The Greenwood Military Aviation Museum (GMAM) has a new addition to its AirPark, an Avro Anson 7135 MkII. This aircraft is of special significance as it is one of 340 such aircraft manufactured locally in Amherst, Nova Scotia by the Canadian Car and Foundry Company as part of Canada’s contribution to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).
The GMAM Anson restoration project, led by the late Chief Warrant Officer (retired) Colin Ainsworth, was finished in 2009 but, being primarily of a wooden construction, could not be displayed at the outdoor Air Park. Eventually funds became available for an extension to the indoor display area for the Anson and a Bristol Bolingbroke MkIV, currently under restoration.
The Anson restoration team won national recognition having been awarded the “EXCELLENCE IN RESTORATION AWARD” by the Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association. The CAPA award recognizes the restoration of an aircraft with special significance to the history of aviation in Canada. The team spent five and a half years on the project amassing a total of 16,528 volunteer man hours. The Anson and the Bolingbroke were primarily used as pilot, bombardier, and navigation trainers, and as target tugs for the Mosquito and Hurricane fighters. The “Annie” was featured prominently in Greenwood skies during WWII.
Moving the Anson from a Hangar on the operational side of 14 Wing to its current location was a logistical and acrobatic feat. Since the restoration of “Annie 7135” did not incorporate detachable wings, the aircraft was transported intact. Its 56.6 foot wing span made it too wide to be transported nose first down street lamp-lined roads, so it was loaded sideways on the massive K50 pallet lifter using an outrigger to support the tail wheel. The motorized, 50,000 lb capacity, hydraulically operated scissor lift was the perfect solution for the need to lift the Anson over several obstacles along its journey from 10 Hangar. Along the route, the 42.3 foot length of the fuselage allowed just enough clearance for the Anson to pass between light poles lining the road, and its minimum height of 13.1 feet gave the needed room under overhead wires.
With the Anson, the Museum now boasts on display a Canadair Argus, Lockheed Neptune, Avro Lancaster, Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, and Boeing-Vertol Labrador Helicopter. Future additions include a Douglas DC-3 Dakota and a Sperwer UAV, both will be completed in the spring of 2013. Volunteers are also working on a Bristol Bolingbroke MkIVT and a Piasecki H-44 “Flying Banana.”
Visit the GMAM at www.facebook.com/GMAM.ca and watch the other exciting projects being undertaken by the Museum volunteers.