Nfld. & Labrador

Aircraft restoration group in St. Anthony for parts swap

Aviation enthusiasts from Alberta travelled to Newfoundland's west coast to swap aircraft parts earlier this month, and are on their way back home to restore an old bomber plane with the engines they acquired.

Alberta restoration group exchanges parts to finish project

A group from Alberta travelled to Newfoundland's west coast to swap plane parts, reports Colleen Connors 2:27

Aviation enthusiasts from Alberta travelled to Newfoundland's west coast to swap aircraft parts earlier this month, and are now on their way back home to restore an old bomber plane with the engines they picked up.

The engines came from a Canso PBY aircraft that was a patrol bomber during World War II.  It was later converted to a water bomber, and fought forest fires in Newfoundland for 15 years.

Don Wieben, with the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society, says the group will use the engines to restore an aircraft they recovered in Inuvik, N.W.T. six years ago.

Don Wieben, with the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society, says the group hopes to restore an aircraft they recovered from Inuvik, N.W.T. six years ago. (CBC)

Wieben said the group is hoping to use the working engines to get the recovered plane back in the air as a heritage aircraft.

He said the exchange shows a willingness among the aircraft restoration community to help each other out.

"I think this is a great example of real Canadian patriotism and [an] indication of just how great the people of Canada really are," Wieben said.

"It has a beautiful peas and carrots Newfoundland paint scheme on it, and we are pretty proud to be just a small part of getting it flying again."

Cross-Canada road trip

However, the engines have to make the long trek across Canada and back to Alberta before the group will be able to restore the plane.

Norbert Luken, the driver with the team, said the public is always interested in the cargo whenever they make a stop.

"Lots of people stop us on the streets and want to ask about the motors, what's going on, does it make your machine go faster," Luken said. "It's been fun."

However, Luken said that old aircraft parts are getting harder to find.

"There's less and less every year and when the opportunity arose from St. Anthony and Stephenville so we can make an exchange, and they seen our cause, we just had to go with that," he said.

The group said it will take about a week for them to get the two engines back to Fairview, Alta. on the back of their RV.

They said they plan to begin restoration work right away, and hope to have the plane in the air by the fall.