WINNIPEG — A new artifact on display at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is paying homage to a historical aircraft.
The museum is unveiling an intricate scale model of the Curtiss H-16 flying boat today, built by Winnipegger Stan Michalak.
The model is being unveiled to coincide with the 100th anniversary of flights made by Basil Hobbs — first commander of the RCAF in Manitoba — who flew the Curtiss H-16 in 1923.
“When our new museum opened, we took the opportunity to shift from being an aircraft-centric to a story-centric museum,” said CEO Terry Slobodian.
“Every aircraft display includes a story to more effectively engage our visitors. Building on that theme, we’re now starting to develop the stories of Canada’s greatest aviators, starting with Basil Deacon Hobbs.”
Michalak spent three years on the passion project in crafting the model, commemorating the first and only aircraft of this type registered and flown in Canada.
Pilot Hobbs was born in England and raised in Sault Ste. Marie. He was a WWI flying boat pilot stationed in Felixstowe, UK from 1916 to 1919.
He flew the Curtiss H-16 from Ontario during a tumultuous, 10-day trip through northeast Manitoba and northwest Ontario to deliver treaty annuity payments.
Hobb was later named Manitoba’s first commanding officer of the RCAF when it was officially constituted on April 1, 1924.
The Curtiss H-16 model will be the first artifact in the museum’s Hero Collection, a collection designed to showcase some of Canada’s aviation pioneers and heroes.
The model will be unveiled during the RAMWC’s Aviation Conference, which is being held this weekend at the museum.