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ISSUE 177 - July 2011
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Toronto Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival 2011

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Roslin, Ontario, Canada

The iconic de Havilland of Canada Chipmunk, celebrating a history of
designing and building great Canadian aircraft.

The sixth annual Wings & Wheels event was held at the Downsview Park & Airport, formerly CFB Downsview, at the end of May. Despite the poor weather, crowd turnout was pretty good, as was the turnout of vintage aircraft and antique, classic cars.

Another iconic aircraft designed and built by de Havilland Canada, the venerable Beaver, left. Classic and vintage are two words that can describe the Ford Model A, right.

As with any aviation event, weather plays an integral role in the overall success or failure of the occasion however, in spite of fog and low cloud, many spectators made the trip to the airport to celebrate in the history that surrounded them. Unfortunately, many aircraft slated to participate in the static display weren't able to fly-in for the weekend but those that did were enjoyed by all who attended.

No other aircraft in Canada sparks more conversation and stirs the mind than the Avro Arrow, left, designed and built in the 1950s. A piece of history, the Avro Aircraft logo signed by Arrow engineer, Jim Floyd, right.

The event was held in conjunction with the Canadian Air & Space Museum at Downsview who proudly displayed their full scale Avro Arrow 'model' in front of the old de Havilland of Canada hangar where their collection is housed. Designed and built in Canada in the late 1950s, the aircraft was expected to see speeds in excess of Mach 2 after initial flights saw it reach speeds of Mach 1.5 to 1.9 with a service ceiling near 60,000 feet. Today, only a few pieces of the original 6 aircraft remain in various museums across Canada.

Canada's current front line fighter, the CF-18, arrives in mid afternoon.

Canada's current frontline fighter made an appearance in early afternoon which drew crowds to the fence to get a glimpse of the aircraft as it made its approach and landing. The CF-18 Hornet, from Bagotville, Quebec, was slated to arrive on Friday for media day but due to weather, was forced to land at Pearson International Airport where it stayed overnight and then made the very short trip to Downsview on Saturday to join the static displays.

One of the most interesting features of many vintage and classic cars are hood ornaments such as this one from an old Mercury, left. Two classic Volvo's on display, right.

Many owners of classic cars made the trip in from various parts of Ontario as well. From Ford Model A's to MG's to Volvo's to "V-dubs" there was something there for everyone. Car buffs enjoyed getting up-close and personal with these beautiful, old vehicles, with many learning about the history of the cars, chatting with owners and making new friends.

Turning heads was this beautifully built Titan P-51D Mustang built, owned,
and flown my Ray Thwaites, Canadian Titan dealer.

An interesting visiting aircraft that had heads turning when it arrived was Ray Thwaites Titan 3/4 scale P-51D Mustang, "Little Friends." The kit aircraft was built at the factory in Ohio with Ray making many trips to do much of the work himself with pride of ownership a reflection of himself in this wonderful airplane. Ray, the Canadian dealer of Titan aircraft, is a former Air Canada Captain who now enjoys flying this marvelous aircraft around Southern Ontario.

One of the most recognizable aircraft from World War II, the Titan P-51D Mustang shows most of the features of its full size original, left. A tidy, clean and modern cockpit, right.

The Titan Mustang has a cruise of 175mph with a top speed of over 200mph thanks to the 3.5L Honda V6 Vitec engine which offers 244hp and pulled through the air with its 84" Whirlwind prop. The 2-seat, dual control aircraft also sports full retract gear, EFIS flight instrument display (with analog gauges), all-metal construction with electric trim and Fowler flaps. If you've ever wanted to own and fly a warbird but can't afford, or find, the "real" thing, Titan just might be for you!

Possibly the oldest flying example of the de Havilland Chipmunk, this beautiful aircraft returned to its roots and where the aircraft was first built, left. Pushing the airplane into the hangar for static display are the pilots and show volunteers, right.

One of the stars of the event was, what is believed to be, the oldest, flying Canadian built de Havilland Chipmunk in the world, built in 1947, serial No 11. The aircraft made the trip from Saskatchewan flown by owners/pilots Dave Gillespie and James Brooke over 2 days. It was expected the aircraft would arrive earlier in the day but the low cloud and fog meant the arrival was delayed until mid-afternoon. Despite that, the aircraft made it and was the highlight of the day for many with it returning to its place of birth, where de Havilland Canada built her some 64 years earlier.

The CH-146 Griffon helicopter arrives for static display.

There were a few helicopters buzzing about including the Canadian Forces CH-146 Griffon that flew in for the day from CFB Borden, Ontario. The helicopter and its crew hovered about their landing area for a few minutes offering the opportunity for an assortment of photos before landing in the static display area. Once on the ground, the crew closed up the aircraft and mingled amongst the crowd.

Bombardier Global - everybody should have one

Bombardier Inc. had its Global 6000 corporate jet aircraft on display during the event and, later in the day, another of their Global aircraft took to the air for a test flight sporting its factory "colours." The Global is often seen in the skies over Toronto and in Eastern Ontario shooting approaches at CFB Trenton. A luxurious aircraft that can fly farther and faster than other business jets in the market today. If you've got a few extra dollars and you're tired of flying "commercially" then Global might be the way to go!!!

Once on a plinth along the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Toronto, this Lancaster is in the process of being restored to static display by volunteers at the Canadian Air & Space Museum, left. The classic Canadian Navy Tracker on static display, right.

During the show many people stopped to visit with a man who really is living history, Mr. Philip Gray, former World War II Avro Lancaster pilot. Originally from Ladybank, Scotland, Mr. Gray learned to fly at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. During the war and while with the RAF, he flew a wide variety of aircraft such as the Tiger Moth, Stearman, Harvard (T-6 Texan), Wellington, Chipmunk, Mosquito, Dakota, Tempest, Meteor and more, including many civilian aircraft. An author in his own right, Mr. Gray has a wonderful book that is highly recommended and a good read titled "Ghosts of Targets Past." Mr. Gray emigrated to Canada in 1990, settling in the Toronto area and volunteers at the Canadian Air & Space Museum at Downsview.

Mr. Philip Gray standing by the Lancaster selling his wonderful book, "Ghosts of Targets Past," left. Rolls-Royce Merlin and fuel tank (above the engine) from the Lancaster, right.

The Canadian Air & Space Museum offered show visitors the opportunity to see an assortment of aircraft and aviation related items they have on display up-close-and-personal. Some of those attractions include an Orenda/Avro jet engine, an Avro Lancaster World War II bomber, currently under restoration for static display, a former Canadian Navy Tracker, and a replica of the first powered aircraft to fly in Canada, the Silver Dart, among many other items and aircraft. If you're in the Toronto area, a visit to the museum is recommended.

The Jet Aircraft Museum was on hand selling their wonderful calendar, boosting membership, left. One of the many things you could purchase during the show, a little radio control helicopter, right.

So, if you're looking for something to do on a weekend in late May, the Toronto Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival is a great place to go in order to get your fix of classic cars and vintage airplanes. Browse the vendors and aviation booths, walk around the static aircraft, chat with pilots and museum volunteers, and enjoy a spring day with family and/or friends taking in some history where wings and wheels meet and mingle.

"Cockpit" of a beautiful 1938 MG, left. The very odd looking 1974 VW "Thing," right.

For more information on the Toronto Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival:

One of the many items available in the museum's gift shop, an Avro Lancaster throw.

For more information on the Canadian Air & Space Museum:

Bombardier - Supporting the show with aircraft and their fire truck.

For more information on Bombardier Inc:

Builder/Owner/Operator/Dealer of Titan aircraft, Ray Thwaites stands proudly beside his Mustang, left. From behind, she's still a pretty airplane is the Mustang, right.

For more information on the Titan Mustang:

The "Mako Shark" T-33 from the Jet Aircraft Museum and Hammond Aviation.

For more information on the Jet Aircraft Museum:

Cockpit and nose of the CF-18 Hornet
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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