A Nation Soars

April 2016 update:

Rapid progress is being made on the construction of the first Sopwith Pup replica.

Alf sands the painted surfaces of the elevator after the first coat.
Covering of the wings has started with Kevin applying the calibrated hot iron to shrink the fabric.
Meanwhile, Phil and Ray complete another trial fitting of the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces.
Covering strips are applied over the rivets and to all edges.
Steel cables form bracing wires to give structural integrity to the wing.
Tubular rivets  hold the fabric to the metal structure.
The covering is attached with special adhesives then shrunk at 250F with a hot iron.
With inspections complete the upper surface is readied for covering.
The centre-section of the upper wing is having the fabric covering applied.
The process is by Stewart Systems - a water based, non-toxic process.


Another trial fitting to ensure everything is correct. The wing centre-section is
checked to ensure accuracy before the fabric covering is completed.

Volunteers Sam and Ray work on the fabric covering for the flight controls

 The Pup rudder after the first stage of the covering process with a tight fabric surface

 Trial fitting of the lower wings to confirm structural details and clearance of parts
under the A Nation Soars banner

 The engines for the two aircraft are being prepared for service


A Nation Soars

The Museum is participating in a tribute to the battle at Vimy Ridge in 1917 by building two replica Sopwith Pup aircraft. Here is the update for March 2016.

Authentic? Yes, right down to the wooden tail skid.

The cockpit surround has been completed, while the instrument panel is being prepared.

Forward fuselage fitout is continuing with wheel brakes and pilot's seat being fitted.




The passing of our friend, Doug Moan

It is with our deepest sorrow that we here at the Canadian Museum of Flight announce the untimely passing of long-time volunteer, Doug Moan. Doug was a major force amongst the volunteer ranks, starting in the early days of the Museum when it was located at the Crescent Beach site. His aircraft maintenance skills were legendary. Doug's "maintenance fingerprints" are all over just about every piece of equipment in the Museum, especially the fleet of flying aircraft. Flight Operations will miss his unswerving dedication to keeping the aircraft running. Doug wrote the book on how to prop-start the Museum's non-electric aircraft such as the Fleet Finch, Tiger Moth, Waco INF and SE5a. He and his wife Arline, have spent many decades volunteering their time and energy to ensure the success of the Museum. And for this, the Museum members, volunteers, and staff are so very grateful. A memorial to honour our friend Doug will be held in early January. We will update when we know more.

  • Doug Moan and the Tiger Moth – Hope Airport, BC

  • Doug Moan “propping” the Fleet Finch – Langley, BC

  • Doug Moan and the Museum Flight Ops gang at the 2004 Abbotsford Airshow (l. to r. - Cal Booth, George Kirbyson, George Serviss, Dave Beales, Bill Findlay, Bryan Carr, Steve Serviss, Doug Moan, Bob Fowles).

 A Celebration of Life for Doug Moan will be held at the CMF hangar on
Saturady, January 9 2016 at 2pm. 
flypast will be conducted at 2:30


A Nation Soars

The Museum is participating in a tribute to the battle at Vimy Ridge in 1917.

It is in the process of constructing two replica Sopwith Pup aircraft. The basic aircraft have been received by the Museum and the first one is under construction. 

Both lower wings have been trial fitted to assess the fit of the wing and fuselage joint.

The firewall is getting attention prior to receiving the engine.

The vertical tail displays the classic Sopwith profile.


Farewell to Don Nikkel

Received from Bill Findlay: 
There was a very good turnout of locals to give Don a good send off.  We took three aircraft out of the Museum and then set up tables and some chairs, with good catering by the Hangar Cafe people.  There was a mic setup and Dan Holliday emceed the event.  The pilots briefed at 1350 and then started engines at 1415 – George Miller, Guy Miller, George Kirbyson, and me.  I had Ray Fessenden in my back seat – his first ever formation flight.
After T/O on rwy 01, we joined up in Diamond over Fort Langley and then returned (rwy 19) in Finger Left with George K. doing the Missing Man pull in his Pitts.  I was on the right wing and, three seconds after George “popped”, I broke to the right and stayed low.  George K. and I then carried out a quick Knife Edge/Banana single ship pass with break to landing.  During this time, the Millers were on a downwind to the east and timed their low level 360 with smoke just as I was about to land.  They did the 360 and broke to land on 19.  I was in the air for maybe eleven minutes.  As George Miller said afterwards, “It’s so nice to fly with guys who know what they’re doing and when to do it.”
I think that we put on a really good show for the large crowd standing outside on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.  Back inside the hangar, we (the pilots) were called up front to be introduced to those gathered there.  Several people spoke at the open mike time.  I eventually stepped up to the mic to give a short talk on how much the Museum’s staff and volunteers appreciated our association with Don Nikkel over the last twenty years or so.  I commented on Don’s involvement with every operating engine that the Museum has and how he had donated his skills working on engines and cylinders on every one of our flying aircraft.

About Don:

Don was involved with aviation for 60+ years. He learnt to fly as a teenager and then worked as an aircraft mechanic for the rest of his life. He passed away Friday, November 13, 2015.

He joined the RCAF in the 1950s and worked on many of their big aircraft equipped with powerful piston engines. Later, he went to work for Canadian Pacific Airlines, at first working on piston-powered transports and then on the first generation of jet transports. He then joined Valley Aero in Langley and put his experience to work in the general aviation scene. Do you have a problem with a balky magneto or a leaky carburettor? Just ask Don. Need the cylinders on your Continental O-200 refurbished? Don is the man.

Don and his wife flew light aircraft extensively throughout North America adding to his knowledge of the operational side of aircraft maintenance.

Don was a true friend of the Canadian Museum of Flight, frequently helping to solve problems with some vintage engine that few people had experience with. Occasionally, he would let everyone know in no uncertain terms what he thought of some of the old engines, but he never failed to do his best and get the engine returned to service. The Museum will miss his talents – and his friendly wave and blast of the horn as he drove the fuel tanker past our gate.


Member's Day 2015

Member’s Day 2015 will be remembered by a refreshing new format, an honoured guest, a great history lesson and the unveiling of two new aircraft.
Saturday, 17 October, marked the first visit by Her Honour, The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, to the Museum. Her Honour has been Patron to the Canadian Museum of Flight since 2014. Her predecessor, The Honourable Steven Point, was also Patron of the Museum.
Her Honour's arrival started with General Manager, Mike Sattler, welcoming Her Honour and introducing her to the Board Members. Director, Matt Offer, then escorted Her Honour around the Museum displays. She was then escorted by her Aide-de-Camp, Captain Taius Yoo, to the Hangar to meet the assembled Members.
Her Honour, The Honourable Judith Guichon with
Museum President, Bruce Bakker (left),
Museum Vice-President, Dave Arnold (centre) and the
Executive Producer of Sound Ventures, Tim Joyce (right).
MC, Bill Findlay, introduced the head table, followed by a talk by the Sound Ventures Executive Producer, Tim Joyce, on the goals of the 'A Nation Soars' project. Then Her Honour addressed the Members. She recalled her connection to aviation starting with marrying a bush pilot and of using light aircraft in the family business.
The Guest Speaker, Mike Fall, kept everyone entertained by the description of his family’s history on Vancouver Island. His father, Joseph Fall, after failing to join the Army in WW1, successfully joined the Navy and, in August of 1915, began service in the Royal Naval Air Service as a pilot. He had a distinguished career and went on to become one of Canada's highest scoring pilot aces of WW1, downing 36 enemy aircraft. His military career continued between the two World Wars and he finished up with the rank of Group Captain in Manitoba at the end of WW2. He returned to Vancouver Island where he operated a successful dairy farm.
For the full presentation go to the Museum's Aviation History section of this website;
Museum General Manager, Mike Sattler (left), Guest Speaker, Mike Fall, with President Bakker.
Mike Fall presented Museum President, Bruce Bakker, with his father’s flying helmet and gloves to go on display at the Museum – a noble deed to part with family treasures.

On display were the two Sopwith Pup replicas that have recently arrived from the factory in Missouri. Museum members will be busy this winter getting them in flying shape.

Engineer-in-charge of the Pup program, Ray Fessenden, explains details of
the construction while the pilot waits impatiently.


The Official announcement of The CMF participating in A Nation Soars.

The Canadian Museum of Flight, in association with Sound Ventures and The Royal Canadian Geographic Society, will be participating in the First World War commemorative project Wings of Courage, and Flight Path of Heroes as part of the 'A Nation Soars' program. The CMF is tasked with building, then flying, two replica Sopwith Pup Biplanes.  Once completed, the two planes are to be formally gifted to the CMF to become part of a permanent exhibit.


Harvard MK II Annual in full swing at Langley Aero

The rudder's trim tab bearings were replaced

The engine is getting a detailed inspection

The outboard aileron cables have been replaced. Note the splice on the old cable. It's a lost art today in aviation. Working with needle-sharp steel cable ends is not for the faint of heart! The modern equivalent is the machine-manufactured swage fitting, shown at front.

If you want to get into wire splicing, here is a sample from the Vintage Aviator Restoration Company in New Zealand.


Historic Avro images discovered at the Museum

Museums are known for having only a small portion of their collection on display. Some of the displays are tucked away in storage and may become 'lost in time' to the present employees.

During a recent inventory, a box of old glass negatives was discovered. The images were like a time warp of the early days of aircraft manufacture in the British Empire. They tell the story of the early days of Avro, the British manufacturer that was known in more recent times for the Lancaster and Vulcan bombers.

Check out some of the photographs in our Aviation History section; 

Back to Baddeck - the CMF experience

Under the leadership of the Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association (CAPA), aviation museums and aviation heritage sites across Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada with a unique and historically oriented event - a coast-to-coast-to-coast flying relay to mark this very significant aviation milestone. This Canada relay stopped at all of the CAPA member museums across Canada, at each provincial/territorial capital as well as in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, and was completed using a variety of vintage aircraft.

The Canadian Museum of Flight (CMF), BC’s only flying aviation museum, played a major role in this relay. The Museum’s Harvard flew from Comox to Victoria and the Tiger Moth, from Victoria to Langley. This story unfolds as the CMF’s 1937 Waco and crew took their turn at being a part of history and continuing the relay, with the mail bag in hand, to Nanton, AB.  


Canadian Museum of Flight Announces New Logo.


At the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Museum of Flight on April 25, 2009, the new Museum logo was officially unveiled.

The Museum has had a new logo in transition for some time – that of the Handley Page Hampden. The Hampden is a unique symbol at our Museum, but virtually unknown except among dedicated aircraft fans. This logo also had some shortcomings in its presentation. While it was acceptable on letter size printed material, it lacked definition when printed on larger items, such as shirts.

The Directors studied this problem and came to the decision that it would not be acceptable to go back to the previous logo of the yellow Tiger Moth. Instead we should be forward looking to something that is unique in our collection. One aircraft that met the criteria was the Waco AQC-6 Cabin biplane. It has a long history of flying in BC – about 55 years – and was a unique airplane compared to the ubiquitous Tiger Moth. The red and cream colour scheme made it especially suitable for use as a logo for the Museum.

Well known local photographer, Cam Hutchins, provided the image taken during air-to-air photography with Museum aircraft, and Acro Media Inc. of Kelowna, BC did the design work to provide the logo that is now in use.