On Sunday, February 22, 2009 a Silver Dart replica airplane flew successfully at Baddeck, Nova Scotia to mark the end of the first century of aviation history in Canada.
Flying off the ice on Baddeck Bay, an arm of the Bras d'Or Lakes, the Silver Dart amazed the thousands of onlookers and news media gathered to celebrate the historic occasion.
The Silver Dart replica was built by a dedicated group of historic aviation enthusiasts from the Niagara Region in Ontario, known as the AEA 2005 Inc. President Doug Jermyn and a group of approximately twenty-five volunteers worked for over four years to craft the replica in preparation for the centennial celebrations in Baddeck. Among the volunteers who worked on the historic airplane was Douglas Haddon, the grandson of J.A.Douglas McCurdy, the pilot of the original Silver Dart on February 23, 1909.
The Silver Dart replica was piloted by Canadian Astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason, an aeronautical engineering professor from the University of Western Ontario, who also flew the aircraft on its trial flights in Hamilton, Ontario on Feb. 6, 2009.
The photographs below tell the story of the flight at Baddeck better than words can describe. The photos have been provided to Best-Breezes by Marian Bell Whitcomb of Baddeck, NS. Marian is the great-great granddaughter of Alexander Graham Bell. Marian's grandmother was Marian "Daisy" Bell Fairchild. No additional distribution or publication of these photographs is authorized.
Silver Dart replica is rolled onto the ice, Baddeck Bay, NS - Feb. 22, 2009.
Silver Dart airborne over Baddeck Bay, NS - Feb. 22, 2009.
(Photo: M.B. Whitcomb)
Pilot Bjarni Tryggvason, Canadian Astronaut, skilfully flies the Silver Dart replica.
Feb. 22, 2009 (Photo: M.B. Whitcomb)
Silver Dart soars over the ice of Baddeck Bay recreating the historic February 23, 1909 flight by J.A. Douglas McCurdy of the Aerial Experiment Association. That flight was the first powered aircraft flight in Canada and the British Empire. Feb. 22, 2009 (Photo: M.B. Whitcomb)
Looking like a scene from a century ago, the Silver Dart replica amazes spectators gathered on the frozen surface of Baddeck Bay. This flight was covered by news media from across Canada as the first century of aviation is closed out with this historic flight. Feb. 22, 2009 (Photo: M.B. Whitcomb)
Silver Dart flying before entusiastic spectators that lined the ice and the roadway along Baddeck Bay. Feb. 22, 2009 (Photo: M.B. Whitcomb)
Additional reports of the flight of the Silver Dart replica are listed below:
- The Vancouver Sun: The Silver Dart Sputtered Into History
- CBC NewsWorld: Silver Dart Centenary (video)
- Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Origins of Flight
- Canadian Press: Silver Dart Replica Makes Five Flights Over Frozen Lake in Baddeck, NS
- Cape Breton Post: Silver Dart Takes Flight Again!
- Aviation.ca: Sabre and Silver Dart Make History - Again!
- Canadian Press: Flight of replica Silver Dart cancelled amid bad weather in Cape Breton
- Cape Breton Post: Pilot says Silver Dart flight rivals space shuttle trip
- CBC.ca: Stormy weather forces cancellation of Silver Dart flight - refers to bad weather on Feb. 23, 2009.
- Halifax Chronicle-Herald: No anniversary flight - Storm grounds Silver Dart replica on historic day
- Canada Post: Canada Post issues new stamp to honour First Flight in Canada
- Elmira NY-Star Gazette: Curtiss and crew gave Canada its first airplane flight. This detailed three page article concludes a series on Glenn Curtiss of the AEA. Written by historian Kirk W. House former director/curator of the Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, the piece contains good details on the AEA, Curtiss, the Silver Dart and Douglas McCurdy.
- St. Catharines Standard: Silver lining for grounded Silver Dart.
- Cape Breton Post: Legacy Expansion Project Takes Flight
- Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Education system needs more kite flyers.
The video service, YouTube also has some video entries for the Silver Dart replica at Baddeck, NS:
- Silver Dart rolls out of hangar on to ice in Baddeck - this video shows a terrific closeup of the Silver Dart replica and many of the crew of dedicated builders of the aircraft.
- Silver Dart Centennial Flight - Baddeck 2009 - an amazing video of the Silver Dart replica in flight. (Video by: joadhenry)
- Silver Dart replica flies in Baddeck - this video captures the flight and the excitement of spectators as history is made.
Additional original photographs and the story of the flights from the perspective of the builders of the Silver Dart replica is found on their web site.
For detailed historical information on the Aerial Experiment Association and its members as well as the aerodromes of the AEA, use the navigation list on the right of the web site to explore the background of the members and their contributions to aviation.
Photographs by Marian Bell Whitcomb - no further distirbution or publication is authorized.
Story by Bob White (Member Historical Research Writers Association)