When the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope, Ont., chose May 31 for a reunion of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) aircraft, they could not have picked a better day. Blue skies and mild temperatures saw aircraft from across Southern Ontario converge on the museum, which boasts a healthy stable of BCATP aircraft, including the only flying Fleet Fort, an ungainly low-wing trainer.
The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association participated with two Harvard MK II’s and their beautifully-restored North American Yale, RCAF #3399, which was parked beside the museum’s Yale. The Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation flew its recently acquired Fleet Cornell to the event, to join two other Cornells on the flight line.
The Tiger Boys of Guelph, Ont., brought in two Tiger Moths, their Thruxton Jackaroo and a Fleet Finch. Also in from Guelph was Cam Harrod and his Fleet Finch. Although not BCATP aircraft, the Canadian Historical Aircraft Foundation based in Windsor, Ont., flew their two Chipmunks and a Stearman to Mount Hope. Add in a few privately-owned Harvards, and the ramp was full of yellow aircraft.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the BCATP, which to this day is still one of the largest aviation training programs ever developed. On Dec. 17, 1939, the Air Training Agreement was signed in Ottawa. By the end of the Second World War in 1945, the BCATP had turned out more than 130,000 trained airmen from Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Australia. The BCATP grew to almost 100 schools at 231 sites across Canada, and included 10,840 aircraft.