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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tillsonburg Wings and Wheels, Saturday August 22 2009

While the town of Tillsonburg, Ontario may be relatively small, it has gained national and international attention as the centre for the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, which restores, preserves and most importantly, operates many examples of the North American Harvard, known to our friends to the South as the T-6, AT-6 and Texan. In addition, the group is also the home to the North American Yale, which is similar to the Harvard, with fixed landing gear and a slightly less-powerful Wright Whirlwind radial engine, with 550 horsepower.

Both of these rugged and dependable aircraft were the mainstays of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada, which trained tens of thousands of pilots, navigators, bombardiers, air gunners and flight engineers, who went on to duty in Europe, North Africa, Italy, the Middle East and the Far East.

During the combined Wings and Wheels event on August 22, which hosted many visitors that braved intermittent thunder showers, the sight of the Harvards taking off in pairs was a welcome and wonderful sight.

In addition, the event was highlighted by the appearance of a Supermarine Spitfire MK IX and a Hawker Huricane MK II. While the Spitfire is certainly a rare sight in Canadian skies, the Hurricane, which is believed to be one of just 11 airworthy examples worldwide, is even more so.

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