Over the past number of years, the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM) just north of Brandon has hosted their Armed Forces Day in early June.
However, next year in 2024 the Brandon area museum is excited to be celebrating with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) its 100th Anniversary, says museum Executive Director, Stephen Hayter.
"So going forward we're going to be doing a number of events," explains Hayter, "and certainly one thing to look forward to at the start of next year is we're going to unveil our Fleet Finch!"
"The Fleet Finch is a biplane that has just been finished being restored," he shares. "They've just done some final work on it and we're very excited to unveil it next spring and let everyone see it fly, too!"
The Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16) is a two-seat, tandem training aircraft produced by Fleet Aircraft out of Fort Erie, Ontario, and was popular with the RCAF as elementary trainers in Commonwealth Air Training Plan flight schools during WWII. It featured an American engine which made acquiring parts more easily accessible. Over several years beginning in 1939, a total of 447 Finches were built, with 431 of them used in CATP training centers.
Hayter says the museum's flying committee did a beautiful job of restoring their Fleet Finch, a one of a kind, notes Hayter. "It took a couple of years to get it to its current state, and they're looking forward to seeing in the air over the whole summer next year."
Celebrating 100 years with the RCAF, Hayter is hoping to see a number of events take place at their vintage hangar next summer; a place where one can step back into history and see training and other aircraft from WWII, as well as vehicles and artifacts from that era. He adds one can book a flight in one of their airworthy aircraft, including the Tiger Moth, Cornell or Harvard, and see restoration projects under way.
Stephen Hayter will gladly tell you more!
"We're very excited to what next year could mean for us, and what kind of events we'll be able to host!"
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