Adventures with G-AKDN - Chapter 10

Dave ,George, Graham, James ,in front of KDN after test flight by George

We're on our own. We've been playing for time. And it's running out!

This quote from the movie, The Battle of Britain, came to me as we furiously finished up the fabric job and collected all the parts for painting. We had to get the airplane back together, tested, and ready to fly 3,000 km from Saskatoon to Toronto to attend the 60th Anniversary of the Chipmunk on May 22, 2006.

The time was a blur, but soon the airplane was sitting outside in the spring sunshine. Time to test fly and we arranged for George Neal to come to Saskatoon to do the honours, 60 years after his first test flight in it! George said it was the smoothest and fastest Chipmunk he’s ever flown. It flew straight and true. How relieved we were after all that work.

The final job was to bring the polish finish and color scheme up to the factory standard. After all the paint stripping we didn’t want to add any more paint except for the silver finish on the fabric. I designed, produced and applied the green and cream color markings using 3M vinyl. I was able to match the exact positioning and color as the original. When the final touch, a de Havilland Canada logo over a Chipmunk silhouette was added, we stood back and were amazed and proud of how great the finished airplane looked.

We didn’t have much time to reflect on that shiny finish, we needed to get it halfway across Canada. Until this flight KDN’s longest recorded flight was less than 150 miles. England is a small country compared to Canada, and KDN had a trip of a lifetime ahead, as did we.

Chipmunks are not known for luggage space. This is a good reason to wear a flight suit, so you can put all your personal belongings in the multitude of pockets.

Even then we needed to carry extra oil, spark plugs, tools and survival gear.

As we prepared to launch James and I were excited and nervous. KDN was about to prove herself or not, over the next 3 days of hard flying, over some of the most beautiful yet remote countryside in the world.

Master on. Mags on. Clear prop. Start.

KDN is on her way home.

to be continued…

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