Langley Sopwiths ready for spotlight

Two replica WWI aircraft will be unveiled this Friday at a press conference and shown to the public Saturday.

For months, volunteers at Langley’s Canadian Museum of Flight have been toiling to build fighter aircraft like the ones seen over the trenches of Flanders in 1917.

Now the first of the Sopwith Pup scout aircraft is ready to be unveiled.

This Friday a Sopwith will be officially presented in a ceremony at Flight Hangar 3 at the Langley Regional Airport.

The project to build the Sopwiths – assembled from metal kits, new engines, and fabric stitched over the frames and wings – is part of the Wings of Courage project.

The project commemorates Canada’s First World War flyers.

Numerous pilots fought and died in the skies over France and Belgium during the war.

The museum volunteers hope to take the planes to Europe next year.

Both planes could fly over Vimy Ridge in 1917, to mark 100 years since the battle at that site.

Vimy hosts a memorial to the Canadian war dead, and is the sight of the first victory in which virtually all the Canadian forces in Europe fought together.

The unveiling will take place June 17 at 11 a.m. and includes a launch of the Wings of Courage documentary that the planes will be used in.

On June 18, the community is invited to check out the planes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. People can also see the new restaurant that’s opened at the airport, and enjoy the Aviator’s Band, and the beer garden and food trucks.

The Canadian Museum of Flight has been working with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Venture Productions on the re-creations as part of the Wings of Courage project.

The museum is at 5333 216th St.

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