Tim Wieclawski/Metro Ottawa


Flying high On a cloudy Thursday, Dan Fortin flies his 1967 CJ-6 Nanchang airplane above Rockcliffe airport in preparation for the weekend’s Classic Air Rallye taking place at the Canada Aviation Museum.

Classic airplane enthusiasts have a chance to get up close with more than 80 vintage aircrafts this weekend at the Classic Air Rallye, starting tomorrow at Rockcliffe Airport.

People can walk the grounds and meet the pilots and mechanics of each plane. Some will even get to go for a ride in a few planes, such as a CJ-6 Nanchang — a plane from 1967 once used to train Chinese pilots.

Ben Loiselle, the chairman of the Classic Air Rallye, said the show costs much less than a standard airshow, and allows for more interaction between the planes owners and the public.

“People can get closer to the planes, they are more part of the show,” said Loiselle. “Most air shows are noisy and there are not too many civilian staff, our show is all civilians.”

This year’s air show is more than twice as big as last year, and Loiselle hopes to keep it growing heading toward 2009 and the celebration of a centennial of flight in Canada.

Some planes on display this weekend will be from the Canada Aviation Museum’s collection, but others are being flown in from private collections throughout Ontario, Quebec, and the northeastern United States.

Vintage Wings, a private collection based in Gatineau, will show seven planes.

“We all see the finished planes, but we rarely get a chance to show how they get built,” said Mike Potter, with Vintage Wings.

Some great stories go with each plane, adding to their romance and appeal, Potter said, pointing to a 1945 Spitfire made famous in the dogfights during the Battle of Britain.

He said he expected the Fox Moth coming to the airshow to attract a lot of attention, because it’s original owner was Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1932 and it was used to transport the Royal Family.

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