May outing to the Royal Aviation Museum of Canada
Our spring outing this year included lunch at the Olive Garden, followed by a guided tour of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. Twenty-two Heritage Group members, spouses and friends gathered for lunch. Most people had some form of pasta (after all, it’s the Olive Garden!) for their meal, which included soup, salad and breadsticks. No-one left hungry!
As a trivia quiz has become a tradition at these events, this outing was no exception. Lunch ended with a trivia questionnaire, and in keeping with the theme of our outing, it was about aviation history. The winner was Dale Watts who scored an impressive 20 out of 21. We’re pretty sure Dale’s military knowledge and experience gave him an advantage, but he won fair and square!
The tour of the aviation museum was conducted by “Captain Terry”, an interesting and congenial man who definitely enjoyed his role in sharing the history and unique facts about the different aircraft in the museum. With over 90 aircraft, the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada has one of Canada’s largest and most historically significant aviation collections.
Over the hour long tour we saw examples of the earliest aircraft in western Canada starting from the 1920s. We also viewed examples of aircraft that were responsible for the development of Canada’s north, the earliest water bomber aircraft used in forest firefighting, and military aircraft including fighter jets. As well, Captain Terry was able to show us some of the aircraft that were in the earliest Air Canada fleets.
One military aircraft designed in Canada was of particular interest. This amazing machine could travel much farther and faster than any other fighter jet. It’s top speed of over 1800 miles per hour, was almost three times the speed of other fighter aircraft. Because of its speed and maneuverability, pilots required special training in order to fly the aircraft. Unfortunately, the jet was never reproduced as it was not seen as a feasible aircraft for their military by other countries.
At the conclusion of the tour, we came away with insight into the significance of aircraft in Canada. Most noteworthy was the fact that the development of Canada’s north was almost exclusively to do with aircraft capable of flying into its far northern regions.
We certainly ended our 2023 Heritage Group season on a high note.