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Celebrating 6th annual Toronto Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival

Feb. 1, 2011, Toronto - The Canadian Air & Space Museum will host its sixth annual  "Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival" at Downsview Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


February 1, 2011
By Carey Fredericks

A unique showcase in the centre of Canada's largest city, the Festival utilizes Bombardier’s Downsview Airport and historic hangars in adjacent Downsview Park to provide aviation and auto enthusiasts with a rich display of classic and modern aircraft, classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, and associated family-friendly exhibits.

This year’s Festival evokes the spirit of the Trans Canada Air Pageant air tour, which touched down in Toronto 1931 with a spectacular showcase of military and civilian aircraft witnessed by 30,000 people over the green fields of Downsview.

The 2011 Festival celebrates a number of aviation milestones closely associated with the aviation history of once of Canada’s oldest airport, which has been home for an aircraft factory since 1929

Highlights of the 2010 Festival include a fly-in Second World War RCAF training aircraft used in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and a homecoming fly-of legendary de Havilland Aircraft of Canada and Bombardier Aerospace aircraft built at Downsview over 80 years.

A special feature will be a unique and eclectic showcase of aircraft powered by the legendary Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 gas turbine engine, which first flew at Downsview Airport 50 years ago in the nose of a Beech 18 aircraft on May 30, 1961.

The Festival is designed to appeal to aviation fans of all ages, with the goal of inspiring the next generation of aviation innovators, pilots, engineers and technicians.

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan – 1939 – 1945
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) established Canada as a major wartime aircraft manufacturing centre and training ground for 131,553-air crew.

Between 1940 and 1945, 97 BCATP flying schools located across Canada trained students from Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and many other countries for wartime service.

In celebration of the BCATP, the Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival is hosting a fly-in of Second World War training aircraft, including the famous D.H. 82C Tiger Moth trainer built at Downsview, 1,500 of which were used to teach tens of thousands of wartime pilots to fly.

50th Anniversary – First Flight of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 Engine

On May 30, 1961, aviation history was made when the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine made its first flight at Toronto’s Downsview airport installed in the nose of a Beech 18 flown by P&WC test pilot John McNeil and DHC test pilot Robert Fowler.

Today, the P&WC PT6 engine ranks as one of Canada’s most successful aerospace innovations, with more than 36,000 engines delivered which have power more than 100 aircraft designs which have flown more than 360 million flight hours. 

In 1961, P&WC engineers in Longueil, Quebec hired de Havilland Canada (DHC) in Toronto to modify the Beech 18 into an engineering test aircraft for their new turboprop engine. The PT6 has powered many successful families of light aircraft including the de Havilland Turbo Beaver, Twin Otter and Dash 7; Beech King Air, 1900 airliner and Harvard II trainer; Cessna Caravan;  and several helicopters: Bell 212 and 412 and Agusta Westland 119 and 139.

In honour of the 50th anniversary, the Festival will feature a unique and eclectic fly-in of business and utility aircraft, airliners, military trainers and helicopters powered by the PT6 over almost 50 years.

The de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Showcase

Sixty five years after it made its first flight at Downsview, the world’s oldest de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk (serial 11) is returning to Downsview during the festival to take its place in the collection of the Canadian Air & Space Museum, showcased in the hangar was it was originally built.

In honour of the achievements of de Havilland Canada during war and peace, the Festival will host a fly-in of classic 1930s and postwar de Havilland aircraft, ranging from the D.H. 60 Moth biplane to the Dash 8 / Q-Series, the world’s most popular turboprop airliner.

This year’s festival also celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the DHC-3 Otter short take-off and landing (STOL) utility aircraft in Toronto on December 12, 1951, and the 60th anniversary of the Canadian manufacturer’s first DHC-2 Beaver sale to the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, which became its largest customer

Bombardier’s 25 Years in Aerospace
Bombardier Aerospace, which owns Downsview Airport is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its entry into aerospace in 1986. To honour the company's quarter century, the festival has invited owners of aircraft built by Bombardier and its four predecessor companies — Canadair, Learjet, Shorts and de Havilland Canada — to participate in a “flight through history” static display.

A Fun Family Event
The Wings & Wheels Heritage Event is also a community festival with something of interest for the entire family. Event admission includes access to the aircraft, car and vehicle displays, activities for children, and tours of Canadian Air & Space Museum.

The festival will also offer opportunities to fly in a light aircraft, helicopter and vintage war bird aircraft and a large display of flying models with an indoor aerodrome for electric models a football field in size.

Museum highlights a flying replica of the 1909 AEA Silver Dart, which flew on the 100th anniversary of the first flight in Canada, a full-scale reproduction of the famous Avro CF-105 Arrow supersonic interceptor from the 1950s and one of the world’s rare four-engine RCAF Avro Lancaster bombers, under restoration.

Note to Festival Fly-In Visitors

Fly-in visitors to Downsview Airport must register in advance to ensure smooth Festival operations. Airport and registration details will be posted on the Museum web site www.wingsandwheelsfestival.com by March 2011