Adventures with G-AKDN - Chapter 15
It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.
I am flying KDN home across the beautiful Canada north, with a very heavy heart. James is not with me. He has died after a courageous battle with cancer.
KDN had been proudly on display in the Bombardier delivery Hangar for two years. Customers for the Bombardier aircraft love seeing it tucked under the wing of the latest aircraft off the production line. We continued to keep the annual inspections current with Graham’s help, as well as fly inspection test flights and on occasion, give familiarisation flights to KDN enthusiasts. We realised the museum at Downsview would not be re-opening, and we decided to return KDN to Saskatoon. I just never dreamed I would be doing the flight without James.
KDN on display in the Bombardier Delivery Hangar.
James and I had discussed KDN’s future at length. The time we spent together with KDN was special and with him gone, it isn’t the same. I think the best thing for KDN is to return her to the UK and find a new owner who will continue to operate and maintain her as we did. The pilots in the UK hold the Chipmunk near and dear to their hearts and KDN is a recognised and respected part of the Chipmunk community there. I make plans to ship KDN back to the UK for the summer of 2016, which just happens to be the Chipmunk’s 70th anniversary. The planning gets off to a good start. While flying to Saskatoon via the north shore of Lake Superior, I get a call from the Farnborough Airshow requesting KDN’s presence at their Airshow, to celebrate the Chipmunk anniversary! It took about a second to think about, and the commitment was made to be there.
Karen, Dave, William (James’s younger son) and Graham with KDN successfully loaded and ready for her 3rd trip across the Atlantic Ocean.
It took a lot of organising. Graham arrived to help dismantle and load KDN in a 40’container to ship back to Bagby. That process went extremely smooth and KDN arrived safe and sound without a scratch. At the same time I was contacted out of the blue, by a host of other special events, requesting KDN ‘s presence. Even more important, the most beautiful home, hangar, runway became available for KDN, Karen and I to be based at for 5 months! Located perfectly centered in the middle of all the special events we plan on attending with KDN.
Karen and I arrive in May 2016, and Graham informs me that, not only is KDN all back together and ready to fly, but he has a long time friend who wants to be the new custodian of KDN.
You wouldn’t believe all the things, that just fell into place, that allowed us to bring KDN to the UK, to be able fly at all the famous events, at the most perfect time in her history. I believe it is all James’s doing. He would have just loved to be here experiencing all this. It has been a perfect summer, but for one thing- James isn’t here.
I miss him terribly.
to be continued...
KDN, James and Dave outside the Brandon Museum during our flight delivering the Back to Baddeck bag. Who knows how long we have on this earth.