Flight delay feared for Silver Dart replica as centennial approaches
A replica of the Silver Dart may not be ready to fly in time for centennial celebrations in Cape Breton later this month.
An event marking the anniversary of the first powered flight in Canada takes place Feb. 23.
On Feb. 23, 1909, a horse-drawn sled pulled the silver-winged Silver Dart onto the ice of Baddeck Bay. The plane finally rose in the air, flying at an elevation between three to nine metres for nearly a kilometre.
A group of volunteers in Welland, Ont., has been working on a replica of the plane, with the hope of flying it for the celebration.
But a stability problem in the nose of the plane poses safety concerns, and it might not be fixed in time, said the group's president, Doug Jermyn.
"To miss the Feb. 23 date, yeah, that would be quite a disappointment," he said. "But it's kind of overcome by the fact that we've accomplished what we have — to get a replica we're pretty proud of."
The replica was built using a set of plans from the original Silver Dart.
Jermyn said the nose of the plane has a tendency to move up and down uncontrollably, which is the same problem that caused a replica built in 1959 to crash.
He said the plane will be shipped to Cape Breton for display at the centennial celebration.
Don Peters, with the Silver Dart Centennial Association, said having the plane in Baddeck next week will be a real treat, even if it doesn't fly.