Silver Dart replica makes five flights

Everyone knows the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane in late 1903.

A lesser-known aeronautical fact – outside of the Great White North, at least – is that an early plane called The Silver Dart made Canada’s (and the British Empire’s) first powered flight on 23 February 1909.

A Canadian astronaut made some practice flights on a replica of the Dart on the weekend in anticipation of a 100th anniversary celebration today. From the Globe & Mail:

Conditions were perfect as Bjarni Tryggvason climbed into the fragile bird-like biplane and made five separate flights over a 1,000-metre runway on the ice-covered lake.

Leanne Beddow, a spokeswoman for the centennial celebration, said another flight will go ahead as planned on the actual anniversary Monday, weather permitting.

Environment Canada was forecasting snow, ice pellets, rain and high winds for the area, but Ms. Beddow said ceremonies would proceed as planned, including flypasses by military planes and another flight of the replica late in the morning.

“The Silver Dart is actually the most likely to fly out of all of them because it doesn’t need a very high ceiling,” Ms. Beddow said of the potential for poor weather.

“It only needs to get off the ground 20 feet.”

Thanks to Dan for the story.

Original 1909 Silver Dart