The Harvard is arguably one of the best pilot training aircraft ever produced. The original version, the NA-26 first flew in 1935. The RCAF took delivery of its first one in the summer of 1939 and operated them continuously until May 1965.
During World War II, the RCAF used this aircraft as an advanced trainer as the Harvard had more power, a retractable undercarriage, and variable pitch propeller, thus more speed. All these features helped prepared the trainee pilots trained on Tiger Moths, Fawns or Cornells for faster combat aircraft like the Hurricane and Spitfire.
One of the most unusual designs in our collection is the Quickie 2. It gets its unique name because it was supposed to be quick to build and because it was so fast in the air. This is a home built aircraft designed by Burt Rutan, famous for his VariEze, the round the world Voyager design as well as Space Ship One, the first privately built and flown craft to fly into space.
The Quickie 2 is a twin seat plane with a 64 HP Revmaster, which is an improved Volkswagen Beetle engine especially beefed-up to ensure reliability. It has a canard wing, which means the main wings are...Read More
This aircraft was built as an advancement of the smaller but very successful Aerospatiale SA318C Alouette II. The Alouette II was about the size of the museum’s Bell 47 helicopter, but featured a turbo shaft engine. Its big brother the Alouette III could carry up to seven passengers to the Alouette II’s capacity of three. The Alouette II started in production with the smaller Turbomeca Artouse engine but the later versions had the more powerful Turbomeca Astazou engine. Some earlier versions were also re-equipped with the bigger engine.
The Alouette II was designed to meet both...Read More
The S-51 was an early postwar development of the R-5. Although intended for the civilian market, most S-51s went into military service. They served with all the US military services as well as with the air forces of Australia, Britain, and Canada. The seven RCAF S-51s were designated H-5. As the first helicopters in the RCAF, they were used mainly for training and experimentation. The S-51 was the first helicopter to open and operate from Cold Lake performing search and rescue missions. All H-5s were retired by the mid-1960s. The United States built 214, and 165 were made in Britain.... Read More
The Sikorsky Aircraft Division of United Aircraft Corporation of Bridgeport, Connecticut first manufactured the Sikorsky S-55 helicopter in 1949 using components from its successful S-51 line.
In due course the S-55 model was evaluated as a litter carrier for evacuation of wounded US Army soldiers. These trials were completed in 1949-50 and the helicopters were used extensively during the Korean War. The subsequent impact of the S-55 from commercial and military perspectives was unforeseen at the time of its initial introduction. This unique design marked the dawn of a new era for a...Read More
Herbert Smith designed the Sopwith Triplane in 1916. Within weeks it was in combat. While short-lived, with only 144 built, it was one of the great successes of the First World War. Powered by a nine-cylinder Clerget rotary engine, the Triplane was highly maneuverable with an exceptional rate of climb. It gave the pilot the widest possible field of vision and permitted a high rate of roll.
The Triplane was used only by the Royal Naval Air Service and gained a reputation over the Western Front during the heavy aerial fighting of 1917. The Triplane bridged the gap between the Sopwith...Read More
The Taylorcraft Company began in 1939 at the Britannia Works, near Leicester, England, as Taylorcraft Aeroplanes Limited. 1,604 high-wing Taylorcraft Austers were built during the Second World War for the armed forces of the UK and Canada.
The Taylorcraft Auster Mk VII was based on earlier wartime versions and was used for artillery spotting or aerial observation. It had an improved and more powerful power plant: the 145hp DH Gipsy Major VII. It also featured a more robust undercarriage and auxiliary airfoil flaps.Read More