To historians, just over 100 years ago Canada established itself as a nation with its success in the battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 during the First World War. Part of the success was the use of airpower that was in its infancy. These early primitive machines helped paved the way for further advances in flight for both civilian and military use.
Vimy Flight is a collection of replica WW1 fighter aircraft that went over to France and flew over the battlefield during the commemoration ceremonies for the battle of Vimy Ridge last April. They are now doing a cross Canada tour which included a stopover at London International Airport this weekend.
Two Nieuport II fighters were on display at 427 Wing at the airport. When I arrived they were in the process of moving them from the hangar where they were kept overnight to a grassy area by the 427 Wing building for the public to see.
The first thing I always find striking with WW1 fighters is how small they are, in particular, these Nieuport’s. The second thing is how primitive the controls and construction was. While some modern instruments such as a radio have been put into the cockpits, it’s still a far cry on what one sees in a modern fighter.
A very worthwhile diversion for a Sunday morning.