My Dad came for a short visit this past week, and as a result aircraft were on the agenda ! He trained at Napier & Sons in the UK, and then after emigrating to Canada was involved for a short while in aero jet engine design at Orenda, working on the afterburner design of the Iroquois engine being readied for the Avro Arrow. While the few completed Avro Arrow’s were cut up for scrap, there are still two Iroquois engines in existence – one in Hamilton, and one in Ottawa.
As this year was the 100th anniversary of flight in Canada there were several good exhibits available to visit in Alberta – including the full size Avro Arrow replica in Wetaskiwin, which we visited just over a year ago with my father-in-law Warren, shortly before he passed away. I previously wrote about that here. The Avro Arrow replica is on display is at the Reynolds Alberta Museum and Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in Wetaskiwin till September 23rd and (I think) it is well worth seeing – you really cannot appreciate just how big an aircraft the Arrow was till you stand in front of it – the model looks quite good although they obviously had a problem dealing with the weight of the wings and so to avoid them ‘sagging’ there are some supports under each wingtip, which I edited out of the photos I took to mark the event. I suppose that’s cheating, but the photos look much better as a result so I really don’t feel too bad !
One of the other places I took him to, was the Lancaster bomber exhibit in Nanton just south of Calgary. This is a real ‘must’ see as it is one of the very few Lancaster’s still in existence that you can actually go inside of, plus currently two of the four engines actually work – they run them several times per year with the next ‘showing’ being September 26th.
There is quite a story that goes with how this plane came to be in the middle of Alberta – if you get a chance, check it out as the museum, the exhibits and the aircraft on display are well worth a look.
We finished off the week with a day at the Military Museum , which used to be called the Museum of Regiments and which was just recently reopened after a major refurbishment – it now combines museums representing all the Canadian forces. Again, lots to see and of course, several aircraft were on display in the naval gallery.
All in all it was a busy week – checking out aircraft during the day, and then relaxing with a glass of wine while sitting on the back deck watching the activity in Fish Creek Park in the evenings. Its a tough life, but someone has to do it !