Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Canadian museum welcomes war planes

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

OTTAWA — Main skeletons of two rare Canadian Second World War fighter plane arrived here Tuesday, after pieces were discovered more than a year ago in the Mediterranean.

A team of excited archivists unloaded the shells -- recovered from an abandoned scrapyard in Malta in Feb. 2010 -- at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum and into a yard outside the museum.

One shell will be stored, evaluated and rebuilt at the museum in the next several years before heading to the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alta.

The other will be sold to collectors who want to rebuild it privately.

"If you had to pick one Canadian airplane of all of 100-plus years of flying that represent Canadian excellence, effort and sacrifice, it would be the Handley Page Halifax," said Karl Kjarsgaard, member of charity group Halifax Rescue 57 Canada.

Kjarsgaard added the Handley Page Halifax bomber was the plane of choice for Canadian soldiers in the war and was flown by more than 7,000 of the 10,000 airmen who died in the war.

But he also said it's the rarer of the two Canadian heavy bomber aircrafts. The Lancaster was a media princess.

"It was kind of like the beautiful sister and the Halifax was the ugly sister. You know who gets the spotlight, who gets the press," he added.

There are three complete Halifax bombers still around -- two in Britain and one in Canada.

The lone Canadian-owned plane was recovered by Kjarsgaard and his crew from a Norway lake in 1995.

It's currently displayed at the National Air Force Museum in Trenton, Ont.

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