Wings Magazine

Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival has landed

Feb. 16, 2011, Toronto - The Canadian Air & Space Museum will host its sixth annual  "Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival" at Downsview Park, Toronto on Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29, 2011.

February 16, 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.

To honour Bombardier's 25th anniversary in aerospace, the Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival will showcase aircraft made Bombardier and its predecessors, including the Vintage Wings Canadair Sabre "Hawk One" which will be on static display at Downsview for the festival. RCAF squadrons operated Sabres jet fighters from Downsview Airport in the late 1950s and this will be the Sabre's first return visit in 50 years. Photo by Eric Dumigan.


The 2011 Festival celebrates a number of aviation milestones closely associated with the aviation history of one of Canada’s oldest airports, which has been home for an aircraft factory since 1929. The festival will also offer opportunities to fly in a light aircraft, helicopter and wartime Harvard trainer over the City of Toronto.

Highlights of the 2011 Festival will include a fly-in of Second World War RCAF training aircraft used in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and a homecoming fly-in of legendary de Havilland Aircraft of Canada and Bombardier Aerospace aircraft built at Downsview Airport over the past 80 years.


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

A special feature will be a unique and eclectic showcase of airplanes and helicopters 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 2011 Wing & Wheels Heritage festival will celebrate the "British Commonwealth Air Training Plan" at the site of the wartime  de Havilland Aircraft of Canada factory where built 1,500 D.H. 82C Tiger Moth trainers were produced for wartime flying schools. (Photo Credit: Fred Hotson 1941)


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 Australia, Canada, 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.

The first flight of the Pratt &
Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine was made at Toronto's Downsview
Airport on May 30, 1961 in the nose of a Beech 18 flown by P&WC and
de Havilland test pilots. The PT6 is one of Canada's greatest aerospace
success stories. Photo: Canadian Air & Space Museum/DHC collection.


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 powered 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 including the Bell 212 and 412 and Agusta Westland 119 and 139 and Sikorsky S-76B/D.

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.

British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan –  de Havilland Aircraft of Canada built 1,500 D.H. 82C
Tiger Moth trainers for the war effort. Photo by Kenneth Swartz.


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 that 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 of the 1950s and 1960s.

6th Annual Toronto Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival to Celebrate Canadian Aviation Milestones

o   80th anniversary – Trans Canada Air Pageant in Toronto

o   70th anniversary – British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP)

o   50th anniversary – First flight of the P&WC PT-6A turbine engine

o   25th anniversary of the formation of Bombardier Aerospace

o   Legacy of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada

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.

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 by March 2011.

About Downsview Airport
The de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. opened an aircraft factory at Downsview in 1929 and the airport became Toronto’s air force base in 1946.  It is one of the oldest Canadian airports and the birthplace of numerous famous aircraft developed by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada and Bombardier Aerospace.


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