The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum announced this week that work to restore to airworthy status a World War Two-era Bristol Fairchild Bolingbroke has ceased and instead the project team will work towards restoring the aircraft for ground operations only.
Citing difficulty in sourcing usable parts and the complicated nature of a project that has already lasted 30 years, a committee comprising museum staff and the project’s volunteers came to the conclusion that their goal was unrealistic. The museum is now aiming to present to their members and the community an aircraft that will be capable of ground operations only during the Mount Hope, Ont. museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2022.
Bolingbrokes served the RCAF as a maritime patrol aircraft and twin-engine trainer during the Second World War. They were built in Longueuil, Quebec by Fairchild Canada under licence from Britain’s Bristol Aircraft. The design was based on the Bristol Blenheim bomber. A total of 626 Bolingbrokes were produced.
Most of the 151 Mk IVs built served in their intended role as patrol bombers on Canada’s east and west coast between 1940 and 1944. Two squadrons of these aircraft also served in Alaska during the Aleutians campaign against Japanese invaders. The 457 Mk IVT trainers that were produced saw extensive use in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.