Canada’s Victory Flight Announces 2024 Schedule

Victory Flight. Photo by Peter Handley

By Dave Hadfield

Victory Flight is a unique display formation of iconic Second World War-era fighter aircraft consisting of a Hawker Hurricane XII, a Spitfire IX and a P-51D Mustang. Whether displaying in a tight ‘V’ formation, or in free-wheeling tail-chases, they are astonishing crowd-pleasers. The sound of the three 1500-hp Rolls-Royce Merlin engines is unforgettable. There is no other fighter-formation of its kind performing in Canada now.

The Flight will be performing at many events this season, including at RCAF 100th Anniversary airshows. The schedule (as of March 8) is:

  • June 22-23: CFB Bagotville, Quebec
  • June 29-30: CFB Trenton, Ontario
  • July 1 (Canada Day): Ottawa
  • July 13-14: Geneseo, New York
  • July 22-28 (AirVenture): Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • 6-8 (AERO Gatineau) Gatineau, Québec
  • Sept 15, Battle of Britain Day Flypast, Ottawa

The aircraft form part of the Mike Potter Aircraft Collection, a privately owned and funded compilation, based at Gatineau, now in its 24th season. Mr. Potter is an Ottawa businessman, pilot and philanthropist with a deep commitment to Canada’s aviation heritage. It is often associated with Vintage Wings of Canada, a group formed by Mr. Potter in 2004, but which has since become an independent charitable foundation (

The Victory Flight aircraft consist of some of the most famous types in aviation history, all depicting Canadian-flown aircraft during the Second World War, each painted to tell a story about a Canadian pilot.

Hurricane XII. Photo by Pat Tenger

Hawker Hurricane Mk XII:

  • Single-seat fighter built in 1942 by Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort William (now Thunder Bay, Ontario).
  • Served with 125 Sqn RCAF at Sydney, Nova Scotia.
  • In 1945 served at various Prairie RCAF stations, including responding to the fire-balloon attacks by Japanese Imperial forces.
  • In 1946 released to Crown Assets for disposal. In 1972, sold to Saskatchewan pilot-farmer Harry Whereatt, who accomplished the initial restoration.
  • In 2005, acquired by Mr. Michael Potter of Ottawa for an in-depth restoration by Vintech Aero of Gatineau.
  • Depicts the aircraft flown by Alberta-born Flying Officer ‘Willie’ McKnight during the Battle of Britain.
Spitfire IX. Photo by Pat Tenger

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX:

  • Single-seat fighter built in the U.K. in 1945.
  • In 1947 was delivered to South Africa, flown until 1951. Acquired in 1999 by Comox Air Force Museum, home of current 442 Sqn RCAF Search and Rescue, where restoration began.
  • Restoration completed by Michael Potter Collection (Vintech Aero) at Gatineau.
  • Depicts the RCAF 442 Sqn aircraft flown by Alberta-born Flight Lieutenant Arnold Roseland, killed in action in Normandy in July 1944.
P-51D Mustang. Photo by Peter Handley

North American Mustang IV (P-51D):

  • Single-seat fighter built in the U.S. in 1944.
  • In 1947 taken on strength with the RCAF as a Mustang IV, flew with RCAF 403 (Aux) Squadron of Calgary, Alberta.
  • In 2005, acquired by Mr. Michael Potter of Ottawa. In-depth restoration during 2020-22 by Vintech Aero.
  • Depicts an RCAF 442 Sqn aircraft flown by Ottawa-born brothers Rocky and Larry Robillard in 1945.
Joe Cosmano (l), Dave Hewitt, Dave Hadfield walking back from a display flight at AERO Gatineau 2023.

The Victory Flight pilots are:

  • Team Lead, flying the Hurricane XII: Joe Cosmano of Royalton, New York, a 28,000-hour veteran pilot who owns and flies many vintage types.
  • #2, flying the Spitfire IX: Dave Hadfield of Barrie, Ont., a 28,000-hour member of a famous Canadian flying family, currently Chief Pilot of the Mike Potter Aircraft Collection.
  • #3, flying the P-51 Mustang: Dave Hewitt of Woodstock, Ont., a long-standing close-formation performer with the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team.

Check out the upcoming May-Jun issue of Canadian Aviator for Dave Hadfield’s account of performing a Victory Flight in 2023 – Ed.