New Demo Pilot

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Gatineau, November 6th, 2013: I am very happy to announce the nomination of Travis (Brass) Brassington of Calgary, Alberta to the position of Demo Pilot for the upcoming 2014 season. Brass comes to the Hawk One team highly recommended. Brass is currently a pilot with Westjet. He is a former CF-18 Demo pilot.

Welcome to Hawk One Brass!

Pierre Clément
Team Lead

Many thanks to Discovery Air for their passionate support!

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Hawk One team lead Mike Woodfield thanking Diddier Toussaint, President of Top Aces, with the 2012 season lithograph. The “Discovery Air Hawk One” would never have flown if it not for the passionate support provided by the entire team at Top Aces led by Dids. We look forward to continuing our great relationship and wish Discovery Air the best of luck with their efforts this year.”

October Overhauls

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The Mk XVI Spitire sits in the fall sunshine, against a backdrop of the last of the coloured leaves. Photo HF.

The leaves continue to turn colours and fall gently from the trees as the flying continues to wind down for the season. 2012 gave Vintage Wings the opportunity to put another great and safe flying season under our belts. Hawk One, Yellow Wings, Gray Ghosts, Warbirds of the Med, we will celebrate all these programs and more at our end of the year Gala Ball on Nov 3. Space is limited and tickets are selling fast so, get yours now by visiting . And don’t forget about our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at 10am the same day as the Gala Ball – for Vintage Wings’ members, this is your chance to vote and get caught up on Vintage news.


As usual, our Remembrance Day flypasts around the Ottawa-Gatineau valley will officially close the 2012 flying season. But while the engines are spooling down, Vintech Aero and those Wizards with  Merlins are just starting to spool up. With winter comes annual inspections on each aircraft, as well as a chance to clean up any remaining snags. Additionally, there is some “heavy lifting” to be done over the coming months:

-  the Harvard engine has been sent out for overhaul

-  the Mk IX Spitfire wings are making progress

– the Mk XII Hurricane rebuild is coming along

– the left cylinder bank is off the Mk IV Hurricane

– the Tiger Moth engine will be pulled off and sent to the Netherlands for overhaul

– the P40 will undergo an engine swap (spare goes in, current one gets taken apart)

– the Swordfish parts will come in: new valve seats, new valve springs, new valves, new pistons, and our friends at Standard Aero in Winnipeg  have retooled the cylinders)

– the Swordfish’s mock torpedo will be completed

– the Finch will have its canopy installed

– the Fox Moth has not flown in two years, so will require some TLC to get it airworthy again

– and the prop governor on the P51 has to be installed


Don’t forget with Christmas and Hannukah coming that Vintage Wings products make great gifts! They are available for purchase either at the hangar, at our Ottawa Airport Arrivals location, or online (

Finally, Vintage Wings would like to offer a sincere thanks to all of our volunteers, members and supporters for a fabulous 2012 season. Thank you for helping us keep ‘em flying.

See you at the Gala Ball!

Vintage Inspiration

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Air show season is in full swing, and Vintage Wings is thrilled to be a part of the action.

You may remember from last week’s update that on the way to the Hamilton air show, the Mustang stopped off at CYKZ, Buttonville Airport, just north of Toronto, ON. Before giving a speech to the Buttonville Flying Club, pilots Rob Fleck and Joe Cosmano visited the Seneca College hangar, putting current students through the cockpit and explaining the history and importance of the Mustang to Canada’s next generation of aviators.


Students of Seneca College’s four-year Aviation Degree Program stand, well-dressed,
in front the Vintage Wings Mustang. Photo courtesy of Mary Norman


Mary Norman, senior instructor at Seneca College, smiles from the cockpit. We are unsure if the grin is from the thrill of sitting in a vintage fighter, or due to the fact that it was her last day of work before retirement. (This author sends a shout out to all the students and teachers at her former college.) Photo courtesy of Mary Norman


Last weekend was Canadian Warplane Heritage’s big 40th Anniversary Hamilton Air Show. Vintage Wings was there in full force, with our F86 Hawk One Sabre, Gray Ghost Corsair, P-51D Mustang, and Warbirds of the Med: Hawker Hurricane (which was unable to fly in the show due to a damaged intake gasket), P-40 Kittyhawk and Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI. The weather was fine, the airplanes (mostly) working and the crowd enthusiastic.

topside pass Ken Lin

Vintage Wings’ formation Heritage Flight. From L to R: Corsair, Spitfire, P40, Mustang, F86.
Photo by Ken Lin

kids in Sabre KenLin

Inspiring youth is part of our mandate. President and F-86 volunteer pilot Rob Fleck
gives an eager young girl a tour of the cockpit. Photo by Ken Lin


Ain’t nothing like a good hero shot! Vintage Wings volunteer pilots from L to R: Joe Cosmano,
Rob Fleck (background), Rob Erdos, Dave Hadfield, and Dan Dempsey strut their stuff in front of
a line of Harvards. Cue Top Gun theme song. Photo by Ken Lin

Snowbird Colonel

Vintage Wings founder and Snowbirds Honourary Colonel, Mike Potter. Photo by Ken Lin

We would like to congratulate our friends at Canadian Warplane Heritage ( on a spectacular show!

To view more of Ken Lin’s photos, please visit

What else is going on at Vintage Wings?

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We all know that the Mustang has left the building, but what else is going on at Vintage Wings?

Lots! First off, our brand-new Events Calendar is up and running. It shows all of our flying activities, plus special events and volunteer opportunities. You can see details of the flying, in addition to being able to sign up for events and volunteering.

If it looks like we are really busy, well we are. Eighteen airplanes + beautiful weather = a busy time for all.

Check it out!


Last Monday afternoon, the Hawker Hurricane put her wheels in the well for Toronto Pearson and the CBAA convention.

This past Wednesday the Spitfire, with her freshly-overhauled original engine, underwent a maintenance flight before being ferried to Toronto Pearson for the CBAA convention, followed by Hamilton this weekend. There were originally some oil pressure fluctuations, but bleeding the lines to allow trapped air to escape solved that problem.


Keith Sabiston, Beaver driver, and Andre Laviolette, AME, prepare the Beaver for flight while the Spit awaits her turn in the background.

A favourite of many, the deHavilland Beaver was out flying on Wednesday as well, as pilots performed their annual proficiency check.

As I type this, our talented Aircraft Maintenance Engineers are wrestling with the starter on the Lysander in an effort to get it serviceable. This afternoon should hopefully yield a maintenance flight, and if all goes well, the Lysander will depart for Hamilton as well.

Why are all of our aircraft headed to Hamilton, you ask? This weekend is Canadian Warplane Heritage’s (CWH) big 40th anniversary air show. As our close partners, Vintage Wings is supporting CWH with our Mustang, Spitfire MkXVI, Hawker Hurricane, P40 Kittyhawk, FG-1D Corsair, Westland Lysander and Hawk One F86 Sabre. There will be individual aerobatic shows by the Corsair and Sabre, as well as the ever-popular formation Heritage Flight. Visit for more details.

We also have several sponsored rides taking place today and tomorrow, one for a veteran’s 90th birthday! Just a note that the Yellow Wings aircraft (Harvard, Fleet Finch, Cornell and Tiger Moth) will be departing for their Down Home, Down East tour of the Maritimes July 9th. They will not be returning until the Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa en vol air show in September, so if you were thinking of sponsoring one of these aircraft, don’t delay or you’ll miss the boat (so to speak).

Out west, the Stearman is now home in Alberta, tucked away in a cozy hangar at the Springbank airport, just outside of Calgary. It is available for sponsored rides, and after a team-effort cleaning, is sparkling and raring to go!

Coming up on Thurs, June 21, Vintage Wings is holding our First Annual Spitfire Classic Golf Tournament. Come out and celebrate the solstice with 12 cylinders and 18 holes! Details can be found on our spiffy new Events Calendar.

Next weekend, June 23-24, is the Canadian Owners and Pilots Associations’ (COPA) fly-in AGM and annual conference in Hanover, ON. Vintage Wings is sending our Spitfire, Hurricane, and P40 to support our good friends at COPA. A highlight will be the honouring of one of a handful of living Malta veterans – a perfect fit for our Warbirds of the Med theme. See for more information.

For sponsored rides out of Gatineau, contact Alison or Amber at 819-669-9603.

For sponsored rides out of Springbank, contact Todd at

Cheers all and have a great weekend!

Vintage Wings Opens Retail Store at Ottawa McDonald Cartier Int’l Airport

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At 10am on Wed, Apr 4, Vintage Wings founder Michael Potter, along with Ottawa Airport President and CEO Paul Benoit, cut the ribbon on Vintage Wings’ new Gear Up retail boutique.

Located in the main concourse, downstairs in Domestic Arrivals, the store is the first of many to be established across the country in the new few years.

“It’s about getting our message out,” said Michael Potter, about Vintage Wings’ mission to Commemorate, Educate and Inspire Canadians, especially young Canadians, about our rich aviation heritage.

Offering quality aviation heritage clothing, including t-shirts, jackets, sweaters, and caps, the store is the result of many hours of hard work by Carolyn Leslie, Business Operations Manager, and Julien Brown, Manager of Retail Operations.

See Gear Up coverage in the Ottawa Citizen:

Check out opening day pictures by Vintage Wings photographer Peter Handley:

A Marriage 41 Years in the Making

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Susan and Dave

Dave O’Malley, the genius behind all of the marketing and branding at Vintage Wings, the man who has donated over 6,000 of volunteer time to Vintage Wings, the pen that writes most of the weekly articles you receive in your inbox, recently took the plunge and got married.

After a 41 year courtship (and a few marriages) Dave and Susan tied the knot on Saint Patrick’s Day. They were high school sweethearts who drifted apart then back together again.

Cool eh?

Many heartfelt congratulations to you both from your family at Vintage Wings.

Monday Hangar Update

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012

You know spring is in the air when the hangar doors do not remain tightly sealed against the bitter winds, but sit cracked open a few feet, allowing soft, warm breezes to percolate into Vintage Wings headquarters, flowing in and around the aircraft in various states of disrobement.

In a nutshell, here is the status of our aircraft:

F-86 – Waiting for ejection seat parts to arrive from Cold Lake, but other than that annual is almost done. Noise making (run-up) scheduled for tomorrow.

Spitfire Mk XVI – Currently sitting on jacks, without an engine. Spitfire is undergoing an engine swap (more on this in a later blog) – freshly-overhauled engine should arrive by end of month from P51 Factory down in California. Corrosion was found around rivets on the header (coolant) tank, along with signs of previous coolant leaks and wear. The header tank could not be repaired in house, so has been shipped to England for repair. During the annual inspection, some play was found in the gear, and we are currently waiting on non-destructive testing (NDT) results for the part that may need to be replaced. The seat has also been removed, and is currently being used to form a mold. This mold will be used to make a seat for the Mk IX Spitfire out in Comox. Other components being worked on include the gear legs, battery and pneumatic system.

Spitfire on jacksSpitfire Mk XVI. Photo HF.

Mustang missing B bank

Mustang missing the B Bank. Photo HF.

P40 missing rad

P40 without one rad. Photo HF.

P51 – Missing one bank of cylinders (B Bank), away being repaired. Like the Spitfire, a leak was discovered in the header tank (using tips from P51 Factory brought back from the Warbirds Operators Conference). Our in-house welding expert is currently working on the repair.

Mustang Header Tank

Inside of the Mustang header tank, as it would sit in the aircraft. Photo HF.

P40 – The radiator just came in and will be installed shortly. After topping up the coolant, the aircraft will be ready for a run-up, followed shortly (hopefully) by maintenance sign-off.

Hurricane – The annual inspection and run-up are complete. One outstanding issue is the intake box – it was cracked. It has now been repaired and is in the paint shop, awaiting sky blue paint.

Corsair – Annual still to be completed. A flat tire was changed, and the aircraft consequently requires a gear swing to ensure proper clearance – the new tube has a hard valve stem versus a rubber one.

Lysander – Changing over from pneumatic to hydraulic disc brakes. Currently sourcing calipers and discs. Annual to be completed.

Swordfish – Working on making a torpedo for the Stringbag. Getting details and info from our friends at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Harvard – Annual complete. Flight to be done later this week to break in new cylinder.

Stearman – Paperwork is all that is left before she’s airworthy again.

Cornell – Waiting for oil cooler, gaskets and vacuum pump. Once those are installed, the annual will be complete. A new prop was put on.

Cornell items remaining

The Archie Penny Cornell sits with a “Honey Do" list. Photo HF.

Finch – Kinner engine currently being overhauled. Due back at the end of the month.

Tiger Moth – Annual is done. ELT has been sent out for recertification.