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  • Plaque Celebrating Aviation History in Mount Dennis

    Saturday, July 15 - 10:45 am

    Hearst Circle and "The Wishbone" (Opposite Harding Park in Mount Dennis)

    Reception to follow at The Atrium, 12 Division Police Station, 200 Trethewey Drive, North York

    This event is a joint function of Heritage Toronto, CAHS (Toronto Chapter & National) and 400 Squadron Historical Society.  The plaque is honouring the airfield that hosted 1st flight over Toronto in 1910, the startup location of DeHavilland Aircraft in Canada in 1928 at this airfield and in 1932 the first operational base of the RCAF 400 "City of Toronto" Squadron as 10 Sqn and later 110 Sqn.

    RSVP at www.heritagetoronto.org.

    Click here for larger image.

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    Background on the William G. Trethewey Property

    By Dr. Robert Galway

    This property was purchased by William Trethewey following his sale of two Silver mining properties that he discovered in Cobalt, Ontario on 1904. He and his brother Joseph O. Trethewey made millions in this transaction. William Trethewey came to Toronto and purchased 600 acres in Weston, near present day Jane St. & Lawrence Ave. in 1907 The Royal Automobile Club of Canada and the OML of which Trethewey was a member, asked for permission to use a portion of the property for an exhibition Air Meet. This took place July 9-16th, 1920 following closely on the heels of the initial Air Meet held in Pointe Claire, PQ.

    During the Toronto meet, French Aviator Jacques de Lesseps completed the first flight over the city of Toronto as he had done two weeks previously in Montreal. The Toronto flight occurred on July 13, 1910. This is the basis for recognizing Jacques de Lesseps on the Heritage Toronto Plaque that will be unveiled this summer on July 15, 2017.

    However, this is not the sole reason for recognizing the contribution that this plot of farmland made to Canadian aviation history.

    Following the Air Meet of 1910, the property became the center of early aviation activity in Toronto. Indeed, it became known as de Lesseps Field. In 1928 de Havilland UK decided establish a manufacturing center in Canada. They were persuaded to do so because of the success they had met in selling the DH60 Moth to the Ontario Provincial Air Service. In their search for a suitable property, they were put in touch with Frank Trethewey who had inherited the property on his father’s demise in 1926. Trethewey leased a parcel of the land to de Havilland and with the incorporation of de Havilland
    Canada was appointed to the DHC Board.

    Consequently, the Trethewey property became the first manufacturing site of de Havilland. In fact the first building used to assemble the DH60 series was the Trethewey Canning Shed made famous by the sketch completed by famous aviation artist, Robert Bradford.

    Frank Trethewey was given the opportunity to purchase DH aircraft at a significant “favored” price. He and his brother were RNAS veteran pilots. In the 1930's he was Chairman of de Havilland Canada.

    The establishment of de Havilland Aircraft on this property in 1928 is the second reason to grant historic recognition to this property.

    Frank Trethewey not only over time purchased three aircraft from DHC but went one step further and joined the RCAF. This led to the establishment of the RCAF Squadron 10/ 110 on Trethewey Field. Frank Trethewey was one of the first four flying officers appointed to the Squadron. In 1940 he was appointed commanding officer of Base Trenton.

    The squadron was formed in October 1932 as 10 (Army Cooperation) Squadron and began flying in 1934 at the Trethewey Farm airfield (aka de Lesseps Field) in Toronto. In April, 1935, the City of Toronto adopted the squadron which then became officially known as “10 (City of Toronto) Squadron”. In 1937, the squadron was re-designated “110 (City of
    Toronto) Squadron”.

    The squadron flew five basic types of aircraft, all biplanes, from Trethewey until late 1939 when it deployed to Rockcliffe. During the Trethewey era, the squadron was involved in recruitment and flight training. At Rockcliffe, the squadron underwent conversion to the Canadian-built Westland Lysander until mid-February 1940. The squadron then deployed to the UK as the first RCAF squadron to enter the Second World War.

    In the UK, the squadron was initially equipped with the Lysander III and was involved in the Army Co-op and photo reconnaissance role. The squadron was active in the Dunkirk evacuation (27 May - 3 June 1940) but not directly involved in the Battle of Britain (10 July - 31 Oct. 1940). In mid-1941, the squadron was re-designated “400 Squadron”.

    Today, the Squadron is located at Camp Borden and is the main maintenance centre for maintenance of the RCAF's Tactical Helicopter Squadrons.

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  • My Snowbirds Flight - Aide-Memoire

Aviation Museum Completes First Historical Airplane Replica

Written by Bruce McLeod and Mark Whittaker.

Aviation Museum Completes First Historical Airplane Replica

fc 2By Bruce McLeod and Mark Whittaker

For the first time in about 8 decades, the Montreal sky becomes the backdrop for a piece of Quebec's aviation history. The Fairchild FC-2, nicknamed the "Razorback" after its triangular sectioned fuselage, emerged on 27 October 2012 from the Canadian Aviation Heritage Centre's (CAHC) workshops (at the Old Cow Barn on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University) after over 12 years of work.

Built from scratch with original plans, and supplemented by the creativity, ingenuity, craftsmanship and enthusiasm of volunteers in the restoration team led by Jake Wilmink, Mark Whittaker and John Duckmanton, this full scale 1926 "multi-tasker of the skies" aircraft is the first of several aviation projects currently underway at the CAHC.

The Canadian Aviation Heritage Centre – a non-profit organization and Montreal's only aviation museum – is located in the "old stone barn" on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The CAHC invites the public to come and visit our aircraft restoration projects, workshops, aviation art gallery and artefact displays. The FC-2 will be on permanent display beginning on Saturday, 17 November 2012.

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fc2 3Editor's note:
The Fairchild FC-2 "Razorback" was part of a family of light, single engine, high wing utility monoplanes, originally designed in the 1920s to provide a camera platform for aerial photography and mapping/survey work. The Fairchild series was the product of the innovative aerial photography and survey business that stemmed from inventor Sherman Fairchild's need for a suitable aerial platform. Designed by Alexander Klemin and Norman McQueen, the configuration of a conventional strut-braced high-wing monoplane with tailwheel undercarriage, (featuring wooden wings able to be folded back against the tail for storage) and a fully enclosed, extensively glazed, heated cabin, led to a sturdy multipurpose aircraft that found its niche in the Canadian wilds.

Manufactured initially at the new Fairchild factory at Farmingdale, New York, the FC-1 prototype for the series, flew on 14 June 1926 and despite being considered underpowered (equipped with the ubiquitous Curtiss OX-5), with subsequent Wright J-4 and later J-5 Whirlwind powerplants, soon found a market in both civil and military applications. The RCAF encouraged Canadian Vickers to obtain licence rights in 1927 to manufacture the definitive FC-2, leading to a small production run of 12 airframes.

In civil use, the Northern Aerial Mineral Exploration Ltd (NAME) used the type in northern Canada. FC-2s flown by Canadian bush pilots Duke Schiller and Romeo Vachon, the Canadian Transcontinental Airways Company's Chief Pilot, were also prominently used in the 1928 rescue of the crew of the aircraft ''Bremen'' at Greenly Island, in Blanc-Sablon, Quebec, near the border of Newfoundland and Labrador.

While the FC-2 proved to be useful in bush flying, operating on skis, floats and wheels, the RCAF utilized the type in both aerial photography and mapping as well as light transport roles. The adaptable design, converted to a later Model 51 standard, was even modified to serve as a trainer, fitted with bomb racks. Due to a RCAF requirement to standardize engines, the basic FC-2 design was re-engineered with a 215 hp Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engine as the FC-2L. In this form, the type flew with RCAF units, primarily in northern operations. A further version for the RCAF, known as the FC-2V, was also developed.