100 Years of Canadian Aviation
Yesterday, February 23, was the 100th Anniversary of Aviation in Canada. 100 years ago at Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, the Silver Dart, took powered flight. It was the first such flight in the British Empire.
The Silver Dart was designed by Alexander Graham Bell, made largely of bamboo and canvas.
It was in front of his summer home at Baddeck that the flight took place.
A group of aviation enthusiasts have built a replica of the Silver Dart to fly on this anniversary. As it worked out the weather was too windy and snowy to do so but the day before it had been flown at Baddeck.
Previously it had been test flown in Hamilton, Ontario where is was built. Below is a video of this excellent test flight.
Over the years, Canada has built many air craft and continues to do so today. The apex of aviation in Canada was reach 30 years ago at Malton, Ontario when A.V. Roe Corporation built the worlds best jet aircraft the AVRO ARROW.
In large part, from pressure from the United States, The Canadian government suddenly scrapped the Arrow, immediately shredded the drawings and cut the finished models up for scrap. It was a sad day for Canadian aviation. While there is some mystery in the reason for destroying this exceptional aircraft, it seems the Conservative government of the day caved in to pressure from the United States. It is odd indeed that they tried to leave no remnant of this plane, as if to erase it existence from history.
The AVRO ARROW was so advanced it would still be rated as an exceptional jet aircraft today.
Many of the team of exceptional engineers, who were laid off, went on to join NASA.
Belows is a short video on this bit of Canadian aviation history.
Of all the aircraft built in Canada, in the sweep of history the bush plane has been most important for Canada. It was the bush plane, that made it possible to open up to exploration and development of the vast Canadian North. With floats, in the summer and skis, in the Winter, these small planes, flown by courageous men by the seat of their pants, established Canada's sovereignty over the North, bringing necessary people and services to this vast frontier.
The bush planes, Canadian built, emblematic of this era are the Beaver and Otter aircraft built by De Havilland. Many are still being flown today. A few years ago they were discontinued but I read recently that they are once again being built by another company with all the latest up to date aviation features. In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario there is the Bush Plane Heritage Centre.
The era of the basic bush plane, and the men who flew them, is over. This is a remarkable chapter in Canadian history