Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum acquires ownership of three aircraft in celebration of its 50th anniversary – Hamilton


Three historic aircraft will now permanently inhabit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM) after the gallery acquired aircraft ownership.

The Supermarine Spitfire, Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck and North American Saber, on display for several years thanks to a donation, are now the property of the Hamilton-based museum after Ingenium and its Museum of Aviation and Canada space in Ottawa donated the aircraft.

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CWHM marketing manager Al Mickeloff says the property is now opening the museum’s cockpits, allowing it to restore pieces that had been gathering dust for several years.

First on the list to be rehabilitated will be the Spitfire, a craft the museum has been searching for since the tragic loss of its Hurricane in a hangar fire in 1993.

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The Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck, one of the first jet aircraft designed and built in Canada, is one of three new additions to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum as the gallery celebrates its 50th gala in October 2022.

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“But now we can get going and we’ve decided to take the Spitfire and get it back to flying condition,” Mickeloff told 900 CHML’s Hamilton Today.

“Our first step in the restoration will actually be a fundraising campaign which will be launched in the spring and in the meantime…we will do an evaluation of the aircraft just to see what is actually needed for the restoration of this aircraft.”

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Mickeloff says the craft is “virtually complete” but will require full restoration which will include tearing it apart.

“We’re going to send the engine to a professional overhaul shop in the United States and we’re going to have to get a new propeller,” he said.

CWHM President and CEO Dave Roher said the CF-100 and Saber are also in very good condition and may need some minor work, but should remain static in the gallery.

After a comprehensive top-to-bottom evaluation of the Spitfire, curators said the craft would need a “Merlin” engine estimated to cost over $200,000.

“We may also have to do some fabric work, so the whole project will probably take $250,000 to $300,000 to get it up and running again,” Roher told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton. .

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“But the asset is probably worth around $3.5-4 million, so it’s definitely worth it.”

A photo of an American F-86 Saber, sometimes referred to as the Sabrejet, is a transonic jet fighter best known as America’s first swept-wing fighter that could counter the Soviet swept-wing MiG-15 in difficult high-speed dogfights.

Al Mickeloff

Rohrer estimates that restoring the Spitfire will take around 18 to 24 months.

The announcement comes as the CWHM celebrates its 50th anniversary, featured with a throwback party, black tie event and air show last October.

Founders Dennis Bradley and Alan Ness began early work on the eventual museum by restoring a vintage 1972 Firefly fighter to working order.

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The couple would display the aircraft and fly it occasionally from Hamilton Airport.

As a donation-dependent nonprofit, CWHM has seen its collection grow to nearly 50 aircraft along with its roster of volunteers helping with restorations and presenting showcases sharing stories about each aircraft.

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“We rely on donations, and that’s the number of planes that have arrived,” Mickeloff explained.

“Sometimes there’s a handful of guys who see a plane, they pool their money and they think we should have it. So they give the money with the intention of buying that particular plane.

The museum’s aircraft are in high demand, having made appearances at air shows in Japan, Germany, France and the UK.

“Just to give you an example, in 2014 we flew the Lancaster…6pm…to England,” Mickeloff said.

“We flew it for almost two months across the country, taking part in different air shows and events. We estimate that we put the plane in front of 10 million people.

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