Warbird U - Season Two

 Warbird U2 Title

Photo by Katsu Tokunaga

Are you stuck in a dead end job? Does it say "Acting Second Assistant Filing Manager, Dormant Records and Forms" on your business card? Does your wife look at you over breakfast and just shake her head or roll her eyes? Was crashing the gate at the Lanark County Philatelic Society's Millennium Swap Meet the last really exciting thing you did?
 
Or perhaps you have, over the past months, slept fitfully night after night wishing you could get answers to such questions as:
 
“Is that a twin choke SU carburettor at the base of the supercharger on that Merlin?”
 
“How do I get my Sabre to stop on a 7,000 foot rain-soaked runway?”
 
“Should I be worried about inadvertent, non-commanded wing-folding in my Corsair during 3G aerobatic manoeuvres?”
 
If you answer yes to any of the foregoing interrogatives or if you have niggling questions that keep you sleepless, we have the educational program for you. The Vintage Wings of Canada Warbird University series of Technical Ground Schools will put the puff back in your jodhpurs, the jingle in your spurs and the jut back in your chin. Designed specifically for Vintage Wings warbird pilots (the most god-like pilots on the aviator pantheon), these courses are mandatory if they wish to fly our aircraft. You will learn what they must learn - technical systems, operation techniques, performance parameters, flying characteristics (both benign and deadly) and historical context combined with anecdotal stories from highly experienced test and warbird pilots.

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Warbird University graduates are history makers - note WU sports department t-shirts in above photo. The material you will learn at a Warbird University technical ground school will prepare you should your country call upon you.

Given that the University of Oxford is nearly nine hundred years old, it seems a tad premature to look back over the 10 months since we founded Warbird University with some sort of alma mater boola-boola college nostalgia. But the truth is, the first semester of Warbird U Technical Ground Schools was a resounding success with students and teachers both learning tremendous lessons in the operation of vintage warbirds and the sharing of this knowledge with the world at large.
 
Studies by the Canadian National Institute for Suavity have shown a clear correlation between Warbird U graduates and better performance with the opposite sex. Further studies also indicate that Warbird U graduates have better luck in lotteries, are more likely to be selected for career advancements and significant compensation increases and have better results in golf. It's true..

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Warbird U graduates, male and female, tailgate party at the annual Spitfire Bowl Game during Homecoming Week at Warbird University.  In 2009 the Warbird U Typhoons took on The Harvard University Harvards and crushed them 56 - zip. Just one course at WU can impove significantly your level of suavity, increase libido and make your conversation seem more profound.

From the outset when pilot Rob Kostecka rolled out the first Ground School on the Harvard and moved the bar for detail of instruction and quality of presentation past the detents to the maximum setting, the courses and responses have been nothing short of exhilarating for Vintage Wings of Canada and its partner the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Each Technical Ground School takes place at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum's Bush Theatre and is two days packed with insights, information and anecdotes packaged in an easy to understand series of Powerpoints given by Canada's top aviators. Lunch and coffee breaks will be served each day with private tours of the Vintage Wings of Canada collection in Gatineau on the Sunday followed by cockpit check-outs. Each participant will receive a Warbird U Certfificate and a custom portrait of themselves in the cockpit of the course warbird.

As we all know, no course is a great course unless it is taught by talented and committed instructors. Now, imagine you could study Psych 100 under Sigmund Freud, get tutoring in Architecture Fundamentals from Christopher Wren, or have Madame Curie as your chemistry lab partner. The concept of the superstar instructor comes to life in each and every one of our Warbird U courses with perhaps the finest and most accomplished pilots in Canada. Here are the courses and their "Profs".

Dave O'Malley

Goodyear FG-1D Corsair - Gray Ghost One

Instructors: Paul Kissmann and Francis Bélanger  - January 22nd and 23rd

The mighty, mighty Corsair, known as "Whistling Death" struck fear into the hearts of her enemies in the air and on the ground. The massive inverted gull-winged carrier-based fighter aircraft is a sexy fuselage in hot pursuit of a massive propeller. She's big, she's bad like a Harley Davidson in heat and she's as tough as Rosie the Riveter.

Back by popular demand, this two-day course is given by the WWF (Warbird Wrestling Federation) tag team champions: Francis Bélanger and Paul Kissmann.

Kissmann is one of the most accomplished fighter pilots turned test pilots in the world. He commanded 433 Squadron, a CF-18 unit based at CFB Bagotville, became a test-pilot with AETE (Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment) at Cold Lake and finished up his military career with more than 2,400 hours in the Hornet. His last career posting with the air force was as Chief Test Pilot at AETE. Today Kissmann continues his stellar test career with the Flight Research Laboratory of the National Research Council along with Vintage Wings of Canada where he flies the Harvard, Corsair and Sabre.

Francis Bélanger stepped into his warbird flight experience at the very top, starting with the Corsair. He is a high time CF-18 Hornet pilot too, flying with the same 433 Squadron as Kissmann and on exchange with USN VFA-125 Squadron, The Rough Raiders, where he was a Carrier-qualified instructor pilot on the F/A-18 aboard "The Old Salt", the USS Nimitz. Bélanger has flown many types from GA Cessnas to water bombers to Bombardier business jets. In fact, Francis was a Bombardier production test pilot for 8 years. Presently he is a Captain aboard the Air Canada Embraer 190 with over 9,000 hours of flying time accumulated.

For full course details, costs and to register, follow this link.

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During the 2010 flying season, our Corsair took on the persona of Gray Ghost One, electrifying Canadians coast to coast as she celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy. Photo by Peter Handley

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Students will get hands-on instruction and cockpit check-outs in all course aircraft.  Photo by Pierre Lapprand

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As a memento of your Ground School completion, you will receive a professional photograph of you in your cockpit. Photo by Peter Handley

Curtiss P-40N Kittyhawk -  The Stocky Edwards P-40

Instructor: Dave “Mr. Everything” Hadfield - february 19th ans 20th,  2011

Built in huge numbers and operated by many air forces during the second world war, the Kittyhawk is part of the famous Warhawk series of fighter/attack aircraft from the Second World War. From its iconic and gaping chin scoop to the end of its fish-like tail, the Kittyhawk is the quintessential journeyman fighter, the equivalent role of today's F-16. Affordable and durable, the Kittyhawk in the hands of a master like Canada's Stocky Edwards, could best aircraft types with higher performance. The Kittyhawk earned its spurs and its place in history in the farthest reaches of the air war from North Africa to Alaska to Papua New Guinea.

The course is back because of popular demand for its quality and for its instructor. Truth be told, no one knows more about the aircraft they fly at Vintage Wings than Dave Hadfield. A member of the Flying Hadfields, Canada's first family of flight, Hadfield has avgas in his veins, a compass in his brain and rudder pedals for feet. From the outset of the construction of our P-40 in New Zealand, Hadfield oversaw every detail of the restoration and assembly of "his" Kittyhawk and flies it today with authority and style. Dave is a super-high time Airbus 330 Captain with Air Canada and though he flies the big iron, his first love is vintage aircraft from the Tiger Moth to the Kittyhawk and his own Fairchild. Dave's ability to communicate, combined with his gentle manner and quirky humour, makes him an excellent Ground School Instructor. At Vintage Wings, Dave Hadfield flies the Taperwing, Tiger Moth, Fox Moth and Kittyhawk.

For full course details, costs and to register, follow this link.

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The Vintage Wings Kittyhawk began life in Buffalo, New York, then operated from Australia and Papua New Guinea. She crashed in Tadji, PNG, languished for 6 decades in the jungle, was rebuilt in New Zealand and flies with Canadian markings today. This is the only dual control Second World War fighter aircraft in Canada and can be sponsored by members of Vintage Wings of Canada for which they are entitled to go along during the sponsored ride. Photo by Gavin Conroy

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The Allison-powered Kittyhawk provides a unique opportunity to study this ubiquitous engine type which powered early versions of the Mustang as well as the P-40 series. Photo by Gavin 

North American P-51D Mustang - (Mustang IV)

Instructor: John Obi-wan Kenobe Aitken - March 26th and 27th, 2011

The North American Mustang, the "Cadillac of the Skies", is considered by most to be the single most important fighter aircraft of all time. In its time, it had no equal to its combination of range and performance, and is long considered the major factor in turning the tide of the Allied bombing campaign during the Second World War. When the long-legged D-model was introduced, it was able to stick with bomber formations across Europe all the way to Berlin and escort them home again. With its rakish good looks and sexy belly scoop, the Mustang is the favourite of many fans and even pop-artists.  

John Aitken is the Obi-wan Kenobe of Vintage Wings of Canada. All other pilots stop and listen when John speaks about aircraft and flying. His experience, history and laconic style make him the finest of instructors anywhere. John flew everything from the muscular CF-101 Voodoo to the super-rare and ground-breaking Northrop YF-17 Cobra protoype. A graduate of the United States Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School at legendary Edwards AFB in California, Aitken was a test pilot with AETE in Cold Lake, finishing up his career at the Flight Research laboratory as Chief Test Pilot.

At Vintage Wings of Canada John flies the Mustang, Corsair, Spitfire, Harvard, Hurricane and Lysander. If you ask nicely, John might bring out his guitar and lay down the Orange Blossom Special for you.

For full course details, costs and to register, follow this link.

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The Mustang is the subject of legends, pop culture and hundred of books and stories. Now you can Learn the Legend from the inside out. Photo by Peter Handley

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Here you can see why the Mustang is considered one of the sexiest fighters of all time. Photo by John McQuarrie

North American F-86 Sabre - (Canadair-Built Sabre 5/6)

Instructor: Dan Dempsey, Hawk One Team Lead & Demo Pilot  - April 16th and 17th, 2011

Regarded by every single man, bar none, who ever flew her as the finest aircraft they ever had the honour and pleasure to fly, The Sabre or "Sword" as she is lovingly called by her pilots, out-flew and outperformed all comers in her day. From the USAF domination of the MiG -infested air space south of the Yalu River to hot shot Johnny Canucks blazing curving glory trails across France and Germany during the itchy days of the Cold War, the Sabre was the weapon of choice.

Your instructor for the Sabre Course is LCol. Dan Dempsey (Ret'd), a former CF-104 fighter pilot who has two tours with the Snowbirds including Snowbird Lead in 1989-90. Since then, Dan has circled the globe countless times as a Cathay Pacific 777 Captain. Recently he retired from airline duty to become an Adversary pilot with Discovery Air's Top Aces. Here he continues to fly the high performance and muscular Israeli-built Westwind 1124. As this year's Hawk One lead and demo pilot, Dan's expertise continues to climb like a Sabre on a mission. Dempsey also understands the historical context of the Sabre and in particular the Golden Hawks, having penned and published the stunning historical compendium of Canadian Aerobatic team history called A Tradition of Excellence - Canada's Airshow Team Heritage.

For full course details, costs and to register, follow this link.

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Slats, brakes, tanks - you will learn how they all work to make the Sabre one of the greatest fighters and aerobatic aircraft of all time. She sucks air through the front and blows history out the back.  Photo by Katsu Tokunaga

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With each Ground School course, you will have the opportunity to spend some time in the cockpit and get a familiarization check out. Photo by Katsu Tokunaga

Supermarine Spitfire

Instructor: Rob “Spock” Erdos - May7th and 8th, 2011

The Spitfire is perhaps the one aircraft in all military history that needs no introduction. Since its debut at the Battle of Britain, the elegant, almost spiritual lines and feisty moniker of this fighter have captured the imaginations of an entire Commonwealth and fostered the hopes of a nation for peace and deliverance. Long considered by many as the most beautiful fighter aircraft ever dreamed of and built, the Spitfire is the very epitome of the adage "Aircraft fly as well as they look."

Your instructor for the Supermarine Spitfire Ground School is Rob Erdos one of "The Few" pilots living today who can say they have flown all the principal fighters of the Battle of Britain - the Hawker hurricane, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf-109. Rob will bring this insight to bear on the assessment of the Spitfire's performance, revealing just which of these historic gun platforms is the best.

Rob has flown aircraft long before he was able to grow his mustache, spending years as a military helicopter and fixed wing pilot. Rob attended Test Pilot school at the revered Naval Air Station Patuxant River where he flew everything with wings - fixed and whirling. Rob has been a Test Pilot at Cold Lake's Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment and now at the National Research Council's Flight Research Laboratory since leaving the military. He flies the Spitfire, Hurricane, Harvard, Mustang, Taperwing, Lysander and Tiger Moth at Vintage Wings of Canada. Guess you could say he is qualified.

For full course details, costs and to register, follow this link.

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The poster child for Vintage Wings of Canada - this 421 Squadron Spitfire was the one that started it all.  Photo by Marty Periard

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Get some face-to-face time with the most beautiful fighter ever created.  Photo by Richard Allnutt

Chercher
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