This year is the 100th Anniversary of the first powered, heavier-than-air, controlled flight in Canada, made by J.A.D. McCurdy in the Silver Dart on the frozen surface of the Bras D’or Lakes near Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Under the leadership of the Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Center, aviation museums and aviation heritage sites across Canada will celebrate that milestone with a coast to coast relay by vintage aircraft.
The “Back to Baddeck” vintage aircraft relay flight project recognizes Canada’s aviation roots in Nova Scotia, celebrating the wide variety of aircraft involved and aviation’s national impact. The relay flight will be done in several legs with a variety of vintage aircraft owned and restored by Canadian museums.
The relay started in Baddeck on February 23, flying west across the Canadian north to end up in Comox, British Columbia, in May. The west to east return from Comox is scheduled to end at the Nova Scotia International Air Show in Yarmouth, September 12 and 13.
The flight plan includes stops at all CAPA-member museums, each provincial capital, and Ottawa. Carried aboard the aircraft is a baton containing specially minted coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint and first day cover stamps issued by Canada Post and cancelled in Baddeck on the anniversary date. They are being presented to each member museum and the premier of each province as well as the Governor General of Canada.
Canada has been “more reliant on aviation for its development than any other country in the world,” said a statement from CAPA. Aviation opened up Canada and remains a lifeline to many remote and northern areas, the organization said. “The significance of aviation today and what it has done for Canada can be compared to what the Canadian Pacific Railway did for Canada in the years after Confederation,” the group said.
CAPA was formed to promote the preservation of aircraft, Canadian aviation history, and the retention in Canada of aircraft, airframes, associated artifacts and related materials significant to Canadian aviation.