By Peter Thornton
On April 9, 2017, a group of 10 pilots plans to fly a formation of up to seven replica First World War fighters over Vimy Ridge, France, to honour the young Canadians who fought and died in battle and to pay tribute to their sacrifice. For a brief moment in time, thousands of international dignitaries and spectators will be transported back to that day, 100 years ago, that was so momentous for Canada.
The project, known as Vimy Flight, consists of retired Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy pilots who are sharing the cost of five replica Nieuport 11s. The formation fly-past at Vimy represents the culmination of years of planning for the group. With a generous grant from Heritage Canada, the volunteers at the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, B.C. have constructed two Sopwith Pups that will join the Nieuports.
Vimy Flight is looking at all avenues available to move our aircraft to France and back for April 2017. The RCAF supports our initiative and is currently investigating how to best assist us.
After the Vimy fly-past, if the group raises enough money, they plan to fly the two Pups and five Nieuport 11s across Canada in the summer of 2017, with stops in as many towns and cities as possible. They will fly over Parliament Hill on July 1, 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
To find out more about the project, visit VimyFlight.ca.
To donate, go to http://tinyurl.com/4VimyFlight. Charitable receipts will be issued.