Between Home and the Front


Directed by Cranfield Cook, 1942 (20 minutes)

This film shows the various types of fighter and bomber aircraft and the stages of training through which the RCAF pilots and air crews had to pass before earning their wings.


Directed by Sydney Newman, 1944 (10 minutes)

Every night, Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 6 crosses Canada from Vancouver to Montreal with its load of blue and yellow air mail bags, playing an important role in Canadian life and business.  Interesting footage of a civilian use Lancaster.


Directed by Richard Gilbert, 1959 (30 minutes)

This is the story of the barnstormers and bush pilots who explored Canada’s vast hinterland, and of the heroes of World War II who flew the Bolingbrokes and the Ansons, the Mosquitoes and the Hurricanes. The great unmapped territories of the Canadian North and the impetus of war are reviewed in this film.


Directed by Jeffery Riddell, 2010 (19 minutes)

A retelling of the fate of Winnipegger Andrew Mynarski, gunner on a Lancaster bomber in World War II.  On his crew’s 13th mission, their plane was attacked over France, forcing the crew to bail out. Mynarksi attempted to save the tail gunner on the plane but did not survive the ordeal. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. This new documentary includes new footage filmed on the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster bomber while on its tour to cities across the west in 2009-2010.

Rivets and Wings


Directed by Jane Marsh, 1943 (11 minutes)

This short archival film documents the Woman’s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force of 1943: 9,000 strong, an able corps trained for service at home and overseas. Their aim is to prepare themselves for an important role in the flying field after the war, when Canada’s civilian air power will prove an essential factor in the air communications of peacetime civilization.


Directed by Kelly Saxberg, 1999 (47 minutes)

They raised children, baked cakes… and built world-class fighter planes. Sixty years ago, thousands of women from Thunder Bay and the Prairies donned trousers, packed lunch pails and took up rivet guns to participate in the greatest industrial war effort in Canadian history. Like many other factories across the country from 1939 to 1945, the shop floor at Fort William’s Canadian Car and Foundry was transformed from an all-male workforce to one with forty percent female workers.

Strange Wings


Directed by Bill Mason, 1969 (20 minutes)

Bill Mason’s short film focuses on his friend and fellow filmmaker, Blake James. In his never-ending quest for freedom, Blake pilots his own plane. This film is Mason’s view of his friend as a “hobo of the skies” but it is also an adventure that beckons the viewer to come along for the ride.


Directed by Stephen Low, 1988 (54 minutes)

The appealing story about Bob Diemart of Carman, Manitoba and his dream of building the world’s next great fighter plane. His worldwide reputation as a genius at restoring “warbirds” enables him to finance his dream. The Defender is a lively, sometimes wild and funny tale about a remarkable, modern day folk hero.


Directed by Brian Duchscherer, 1991 (9 minutes)

A small prairie town has few secrets but in Balgonie, Saskatchewan, Bill Gibson had one. Each night when most folks were home asleep, Bill was busy in his workshop. You see, Bill had a dream. He was building a flying machine. This charming puppet animation film tells his story.

Our Northern Skies


Archival excerpts, 1930s (5 minutes)

Silent archival footage from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives includes excerpts from a number of early films documenting the integral role of aircraft of the prairies and outposts across the north.


Directed by Norma Baily & Bob Lower, 1980 (23 minutes)

For some bush pilots, flying is like playing solo violin at Carnegie Hall. For others, it’s like driving a taxi. The film shows how bush pilots are slowing being replaced. In northern towns built by bulldozers and jet aircraft, the emphasis is not on adapting to the north, but on remaking it in the image of the south.


Directed by Myles & Riel Langlois, 2008 (53 minutes)

On May 10, 1955, a DC-4 crash-landed on the ice floes of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba. The plane was abandoned by the airline, but a small group of local Inuit men believed that the aircraft could be salvaged. For the first time, Northlander tells their amazing story through interviews, photographs and recently discovered 8 mm footage of how the rescue operation was undertaken.

The Kid Who Couldn’t Miss

Directed by Paul Cowan 1982 (79 minutes)

Paul Cowan’s controversial film revisits the famed World War I pilot Billy Bishop and speculates if he was as good as his reputation suggests. The film tracks the rise of the brash kid from Owen Sound to Canada’s most decorated flying ace of the War. Cowan’s use of ‘docu-drama’ and his questioning of the iconic Bishop’s record continues to ruffle feathers. Is this a case of a hero flying too close to the sun? Or a filmmaker taking too many liberties?

Captains of the Clouds

Directed by Michael Curtiz 1942 (114 minutes)

Starring James Cagney, Brenda Marshall, George Tobias

From the director of Casablanca, James Cagney stars as an aggressive bush pilot who competes for business on the lakes of Northern Canada, and for the heart of the heroine played by Brenda Marshall. After muscling his way into the northern skies, Cagney and his competitors try and take their unconventional flying techniques to the RCAF to fight in World War II.  The film is the first Hollywood feature film shot entirely in Canada.

Top Speed: 710 MPH


At the dawn of the jet age, the Sabre was the best fighter in the world and to this day is still considered the “fighter pilot’s fighter”.  

Chosen by the RCAF in August 1949, the F-86 Sabre served in Western Europe from the early days of the Cold War until 1962 when it was replaced by the CF-104 Starfighter. Built under license from North American Aviation of the U.S., all Canadian Sabres were built by Canadair Ltd at its Cartierville, Quebec plant near Montreal.

Ultimately, Canadair built six variants of the Sabre. The most famous and capable Sabre was the CL-13B Sabre 6. Powered by the Canadian- built Orenda 14 engine which produced 7,275 pounds of thrust, the aircraft had a top speed of 710 mph (1,140 km/h) and a service ceiling of 55,000 feet (16,700 metres). When the last F-86 Sabre rolled off the assembly line at Canadair in 1958, the company had manufactured a total of 1,815 Sabres, of which 1,183 had been delivered to the RCAF.

At the height of its operational service, over 300 RCAF Sabres were based on the European continent as part of Canada’s collective defence contribution to NATO. The Canadian-built planes served in the RCAF as well as the air forces of Britain, West Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, South Africa, Pakistan, Honduras, and Colombia.


In 1959 the RCAF chose the F-86 when it formed the Golden Hawks aerobatic team to celebrate the golden anniversary of flight in Canada. One of the finest aerobatic performers in history, the team thrilled millions across North America. Hawk One is a tribute to their legacy.

The Hawk One team brings together a formidable group of highly experienced military and civilian professionals and will visit Winnipeg from June 14-16, 2011 at the Western Canada Aviation Museum.


Tuesday, June 14: 12:30 pm to 7:00pm

Wednesday, June 15: 10:30 am to 7:00 pm

Thursday, June 16: 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Advance admission tickets can be purchased at the museum during regular business hours