On 28–29 March 2015, in the 75th anniversary year of the historic Battle of Britain, Vintage Wings is offering a new 2-day Warbird U Technical Ground School dedicated to the two classic British fighters—comparing, contrasting and exposing procedures and handling characteristics.
The Battle of Britain instructors include Rob Erdos, Joe Cosmano and Mike Potter—three of the most experienced warbird fighter pilots in Canada. This two day, intimate investigation offers the warbird enthusiast insights into the operation, care and feeding of the Spitfire and Hurricane as well as a unique comparison of these classic British fighters with the ultimate German fighter aircraft of the Battle of Britain—the Messerschmitt Bf-109. Rob Erdos, one of only a few people in the world today with recent flight experience in all three types, and one of Canada’s top test pilots, will speak about the pros and cons of all three and reveal to you his choice as the best of the three from a pilot’s perspective.
SATURDAY, 28 March 2015
Welcome to Vintage Wings. Group Introductions
Hurricane and Spitfire Historical Background
Warbird Transition Training, Then and Now
Spitfire Systems, Handling, and Procedures
Hurricane Systems, Handling and Procedures
SUNDAY, 29 March 2015
How to Compare Fighters—a Test Pilot’s perspective
Comparison of the Battle of Britain Combatants
Cockpit Familiarization and Student “Hero” Pictures: Spitfire and Hurricane
Pre-flight Inspections: Spitfire and Hurricane
Merlin Engine Demonstration and History
Engine Start—Weather permitting
Click HERE for more information and to register for this one of a kind warbird experience.
Photos of Aircraft: Finch (Peter Handley); Harvard (Evad Yellamo); Hurricane (Jonathan Edwards); Mustang (Norman Smith); Spitfire (Joana Diaz). Photos of Pilots: Edward Soye via CHAA; Mike Potter by Gus Carujo; Joe Cosmano by Jonathan Edwards, Rob Erdos by Peter Handley, John Aitken by Gus Carujo.
Saturday, 2 May 2015 — Vintage Wings of Canada Hangar — $50.00 gets you 5 legendary cockpit check outs.
Don’t just stand there looking at those great warbirds of the Second World War!!! Go on... step up onto the wing, swing a leg over the cockpit rail and lower yourself into a world of history, technology and emotion. Seat Check Saturday—Fighter Pilot Pipeline takes you from the cockpit of the basic flight trainer to the cockpits of three of the most important fighters in history. Sit in five cockpits in one day—Finch, Harvard, Hurricane, Spitfire and Mustang. To help you on your way up the pipeline, each cockpit experience will include one of our highly experienced warbird pilots who will share with you his intimate knowledge while standing beside you on the wing—the way he first learned. Once you are sitting in each cockpit, you will get a minimum of five minutes of instruction and insight from one of our pilots.
Starting with the classic lines of the diminutive biplane Fleet Finch trainer, you will sit in the very cockpit that Canadian Spitfire and Typhoon ace Squadron Leader Hartland Finley flew when he first soloed. Learn the simple controls of this Elementary Flying Trainer, see and feel the first step up the line to combat pilot. Next, step into the cockpit of the mighty North American Harvard—the BIG second step to a combat fighter. See and feel the massive jump in complexity, power and capability that prepared the student pilot to handle the front line fighters of the day. This is the Service Flying Trainer in which fighter pilots from Tuskegee, Alabama to Swift Current, Saskatchewan earned their spurs and won their wings—men like Stocky Edwards, Johnny Kent, Buzz Beurling and Bert Houle.
Once you’ve graduated from training aircraft, it’s time to go to your Operational Training Unit (OTU), where you will sit in a true legend—the Hawker Hurricane. In Canada, many future fighter pilots, who were to begin their careers with the Home Defence Squadrons, were sent to the Hurricane OTU at Bagotville, Québec. Others, who were to fly on fighter squadrons overseas, sailed from Canada to join Hurricane OTUs in Great Britain. In the Hurricane, you will be one of a rare breed who has sat at the controls of this truly British warbird. Feel the cramped confines of the cockpit, imagine yourself trying to see forward over that big nose while you taxi, reach for the throttle and the spade grip control column. Listen as your pilot seat checker explains the need for four hands and two feet to get the “Hurri” off the ground. You are sitting in the only flying Hurricane Mk IV in the world and you will soon learn why we say “It’s not broken, it’s British!”
Many pilots who built up time on the Hurricane, either on an OTU or squadron, eventually transitioned to one of the most enigmatic, beautiful, ferocious and capable fighters of the war—the Supermarine Spitfire. This was usually done at a Conversion Unit where seasoned pilots made the transition to the more advanced type. You won’t really be sitting in a Spitfire, you will be wearing it! The sides of the cockpit nearly touch your shoulders. Only your head appears above the rail. There seems to be twenty feet of nose ahead of you. You and the Spit are one. Where you are sitting, history was made, lives were lost and battles were won. If you want to understand, if you want to put yourself in their minds, you need to be here.
As the war progressed, many Spitfire squadrons, like 442 Royal Canadian Air Force, made a second transition to the North American P-51D Mustang, widely considered the greatest and most important air superiority fighter of the Second World War. To some, it is the greatest fighter of all time—making the greatest impact on the outcome of history. Having worked your way up from Finch to Harvard to Hurricane to Spitfire, you will now see how much technology and cockpit design had advanced with the Mustang which was introduced a full four years after the Spitfire began serving with the Royal Air Force.
Five legendary aircraft, five increasingly more complex and formidable fighters, five of the best pilots, five times five minutes. It’s like speed dating with history.
Click HERE to register for Seat Check Saturday.
On Friday, 20 March 2015, Vintage Wings of Canada kicks off its speakers series with a dynamic presentation by historian Ted Barris on the true story behind the famous Second World War POW prison break known as “The Great Escape”. Hollywood would have you believe an altogether different history—one without its true Canadian face. Barris will be at our hangar to set the record straight.
This is no ordinary lecture. It’s a fun beer and pizza evening, followed by one of the most dynamic, energetic speakers in Canada—Ted Barris revealing some astonishing truths about a courageous misunderstood event of the Second World War—an event that ended in tragedy and murder.
Click HERE to learn more and to register for this educational and entertaining evening.