Vintage Wings of Canada has had their rare Westland Lysander Mk.IIIa (RCAF 2364) up for sale for a while now with Platinum Fighter Sales, and many Canadians feared she might depart for foreign shores, as did the Collection’s Fairey Swordfish last year. But in recent days, news confirms that a Canadian consortium has pooled their resources to purchase the beautifully restored WWII liaison aircraft – a type that became legendary for its wartime role supplying clandestine operations behind enemy lines in Axis Europe. The aircraft is one of just three currently airworthy examples in the world, and the only one flying in North America. Following much restoration work under Harry Whearatt’s three decades of ownership, the team at Vintage Wings of Canada completed the task of getting 2364 back in the air again during 2010 after significant additional labor from their engineers. The Lysander was a real favorite in the skies over Vintage Wings’ home in Gatineau, Quebec. While she will be missed, the flying collection is making space in the hangar for other aircraft. One of these will be Hawker Hurricane Mk.XII RCAF 5447 (which also once belonged to Harry Whereatt), which is nearing the end of her restoration at Gatineau. She will hopefully make her debut on the air show circuit this season. Work on the collection’s ultra-rare Hawker Fury biplane fighter will hopefully then have the opportunity to bloom following the Hurricane’s revival. So good things are also in store at Gatineau, and we look forwards to seeing them reach fruition!
The following press announcement relates the details regarding the Lysander’s new home…
The Lysander is Staying in Canada!
Toronto, Jan 06, 2020
An extremely rare, Canadian-built, Second World War aircraft has been purchased by Canadians, and will not be leaving the country. It will continue to appear at events in Southern Ontario.
The Lysander Funds (a Toronto investment firm) and Mr. John Carswell of Canso Funds, together with Mr. Tim Hicks, have combined to purchase the extremely rare aircraft from collector Mr. Michael Potter, of Ottawa. The Lysander Funds draws its company name and philosophy from the unusual aircraft and its independent, remarkable, “stealth” flying history.
This is the only Lysander flying in North America. Aircraft enthusiasts may have been concerned that this wonderful piece of Canada’s aviation history would be sold and taken overseas, but it’s staying where it was built and where it began its RCAF career! The pre-purchase flight was conducted by pilot Dave Hadfield, taking off from Rockcliffe Airport, in October 2019. “The aircraft performed perfectly – it’s an amazing aircraft to fly. Totally unique!”
The intention is to build a hangar for it (and to support an outreach program) at an airport in the Toronto area in 2020. No firm location has yet been decided. Once established in the new facility, the aircraft will be flown to support Lysander Funds activities, as well as some airshows. Until then it will be kept at the Gatineau airport with the Mike Potter Aircraft Collection.
Mr. Carswell has been involved with the iconic aircraft before; he sponsored its Outreach Flight Program in 2015 and 2016 in which the Lysander was displayed at many Airshows and events in Southern Ontario, and “wowed” many Air Cadet first-time flyers. A retired RCAF officer, his commitment to Canada’s aviation history is clear: he is a generous supporter of “Veteran’s House”, which provides homeless veterans with a place to stay, as well as the Birchall Leadership Awards, and many other commemorative activities.
The aircraft will be flown and managed by vintage aircraft specialist pilot Dave Hadfield who flew the aircraft during the 2015-16 seasons, and who is often seen in the cockpits of the rare fighters of the Mike Potter Aircraft Collection such as the Spitfire and Mustang.