Former Emirates A380 pilot Gord Fraser with the Sopwith Pup. Fraser will do a flyover with the Pup at the Museum of Flight on Father’s Day. Photo courtesy Tania Ryan

From Airbus to biplane at Langley museum of flight

Pilot who flew world’s biggest passenger jet will operate replica of WW1 fighter at Father’s day event

Pilot Gord Fraser sums up the difference between flying an Airbus A380, the largest aircraft ever built, and a replica of a First World War Sopwith Pup biplane fighter this way:

“The A380 is ego-pleasing, but the Sopwith is more fun.”

Fraser, who will be flying the Pup at the “Pops and Props” Father’s Day event at the Canadian Museum of Flight in the Langley airport on Sunday, June 17, said one thing both aircraft have in common is how difficult they can be to maneuver on the ground.

The forward view from the six-metre-long Pup replica is obstructed because of the tricycle landing gear that points the propeller high in the air, Fraser said.

“It’s a tail-dragger.”

While the view from the level A380 cockpit is better, it’s 80-metre wingspan, 73 metre length and 24-metre height makes pre-takeoff movement challenging.

“You can’t see the wings.”

Fraser, a South Surrey resident, flew the double-deck, wide-body, four-engine A380, that is the world’s largest passenger airliner, for the Emirates airline for 10 years before he retired.

He will be flying the museum Sopwith replica that was damaged last September when it flipped during a landing.

At the time, museum general manager Dave Arnold said the tail of the plane “wouldn’t settle” when it landed and rolled over on its prop, then its nose, and wound up on its back.

READ MORE: Vintage replica plane ends up on its back on runway at Langley airport

The repaired Pup made its first flight since the accident on June 1.

Fraser is scheduled to do a fly-by with the Sopwith over the museum at 1 p.m. on Father’s Day. During “Pops and Props” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. dads get in free at the museum with one other paid admission.

There will be a jet fighter photo booth, flight simulator, paper airplane challenge, “Dad’s Cookies” biscuit and beverage bar.

SLIDE SHOW: A close-up look at vintage aircraft in Langley

The Sopwith Pup fighter replicas “Betty/Phyllis” and “Happy” were built to participate in the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The aircraft were slightly smaller than the originals, built from a kit made by Airdrome Aeroplanes in Holden, Missouri.

Volunteer builders recreated the look of the fighter flown by Canadian Ace Joseph Fall, who served in both the First and Second World Wars and had the name of his sisters, Betty and Phyllis, painted on his plane.

Like the original, the outside of the plane was painted with house paint, and the graphics were drawn freehand.

On one side, the name “Betty” is painted, and on the other is the name “Phyllis.”

Although many replicas of Fall’s plane have been made, the Canadian Museum of Flight’s is the only one to accurately portray both names, as period photographs show only “Betty” painted on the side.

Return of Sopwith Pup to Langley museum an “emotional moment”

The non-profit Canadian Museum of Flight houses over 25 aircraft, both static and flying, ranging from the only displayed Handley Page Hampden bomber to a Lockheed T-33 Silver Star jet trainer.

It also houses aircraft engines, models and other aviation history memorabilia.

Mike Sattler says he felt “like a kid on Christmas” on Thursday afternoon as the #Canadian #Museum of #Flight received one of the most significant donations in their history. A #Boeing #Stearman, owned by one of #Langley #Airport’s pioneers, Art Seller, was gifted to the museum by his son, David (pictured). “The importance of this machine to the community, to British Columbia, to Canada, is beyond description,” said Sattler, who is the general manager of the Canadian Museum of Flight. “To have this machine donated to us, to keep in it Langley, is immensely important and a true honour. I really can’t say enough good things about Mr. Seller and his graciousness and the family’s graciousness to do this.” The Stearman was purchased by Seller’s company, #Skyway Air Services, from the United States in the mid 1950s to use as a trainer for new pilots. It had originally been used as a trainer in the Second World War, and therefore had two cockpits, when most biplanes had only one, David explained ✈️ Read the full story online at langleytimes.com #LangleyTimes #CanadianMuseumofFlight

A post shared by Langley Times Newspaper (@langleytimes) on

Founded in the 1970s, in Surrey, the museum moved to the Langley airport in 1996 and in 1998, legally changed its name to the Canadian Museum of Flight Association.

The Museum and restoration site at 5333 216 St. at the Langley airport is open year round from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It is closed during some public holidays and over the Christmas-New Year break.

Currently crammed into a hangar with many aircraft displayed outdoors, the museum hopes to build a new facility nearby on a 1.6-acre site in the 21300 block of Fraser Highway, next to the Derek Doubleday Arboretum.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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