CH2A’s airworthy aircraft include this 1951 de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk (left) and the open cockpit 1941 Boeing Stearman.
Located in a modernized 1940 British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) hangar at Windsor Airport, the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association (CH2A) has been slowly building up a fleet of flying and static aircraft over the past 15 years. While somewhat of a hidden gem in Southwestern Ontario, it is fast becoming a destination for aviation enthusiasts passing through the border town. CH2A is open to the public seven days a week.
Two of the highest profile aircraft in the collection include an Avro Canada-built Lancaster bomber, and a new-build de Havilland Mosquito. The backbone of the fleet is a group of airworthy training aircraft that includes two de Havilland Canada Chipmunks, a Stearman, and a newly acquired Harvard Mk.4. Members can purchase flight experiences on all four of these aircraft. The CH2A collection can also be seen at many fly-ins and airshows across Ontario during the summer months.
Lancaster FM-212 spent more than four decades as a public monument to the Second World War. The Canadian Historical Aircraft Association is restoring the bomber for static display.
In 1964, the City of Windsor purchased Lancaster FM-212 and mounted the aircraft as a Second World War memorial in Jackson Park Gardens. Exposure to the elements for 41 years caused the aircraft’s structure to weaken, prompting its removal from its mount in 2005. While it was still owned by the City of Windsor, the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association gave FM-212 a home and has been actively restoring the bomber for static display since 2007.
CH2A’s Mosquito project will take on the identity of KB161, named “Vancouver, British Columbia.” KB161 was the first Canadian-built Mosquito to crash in Bomber Command service in 1944. In 1996, the Windsor Mosquito Bomber Group, now part of CH2A, travelled to Pelly Lake in the Northwest Territories and recovered the remains of Mosquito TA661, which crashed in 1956 while doing survey work with Spartan Air Services. Work soon began on building an airworthy Mosquito wing; and in 2002, a new-built Mosquito fuselage was obtained through a deal with Glyn Powell in New Zealand, who had designed fuselage moulds for new-build Mosquitos. While many years of volunteer work lay ahead, the Mosquito is progressing every day. One day, it will take to the air again.
This new-built wooden Mosquito fuselage was obtained from a builder in New Zealand in 2002. CH2A volunteers are working hard to see this Mosquito fly one day.
On your next visit to Windsor, check out the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in the #7 E.F.T.S hangar. Enjoy a leisurely stroll among the many historical aircraft in the collection, or kick it up a notch and go for a flight in a vintage military trainer. What better way to see Windsor, Detroit and the Ambassador Bridge? If you live in the area, CH2A is always looking for new volunteers to help run and maintain the facility.