun. Marcelo da Luz recently drove his solar-powered car across Canada.

Da Luz might even manage a couple of demonstrations. That is, if the sun decides to fly into Downsview.

For information, visit

Hawk One – Western Update

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Just a short note to bring you up to date from the West Coast. In spite of continuous rain yesterday, over 1,400 people young and old showed up at the BC Aviation Museum to participate in their very well organized Open House. Hawk One was there in all her glory thanks to Rob and I answered questions pretty much non-stop from 10 AM until the event ended at 4 PM.
Rob’s arrival over the city in sunny skies on Friday afternoon made the news and was very well received.  Many people told me they came out to the museum as a result of that exposure. Proof once again that these city flyovers are well worth the effort.
Special thanks to Bill Locker and his team at the BC Aviation Museum and to Gerry Mants and his staff at the Victoria Flying Club for their outstanding support. Hawk One is safely tucked away in the VFC hangar and we are looking forward to Paul’s arrival on Tuesday afternoon.
Read the article that appeared last week in CFB Esquimalt’s base newspaper, The Lookout, following an interview with reporter Shelley Lipke.
Cheers, Dan
Team Pilot & Historian
Hawk One
Two vintage warbirds from Vintage Wings of Canada will soar into Victoria and be on static display for aviation enthusiasts, veterans, and current serving military members on Aug. 7 and 11.

“Hawk One,” a Royal Canadian Air Force F-86 Sabre 5 in the colours of the legendary Golden Hawks aerobatic team will be the first plane to arrive, followed by the “Gray Ghost,” which is a Goodyear FG-ID Corsair fighter. The Gray Ghost Centennial Tour is a tribute to Canada’s naval aviators during the ongoing celebration of the Canadian Navy Centennial.

“The appearance of both of these aircraft is a rare and significant event,” said Dan Dempsey, Hawk One team historian and event organizer. “Having these planes on display here provides a unique opportunity for Victorians to learn about Canada’s aviation heritage since many of the airmen who flew these and other similar aircraft in the RCAF and RCN are now retired in Victoria. This includes pilots who flew on each of the RCN’s aircraft carriers – HMC Ships Warrior, Magnificent and Bonaventure.” Both aircraft are the sole remaining flying examples of their type in Canada today.

After Vintage Wings purchased and restored the Sabre to celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada last year, they searched the world for a Goodyear FG-1D Corsair that they could adorn in the markings of the aircraft flown by Lt Robert Hampton Gray of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve. Gray lost his life during the war in the Pacific while serving aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Formidable and was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, the last Canadian to be honoured with that medal. On Aug. 9, 1945 with his engine on fire, the 27-year-old native of Trail, B.C., dropped his one remaining bomb on a Japanese escort ship before his plane plunged into the ocean just a few days before the war ended.

“He is the only foreign serviceman to have a memorial in Japan,” said Dempsey. “We’d really like people to come and have a look at this plane. This may be the only time in history the Gray Ghost is on display in Victoria.”

An arrival date for Hawk One is still pending but it will be plainly evident when it flies over the city sporting a glimmer of gold and red in the sky before it touches down on the tarmac at Victoria International Airport. It will be flown in by Vintage Wings’ general manager Rob Fleck. The jet will go on display at the airport’s B.C. Aviation Museum (1910 Norseman Road in Sidney) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 7. Dempsey will be on site conducting the static display and showing people the cockpit and answering questions about the legendary jet. “The museum’s Open House is really a family affair and it will be great for kids,” he said. “Folks will be able to see many classic aircraft, including a replica of the Gibson Twin Plane which first flew in Victoria 100 years ago. There is also an Air Canada Viscount under restoration which is the pride and joy of former Air Canada staff and a new Snowbirds’ display that features local pilots and ground crew.” During last year’s celebration of 100 years of powered flight tour, which travelled across Canada, Dempsey, a former commander of the Snowbirds, had the opportunity to fly the aircraft across Western Canada, including Victoria.

“A pilot can only dream about flying a plane like this. It was really a special experience to be one of the five pilots who flew Hawk One during our centennial. I believe it has the most beautiful paint scheme to ever adorn an F-86 Sabre anywhere in the world,” he said. “People of my generation and older will remember being mesmerized by the beauty of the Golden Hawks and today the Snowbirds carry on that tradition. We estimate that over two million Canadians saw this plane on tour last year.”

On August 10 the Gray Ghost arrives from Comox. It will salute CFB Esquimalt’s Pacific Fleet at 4 p.m and fly over Victoria before it touches down at the airport for a private meet and greet with local veterans and invited guests. The next day it will be available for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Victoria Flying Club in Sidney (101-1852 Canso Road). Dempsey is encouraging retired naval aviators to come out to answer questions and talk about their flying experiences with the public. The Gray Ghost Centennial Tour began with the Battle of Atlantic ceremony in Ottawa on May 2 and will have visited Ottawa, Halifax, Lethbridge, Calgary, Wetaskiwin and Comox before it soars into Victoria and Abbotsford.

“I would like to thank all of the corporate sponsors who have assisted Vintage Wings of Canada in saluting our aviation heritage” adds Dempsey, “especially Discovery Air for Hawk One and Raytheon Canada for the Gray Ghost. It’s exciting to have them represented here and they made this tour possible, as have the BC Aviation Museum and Victoria Flying Club who are hosting the aircraft.”

Following the Victoria displays, both aircraft will perform aerobatic shows at the Abbotsford International Airshow from August 13 to 15. In the Gray Ghost’s cockpit will be LCol (Ret’d) Paul Kissmann, former commanding officer of 433 Tac (F) Squadron, and a test pilot with the National Research Council in Ottawa and Vintage Wings of Canada, while Hawk One will be flown by Maj Will Radiff of the Canadian Forces, a former CF-18 Hornet demonstration pilot.

Hawk One wows the home crowd

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photo: Peter Handley / Vintage Wings of Canada
The Discovery Air Hawk One Sabre ripped up the skies over it’s home field at Gatineau, Québec this past Sunday, July 4. A crowd estimated at 20,000 enjoyed fantastic weather and an exciting show topped off with the first performance by the Snowbirds in the National Capital region in 3+ years.

photo: Richard Mallory Allnutt

Heartaches and Hang Ups

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By Mary Lee, November 3, 2009

The flight suits hang silently in the Vintage Wings locker room as the Hawk One team closes out the year. In total, Hawk One made 60 appearances including air shows, static displays and flypasts – a considerabley higher than anticipated season. The 2009 Centennial of Flight celebrations will forever be etched in the hearts of aviation enthusiasts as one of the most extraordinary events and will go down in aviation history as being simply brilliant.

This is the hardest blog entry I have had to make all year. Each time I posted an article from a local paper featuring one of our show appearances or a static display of Dan’s I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. Reading through the many lines of text splashed across pages and pages of newsprint, one could only feel proud of what our jet accomplished. We thrilled thousands of spectators, relived many magical moments for former Sabre jocks and help a nation pay homage to 100 years of incredible aviation history. We made it happen. A team of 24 volunteers of various backgrounds and talents meshed all together in one package called Hawk One. A team drawn together through a interesting network of connections that were woven over a span of more than 20 years of military history. The Six Degrees of Separation theory could never be truer than what lies behind the scenes of the Centennial of Heritage Flight project.

Peter Handley / Vintage Wings of Canada

And, on 30 October, at the Hawk One Year-End dinner, we raised a glass to our success and reminisced over our incredible journey – one that began three year prior but really only happened this year. It was a night to always remember. I laughed and I cried as Steve Swill Will read over the highlights of our season and gave personal thanks to each and every member of the team. “I find myself running out of adjectives,” describes Swill. “Hawk One is part of a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. The Hawk One story actually began February 23rd, 1909.” As Swill poured over the remarkable history that led to the creation of the Centennial Heritage Flight project, I feverishly wrote down notes on little sheets from a sticky pad someone kindly tossed in my direction. I didn’t want to miss a word. It was pointless. My emotions were too strong. This night was good-bye and we knew it. It wasn’t a night to play PAO/reporter. It was a night to celebrate with my team, and we did. However, there was one special message that does resonate from Swill’s eloquent speech that was also expressed by LGen André Deschamps. There is a future for Hawk One. “Suffice it to say, the Hawk One dream will not stop here,” stated Swill.

Stay tuned…

The images that follow tell the story of our celebration evening. I invite you, our readers and fans, to share comments and email us your special memories from the season.

Photo: Ruth Dempsey

On the only occasion the entire Hawk One team came together was for the Year-End dinner held in Ottawa, 30 Oct. It was an opportunity not to pass up for one final 2009 team photo.
Front Row (L-R): B. Granley, D. Taillon, R. Turgeon, R. Tomsett, M. Lee, S. Greenwood, and J. Trost.
Standing (L-R) B. Coyle, D. Dempsey, P. Kissmann, S. Will, J. Hill, T. Leslie, and C. Hadfield.
Wing kneeling (L-R): C. Adams, T. Forster, J. Maillet, and A. Janik.
Back Row (L-R): B. Schwindt, M. Gauvin, M. Underwood, D. Scharf, and R. Rader.

Photo: Ruth Dempsey

The Men in White

Photo: Ruth Dempsey

Deputy team lead presents team lead with a bottle of Macallan Single Malt Scotch, compliments of his team for a job well done.

Photo: Ruth Dempsey

Gerald Haddon shares a special image of his late Grandfather, J.A.D McCurdy to Michael Potter and gives thanks to him and Dan Dempsey for helping celbrate 100 years of aviation greatness in Canada.

Photo: Ruth Dempsey

Dan Dempsey stands with Jim Belliveau, the man with the incredible talent behind the Century Hornet and the Hawk One Sabre paint scheme. Jim sports his masterpiece on a tie that’s fit for the occasion.

Photos: Peter Handley / Vintage Wings of Canada

During the Year-end ceremony and dinner held at the RCAF Mess in Ottawa, LGen André Deschamps, Chief of the Air Staff, presented a cheque in a amount of $50,000 to the Military Families Fund on behalf the entire Hawk One team. With CAS were the following sponsors who made the project and donation all happen due to their generous donation: (L-R) Jim Strang, Sabre Pilots Association of the Air Division (SPAADS); Brad Martin, Magellan Aerospace Corporation; Dave Jennings, President and Chief Executive Officer Discovery Air, CAS; Michael Potter, Vintage Wings of Canada; John Irving, Irving Oil; Denny Roberts, Raytheon; and Jack Irving, Irving Oil.

Photo: Sam Reid

Dave O’Malley’s CoF logo was so popular, even the steak was branded! That’s taking Common, Look and Feel to a whole new level.

Canada Above and Beyond / Pour l’amour du ciel

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Photo: Peter Handley / Vintage Wings of Canada

The Radio-Canada film crew gather footage at Vintage Wings of Canada for the CBC/SRC documentary. Episode four, airing 29 Oct 09, will include footage of Hawk One filmed during the first flight of the F-86 Sabre, a day in the life of Paul ‘Rose’ Kissmann on test-flight day and various other footage shot early on in the Hawk One season. Stay tuned!

In celebrating the Canadian Centennial of Flight, CBC Television and Radio-Canada have produced an aviation documentary, Canada Above And Beyond: 100 Years of Aviation (Série Aviation: Pour l’amour du ciel). The production is a four-part documentary series that explores the revolutionary impact of aviation on this country and our great passion for flight.

The series will be aired in English on CBC Television, beginning Thursday, 8 October at 8 p.m. for four consecutive weeks.

Photo: Mary Lee

Filmed in high-definition, Canada Above And Beyond captures extraordinary stories of flight told by passionate individuals—from fighter pilots learning to navigate the CF-18 Hornet at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta. to a dedicated paediatrician who flies to remote native communities to treat young patients.

An encore presentation of the English four-part series, Canada Above And Beyond: 100 Years of Aviation, can be seen on CBC Newsworld, each Friday beginning 9 October, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

For more on the series, visit

For more information on the Air Force Centennial of Flight celebrations visit

Pour célébrer le centenaire de l’aviation au Canada, le réseau de télévision de CBC et de Radio-Canada a produit un documentaire sur l’aviation, intitulé Pour l’amour du ciel (Canada Above And Beyond: 100 Years of Aviation). La production est une série documentaire de quatre épisodes qui porte sur l’incidence révolutionnaire de l’aviation sur le pays et notre grande passion pour l’aviation.


La série en anglais débutera le jeudi 8 octobre à 20 h HNE/HNP pendant quatre semaines consécutives sur le réseau de télévision de CBC.


Tournée en haute définition, la série Pour l’amour du cielprésente les récits extraordinaires de passionnés d’aviation – de pilotes de chasseurs qui apprennent à naviguer le CF18 Hornet à la 4eEscadre Cold Lake, en Alberta, au pédiatre dévoué qui se rend en avion dans des communautés autochtones éloignées pour soigner de jeunes patients.


 La séries de quatre épisode en anglais, Canada Above And Beyond: 100 Years of Aviation, sera rediffusée sur la chaîne CBC Newsworld chaque vendredi à compter du 9 octobre à 22 h HNE/HNP.




Pour de plus amples informations sur la série, visitez le

Pour de plus amples informations sur le Centenaire Canadien de l’aviation (Force aérienne), visitez le






Kingston Flying Club Hosts Hawk One

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Photo: Mr. Reid

OCdt Logan Reid, second year RMC cadet who will be training as an Air Force pilot upon graduation, was among thirty fellow cadets to sit in the cockpit and learn abut the Sabre and the Centennial of Flight project from Dan Dempsey, RMC class of ’74. Hawk One paid a visit to the Kingston flying club Sunday, 4 October following a flypast Saturday over the college during the badging parade. OCdt Logan shared his special thanks for the experience, ‘”Just wanted to send a quick thanks for the Hawk-One walk-through and static display yesterday. Everyone I talked to seemed to really love it, and the fact that you stuck around for all those people means a lot. Even though the weather [wasn’t] really cooperative, your visit definitely helped RMC raise its love for the Air Force this weekend!”

Excerpt from the KFC website

KFC Fly-in Breakfast & Hawk One Display, 4 Oct

While the day’s weather didn’t co-operate, the enthusiasm for the visiting Hawk One F86 Sabre was still pretty high. The folks at Vintage Wings Canada were kind enough to supply some extra Canadian heritage for the RMC Reunion Weekend ceremonies held on Saturday (Oct 3rd). Knowing the aircraft would be on display at the Kingston Flying Club on Sunday, the Club created a Heritage Day event around its visit – with the public invited.


RMC Reunion Week-End Memorial Service at the Arch

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KINGSTON, Ont. ─ A memorial service to honour RMC ex-cadets who died while in the service will be held at the Memorial Arch of the Royal Military College (RMC) of Canada on Sunday, October 4, at 11:00 a.m. 

The ex-cadets, lead by members of the Old Brigade, will start from near the Canadian Defence Academy and march along Verite Avenue and turn left onto Highway 2, just east of the pedestrian overpass and continue along the Highway to the road leading into the Memorial Arch.  On completion of the memorial service, the ex-cadets will then march to the RMC Parade Square while first-year officer cadets line the route and present arms to the RMC ex-cadets as they march by.

At the parade square the ex-cadets and Cadet Wing will witness the presentation of the Captain Nichola Goddard and Captain Matthew Dawe memorial swords.  

The media, alumni, parents and friends are asked to be present no later than 10:50 a.m. at the Arch. Parking is available at the Kingston Military Community Sports Centre located across RMC and Highway 2 or in the main parking area in front of the Sawyer building and all are welcome to attend.

In addition, fly pasts by Hawk One, an F-86 Sabre Jet and three Second World War aircraft from Vintage Wings of Canada will also take place during the Arch ceremony.

Media wishing to attend are asked to contact Captain Daniel Madryga, RMC Public Affairs Officer, at (613) 541-6000 ext 6484 by Friday, October 2, 2009.