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.


East Meets West: L-29 v. Sabre

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Here at Vintage Wings, we are all about cooperation. We all graduated from kindergarten and we know how to share and get along with each other – even though, at times, our histories may clash. Take for example the two jets sitting in the hangar. In one corner we have an L-29 Delphin, a Czechoslovakian aircraft built in the 1960’s and used by all the Eastern bloc countries (except Poland) for training. Sitting a safe distance away and closely guarded by piston fighters is a Mk V Sabre, built under licence by Canadair a decade previous, in the 1950’s and used primarily as a combat/fighter jet, mostly by the Western countries.

The fire-engine red L-29 is a temporary resident to the building. It is being imported by Vintech Aero, Vintage Wings’ AMO (Aircraft Maintenance Organization) for a private owner. The gold coloured Sabre meanwhile, is a part of the Michael Potter Collection, featured by Vintage Wings of Canada, and it resides permanently here at the hangar.

The first Sabre flew for the U.S. forces in 1947. Worldwide, over 9500 of these single-seat fighters were produced. Eighteen hundred of those were built right here in Canada from 1950-1958. The Canadair Sabre came in six different flavours and featured the Avro Orenda engine, with a 10-stage axial flow compressor and single-stage turbine. The Orenda engine produced 7275 lbs of thrust for this combat/fighter aircraft that earned the name “MiG Killer” during the Korean War.

Built at different times and for different purposes, the L-29 and Sabre would not normally draw comparisons. But you never know what you are going to find in the Vintage Wings hangar. Every aircraft has a story and our tour guides would love to share them with you. Now is the perfect time to come in and check it out. Call 819-669-9603 to book your free tour.

Nav Canada’s Participation led to success of 2011 season

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Trevor Johnson, Assistant VP Nav Canada is presented with Hawk One plaque from Rob Fleck in recognition for their contribution and support for the 2011 program.

A small yet very meaningful presentation of acknowledgement was made to Nav Canada for their tremendous support to Hawk One 2011 program.

Without their support, the F-86 Sabre would not have been able to operate in RSVM airspace thereby saving many dollars in fuel while transiting across the vast country to get to air shows on both coast.

It’s due in large part to sponsors and partners such as Nav Canada that Vintage Wings is able to commemorate our rich aviation heritage whilst inspiring more generations of the beauty and thrill of flight. What better platform to achieve all that than with the beloved golden Sabre, Hawk One.

Media Advisory: Astronaut Chris Hadfield Flying the Golden F-86 Sabre for the Last Time at the Windsor International Air Show

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LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC–(Marketwire – Sept. 7, 2011) – He was only 4 years old when he attended his first air show in Windsor, Ontario. The sight of all those beautiful planes “dancing” in the sky changed his life. Join Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield with an amazing group of pilots and aircrafts at the Windsor International Air Show on September 9, 10 and 11, 2011. On Saturday, September 10, Chris Hadfield will be at the air show flying the golden Discovery Air Hawk One F-86 Sabre for the last time.

Hadfield began flying the F-86 Sabre with Vintage Wings of Canada as part of a special project marking Canada’s 100th anniversary of powered flight back in 2009. Since then, he has flown over 20 times taking part in air shows across the country. As he once said: “we must keep our aviation heritage alive and continue to challenge and inspire today’s explorers both in aviation and aerospace”. He certainly will be inspiring Canadian youth when he embarks in his third space mission. Hadfield is scheduled to launch aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from the steppes of Kazakhstan in November 2012. He will be involved in robotic operations, spacewalks, science experiments and will also become Canada’s first International Space Station Commander.

For more information on Expedition 34/35, visit the CSA website at

For more information on the Windsor International Air Show:

Windsor International Air Show – September 9, 10, 11, 2011

Date: Chris Hadfield will be at the air show only on Saturday, Sept.
10, 2011

When: Gates open: 9 h 30
Show starts: 11 h 45
Chris Hadfield flying the Hawk One: early afternoon
Autograph session scheduled after the show

Where: Windsor International Air Show
Windsor International Airport
3200 County Road 42
Windsor ON, N9A 6J3

Contacts: Keith Baxter
Windsor International Air Show
Phone: 519-980-5235

Real Turgeon
Hawk One Coordinator
Phone: 418-571-8314

Mid-Season Report

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Dear Sponsors, Event Organizers and Friends of Hawk One:

As we near the mid-point of our airshow season I would like to provide you with a brief update along with the attached CTV News report.

Click here to see the video

On July 26th we completed our extensive Alberta swing for the summer which included events in Cold Lake, Edmonton (x 3, including Canada Day with Chris Hadfield), Calgary (x2) , Airdrie, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. All were highly successful events in our view.

The attached report was done by CTV reporter Alesia Fieldberg on the second day of our show in Lethbridge. I particularly like it because it touches on both or our central themes for this year – reaching out to children across Canada (Pursue Your Dreams) as well as a salute to our RCAF veterans (When Sabres Ruled the Skies). In this report, you can clearly see the enthusiasm on the young boy’s face and the pride of both his father and great grandfather who flew the Sabre in Europe at the height of the Cold War. This has been a common theme we have seen repeated many times over the summer. We continue to pride ourselves as being one of the few airshow acts that does both a full aerobatic airshow as well as a static display whenever possible. Hundreds of Canadians have sat in Hawk One so far this summer and hundreds more will follow over the next six weeks.

We are looking forward to our next event this Saturday at the BC Aviation Museum in Victoria followed by the Abbotsford International Airshow the following weekend. From there we will be stopping in the Queen City, Regina, for a static display and then on to Ontario, the Maritimes and eventually back home to Vintage Wings in Gatineau, Quebec for the Wings Over Gatineau show on September 17th.

My thanks to all of you for your continued support and especially to those sponsors and private donors who have made our cross-Canada tour possible. It continues to be our great honour to represent you and this special era in  Canadian aviation history.

Best regards,


D.V. Dempsey, Team Leader

Edmonton Celebrates AIRFEST and CANADA DAY

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The Honourable Laurie Hawn was on hand to welcome Chris Hadfield and the Hawk One team to Edmonton for Canada Day 2011

In what can only be described as some of the best days of the summer, Hawk One was a featured attraction at the last AIRFEST that will be held at the City Centre Airport in the heart of Edmonton. Hawk One arrived from Cold Lake with Dan Dempsey at the controls just after noon on June 26th. A large group of enthusiastic aviation fans were on hand to welcome the jet back to the Alberta Aviation Museum where it last appeared in 2009.

Media attention during Hawk One’s visit was extensive with the Edmonton Journal devoting three full pages to the visit in the days leading up to the event thanks to local writer Karl Wilberg (Click here to download). At least two local TV stations were also on hand to record the return of the Golden Hawk.

As reported in an earlier blog, the presentation by astronaut Chris Hadfield on Canada Day was very well attended with Edmonton Centre MP, the Honourable Laurie Hawn, and City Councillor Kim Krushell bringing greetings from the federal government and City of Edmonton respectively. Also on hand were the president of the Alberta Aviation Museum, Marvin Kowalchuk, executive director Tom Hinderks and president of the Edmonton Aviation Heritage Society, Professor Rod Macleod.

Following Chris’ flypast salute to the city and surrounding area, Dan flew a full aerobatic routine at the Edmonton Garrison (formerly CFB Namao) later that afternoon. Narrator Jeff Hill dedicated the show to the Garrison’s lost soldiers and returning veterans from Afghanistan. A reported 57,000 people had passed through the gates of the base by late afternoon. Local TV stations were on hand again the next day as the classic fighter made its final salute to the city as it departed for Calgary.

Dan Dempsey addressed a large goup of enthusiastic spectators upon arriving at the Alberta Aviation Museum. Photo by Jerry Vernon.

Dan Dempsey explains the Sabre cockpit to former Starfighter pilot Dan Graham. Photo by Denny May.

Chris poses with museum volunteer and author Denny May, son of one of Canada's great pioneers, Wop May. Photo by Dan Dempsey

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, national president of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, took the opportunity to say hello to the Hawk One team while attending the CAHS annual convention in Edmonton.

Jeff, Danielle and Chris

Astronaut Chris Hadfield talks shop in Edmonton

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Reprinted from inews Now 880AM, By Thomas Dias, 2 July 2011

Have you ever wondered what it would take to become a Canadian astronaut?

Over 400 people arrived at the Alberta Aviation Museum Friday morning to find out.

Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, told the crowd you have to do three main things to prove your worth to the Canadian Space Agency.

“Number one, exercise your body a little bit every day and don’t eat bad food all the time; keep your body in shape,” remarked Hadfield. “Number two, go to school and learn things, study, challenge yourself. And number three is to do things beyond school and work and really get out there and try to contribute. Do things and get in a position where your decisions matter.”

Hadfield says the Canadian Space Agency is only interested in people who have gone to university to prove they can learn the hard things. Adding once you do, it’s a beautiful thing to look down at the earth from above.

“To be above the Northern Lights or the Southern Lights and have them pouring and rippling under your feet for thousands of kilometres coming right up at you, it’s hard to believe that it’s our world.”

And when the presentation was over, Hadfield took-off from the City Centre Airport on a Canada Day tour of Edmonton in a vintage F-86 Sabre.


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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.

Hawk One Returns to 4 Wing Cold Lake

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CF-18 Demo Pilot Capt Erick O'Connor leads Hawk One team lead Dan Dempsey in a Heritage flight flypast.

Sgt Mike Underwood continues to serve with Hawk One as the team's safety systems technician.

On the 17th of June a golden jet broke out of the clouds east of Cold Lake, Alberta and was soon arcing over the airfield at 4 Wing. It was a return visit by the Discovery Air Hawk One F-86 Sabre which made its inaugural visit to the area in 2009 in celebration of Canada’s Centennial of Flight.

Invited to fly in the show by 4 Wing Commander Col Dave Wheeler, the Hawk One team was pleased to be able to  once again share the sky with the Snowbirds and CF-18 demo Hornet. Cloudy skies on June 18th did not dampen the spirits of several thousand spectators and family members who enjoyed some first class aerial entertainment.

Sgt (Ret'd) Tony Forster was one of six CF technicians who volunteered their time to help restore Hawk One in 2008.

The return of Hawk One was also an opportunity to thank the Canadian Forces for their outstanding support of the project from its inception. CF technicians led by MWO Dave Scharf who were involved with the restoration of the jet took the opportunity to assist Vintage Wings of Canada AME Chris Adams in servicing the jet once again. Team leader Dan Dempsey publicly thanked the Wing Commander for inviting a return visit. Captain Bruce Ehmann of 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters did a fine job in narrating both the Heritage Flight featuring Hawk One and the CF-18 demo Hornet and the solo performances staged by both aircraft.

The next stop for Hawk One is the Alberta Aviation Museum at the Edmonton City Centre Airport (Blatchford Field) for their AIRFEST celebration this weekend.

MWO Dave Scharf is now in his third year supporting Hawk One.

Hawk One Reunion - Mike Underwood, Dave Scharf, Dan Dempsey, Bob Schwindt, Tony Forster

Hawk One at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg

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Grade 6 students from Bruce Middle School in Winnipeg were among hundreds of visitors to get a close up look at the Discovery Air Hawk One during its recent visit to the Western Canada Aviation Museum. Team leader Dan Dempsey took the opportunity to speak to the students and encourage them to pursue their dreams.


The smile says it all. Joshawa of Winnipeg tried Hawk One on for size ... and loved the experience.

Thursday, June 16, Winnipeg, Manitoba Today, I saw the departure of “Hawk One”, the only Canadair F-86 Sabre aircraft still flying in Canadian skies. For the past three days, the famous fighter aircraft has been on display in the hangar of the Western Canada Aviation Museum, being surrounded and admired by hundreds of interested Manitoba men, women and children. Many of those attending the event were old members of the RCAF and RAF who either worked on or flew the famous fighter. As it was explained, back in the mid-fifties to the mid-sixties, there were only two kinds of men in the old RCAF… those who wanted to fly the Sabre and those who wanted to work on it. Several old members of the RCAF 411 Squadron gathered around to admire the aircraft that had once been part of that squadron. One elderly gentleman, still sporting an distinctive English accent, explained that he had been an Airframe Technician on the Sabres that the RAF had flown in England. Every effort was made by Dan Dempsey, who flew the aircraft, to allow those attending to climb into the cockpit and envision themselves being fighter pilots. He spent many hours explaining the aircraft and its history to more than one group of school childred who had been brought to the WCAM as part of a school outing about aircraft and flight.

Today, after a slight delay due to weather in nearby Portage La Prairie, Dan was able to make the short flight there and do a practice airshow for aviation students there. Once back, he again displayed the Sabre and then headed off to his next stop in Cold Lake, Alberta where he will be taking part in this weekend’s airshow.

Bill Ewing

Former RCAF technician Bill Ewing, a member of the 1967 Golden Centennaires Centennial Aerobatic Team, was on hand to assist pilot Dan Dempsey throughout his visit to Winnipeg.