Restoring a Golden History

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A public outcry over the colour of a plane saved an important part of Canada’s history.

The Goldenhawk which used to sit on a perch in Germain Park in Sarnia now sits in a drive shed in Central Lambton. Volunteers are refurbishing the plane, recently completing the front portion of the plane.

Rick West, one of the people restoring the Goldenhawk for the Wing 404 which owns it, says when the restoration was first conceived, the plan was to return the plane to the colours of the Sarnia Sabre Squadron which is primarily silver. But the plan didn’t go over well with the public which wanted to the Goldenhawk to stay gold.

West says they decided to listen to public opinion. And it turned out to be a very good decision. As the team worked, West says they discovered the number on the Goldenhawk matched one of the original Goldenhawks – the forerunner to Canada’s Snowbirds.

A photo was uncovered of the plane in action. The team has even found the name of the plane’s pilot which will be placed on the plane. “Now Goldenhawk team members have heard about it and apparently a lot of them are coming for the rededication,” says West. That’s slated for late August or early September.

The former pilots are not the only ones interested in the plane. BASF, whose Eastern Canada representative lives across the road from the restoration site, has offered to donate all the paint for the project worth about $10,000. After one trial of a new formulation which literally peeled off the plane, West is hopeful the restoration job will last.

“Now we have high tech paint that will stand the UV’s rays; we’re cutting out the corrosion and putting in new metal and then priming it inside and out,” says West. “Our goal is having this last a very long time.”

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