Canadian Pilots Make Historic Coast To Coast Cross Flight
By Mike Mitchell
July 28, 2009, Vancouver, BC. Pilots from across Canada participated in a historic cross country flight that began on the 17th and end today. More than 110 aircraft are participated in this event. It was the biggest congregation of aircraft to fly from coast to coast in Canadian history. The historic cross country flight departed Boundary Bay Airport in British Columbia and ended in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
The flight itself was a celebration of 100 years of flight in Canada. There were over 40 different airplane types, covering the entire spectrum of general aviation today. The pilots included recreational pilots, bush pilots, flight instructors and even senior airline pilots.
Several thousand spectators attended events at airports along the route of flight. This event had given the participating airports an opportunity to add an additional event to their centennial celebrations.
The flight was a non profit event that included stops at 14 airports along the way, including eight official stops for celebrations of the 100 year anniversary of flight in Canada.
John Lovelace, COPA President's, "A hundred years ago the dream to fly like a bird inspired people to great adventure. Today it still does".
Since the beginning of history humans have dreamed the dream of soaring on wings with the freedom of birds. 100 years ago that dream became reality for the first time in Canada when the Silver Dart lifted off from a frozen lake surface near the Alexander Graham Bell home in Nova Scotia While the technical achievement of this conquest is impressive what struck me was the personal dimension of the flight.
This magnificent achievement which would change Canada forever was conceived and executed by ordinary people outside of government or military backing. The airplane they built was surprisingly simple. The wings were covered with silver Japanese silk; hence the name the "Silver Dart". The engine developed just 35 hp and the propeller was carved from a block of wood. In contrast, the Smithsonian Institute at the same time received a $50,000 grant to build a flying machine that never got off the ground.
What made the difference for those Canadian pioneers that day was that they had something that money could not buy; they were driven by the spirit of adventure and the passion to fly. Now 100 years later, I decided there could be no greater tribute to that first flight than to organize a cross Canada flight.
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