Warbirds then and now

September 11, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne

Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne

Warbirds of every shape and size were on display at the 2019 Aero Gatineau-Ottawa Air Show on Sept 6-8. Here are a few:

Click on photos to enlarge

Former astronaut Chris Hadfield flies a Spitfire Mk IX alongside a CF-18 flown by Captain Brian (Humza) Kilroy, an instructor with 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, RCAF, in Cold Lake, Alta.
A VWC P-40N Kittyhawk, flown by Joe Cosmano at the 2019 Aero Gatineau-Ottawa Air Show.
In a mock dogfight, Cosmano in his P-40 chases down a reproduction Mitsubushi A6M Zero of the type used by the Japanese naval air force during the Second World War. The plane—actually an adapted North American Harvard formerly in service with the RCAF—was used in several movies, including the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora! and the 1976 film Midway.
The Zero’s nickname—Reisen (Zero)—was based on the last digit of the imperial year 2600 (1940) when it entered service with the Japanese navy. Also known as Zekes by Allied pilots, 11,000 were produced. It was an outstanding fighter in its early days, achieving a 12:1 kill ratio before new tactics and better equipment shifted the advantage to the Allies.
A United States Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter flown by Capt. Andrew (Dojo) Olson, commander of the USAF demonstration team based with 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
P-40 pilot Joe Cosmano celebrates his “victory” as he taxis off the runway at the 2019 Aero Gatineau-Ottawa Air Show.
F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin remains among the bidders in a $19-billion competition to supply Canada with 88 fighter jets.
Two Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXs. Y-2K is flown by Vintage Wings founder Michael Potter and F-SH is piloted by Rob Collings of the Massachusetts-based Collings Foundation.
A Rolls Royce Merlin-engined Spitfire, here flown by astronaut Chris Hadfield, bears the livery of Arnold Roseland, a Canadian who flew 442 Squadron’s Y2-K aircraft more than 65 times before he was shot down and killed over France in 1944.
About 500 single-engined fighters survive of the quarter-million fighter and attack aircraft produced by all sides in the Second World War. Only about 10 per cent are actual combat veterans. The Collings Foundation Spitfire BR601, one of fewer than 60 Spits still flying, logged 116 combat missions and was piloted by two aces.
Pilot Rob Collings makes a pass in the Collings Foundation Spitfire Mk IX.
Capt. Brian (Humza) Kilroy of 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, RCAF, in Cold Lake, Alta., puts his CF-18 through its paces after sunset at the 2019 Aero Gatineau-Ottawa Air Show.
The CF-18 has been flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force since 1983. The process to replace the aging fleet began more than 15 years ago. The aircraft still cuts an impressive silhouette in the night sky.
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