Have you ever wondered what it’s like to feel the roar of Merlin engines as they literally rumble through your very soul…. or to almost taste the faint yet hypnotic scent of hydraulic fluid and engine oil that lives in every WWII aeroplane… or the glorious sight from your cockpit window of iconic warbirds in close formation as you carve your way through the air over some of the most beautiful landscape in the world? These are magical memories which will etch themselves into your mind for the rest of your life if you take the unique opportunity this year to join Vintage Wings of Canada and the Canadian Warplane Heritage flying museum in sponsoring a formation flight with their Avro Lancaster, North American P-51 Mustang and Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk.
As our great friend Dave O’Malley at Vintage Wings of Canada so eloquently puts it…
Each time we take our warbirds into the air, it’s a rare and powerful experience which we know we are very fortunate to enjoy. It is almost impossible to convey to others the emotionally beautiful and physically visceral sight of three aircraft flying in close proximity. Every sense is bombarded with inputs ….
Now, in cooperation with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM), Vintage Wings of Canada (VWC) is offering an unprecedented opportunity to its members. If you become a member of Vintage Wings or CWHM, you can truly and fully experience a formation of thundering warbirds – as a vital part of the formation itself!
Vintage Wings is now offering up the back seats of our North American P-51D Mustang and Curtiss P-40N Kittyhawk for member-sponsored flight experiences. In a series of five multi-day events (three in Ottawa/Gatineau and two in Hamilton, Ontario) members will be able to strap on history and fly in formation with or inside one of the rarest yet most important aircraft in aviation history – the beloved “Lanc” of Bomber Command fame. We can state, with 100% certainty, that this opportunity cannot be experienced anywhere else on the planet.
Put yourself in an airman’s seat to feel every sensory detail of the life-changing experiences our flying fathers, grandfathers and heroes had during the Second World War. There is no more compelling way to experience living history than to be part of it. A seat on one of our fighters, or on the Lancaster itself, is available only to members of Vintage Wings of Canada or CWHM who sponsor one of these historic formation flights.
Participants in these historic formation flights must become sponsoring members of VWC or CWHM, and can ride in the second seat of the Kittyhawk, Mustang or aboard the Lancaster. Members will experience everything – pre-flight briefing, start-up, in trail take-off, re-join, formation flying and position changes. Members are encouraged to bring their cameras. In fact, this is a unique opportunity for amateur photographers to break into that elusive air-to-air photography elite – the holy grail of aviation photography. These formation flying experiences happen in two locations – Hamilton, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec (15 minutes from downtown Ottawa).
June 06/07– Vintage Wings of Canada, Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, Quebec
June 19/20/21 – Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton, Ontario
June 26/27/28/29 and July 01 – Vintage Wings, Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, Quebec
August 15/16 – Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton, Ontario
September 19/20 – Vintage Wings, Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, Quebec
On each of the scheduled flying days above, three separate 3-plane formation flights will be launched – one at 1000 hrs, 1200 hrs and 1400 hrs on each day, allowing for briefings, debriefings and engine cool down between flights. A total of six seats are available for sponsorship on each flight – four in the Lancaster and one each in the escorting fighter aircraft. A sponsoring fee of $3000 (CDN) for each seat (in a fighter or aboard the Lancaster) helps us cover the costs of maintenance and operational consumables like fuel and oil. P-51 and P-40 fighter flights may be extended at the sponsor’s option, for an additional fee. The P-40 is the only dual-control Second World War fighter in Canada and flying it from the back seat is an experience few living people can claim.
For more information on how to become a member, sponsor a flight or register for a formation flying experience, you are invited to call Mindy Shea, Vintage Wings of Canada at +1.819.669.9603 or Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at +1.905.679.4183 (extension 236). Memberships, with many benefits can also be purchased by clicking HERE for Vintage Wings of Canada, or HERE for CWH.
All sponsors wishing to take advantage of the back seat of one of the fighters must be physically able to climb into the back seat and egress from it in case of emergency. In the event that rain or other issues, flights will be rescheduled the same week if possible.
Those wishing to watch the comings and goings of the formation flights from the ground can so from the Vintage Wings Hangar, where they can also visit the Michael U. Potter Collection of Vintage Aircraft. Admission to the hangar is just $10.00 (Kids under 12 are admitted free). A similar arrangement is available at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Please visit their web site for details. Click HERE for Vintage Wings of Canada, and HERE for the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
Please also remember that rides are available in other warbirds from the Vintage Wings of Canada fleet. Click HERE to see which aircraft are available.