RCAF supports Vimy Flight Association

Two of the Vimy Flight Association’s Nieuport XIs rest on the tarmac at 19 Wing Comox. PHOTO: Submitted

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News Article / March 17, 2017

Royal Canadian Air Force

As part of the Veterans Affairs Canada-led ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is supporting the Vimy Flight Association (VFA) as they fly five replica First World War aircraft past the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France on April 9, 2017.

The RCAF is providing airlift support for seven VFA replica aircraft – two Sopwith Pups, four Nieuport 11s, and one SE5 – to France aboard a CC-177 Globemaster III in time for the commemorative activities. The replica aircraft were loaded onto the Globemaster at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, on March 15 and the aircraft is expected to arrive in Lille, France, this evening.

“The RCAF is honoured to be a part of this important commemorative event that pays tribute to those valiant Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of Vimy Ridge,” remarked Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Sopwith Pup replicas, built by Canadian Museum of Flight volunteers along with air cadets from 746 Lightening Hawk Squadron at Langley, British Columbia, will be used for static displays. The Nieuport 11 and the SE5 replicas will be used for various flybys in France in the days up to and including the main ceremony on April 9.

In addition, an RCAF pilot will fly one of the replica Nieuport 11s in the historic flypast during the main ceremony. Captain Brent Handy from 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, is a former Snowbirds pilot and former CF-188 Hornet pilot who, outside his military duties, also flies a Pitts Special aerobatic biplane on the North American airshow circuit.

The valiant Canadians who flew with the Royal Flying Corps provided invaluable intelligence to commanders ‎on the ground from their air reconnaissance and mapping efforts, which contributed enormously to the ultimate success at Vimy Ridge. As Canadians celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the RCAF honours the bravery of the airmen and airwomen who have fought to defend Canadian values at home and abroad for more than a century, and the strength of the families and loved ones they left behind.

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