Research Papers

Photo Essays

Take advantage of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum’s curatorial expertise with this collection of photo essays available in the Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Viewing and printing these documents requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader, available for download free from the Adobe website.

Our photo essays cover topics of popular interest by combining superb historical photos and original research. Recently added to the collection is “And Look After Our Coasts”. Also on tap are the following essays: The Balloon Era, The HS-2L in Canada, 1909 An Illustrious Year, Igor Sikorsky: One Man, Three Careers, Shield and Sword, R-100, Camouflage and A History of the Rockcliffe Airport Site.

“And Look After Our Coasts”

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A Stranraer from No. 5 Squadron,
RCAF, off the shores of Nova Scotia, ca 1939 (CASM KM2507)

The 1930s - Years of crisis and war. In Canada, the federal government became increasingly concerned. A modest rearmament program was launched and the Royal Canadian Air Force became the country’s first line of defence. The priority given to coastal defence led to production in Canada of various types of relatively modern aircraft. The photo essay “And Look After Our Coasts” highlights this important element of the Canadian rearmament program.

A historic moment: the first piloted flight in history, 21 November 1783

The first balloon flight, made in France in 1783, created a great deal of interest. Huge crowds wanted to see the first humans in flight. Balloons quickly influenced both fashion and culture. Numerous pioneers soared in the skies of Europe and North America. Relive this heroic age of aviation through the pages of The Balloon Era.

The HS-2L in Canada

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The Curtiss HS-2L in the Museum

When the magnificent new building housing the National Aviation Museum of Canada (now renamed the Canada Aviation and Space Museum) opened at Ottawa (Rockcliffe Airport), Ontario in June 1988, pride of place among the exhibits went to the recently completed reconstruction of La Vigilance, a Curtiss HS-2L flying-boat. It is the only example of its type in the world.

1909—An Illustrious Year

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Part of the book cover Comment Blériot a travers&$#233; la Manche by Charles Fontaine

1909—An Illustrious Year examines one of the turning points in the history of flight. As spring changed to summer, Wilbur and Orville Wright were the worlds most famous airmen but, within months, they were moved to the sidelines by a series of spectacular events that took place in France, the new “Mistress of the Air”.

Igor Sikorsky: One Man, Three Careers

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The Sikorsky HO4S-3(CASM 18869)

This photo essay covers the life and work of Igor Sikorsky one of the leading figures in aviation and the inventor of the helicopter. He is one of the world’s foremost aviation pioneers as well as the best known and best loved figures in aviation.

Avro (Canada) CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4b(CASM 11762)

Shield and Sword will take you to the 1950s where fighter aircraft were dramatically improved at a rate that surpassed anything seen before or since. These new and improved aircraft showed how far the engineers pushed the boundaries of what seemed possible.

The R-100 airship at St-Hubert, Quebec (CASM 10245)

Catch our essay on the visit to Canada of the renowned R-100 airship. More than 50 wonderful images will bring you back to the days when crossing the Atlantic by air was still an adventure.

The SPAD VII in the Museum (CASM 35-022-24)

Another fascinating essay, this one on the ins-and-outs of Camouflage. Camouflage and magic have a lot in common: they confound and deceive. A coin, an army disappears; the whole world is a stage where the goal is “to hide in plain sight”.

A History of the Rockcliffe Airport Site

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Canada’s National Aeronautical Collection was
established and housed in these three Second World War hangars (CASM 18949)

A History of the Rockcliffe Airport Site, one of the more picturesque of Canada’s former military bases, developed into the country’s showcase air station after its creation in 1920.