North of the Border: Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre

From the American side of the St. Marys River, it’s hard not to spot.

The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

“This museum is trying to present the history of firefighting, as well as bush flying in Canada,” says Mitchell Carter.

Because much of Canada is so remote, when a fire does happen, using an aircraft is sometimes the only way to fight them.

“Some places don’t even have roads, so the easiest ways to get into some of these communities, camps and lodges is to land a float plane on water," says Carter.

“Here in Canada, the DeHavilland Beaver is considered the most legendary perfect Bushplane, and it’s right behind me here," says Carter. "We’re very proud of our plane because it’s the first one out of the factory.”

You can also see history being rebuilt. Just ask longtime volunteer John LaLonge.

“This aircraft right here is peculiar. Believe it or not, it’s a Canadian Heritage aircraft,” says LaLonge. “He designed a passenger carrier aircraft, this aircraft right here, and it’s called a Fox Moth. We built it from scratch, right from ground up.”

They’ve been working on this plane for almost 20 years.

“This generator is wind operated, and when the propeller is rotating, it’s spinning, and what it does is it generates the DC power into the battery to maintain it,” explains LaLonge.

John says this plane will take its first flight this summer.

“You prime the engine by turning it over backwards, and when you turn it over backwards, the magnetos don’t fire because they’re spring loaded, they’ll only pop going in a proper direction,” explains LaLonge.

And if the magnetos don’t fire, they have a fascinating machine to test them.

All in all, if you decide to go north of the border the Bushplane Museum is a must see.

“When they come in and see the size of the building and what we have in here, and we have some quite rare aircraft in here, and some historic aircrafts. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments from people all over the USA and the world,” says Carter.