April 9 marked the 103rd anniversary of the Battle ofVimy Ridge, and a pair of Langley pilots had high hopes of taking to the air in a tribute flyby. But it wasn’t to be.
Inclement weather made that impossible, said Al French, a pilot and volunteer with the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley on Friday.
“We wanted to fly our First World War fighter, the SE5A today on the 103rd anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge,” he explained. “But had to make a hard decision to cancel due to the rain and gusting winds.”
He found it a bit ironic that the slightly questionable weather today kept them on the ground, but pilots more than a century ago didn’t let the weather stop them.
“One hundred and three years years ago, it was blizzard conditions at Vimy Ridge. But because it was such a crucial battle, the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps went anyway,” French said.
Langley’s Canadian Museum of Flight’s SE5A and two Sopwith Pups were part of the ceremonies for the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France on April 9, 2017.
The two replica Sopwiths – named Betty and Happy – were sent over to France for the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge, but they didn’t end up being able to make the flypast because the existing engines didn’t have enough recorded flight time to be cleared.
French questions if a flyby tribute for Vimy Ridge is in the cards for the flight museum.
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