THE GIMLI GLIDER CONNECTION
A Brand New Year 2021 – going forward in continuing difficult times:
The continuing challenges remain with us as we enter the spring quarter of the now second year of the pandemic. Our Exhibit remains closed until further notice. Our volunteer staff is beginning to get vaccinated and this remains one of our determining factors to resuming our Open Status.
We will keep the notice posted. You can be assured we will resume welcoming you to our Exhibit as soon as we can.
Meanwhile, staff are being trained with the “Clean it Right” program ensuring visitor safety is a priority.
You will see on the News page a link to the latest and exciting update on construction of the new Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (RAMWC) in Winnipeg. Manitoba is exceptional in the quality and variety of the Aviation Museum’s within our Province. This is certainly a tribute to the extensive role in aviation history the Province played. The development of flight travel within the western and northern part of Canada and the high-level training for pilots during WWII, taking place within the Province out of Brandon, are revered in books, films and news articles. Trans Canada Airlines was head quartered in Winnipeg and became a major airline as Air Canada.
We speak of the colourful aviation heritage of Gimli often, with more news to come as we develop these histories.
It has become very apparent to visitors to the GGE that aviation buffs are interested in all things “aviation”. You will find here over the next weeks links to all our aviation Provincial Museums. You may plan your visits knowing you arranged time to take in all you should see.
We will keep you updated on the Grand Opening plans and date for this world-class Winnipeg Museum through this site.
LATEST GIMLI GLIDER ARTIFACT ACQUISITION:
Fin 604 Fuselage News: We are thrilled to announce that we have acquired the First Observer’s Chair from the cockpit of the Gimli Glider!
There is a role this seat played with the person occupying it, when the event started to unfold. The seat requires restoration and preparation for the display area with informative signage. Stand by for updates and news on when it will be within the Exhibit.
Along with the Observer chair we have acquired two fuselage windows, several metal formers from the fuselage and the ‘push rods’ for the throttle display area. We are seeking a skilled craftsman who may make the metal fuselage tags that were so very popular and sold out immediately. These were from the metal around our 3-window fuselage panel section. 2021 Tags will also be numbered and accompanied with a Certificate of Authenticity. More updates to come.
Here is an example of Fuselage tags that were created from metals of the Gimli Glider, Fin 604.
These are currently sold out. A Certificate of Authenticity was included. The tags were serial numbered and a register of owner is kept.
And lastly for news, but exciting for us is two items. We have plans once again to hold a larger Fundraiser once it is safe to do so later this summer. This Fundraiser will be a dinner show with a well-known entertainer – more to come
Secondly, we are hoping that once Provincial travel is open and we can welcome more into our venue, Capt. Pearson will host an evening of limited numbers for a unique opportunity for this smaller group. You will spend one on one time with him within the Exhibit answering all your questions and using our Simulator Experience under his direction on the flight path into Gimli.
Saunders ST-28 Operation Scale Model:
For a period of Gimli’s aviation heritage Saunders Aircraft Company was headquartered here at it’s peak employing 500. The Saunders ST-28 was developed with a vision to produce a commuter/taxi aircraft.
1975 saw the first flight of this locally produced aircraft, but shortly after funding was discontinued from the Government who had originally supported the operation within the community.
We have been fortunate to receive the scale operational model crafted by a former employee of Saunders, Wilf Ansel upon his passing. It will be displayed within the Exhibit to introduce to visitors this history. The accompanying photos show Ansel and retired Air Canada AME Dave Goddard preparing it for a short display time in July 2019, just after the model was completed.
The photo of Wilf Ansel and his newly completed model was taken at the Gimli Airfield.
Provided by Ken Kalynak who is doing a book on the Saunders history and writes a blog – link here: https://saundersaircraft.blogspot.com/
DID YOU KNOW?......................
Every Newsletter we will publish a lesser known fact about the world famous Gimli Glider Event. Many of these “factual tidbits” are found within the Exhibit. This month we will take the opportunity to introduce our readers to more of our local colourful aviation history.
The Gimli Glider story remains of high interest to those with aviation interests. Just this past year two American podcasts; Plane Crash and Business Travel 360, magazine articles and another U-tube production (The Mentour) on Fin 604 history have been made.
Request for permission to use a Fin 604 photo in a chapter about the skilled landing within a coming Textbook on safety procedures has been received. Canadian Aviator’s June/July 2021 edition is featuring an interview with Capt. Pearson.
Capt. Pearson and Pearl Dion were invited last March to New Zealand where they gave two lectures at The Museum of Transport & Technology (MOTAT) and the New Zealand Air Cadets 4th Squadron at Auckland’s training airport. While there, Bob and Pearl were approached for an interview by “TV New Zealand” Channel. The (MOTAT) staff gave Pearson a personal tour of the interior of their Lancaster Bomber, a “rare and special occurrence”. An honor for sure. This visit is covered in the pages of the Air Pilot Magazine, author Mike Zaytsoff, June 2020, Issue 39. Emails from outside of Canada to our in box are a frequent occurrence.