Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wop May plane still in the air at Alberta Aviation Museum

The tough little ski plane once flown by the pioneering bush pilot Wilfrid "Wop" May is on display at the gate of the Alberta Aviation Museum. May and other bush pilots initiated air service to the Far North, bringing needed supplies and ferrying patients on early "mercy flights."

Edmonton City Centre Airport, Canada's first municipal aviation facility, opened in 1927 and served the city and region for nearly a century before closing in November 2013.

The old hangar contains a variety of fascinating historical displays, including refurbished aircraft and various replicas. Along the side of the building stands a row of historic planes. At the back other old aircraft are being restored. The remaining tarmac of the historic Blatchford Field is being torn up in preparation for new uses.

Among the many fascinating aircraft stories is that of Vic and Renee, two Junkers Larsens, German warplanes from WWI. Originally handed over to the Allies as part of a war reparations agreement, these were eventually brought to North America by Imperial Oil for service in the Far North. They were flown from New York to Edmonton by Wop May and three other pilots before being refitted for their first delivery of men and cargo to Norman Wells, Northwest Territories.

May Airlines was Canada's first commercial airline venture.

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