Wednesday 7 February 2018

A Visit to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa

The Canadian Aviation and Space Museum is a ways out of Ottawa and as I didn't have a car, I had to take a $20 cab ride to get there and sure hoped it was worth it. The place is amazing and I'm so glad that I went.

As you walk in the door you can't miss the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) Snowbird jet hanging upside down form the ceiling.

About 99% of the planes in the museum are authentic, have flown and their service history is shown. The first aircraft that greets you as you enter is, of course, a reproduction of the Silver Dart, invented by Alexander Graham Bell and was the first heavier than air craft to fly in Canada.

It was flown on February 23, 1909 in Bras d'Or, Nova Scotia and when I looked at the plane, thought how brave the pilot was to fly such a rickety looking contraption. The plane was made of wood and cloth, powered by a small engine and steered with a wooden steering wheel. 

The museum is huge and full of planes from every era.

A McDowall Monoplane from the early age of flight. It was built between 1912 and 1915 and is the oldest surviving Canadian built airplane.

This is a Curtiss JN-4 "Canuck" and was used as a trainer in WW1. It was the first aircraft to fly across the Canadian Rockies. This model was built by Canadian Aeroplanes in 1918.

Another group of bi-planes.

This is a twin engine A.E.G G. IV German bomber built in 1918 and is the only one left in existence.

A Bristol F.2B fighter from WW1. This is one of only three airworthy Bristols that exist.

When I toured the Canadian War Museum I saw the fuselage from Billy Barkers Sopwith Snipe that had crashed after his Victoria Cross winning action. Here is a complete one built in 1918.

This mahogany Curtiss Seagull was built in 1920 and was considered a flying boat and not a seaplane.

I attended a demonstration about pilot equipment and ejection seats. Everything shown was worn or used in the past. Very interesting!

A Bomarc missile was built in 1960 and was set up ready for action in North Bay, Ontario. It's huge! The Avro Arrow program was sadly discontinued as these missiles were thought as a better defence. They are now retired from operation, yet the Arrow would still be flying today. Bad decision!

More fighters.

A Stearman Senior Airmail used for eastern mail deliveries by Canadian Airways.

I took very few pictures in the space area. There are so many interactive displays to use and films to watch. I wasn't bad in guiding the Canadarm. The actual arm is here on display.

A scale model of the International Space Station.

The suit used for a space walk.

This is Commander Chris Hadfield's Sokol Suit from his ISS mission.

A Canadian Forces Boeing Labrador rescue helicopter built in 1963 and was the very last Labrador in use at the time of it's retirement in 2004.

In comparison, this little Bell HTL-6 could only carry two and was built in 1955. It was retired in 1966. The same model of chopper was used for the TV series MASH.

A DC-3 which was built in 1942 and flew till 1983.

OK. My favourite fighter is the British built Harrier.  This model manufactured in 1973 is a Hawker Siddeley Harrier. It flew with the US Marine Corps attack squadrons until 1985. It's on here on loan from the US marine Corps and is so, so coll to see up close.

The cockpit of a MIG that once belonged to the German Air Force. The MIG was produced from 1959 to 2009, longer than any other fighter.

This supersonic fighter dressed in Russian camouflage is a Canadair CF116 built in 1970. It was used for air to air combat training at Cold Lake, Alberta, and was retired in 1995.

The German Messerschmitt fighter from WW2 and built for use in the war in 1942.

It's adversary was the Spitfire. I didn't get a clear picture of the Hawker Hurricane but the one here is a British built Submarine Spitfire. The Hawker and Submarine Spitfires were used extensively during the Battle of Britain. This one was manufactured in 1945 and retired in 1950 and put in storage.

About twice a month there is a thunder over our neighbourhood in Toronto when a single Lancaster Bomber flies overhead from Hamilton. It is one of only 4 that are still flying. A single one is quite noisy and I can't imagine what hundreds of them flying in formation would sound like.

This Lancaster X was built in 1945 and is considered the most complete Lancaster X in existence remaining very close to it's wartime condition. It's huge and a wonder to see up close.

As usual there is so much to see and I took only a small number of pictures compared to what is there. There are also flight simulators and in the summer bi-plane and helicopter flights. It may be a ways out of town but worth the scenic riverside drive to get there.

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