Every generation finds magic at BC Aviation Museum open house

Every generation finds magic at BC Aviation Museum open house

North Saanich museum is full of surprises

Tim Collins/News staff

The BC Aviation Museum is full of surprises.

From a full size replica of a flapping/flying machine envisioned in the 1400’s by da Vinci to the iconic Spitfire, made famous during WWII, to a manned aircraft made of foam and fibreglass, weighing only 250 pounds and powered by a 26 hp lawnmower engine; they are all on display at the BC Aviation Museum.

And although all the displays are available throughout the year, it’s during the museum’s open house that the BC Aviation Museum truly comes to life.

This year’s open house takes place on Saturday, July 29 between 10 am and 4 pm and is chock-full full of activities for young and old alike.

“There will be lots of planes coming and going throughout the day and for those who want to feel the excitement of flight for themselves the Victoria Flying Club and Pacific Sky Aviation will be offering half-hour flights for only $35,” said John Lewis, the president of the museum.

“We also have these marvelous re-enactors strolling around the grounds, dressed as WWI and WWII flying aces and totally in character throughout the event,” he added.

A recent addition, and a work in progress, is the Hoffar H-1 seaplane being recreated from original plans by volunteers at the museum. The plane was a one-off creation originally built by Jimmie and Henry Hoffar in 1917. To that point the brothers were boat builders and, after the plane was built, Jimmie Hoffar had to teach himself to fly it. He was the first aviator to fly over Vancouver and years later the company was acquired by Boeing and Henry Hoffar became president of Boeing in the 1920’s.

Face painting and children’s activities will be on hand, courtesy of Panorama Recreation Centre and the Sidney Lions food truck will offer a variety of snacks and beverages to satisfy the crowds.

At noon, the museum will be inducting Viking Air and the Twin Otter aircraft into their aviation hall of fame, and visitors will have a chance to see the aircraft in action as well as having the opportunity to get up close and personal with this rugged little plane.

The event is open to the public by donation and Lewis described it as a great value for everyone from grandparents to little children.

“There’s just something about airplanes and flight that seems to capture the imagination, regardless of age. “I’ll often see grandparents with their grandchildren looking at the planes and they both have the same look of wonder on their faces. There’s something magical about flight that stirs the imagination.”