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Vintage wings fly home to Picton

More than 200 spectators enjoyed seeing a part of aviation history at Picton including this Stearman (Boeing) Model 75.

Photos and text by Bill Samuel
The skies over Prince Edward County were reminiscent of 1941 Saturday evening as three Second World War training aircraft flew into the Picton Flying Club.

In tribute to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) 70th anniversary Vintage Wings of Canada mounted the “Yellow Wings” cross-Canada tour using training aircraft used by the BCATP. Vintage Wings of Canada calls the BCATP a stunning achievement in planning, construction, community involvement and aircrew training that involved every province of Canada, hundreds of small and medium-sized communities – including Picton – and hundreds of thousands of airmen from Canada, the British Commonwealth and the United States. The BCATP had a significant impact on the Quinte region, with training facilities in Trenton, Mountain View, Belleville and Picton. From its start in 1939 more than 167,000 students were trained, over half of them from Canada.

“We are going to as many of the old BCATP airfields as we can,” said David Mirac, pilot Vintage Wings of Canada. “Our goal is to commemorate, educate and inspire.”

Pilot David Mirac speaks about the importance of the BCATP as part of the Second World war effort.

David pilots the only surviving Stearman that was used for training in Canada. He began training as pilot in 1989 in a Royal Canadian Air Cadet glider and has been addicted to flying ever since. David said he loves flying all aircraft, but the Stearman is his favourite.

Of the three aircraft that landed at Picton, two were biplanes, a Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16) manufactured in Fort Erie, Ontario, a Stearman (Boeing) Model 75 produced in the USA and a single wing Fairchild Fleet Cornell III. All the aircraft were used as trainers.

The Royal Air Force Bombing and Gunnery School at Picton was operated by the Royal Air Force and trained servicemen from 1941-44. Five bombing ranges were created for the students to practice during six-week courses in bombing, navigation and air gunnery, until it was disbanded in November, 1944.

The Yellow wings continued their tour at COPA Wing / Kingston Flying Club Monday.

From left: Stearman (Boeing) Model 75, Fairchild Fleet Cornell III and a Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16)

Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16) does a fly-by for appreciative spectators at the Picton Flying Club.

Fairchild Fleet Cornell III

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  1. Gil Charlebois says:

    Lest we Forget!!
    Wonderful Momento to our fallen heros of WW11—Plus.
    Of Note: Saturday,Sept.17th 2011,VETS Rememberance in Picton for the BCTP fallen and our local Veterens buried at our Picton Glennwood Cemetary.
    A must time to pay tribute/Thanks to all our Vets.
    Please join our celebration on this day.

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