Our Cornell is Flying
By B. Reid
Our Fleet Cornell is flying. Our Cornell is also smiling. She was not particularly happy for a while. How can you blame her when her annual checkup involved several talented maintenance personnel with cold hands poking a prodding her during the dreaded annual inspection. And then being forced to stand for weeks on end while only partially clothed in public waiting for some replacement parts to finally arrive.
But now her certificate of airworthiness is signed off and it is good for one full year, so now she can show off the shiniest paint scheme in the Vintage Wings Fleet. Sure she says, some of her hanger mates fly higher and faster but she, the Cornell has the brightest, glossiest paint job.
A brand new vacuum pump has brought relief to her internal air discomfort. Her voice is much clearer now that the excessive amount of lead on her spark plugs has been removed along with one of the intake valves being staked to remove carbon build up, restoring pressure to that cylinder. And those early morning start-ups are much easier now that the primer works. The original leather seals in it were replaced with rubber as it was getting annoying to have to pump the throttle for engine start. Despite these touch-ups, everyone remembers last year’s almost snag free Yellow Wings tour from Ottawa to the west coast and back via Oshkosh proving that she’s a low maintenance girl.
Our Cornell’s birth certificate shows June 29, 1943 as the date of first flight with her official maiden name of FC213(serial number). She has taken up several other names over the years. The RCAF gave her the nickname of 10712 while she spent her early years giving pilots elementary flight training in Regina during WWII. It was a glorious time of youthful exuberance, filled with adventure. Sometimes it is easy to reminisce about the good times while forgetting the hard work that was done day in and day out for the war effort. It went by so fast and before she knew it, it was all over.
After spending some lonely years, post WWII, considered as surplus, her hopes of re-living those glory years grew again when she was moved to and purchased in Quebec. A lot of tender loving care was received from Paul Durand as she was brought to civilian standards along with several similar types Mr. Durand had purchased. She loved their house where she was restored and got on well with the family, but being young and a free spirit, she moved on and ended up in nearby Beloeil with a new name reserved from Transport Canada of CF-YAY, although it was never officially taken up. Unfortunately, that relationship was abusive with most of her years spent in a barn due to the excessive frugality of her acquaintance in avoiding airport fees. In 1998, she finally parted ways and moved to Albany, New York, having a brief fling with a insurance agent. However, she was quickly dumped and ended up with a group of Cornell enthusiasts called the Vintage Aircraft Group in nearby Albion, New York who renamed her N226PT and did some fixing up of her. But being dressed with the same outer covers as the group’s similar types was frustrating. When Vintage Wings made the moves on her in 2010 and swept her off her feet, she knew that this was the one and has finally settled down for good by returning to her roots in Canada and taking a new name of CF-YQR in honour of her early BCATP airport home in Regina. As well, she has been given a complete makeover to restore her as to as close as can be to the way she looked back in her glory days of the BCATP when young men made her the centre of attention and spent countless hours studying her every detail.
As the days get longer, she can’t wait for this year’s Yellow Wings east coast tour with another summer of travel to faraway places with her four trainer friends, gossiping and showing off her sexy curves to her new audience. No doubt she’ll be playing hard to get, but if you have the desire, and are willing to make a commitment of at least one year with a Vintage Wings membership, you can spend quality time with her by sponsoring her for a flight. She promises you won’t be disappointed.