Har­vards take flight in Till­son­burg

The 11th an­nual Wings and Wheels Fam­ily Fun Day took place in Till­son­burg

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION - GREG COLGAN

The Till­son­burg Re­gional Air­port was busier than most week­ends.

The 11th an­nual Wings and Wheels Fam­ily Fun Day took place at the Till­son­burg Re­gional Air­port Satur­day, with about 1,500 peo­ple tak­ing to the air­field on a windy and cold day.

The event, run by the Canadian Har­vard Air­craft As­so­ci­a­tion, was also staged in con­junc­tion with the By­gone Iron Car Club of Wood­stock.

Sev­eral air­craft were on dis­play, in­clud­ing the club’s Mark II and Mark IV Har­vards that gave about two-dozen 10 minute rides at $150 each. Two NA-64 Yales, a DH-82C Tiger Moth, two Stear­mans, and a L-29 Del­phin were on site while the T-28 Tro­jan and BAC Strike­mas­ter ended the show by fly­ing in for­ma­tion.

The day also had about 230 clas­sic cars on the grass for peo­ple to see while the planes soared over­head.

“It’s nice since we com­bine the two, and you don’t get to usu­ally see too many planes take off at other car shows,” event co-or­ga­nizer Shane Clay­ton said.

For the Har­vard club, the day is a main fundraiser for the year, but also serves as a way to gen­er­ate mem­ber­ship with the Sec­ond World War and 1950s-era Har­vards be­ing the main­stay of the club’s air­borne fleet.

Clay­ton said the club has eight Har­vards – five Mark IVs and three Mark IIs – with three fly­ing and an­other one near­ing restora­tion com­ple­tion, hope­fully in the air next year. The hangars also had Har­vards in dif­fer­ent stages of the restora­tion pro­cesses, while club mer­chan­dise and food was also on sale.

The Har­vard was the main train­ing plane for the Royal Canadian Air Force dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, with close to 3,000 Mark IIs be­ing pro­duced from 1940 to 1945. Fol­low­ing the end of the war, the Har­vard was re­tired and most sold off, but the planes re­turned to ser­vice with the start of the Cold War, as the Mark IV was in use un­til 1966.

The day al­lows the club to show­case the his­toric planes and of­fer peo­ple a chance to see part of Canadian mil­i­tary his­tory first­hand as well as pro­mote the club to in­ter­ested peo­ple.

“The fact we’re here, a lot of peo­ple go, ‘Till­son­burg has an air­port?’ We’re try­ing to ex­pand our mem­ber­ship to con­tinue long term,” Clay­ton said. “Guys with old cars love to tin­ker with stuff and planes are the same way.

“Ev­ery­one’s a vol­un­teer in keep­ing the air­planes go­ing. Whether it’s fix­ing en­gines, sell­ing shirts or sell­ing rides, ev­ery­thing comes down to horse­power in keep­ing events run­ning. It’s good to keep the pub­lic aware of the club. … We started on a whim 11 years ago and now it’s an an­nual tra­di­tion.”


A Mark IV Har­vard com­pletes a suc­cess­ful land­ing in Till­son­burg on Satur­day at the 11th an­nual Wings & Wheels Fam­ily Fun Day.

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