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ISSUE 32 - September 2008
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By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Roslin, Ontario, Canada

Two of the oldest airplanes in the show, the 1932 DH Fox Moth, left, and the 1929 WACO Taperwing.

At the Canadian National Aviation Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, lovers of classic old airplanes, and cars, gather for a weekend show in the capital of Canada at Rockcliffe airport every August.

The Stinson Reliant lets everyone know where she originated from.

This year, participants and spectators came from across Canada and the USA. Part of the show included classics from the bygone days of aviation including the 1920s and 1930s, as well as some post-war aircraft.

Struts, wires, a big radial, and open cockpit. Images from the pioneers of aviation.

From biplanes to high-wing monoplanes from that era, the show was abound with the sound of old radials, the look of struts and wires, and open cockpits. From a time when flying was really still in its infancy and aircraft had to be flown with both hands and feet on the controls, no electronics, and for the most part, basic instrumentation.

Jutting out the nose of the Staggerwing, the big radial with the gleaming chrome spinner and propeller

The oldest airplane flying in the show was the Vintage Wings 1929 WACO Taperwing A.T.O. Painted in bright red and gleaming black, its distinctive look graced the crowd, it’s big radial pulling it through the skies with a throaty roar. Once owned and flown by Jonathan Livingston, the airplane takes one back to the barnstorming days and a time when pilots literally flew by the seat of their pants.

The WACO Taperwing takes to the air for its part in the show, left. A clean, level pass for the crowd.

Another old airplane with an interesting history was the 1932 de Havilland DH-83 Fox Moth. The Fox Moth is a sort of extended and widened version of the DH Tiger Moth and was used by both royalty and bush pilots. The pilot sat alone in the cockpit while his passenger(s) sat in a small enclosed cabin in front of him in regal comfort. This Fox Moth, also owned by Vintage Wings, was initially owned by and was once the personal transport aircraft of HRH Edward, Prince of Wales (1932).

Take-off roll, the Fox Moth wings its way toward the skies, left. In the air, the ‘Tiger Moth’ look is visible if not for the very apparent ‘windows’ in front of the pilot’s cockpit, right.

One of the most beautiful and sleek of the old biplanes was the Beech Staggerwing D-175S, again owned by Vintage Wings. This gorgeous, bright red airplane, with its massive nose housing a big radial, made one think of the days when flying was a rarity for the general public and airplanes like this were used by wealthy businessmen. A fully enclosed cockpit/cabin, clean lines (for a biplane) and full retractable landing gear, the airplane was the sports car of the era.

The Staggerwing just before touch-down with its big flaps down, left. You can see where the airplane’s name originated with its staggered-wings, right.

The 1943 Stinson V77 Reliant has an elegant, graceful look with a style like no other airplane of its era. Its distinctive, luxurious lines make it easy to identify on the ground or in the air. A workhorse when it needed to be, the Reliant was used for bush and charter flying, a small airliner, and an executive aircraft. Another with a big radial up front but with lots of room in the cabin, the Reliant has a look all its own with the unmistakable gullwing shape.

The Stinson Reliant on its passes, showing her lines from top and bottom.

A rather unusual looking airplane, the 1947 Bellanca 14-13-2 Cruisair put on a good display showing its lines as the pilot put the airplane through its paces. A four-seat ‘monoplane’ with retractable main gear and a ‘triple-tail,’ the sleek looking ship zipped through the air.

The Bellanca Cruisair with tail high on the take-off roll, left. A pass by the Cruisair to show off her lines.

Next in the show were two Globe Swift airplanes. An all metal 2-seat ‘monoplane’ with retractable main gear, the Swift was a popular personal airplane in the 1940s and 1950s. Looking more like a little fighter aircraft, the Swift is a beautiful and slick looking machine and is still popular and sought after today.

Two Globe Swift took part in the show.

One of the worlds best known airplanes used for civilian purposes is the de Havilland of Canada DHC-2 Beaver, first designed and built in Canada in the 1950s. This 1965 DHC-2 Mk1 Beaver on floats made one think of the glory days of bush flying in Canada. It really was the workhorse airplane that opened up the northern, most remote regions of Canada and Alaska. Owned by Vintage Wings, this Beaver is immaculate.

The DCH-2 Beaver Mk 1, taxiing out for the show, left. In her element, the Beaver does a fly-past, right.

Last in this part of the show was a classic of classics, the Grumman G44A Widgeon. The Widgeon is a beautiful amphibious airplane with full retractable gear and room for 6. A smaller version of the Grumman Goose, the Widgeon was originally designed for the civilian aviation market, however, initial production aircraft were used during World War II for coastal patrol. They were produced by Grumman until 1949, though an additional 40+ were built in France and were known as the SCAN-30.

The Grumman G44A Widgeon, with gear up, looks beautiful in the skies above Rockcliffe.

If you like classic, vintage aircraft of any kind, the Classic Air Rallye at the Rockcliffe airport in Ottawa, Ontario is the place to be. Every year this show grows and airplanes from across North American gather. For more information visit or visit the Canada Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe Airport in Ottawa, Ontario ( )

The Stinson Reliant on her take-off roll showing the distinctive wing shape that sets it apart from most other aircraft, left. The Grumman Widgeon on her take-off roll, tail up, right. Surprisingly, for the size of the airplane, the Widgeon didn’t need that much runway.

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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