CBC Documentaries
Logo Radio-Canada

Centennial of the Silver Dart

A day before the 100th anniversary of the birth of aviation in Canada, on Feb. 22, 2009, Bjarni Tryggvason lifted off from Baddeck Bay in a replica of the Silver Dart - the biplane that achieved the first powered flight in this frozen bay in Nova Scotia in 1909 - and flew for one kilometer.

A dozen aviation enthusiasts got together at a hangar in Ontario since 2005 to build this replica. After two successful test flights held in Hamilton on February, they have follow the same course as John Alexander Douglas McCurdy, who piloted the original flight. A snowstorm has forced organizers to cancel another flight scheduled on Feb. 23.

The Silver Dart

The Silver Dart in brief

Date of construction October 1907 to March 1909
Designers Alexander Graham Bell, Casey Baldwin, J.A.D. McCurdy, Glenn Curtiss and Thomas Selfridge (members of the Aerial Experiment Association)
Wingspan 14.9 m
Weight 390 kg (including the pilot)
Name Silver Dart (because of the silver balloon silk used to cover its wings)
First official flight February 23, 1909, from the frozen Bras d’Or lake at Baddeck, Nova Scotia. John Alexander Douglas McCurdy was at the controls.
Last flight August 4, 1909 at Petawawa, after over 300 flights. During a demonstration for the Canadian militia, one of the wheels got caught in the sand, causing irreparable damage to the aircraft.

Sources: Canadian Centennial of Flight Project, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Canadian Forces


Take over