And meet it they did, from around the province and across the country. The weekend celebration at the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton on August 17 and 18 was an opportunity for many of our
members and hundreds of visitors to see the object of our endeavours for the first time. After more than a decade locked away in city warehouses, it was time to show her off, to celebrate
with our friends and partners and to acknowledge some of those who helped to make this happen. After an incredibly successful move just the weekend before, things kicked off Friday night
with a dinner and dance event in the museum.
The sold out evening event gave us the chance to meet out special guests including Deputy Mayor and Alderman Jim Stevenson, Senator Ann Cools, historian and author Robert Stitt and former
Spartan navigator Bob Bolivar. The sultry summer evening was capped with a blue fire spitting night run of the Lancaster.
Morning broke with hot air balloons from the Calgary Balloon Club drifting over town as guests, visitors and members started their day with a pancake breakfast at the Community Center and
admired the collection of vintage sports cars parked in front of the Lancaster from the Vintage Sports Car Club of Calgary. Uniformed and costumed Devil's Brigade re-enactors from the
Edmonton area camped outside the museum and added some delightful colour and drama to all of the weekend's events.
Kicking off the speaking and presentation events in the Joe English Room of the Museum was Jim Blondeau with a with a preview film of his upcoming documentary on the Bomber Command Memorial
in London. This was followed by a PowerPoint history of our Mosquito, a standing room only look at our restoration plan by Jack McWilliams and finally an illustrated history of Spartan Air
Services and their use of the Mosquito by Robert Stitt who came out from Vancouver Island to be with us.
Robert then joined Bob Bolivar, who has over 150 hours of flying time on our beloved CF-HMS with Spartan, at one of our 'centres' where visitors could talk to them about Spartan, view their
photos and collect signatures on the beautiful colour profile prints produced for us by Clavework Graphics.
At a second centre, wartime Mosquito navigators Pat Anderson and Society VP Bob O'Connor shared their photos and experiences with visitors as well as signing profile prints of their
aircraft, between interviews with newspaper and television reporters.
Our event received national television coverage from the CBC on Saturday and throughout the weekend.
(requires Quicktime to view)
We were also very fortunate to have five members of the Phipps family with us for the day. 'Weldy' Phipps, was the man who bought the Mosquitos for Spartan and brought them to Canada. For
his incredible contributions to the success of Spartan and his innovative and entrepreneurial life's work in Canadian aviation, 'Weldy' was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame,
awarded the Order of Canada, the McKee Trophy and the Order of Polaris. Weldy's widow Fran, the first woman to fly to the North Pole, as well as children Brenda, Jim, Wendy and Terry were
Our thanks go out to Brenda Phipps for rounding up the family and for donating a signed copy of her father's biography, Whiskey Whiskey Papa by Norman Avery. We would also like to
thank author Norman Avery for donating six copies of his most recent book, Spartan: Seven Letters that Spanned the Globe. Thank you Norm: We could have sold 100 copies that day!
Highlighting the afternoon program of speeches, acknowledgments and presentations was Alderman Jim Stevenson who authored the motion at council to keep the Mosquito in Calgary and to provide
half the funding for its restoration.
Senator Anne Cools, a devoted and long term supporter of the Bomber Command Museum, used the occasion to present the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals to five members of the Museum; Karl
Kjarsgaard, Bob Evans, Dave Birrell, Dan Fox and John Phillips. Our thanks to Senator Cools for recognizing and acknowledging the incredible work, dedication and contribution these fine men
have made to the Museum. Additional details and photos can be seen on the Vintage Wings website.
Gary Hillman of the Harvard Historical Aviation Society presented us with an original June 1949, Air Ministry Mosquito
B. Mk. 35 manual. Thank you Gary and HHAS for this most relevant gift!
Board member Trevor McTavish led a team of our members by coordinated the sales and information display for the weekend. Between managing the WestJet ticket raffle, coordinating and selling
the Clavework profiles and accepting new memberships we netted over $10,000, all of which is then matched by the City of Calgary. Thank you team; great work!
Big thanks also to Robyn Maerz for coordinating another terrific special event for us and for the many evening trips to Nanton to make this all happen. I also owe a personal thanks to
Robyn, member Francois Riendeau, and our board members for the surprise presentation on Friday evening of my all time favourite Mosquito print, Unscheduled Arrival by Alberta artist
Robert Bailey. Ya, you got me. Thank you.
Adding great noise and colour to the day there were Lanc engine runs, Tiger Moth and Stearman flypasts, displays in the museum by Doug Hoult, the AeroSpace Museum, the Harvard Historical
Aviation Society, gun turret demonstrations and a 408 Squadron helicopter display and flight.
Big thanks also to Paul Gary for the beautiful display signs, to Keith and Trish Holden for the transport, to Stephane for the Friday night coordinating, Barry for MC duties and Sunday
dinner, Scott and David for shuttle service and to all who were a part of making this milestone event a warm, fuzzy and fun event.
Let the restoration work begin!