The bright yellow jet sitting in the back of the garage at the B.C. Aviation Museum is similar to the one Harry Addison first learned to fly in.
The WWII Harvard trainer plane is an exact replica of the jet Addison remembers. Except that this plane is static.
The Harvard trainer, known as the Yellow Peril, is an aerobatic plane with the ability to travel at fast speeds – it has a horsepower of 550.
“[It’s] a hell of a lot of power for someone who’s never flown,” Addison said.
Addison, a Brentwood Bay resident in his 80s, was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force for 25 years. He often sat in the back seat of the trainer jet throughout his 17 years in Penhold, Alta., where he learned to fly the plane and taught others.
The plane was a principal training jet during the Second World War, said Henry Minto, a spokesperson for the museum.
“In the old days, they had more simplified planes to train the guys on and then they gradually got into this one,” Minto said.
“It was very similar to heavy transport planes.”
The switch to the Harvard trainer opened up the lines of communication for the RCAF, Minto said, and it introduced Canadians to the use of bomber or fighter jets.
“There is much to be learned about the history of aviation in Canada,” he said. “A lot of smart things have been created here.”
Museum volunteers, including Win Albrecht, David Stillman and Roy Baker, spent the past five years gathering parts and restoring the Harvard trainer.
“It’s fantastic … they’ve done a beautiful job,” Addison said.
The final product will be unveiled at the museum’s annual open house on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Admission to the open house is by donation, with proceeds going to support future projects at the museum.
The event includes sightseeing flights for $35, parachute jumping, military re-enactors, model ships, remote controlled vehicles and a fire truck display from the Victoria International Airport.
There will also be a draw for a free flight on the Nan Chang, a Chinese-designed plane that’s compact but efficient, Minto said.
Addison, a longtime volunteer at the museum, hopes people will come out to support their annual fundraiser and perhaps learn about Canadian aviation.
“It gives them an introduction to aviation from the older days,” he said.
The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the B.C. Aviation Museum, 1910 Norseman Rd.
For more information, call 250-655-3300, or see www.bcam.net.