Canadian Replica Biplanes Honor Vimy

March 16, 2017 in News by David Niles

Canadian Museum of Flight volunteers work on a Sopwith Pup.

Seven replica biplanes of the type flown by Canadian pilots over the Battle of Vimy Ridge 100 years ago were to be in France Thursday as Canada gets ready to mark a turning point in its history.

The four seven/eighths scale Nieuport 11s, an SE-5 and two full-scale Sopwith Pups will represent the aerial war component in the battle, which marked the first time a unified Canadian force faced an enemy under the Red Ensign.

They were to have been loaded in an RCAF C-17 at CFB Comox for the trip to France.

On April 9, 1917, four Canadian battalions launched an offensive and took the ridge after three days of intense fighting. Overhead were Canadian members of the Royal Flying Corps, checking troop movements and spotting artillery, most of the time in a late spring snowstorm.

The replica aircraft will do a single 270-degree turn around the Vimy monument in a reenactment of a flight that occurred at the dedication of the monument on April 9, 1936.

The aircraft are part of Vimy Flight, an effort by a group of retired RCAF pilots to commemorate the battle that most historians agree signaled Canada’s coming out as a nation on the world stage.

The Pups were built from kits at the Canadian Museum of Flight over the past two years and were supposed to fly at Vimy but a late engine change delayed their construction and they didn’t have enough hours on them to fly at Vimy. The Pups will be on static display during events in France.

They will, however, be ready to fly in the second stage of the Vimy Flight operation. All seven aircraft will form a flying circus barnstorming across Canada starting in May. At each stop, they will present educational programs on Vimy and the importance of Canada’s contribution.

Canadian Museum of Flight volunteers work on a Sopwith Pup.

Seven replica biplanes of the type flown by Canadian pilots over the Battle of Vimy Ridge 100 years ago were to be in France Thursday as Canada gets ready to mark a turning point in its history.

The four seven/eighths scale Nieuport 11s, an SE-5 and two full-scale Sopwith Pups will represent the aerial war component in the battle, which marked the first time a unified Canadian force faced an enemy under the Red Ensign.

They were to have been loaded in an RCAF C-17 at CFB Comox for the trip to France.

On April 9, 1917, four Canadian battalions launched an offensive and took the ridge after three days of intense fighting. Overhead were Canadian members of the Royal Flying Corps, checking troop movements and spotting artillery, most of the time in a late spring snowstorm.

The replica aircraft will do a single 270-degree turn around the Vimy monument in a reenactment of a flight that occurred at the dedication of the monument on April 9, 1936.

The aircraft are part of Vimy Flight, an effort by a group of retired RCAF pilots to commemorate the battle that most historians agree signaled Canada’s coming out as a nation on the world stage.

The Pups were built from kits at the Canadian Museum of Flight over the past two years and were supposed to fly at Vimy but a late engine change delayed their construction and they didn’t have enough hours on them to fly at Vimy. The Pups will be on static display during events in France.

They will, however, be ready to fly in the second stage of the Vimy Flight operation. All seven aircraft will form a flying circus barnstorming across Canada starting in May. At each stop, they will present educational programs on Vimy and the importance of Canada’s contribution.

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