Beauty in Beastly Weather
The RCAF is putting its air demonstration teams through their paces in Comox, B.C. this week as they get ready for the six-month air show season.
The Snowbirds and CF-18 demo teams typically spend a couple of weeks on normally-balmy Vancouver Island in April to put the final touches on their routines before hitting the road.
The weather has been rainy and cold, with some warm sunny days, but the flying goes on and our photographer Ken Lin has found ways to get some spectacular images because of, rather than in spite of, the challenging conditions.
The newly-painted CF-18, sporting a red and white Canada 150 theme, has been a show stopper for those who gather at the observation areas around the base to watch the shows come together.
The intricate design came from Jim Belliveau, who has been the brainchild behind the elaborately painted fighters for more than 10 years. See more photos on our Facebook page.
Vimy Mission Accomplished
Five replica First World War biplanes flew around the Vimy Monument in France on April 9 as part of a huge ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the epic battle.
The aircraft, four Nieuport 11s and an SE-5, duplicated an honour flight that took place in 1936 marking the dedication of the monument.
After Sunday’s flight, Lt. Gen. Mike Hood, commander of the RCAF, presented the five pilots and four support personnel in France medals commemorating their historic flight.
With the Vimy flight behind them, the group now has to disassemble the aircraft and load them aboard a C-17 for transport to Greenwood, Nova Scotia, where they’ll begin a cross-Canada educational tour.
Although much of that trip will involve appearances at high schools and halls across the country, there will be at least one more high-profile flight.
The biplanes will join the Snowbirds for a flight over Parliament Hill on Canada Day.
The main thrust of the cross-Canada mission is to educate Canadians about the importance of the Battle of Vimy to the evolution of Canada as a nation.
It was the first time Canadian troops had gone to battle as a unified force and not as part of British-led operation.
Bombardier Chairman Cuts Pay
Bombardier’s board of directors has approved cutting Executive Chairman Pierre Beaudoin’s pay by $1.4 million USD to his 2015 rate of $3.8 million USD.
The pay cut was requested by Beaudoin after filing documents made public last month revealed that the total compensation for senior executives jumped 50 percent from $21.9 million USD to $32.7 million USD. Previously CEO Alain Bellemare asked the board to defer more than half of the planned pay for executives until 2020.
The hefty increases for the top floor suites came after a tough year for Bombardier which saw 14,500 employees laid off and the company receiving more than $1 billion in federal and provincial bailouts.
At first, Bombardier defended the increases saying they were awarded after the executives reached “performance targets” as part of their contracts.
But as public backlash grew (including a tongue lashing from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), the top execs started relenting and Beaudoin said the controversy over pay became “a distraction” to efforts to turn the company around.
Flying Replica Arrow Takes Shape
A group of Calgary pilots is building a .6 scale replica of the Avro Arrow that they hope to fly within the next five to 10 years.
The group has been meeting for 20 years about the project and much of the first few years was spend in research. The build goes on every Tuesday night and the plan is to fly the aircraft as an amateur built.
It will be powered by a couple of jet engines “similar to what is used in Citation jets” and operated under a special certificate of airworthiness.
The volunteers also operate the Avro Museum at Springbank Airport and the flying replica is the ultimate goal of keeping the legacy of the famous fighter alive.
“For me, the challenge of preserving that knowledge and that achievement, in addition to the challenge of building a flying replica of the aircraft, is what keeps me going,” Paul Gies, the lead builder, told the CBC.