Harvard Mk IV
Rick flies a 1952 Harvard Mk IV which won 1989 OshKosh Grand Champion
Warbird after a complete ground-up restoration by Bill Muszala in
Chino, California. The North American Harvard appeared in 1937, in
response to a US Air Corps proposal for an advanced trainer. The
first of 50 Harvard Mk. Is ordered by the Canadian Government were
delivered to RCAF Sea Island, BC in July 1939. By early 1940, the
Mk. II was being assembled in California with an all metal fuselage
replacing the original tube and fabric structure. 1200 Mk. IIs were
supplied from US sources, until Canadian built Harvards started being
produced in 1941.
In August 1938, Noorduyn Aviation of Montreal farsightedly signed
an agreement with North American, to build the Harvard under licence.
When the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) came into
being in December 1939, Noorduyn received its first orders and went
on to produce nearly 2,800 Harvard Mk. IIBs for the RCAF and the RAF,
between 1940 and 1945. In Canada, Harvard Mk. IIBs were used as advanced
trainers with the BCATP at fifteen Service Flying Training Schools
across the nation. They helped pilots make to the transition from
low powered primary trainers, like the Fleet Finch or the de Havilland
Tiger Moth, to high performance front line fighters such as the Spitfire.
At the end of WW II, although the RCAF retained the Harvard as a
trainer, a large number were sold to civilian operators.
The RCAF soon regretted this, for by 1949 the Cold War with the Soviet
Union was in full swing and the RCAF urgently needed trainers again.
100 T-6J Texans were leased temporarily from the USAF and a further
270 Harvards, the Mk. IV version, were ordered from Canadian Car & Foundry,
Thunder Bay. The RCAF used the Harvard Mk. IV for a further fifteen
years, before finally retiring it in 1966.
SU-26M was designed and built in Moscow by the Sukhoi Design Bureau: the principal supplier of fighters, bombers and attack aircraft to the Russian military. The SU-26M combines a 360-400 HP nine cylinder radial engine with a composite and titanium airframe to create an aircraft capable of hovering in place, reaching 280 mph and handling more G forces than an F-16. In this aircraft, the pilot becomes the limiting factor of what can be demonstrated. The Sukhoi is the most sought-after competition aircraft in the world. Rick’s Sukhoi SU-26M was featured on the Discovery Channel series
“How Machines Work”.
Supermarine Spitfire MK IX
The Supermarine Spitfire first flew in 1936, with it's last operational flight in April, 1954. In 24 variants, it became the most famous fighter aircraft involved in the Battle of Britain. It served in reconnaissance, low-level ground attack and high level air superiority fighter roles. The Spitfire MK IX formerly owned by the Russell Group was produced for Supermarine Aviation Company by Castle Bromwich in 1944. After comprehensive restoration by Historic Flying, Ltd. in Duxford, England, it took to the skies for the first time in 47 years on September 8th, 2000. Rick flew this aircraft in close formation with a CF-18 as a member of the Canadian Forces Heritage Flight Team.
Designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930’s, the first
truly modern fighter of its era. For the first 5 years after its
appearance in 1935, the Bf109 was the best fighter in the world.
Designed at a time when many designers were still thinking in terms
of biplanes the Bf109 became the forerunner of all the most modern
fighter planes of World War II.
The Russell Aviation Group’s Bf109E is the only flying example in the world
today with a Daimler Benz DB601 power plant. Originally built as a Bf109E1,
but upgra gded to the E-4 standard. It was flown on several occasions by legendary
Jagdwaffe ace Hans-Joachim Marseille, “White 14”. Today carries
the markings it wore when Marseille flew it on the channel front in 1940, where
the ace claimed a Spitfire over Thames Estuary. “White 14” had
a forced landing on the beach at Calais-Marck on 2 September 1940. After being
recovered and repaired, it saw service on the Eastern front (Russia) where it
It was recovered from a Russian swamp in the 1990’s, transferred to
the UK and restored by Craig Charleston for David Price from the Santa Monica
Museum of Flight. It was received in Chino California January 14, 1999 and
fitted with a DB601 engine, the aircraft only saw about 50 hours flying time
before being purchased by Ed Russell of Canada.
Hawker Hurricane MK XII
The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane with 8 machine
guns to exceed 300 mph to go into production for the RAF. Sydney Camm’s fighter
will always be associated with the Battle of Britain in which it shared the
main action against the Luftwaffe with the Spitfire. During the Battle of Britain
the Hurricane destroyed more enemy aircraft than all other air defense forces