My journey began on the tarmac outside of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. I was aboard a Douglas DC-3 Dakota, and the smell of oil and the rumbling of the airplane engine were constant. Volunteers, the people on my Hamilton trip and I settled in for take off, seat belts were fastened and the no smoking sign was lit up. Before I knew it we were in the air, seeing the fields and Lake Ontario below.
I’ve been fascinated with war planes, watching WWII documentaries and learning many facts that were not covered in school. I couldn’t image flying during a war but being able to experience a warplane in flight is something I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. The trip was incredible, we were allowed to walk around, go into the cockpit and soak in the experience.
We viewed the fields and lake below us. One of the people on our trip was able to text her partner at home who snapped some photos of us flying by. During the whole flight, I often thought about the history of these planes.
The Douglas DC-3 Dakota was used by multiple countries (Russia, Japanese and USA) but under different names. However, the Commonwealth called them “Dakotas”. They were used to drop paratroops and supplies, troop transportation, glider towings and evacuate the wounded. Built between 1934-1946, they were used for the war and commercial airline purposes. The plane we were in, flew 82,000 miles, a workhorse, a jet of its time.
Flying in a Dakota was an experience that I soon won’t forget. With a museum membership, flights in historical planes are affordable, starting from $60.00. Here is a list of flights and the applicable cost. I’m already planning to return on my next visit to Ontario. The difficult part will be picking which plane to fly in. It’s a unique experience that I was able to take advantage of and one I’ll remember for a long time.
After landing, we were able to walk around and view the other aircraft and speak to the volunteers. The volunteers we met had such a passion for the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and the aircrafts. If you visit and have the time, take some time to talk to them and you are guaranteed to gain some knowledge. An advantage to being a flying museum is you get to get close to the planes. You are allowed to sit in one of the planes. My only regret is that I couldn’t spend longer at the museum. I would recommend dedicating a couple of hours to exploring, not including flight time.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is located at the Hamilton International Airport in Mount Hope, Hamilton, Ontario, approximately one hour from Toronto.
My trip to the Canadian Warplane Museum, including the flight was made possible due to Tourism Hamilton and Ontario Tourism as a pre-TBEX trip. All opinions are my own.