The Canadian National Exhibition and the Canadian International Air Show



Beaver #1000 which rolled off the line at Downsview in late 1956. Still flying today as a seaplane in B.C. carrying passengers every day – A tough bird!

The Vampire

The development of radar in the 1930s led the RAF to revise its defences against bombers. Traditional reliance on standing patrols along the coast had emphasized endurance. Radar, however, facilitated fighter scrambles emphasizing speed and rate of climb. Performance soared to new heights in Britain with development of the jet engine under Fl-Lt. Frank Whittle. In 1935 Whittle found sponsors who helped to facilitate Power Jets, the company formed to develop Whittle’s engines with air ministry research money. It produced the W.1, which made its first successful run in June, 1939. However, the engine produced only 1,000 pounds when 3,000 was needed. Almost immediately a spec was issued to produce the second version, the W.2, with 3,000 lbs thrust. Gloster was to produce the aircraft, while Rover built the engine.  [ More info … ]

The Comet

The aircraft, named the Comet after the D.H.88 Comet racer of the 1930s, was first flown officially by chief pilot John Cunningham on July 27, 1949. Just two weeks later, another promising groundbreaker, the Avro Canada C.102 Jetliner, made its first flight from Malton on August 10. Development of the Comet included long-distance and endurance flights, and tropical trials. Cabin pressurization at 40,000 feet was tested. A global trendsetter in speed, the Comet broke new ground but it also faced unprecedented engineering challenges. As newsreels recorded with great excitement, “the eyes of many nations were focused upon it.” Orders from airlines around the world were eagerly anticipated. One such airline was Canadian Pacific
Airlines.  [ More info … ]

AVRO Aircraft & Cold War Aviation - Randall Whitcomb

This book is definitely not another rehash of old Avro Arrow material! It covers the entire history of Avro Canada, includes much about Avro in Britain and about advanced aviation progress in the United States. Its sub-plots involve the aerospace race of the 20th century set in global political aspects. The reader will discover the exciting advances in aviation over the last century and be able to assess the impact of the Avro story as a result. Statistical comparisons of Avro’s products to the benchmark products of the American competition provide the most shocking evidence of how advanced the Avro actually was.  [  More info …  ]

De Havilland in Canada - Fred W. Hotson

The story moves to the Second World War with the Tiger Moth, Anson and Mosquito – the magnificent “Wooden Wonder” and the fastest bomber of it’s time. Next come the postwar blues, with workers laid off; but the parent company backed DHC’s concept for a Tiger Moth replacement, the Chipmunk. From this venture a skilled DHC design team emerged. Manager Phil Garratt followed with his dream of a small bush plane, the amazing Beaver. Details follow of subsequent projects – the Otter, Caribou, Buffalo, Twin Otter, Dash 7 and Dash 8.  [ More info … ]

deHavilland Canada’s STOL Aircraft

A paper by George Georgas

STOL has had a flexible definition over the years. The DHC-2 Beaver was conceived as a rugged, easily maintained bush plane that could land and take-off in confined areas, particularly lakes, both in summer and winter (Fig. 1). As with all of the subsequent DHC aircraft types, it was designed to meet and operate under one or another set of established national civil air worthiness regulations. When the prototype DHC-2 Beaver, CF-FHB-X first flew, on the 16th of August 1947, the term STOL hadn’t yet been invented! In the case of the Beaver, the regulations were the British Civil Airworthiness Regulations, Section K, Normal Category. Initially, its gross weight was 4,500 lbs. but this was eventually increased by 13 percent to 5,100 lbs. [ More info … ]

Robert Howden Fowler

On August 26, 1944, Bob had a harrowing experience. His aircraft was hit by flak over Caen. Eighty holes were later found in the bomber. The left engine was hit and the prop became ungovernable, so he reduced power. Fuel was leaking into the navigator’s compartment. The landing gear was unlocked and drooped down. Bob, losing altitude, offered the crew the option to bail out. They refused. Bob followed two other crippled Mitchells into an airfield on the U.S. side. The first aircraft landed safely, but the second flew past the end of the runway and burst into flames. Bob was landing towards a burning airplane, without flaps and hydraulics. The navigator hand-pumped the gear down, but the left tire was shot out. It was a very rough landing, ending in a ground loop. Luckily, the crew quickly evacuated safely, with fuel still coming out of the wing. Bob wrote in the Journal that it was sometimes a relief to not fly in formation, often in high concentration. Crews often flew very close to the ground. After the war, he realized he had flown over numerous hazards that he wasn’t aware of.  [ More info … ]


The X-Planes

How did we gain an aviation industry in Western New York and part of Canada? It was due to Glenn Curtiss of Hammondsport, NY where he was running a bicycle shop and developing engines for motorcycles. In 1907 Curtiss set a world speed record of 136 mph on Ormond Beach, Florida, while riding the world’s first V-8 powered motorcycle that he built in his shop. For this feat, Curtiss become known, ”as the fastest man on earth”. People tried to get Curtiss interested in building engines for the emerging new field of aviation. Curtiss was at first reluctant, but when the airplane became more prominent, he quickly formed the Curtiss Aeroplane Company. Curtiss caught the attention of Alexander Graham Bell, the famous inventor, who had just formed the Aerial Experiment Association which was financed by Bell’s wife Mabel.  [ More info … ]

The X-15

Running from 1958 to 1968, the X-15 project was considered to be the second phase of American high-speed flight research intended to take aviation speeds from Mach 3 to Mach 6, and from altitudes of 125,000 feet to the edge of space and possibly beyond. The earlier X-plane presentation, on planes designed and built by Bell Aircraft in Niagara Falls, NY, covered the pioneering aircraft that took aerospace from high subsonic speeds to approximately Mach 3 from 1946 to 1956. During that period, two programs were involved: the better-known one was run by the USAF in association with the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), later NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). It utilized the Bell X-1, then the Bell X-2, to investigate high-speed and high-altitude flight. A parallel program, by the US Navy, used the Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak and the D-558-2 Skyrocket. In 1954, various NACA research centres studied designs for the next generation of high-speed research. A proposal from the Langley centre entailed  [ More info … ]

F-35 Fighter Jet

Design of stealth fighters is challenging in several ways. They tend to be large in size, partly as a result of space required to store weapons internally. That means a larger airframe and invariably, bigger engines. The stealth advantage can be lost when the armament bay doors are opened. Another worry is that the Russians are way ahead of the West in infrared sensing technology. Stealth fighters require a large amount of maintenance and are very expensive. High costs led to the retirement of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk in 2007 and to massive cuts in the F-22 Raptor program. Growing problems with the weight and cost of the F-22 were evident after its inception in 1991 when, as the YF-22, it won the Advanced Tactical Fighter stealth competition over the Northrop YF-23. Production ended in 2011 after 195 F-22s were built.  [ More info … ]

Air Power In The Congo

The United Nations Operation in the Congo (Opération des Nations Unies au Congo, or ONUC), which took place in the Republic of the Congo from July 1960 until June 1964, marked a milestone in the history of United Nations peacekeeping in terms of the responsibilities it had to assume, the size of its area of operation and the manpower involved. It included, in addition to a peacekeeping force which comprised at its peak strength nearly 20,000 officers and men, an important Civilian Operations component. Originally mandated to provide the Congolese Government with the military and technical assistance it required following the collapse of many essential services and the military intervention by Belgian troops, ONUC became embroiled by the force of circumstances in a chaotic internal situation of extreme complexity and had to assume certain responsibilities which went beyond normal peacekeeping duties. [ More info … ]

CF-100 Adventures

In January 1957 Dave and Scott took their first flight together in a CF-100 Mk.3D dual stick trainer. Ten other crews were flying that day, 40 seconds apart, in trail formation from the base to Meadow Lake, Sask. The instructor had warned the pilots that he didn’t see want to see them above the hills of a valley. In the middle of the valley was a huge lake, frozen solid. On the way down they descended to 10 to 15 feet above the ice, at 500 miles an hour. At one point Dave said, “Watch the stick.” Scott watched in horror as he pushed it forward. Scott thought they would crash for certain, but the speed and smooth ice made the aircraft like an air cushion vehicle. If they had lowered the landing gear they would have been taxiing! Scott’s first flight in a jet fighter was terrifying and he almost concluded that enough was enough. [ More info … ]

Aviation Museums and Aviation History / Heritage Groups

Canadian Military Aircraft

Toronto Military Aviation

VC920 Squadron

The program was created to ensure a supply of sufficient reserve pilots available for naval air operations. By May of 1953, VC920 Squadron of Toronto was formed as a tender to HMCS York. In September 1953, another Ontario squadron was formed as VC921 Kingston, again as a tender to HMCS Cataraqui. Three additional squadrons were formed as follows-VC922 / HMCS Malahat, VC923 / HMCS Montcalm and VC924 / HMCS Tecumseh. The lifespan of the Naval Reserve Air Squadrons Program was 1953-1964.

400 Squadron

In the summer of 1934, Toronto City Council adopted No. 10 Squadron and granted it permission to use the title City of Toronto. In April 1935, with approval of the Chief of the General Staff, the squadron was officially designated as 10 City of Toronto Army Co-Operation Squadron. It became the first RCAF squadron honored with a city affiliation. Along with operational, training and technical duties came the inevitable ceremonial parades, such as the Toronto Garrison Church Parade, the King’s Jubilee Celebration at the Ontario Legislature and Warrior’s Day at the CNE. [ More info … ]

411 Squadron

The squadron was formed on 16 June 1941 at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire, England as an Article XV squadron under the control of the British Royal Air Force. The squadron was equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire and after a period of training the squadron began operations in August 1941 with the Spitfire VB variant.[2] Part of the Hornchurch Wing it operated over continental Europe on Rhubarb sorties and as bomber escorts. After some rest periods the squadron joined the Kenley Wing for more operations over Europe.