Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Iconic Planes

Seen in yesterday's post as well, this is the Westland Lysander III. Introduced into the Royal Air Force in 1938, the plane proved to be too slow for the Messerschmitt 109, but ended up seeing a variety of uses through the war in Allied air, particularly in terms of reconnaissance and insertion and extraction of agents in occupied Europe. The Royal Canadian Air Force made use of these as training craft. This one was restored by RCAF personnel as a centennial project and presented to the museum in 1968. The bicycle beside it is a folding type used by paratroopers.

The Lancaster dominates this section, and this one, a Canadian version of the dependable bomber, is best seen from multiple angles. Here we have the rear gun turret. 

Another gun turret stands nearby on its own. The Glenn L. Martin Company made them for the B-26 Marauder bomber, but they often turned up in Lancasters.

This is described in the panels as an anachronism of the war. The Fairey Swordfish was a biplane probably more suited to the First World War, yet served throughout the Second World War with specialties including torpedo bombing and anti-submarine warfare. As slow as this plane could be, the Swordfish was known to have sunk more enemy ships than any other British airplane, and had a hand in the sinking of the Bismarck. The RCAF made use of these planes too.

Monday, March 25, 2019

War To War

This is the A.E.G. G.IV, a twin engine bomber built in Germany for the First World War. It was a tactical bomber used for short range work around its base. This happens to be the only surviving one left in the world.

The Nieuport 12 was used by Allied forces primarily as a reconnaissance or escort plane for bombers. This is one of two left in the world. It is perched over the others.

In the group shot above, this plane is at ground level. This is a Curtiss JN-4, nicknamed the Canuck, the first Canadian aircraft to go into mass production. Used as a training aircraft during the Great War, these were often used by barnstormers afterwards. This one was purchased after the war by an American and ultimately acquired by the museum in 1962. The aircraft's restoration work included a paint job matching that of the No. 85 Canadian Training Squadron. The black cat on the fuselage is the insignia of the Squadron.

The Second World War would see new advances in aerial combat, and several planes are clustered together. I'm going to start with this small one, nestled beneath the wing of a Lancaster. The Messerschmitt Komet was an experimental rocket plane that proved to be impractical in combat. Its high speed made it difficult for pilots to strike targets, and it burned fuel rapidly.

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Here we have some additional views of that exquisite Bristol fighter.

Nearby are extensive displays about Wallace Turnbull, a Canadian engineer whose innovations included his take on a variable-pitch propeller that revolutionized the industry.

This is one of the models in a display case. You can see it in the photo that follows.

The Bristol has a neighbour. The Junkers J.I was the first all metal plane to go into production. This is the only surviving one of its kind in the world. It was presented to Canada as a war trophy in 1919, exhibited that year at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, and has spent time in various spots around the country before being transferred to the museum's collection in 1969.

Saturday, March 23, 2019


Models of air fields and shops can be seen here and there at the museum, such as this one.

Here is another view of what we left off with yesterday.

This is the Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe, the last British fighter to enter service during the Great War.

A bust of William Barker, a Canadian pilot and ace of that war, is positioned close by.

A display case nearby shows in detail with a demonstration how pilots could fire machine guns through their propellers in combat without damaging their own aircraft. It required creative engineering, but pressing the button and getting the propeller going on this display shows it in action.

And here's another of those models.

The Bristol F2B Fighter was a mainstay for allied air forces during the war. This particular one is one of only three in the world that is still airworthy. We'll pick up with it tomorrow.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Air War

World War One coming a few years after the dawn of flight marked the beginning of aerial warfare. This is examined at length in the museum. This is a Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a. These fighters were used extensively by the British. 

Beside it is a Fokker D.VII, the German equivalent in wide use during the war.

Display panels and artifacts look at what the early military pilots wore into combat, and at items like miniature models, medals, and other souvenirs of the time.

Maurice Farman, a French engineer, designed the Farman Serie 11, and it saw use among Allied nations. It bore the name Shorthorn. This is one of two surviving planes of the type.