Monday, February 3, 2014

Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame: Reynolds-Alberta Museum

I have one more exhibit to share from the Reynolds-Alberta Museum that is located in Wetaskin Alberta Canada… 

But first, I'd like to refer back to my previous blog...the last one on automobiles.  I'd written about our visit at the museum with an Albertan who collects Rolls Royce automobiles.  A couple of days ago Laurie found the card that Howard Lengert had given us.  That inspired me to go on the Internet and look him up. I came across a posting about someones visit to Howard's farm...that showed off his own air traffic control tower and part of his collection of 21 Rolls Royces!  Check it out at  In addition, I found an article about his first Rolls 24 years of age!  Check it out at  

Back to this final blog about our Albertan trip.  This time it’s all about aircraft!

This big hangar is the home of the Reynolds-Alberta aviation display as well as Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.  The mission of the Hall of Fame is “to honor those individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to aviation and aerospace in Canada; and to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret artifacts and documents, thereby inspiring and educating Canadians.”
There were 79 original members in the Hall of Fame, representing both civilian and military accomplishments.  The original 79 included Alexander Graham Bell and F.W. 'Casey' Baldwin who designed and built the Silver Dart.  From 1891, Bell had begun experiments at Baddeck Nova Scotia and Hammondsport New York to develop motor-powered heavier-than-air aircraft.  Success resulted in a series of ground-breaking designs, culminating in the Silver Dart.  It was flown off the ice of Baddeck Bay, a sub-basin of Bras d'Or Lake on Cape Breton Island, on the 23rd of February 1909, making it the first controlled powered flight in Canada.

This is the Bristol 170 Freighter.  These bulbous looking airplanes were built from 1945 to 1958 by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in Great Britain.  This twin-engine aircraft was designed as a freighter and an airliner.  It's best known use was as an air ferry to carry cars and their passengers over relatively short distances.  The square-sectioned fuselage was designed to be clear of internal obstructions. The flight deck was high in the fuselage nose, accessed via a ladder.

This relatively short range freighter could carry a payload of 12,500 pounds at a top speed of approximately 193 mph.  The Bristol Aeroplance Company eventually merged with other companies to form the British Aircraft Company. (BAC) Only 214 Bristol 170s were built but they served civilian air transport companies in 22 countries as well as the military in 8 countries.

The Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck, (affectionately known as the "Clunk"), was a Canadian jet interceptor/fighter serving during the Cold War both at NATO bases in Europe and as part of NORAD.  The CF-100 was the only Canadian-designed fighter to enter mass production.  A total of 692 were built including 53 for the Belgian Air Force.  For its time, the 2-seat CF-100 featured a short takeoff run and high climb rate, making it well suited to its role as an interceptor.

This aircraft had a maximum range of about 2,000 miles, an operating ceiling of 45,000 feet and a top speed of 562 mph.  Its builder, Avro Canada, was a very large diversified company.  In 1958 it employed 50,000 employees.

Note: I liked the previous photo better than ours so I ‘borrowed it’ from Wikipedia.

This is a McDonnell F-101 Voodoo supersonic jet fighter.  It served both the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).  It was initially designed by McDonnell Aircraft as a long-range bomber escort for the Strategic Air Command.  Instead the Voodoo was developed as a nuclear-armed fighter-bomber for the Tactical Air Command and as a photo reconnaissance aircraft based on the same airframe.  Extensively modified versions were produced as all-weather interceptor aircraft. 

McDonnell built 807 of these aircraft, introducing the first Voodoo in 1957.  The Canadian Air Force retired the last of theirs in 1984.  This 2-seat aircraft had a range of 1,520 miles and a service ceiling of 58,400 feet.  It could reach speeds of 1,134 mph at an altitude of 35,000 feet.

After checking out the aircraft on static display outside the hangar, we ventured inside.  We were greeted by the sight of one of our favorite airplanes…this beautiful Douglas DC-3…popularly called the Dakota!  These planes are called DC-3’s when equipped for passenger service and C-47’s as a transport aircraft.  The aircraft has a 95 foot wingspan, a maximum range of 1,500 miles, a top speed of 215 mph and it is piloted by a crew of 2, carrying up to 28 passengers.  The only airline in North America I’m aware of that offers scheduled DC-3 service is Buffalo Airlines in Yellowknife, Northern Territories Canada.  Website:

This particular aircraft was built as a transport plane for the United States Army Air Force.  From 1955 until 1969, Shell Oil used it as a passenger and cargo carrier. Then it was purchased by the Alberta government for general transport services and to fly forest fire fighters and their supplies into remote northern area...
This is a 1931 Laird LC-B-200.  This 3 seat aircraft was built by the E.M. Laird Airplane Company in Chicago Illinois.  It was equipped with a 200 horsepower engine that produced speeds of up to 135 mph.  This plane had a range of about 600 miles.  Only 8 examples of this aircraft were built, with 4 going to Canada…

The E.M. Laird Airplane Company was a manufacturer of both commercial aircraft and custom race planes.  By 1928, Laird's aircraft had reached the level of quality, with corresponding competitive results, that the Stout Metal Airplane Division of the Ford Motor Company offered to hire Laird, purchasing all of the assets of his company.

This particular airplane was acquired by Western Canada Airlines so they could provide regular airmail service between Edmonton, Regina, Lethbridge, Winnipeg and Moose Jaw.  The plane was acquired by the museum in 2005.

This is a 1946 Republic RC-3 Seabee.  It was built by the Republic Aviation Company in Farmington New York…on Long Island.  This 4 seat aircraft had a 215 horsepower motor.  The plane had a range of 560 miles and it could reach speeds of 148 mph.
Following WWII, Republic hoped that military pilots would want to continue flying.  So they designed this light sport plane… However, the company’s expected sales of 5,000 units never happened.  Still, they sold 1,600 of these planes.  Production ceased in 1947.

Republic Aviation was responsible for the design and production of many important military aircraft, including its most famous products.  These included: Republic P-43 Lancer (272 built); Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (15,660 built); Republic F-84 Thunderjet (7,524 built); Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (3,428); Republic F-105 Thunderchief (833 built), and the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (716 built).  Note the name change to Fairchild Republic… In 1965  Republic became the Republic Aviation Division of Fairchild Hiller and ceased to exist as an independent company.

Fleet Aircraft, based in Ft. Erie Ontario, was a Canadian manufacturer of aircraft from 1928 to 1957.  This is a 1936 Fleet Fawn 7C.  It was flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1931 - 1947.  Only 71 of this type with Armstrong Siddeley Civit engines were built.

Most of these aircraft were built during WWII using parts from North American sources.  Over 600 were produced.  Their primary use was as a training aircraft.  With the pilot and a student, its 145 horsepower engine could propell the plane for 350 miles at speeds up to 116 mph. 

This is a 1943 Beech 18 “Twin Beech”.  It is powered by 2 450 horsepower engines, has a range of 1,200 miles, a top speed of 230 mph and it can carry a crew of 2 plus 7+ passengers.  When Walter Beech decided to enter the multi-engine aircraft market, it was already saturated with competitors.  Despite that fact, in the end, his design holds the record for the longest continuous production run for any piston driven aircraft.  About 9,000 were built beginning in 1937 with the last one rolling off the production line in 1970.  Japan Airlines bought the last plane of the line.

The plane had the reputation able to “do anything, anywhere and anytime”.  In addition to its military applications, the aircraft's uses have included passenger service, aerial spraying, sterile insect release, fish seeding, dry ice cloud seeding, aerial firefighting, air mail delivery, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, weapon- and drug-smuggling, engine test bed, skywriting and banner towing. Through the years, 32 variations of the basic design had flown and over 200 improvement modification kits were developed.

As an example, as the AT-11 Kansan Bombing and gunnery trainer for USAAF, the plane’s fuselage had small circular cabin windows, a bombardier position in nose, and a bomb bay; Gunnery trainers were also fitted with two or three .30 caliber machine guns.  Early models, (the first 150 built), had a single .30 AN-M2 in a Beechcraft-manufactured top turret.  A bottom tunnel gun was used for tail gunner training. 1,582 ‘Kansans’ were built for USAAF orders.  If you’d like to learn more about the Beech Twin and to view photos of some of its many variations, just go to

This crowded photo truly demonstrates that it’s time for the Museum to expand the space for the display of its collection of aircraft. 

This is a 1942 Hawker Hurricane.  This aircraft was the first modern fighter purchased by the Royal Canadian Air Force.  Of the 14,533 Hurricanes built, 1,450 were built by the Canadian Car and Foundry Ltd. in Fort William Ontario. (Now Thunder Bay) The Hurricane is powered with a Packard/Merlin V-12 engine developing 1,300 horsepower.  It had a range of 300 miles and it had a top speed of 330 mph.  Stan Reynolds acquired this airplane from a Saskatchewan farmer in 1960.

The Hawker Hurricane is a British designed single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force.  Although largely overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane became famous during the Battle of Britain.  It accounted for 60% of the Royal Air Force’s air victories in that battle.

The air forces of at least 25 nations have flown Hurricanes as part of their air fleet.  Ironically, Germany was one of those countries. Only 12 of these aircraft remain in flying condition… To learn more about the Hawker Hurricane, just go to

This is a 1939 Waco.  The Waco, (pronounced properly as Wah-co), Aircraft Company was an aircraft manufacturer located in Troy, Ohio, USA.  It has nothing to do with Waco Texas.  Between 1919 and 1947, this company produced a wide range of civilian biplanes…hundreds of aircraft!

The Museum is conveniently situated on the grounds of the Wetaskiwin Regional Airport.  As an enhancement to one’s visit to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum and its Aviation Display Hangar, an open-cockpit, bi-plane ride is available for the adventurous.  They provide the flight helmet!  A number of flight adventures are possible...  Options range from a 10 minute ‘Barnstormer’s Best’ ($139.00 C) to the 50 minute ‘Pigeon Lake Tour’. ($409.00) For a You Tube ‘flight’ on this plane, go to

This aircraft was sitting on the tarmac near the Aviation Display Hangar during our visit.  As it turns out, this is the 100th aircraft to be added to the collection at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.  This firefighting aircraft made the Museum the second largest collection of vintage aircraft in Canada, only topped by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in nation’s capital in Ottawa.  To learn about that museum and its collection, just go to

The Conair Firecat is a fire-fighting aircraft developed in Canada in the 1970s by modifying military surplus aircraft. The modifications were developed by the maintenance arm of the Conair Group, now a separate company called Cascade Aerospace.  This plane began life as a Grumman S-2 Tracker, an anti-submarine patrol aircraft.  The S-2’s served in the Canadian Navy from 1956 to 1990.  The US Navy retired their Trackers in 1976 but the Argentine Navy still uses them… 

Conair, located in Abbotsford British Columbia, built 35 of these modified airplanes.  As water bombers, these aircraft could carry 897 gallons of water and 46 gallons of foam concentrate.  The Firecat’s engines each produce 1,220 horsepower.  The plane has a top speed of 253 mph, but its endurance is the key to its success.  It can stay in the air for 5 hours and 6 minutes…

We would highly recommend the Reynolds-Alberta Museum!  It is located at 6426 40th Avenue in Wetaskiwin Alberta Canada.  Phone: 780-361-1351.  To learn more, just go to the museum’s website at

Believe it or not, this was my last post regarding our July-August trip to Alberta and the Canadian Rockies.  Thanks for following along with us!
Just click on any of the photographs to enlarge them…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie


  1. I must share this with my husband, who is a private pilot and loves museums like this. Personally I find them exciting too, imaging the men who flew these to keep us safe.

  2. While reading this, I thought of my brother who died from cancer in 1985. He absolutely would have loved this place. He owned a Piper Cub airplane (he lived in FL) ---so he took me for a ride in it one time we visited them... AWESOME. I always said that I wanted to get my pilot's license --but that never happened... Maybe it will in my next life...

    Great post. Thanks.

  3. Dear Dave, Thank you for sharing. The history of these planes and the men who flew them is wonderful.
    Blessings, Catherine

  4. Wow! The Rolls are gorgeous, esp. the silver one! The planes are interesting and I bet the pilots had some amazing stories! I really enjoyed your Alberta trip, it felt like I was there! lol!

  5. Well that was a very interesting post! So many great aircraft. I don’t remember the last aircraft museum I visited – could be the BC Aviation Museum in Sidney, Vancouver Island, BC. I remember they had a Bristol Bolingbroke MK IV, a Douglas A26 Invader, a Gibson Twin Plane and several other great vintage aircraft. I don’t know that much about the models of vintage aircraft, but I surely can recognize the sound of those we built where I worked for 27 years. Some of my co-workers though knew so much about aircraft – they were like encyclopedias! The guys on the flight line were the most knowledgeable – I worked in customer training for about 14 ½ years and with aircraft spares and kits for 12 ½ years. I did take the trainees to visit the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robbins, GA, several times, they have a neat KC-97L Stratofreighter and a F84E Thunderjet. I lived with aircraft for so long – saw them everyday being built and had posters of aircraft all over my cubicle!