Aviation Historians in Canada
World aviation historians are trained in history and other related fields, focusing their research on aviation-related topics concerned with the history of flight, its social, technological, and economic dimensions. Their job also tends to involve travel for conducting interviews, preserving important history, and visiting crucial areas of interest which includes Aviation Museums. In the U.K. and United States, a mix of historians and retired veterans from the Air Force, visit and advise the authorities of Aviation Museums on the correct history and markings of vintage aircraft. Their most important skill is communicating with the museum authorities on saving and preserving the aircraft for the future education of a new generation, as well as future historians and students. In 2016, the average annual salary for an aviation historian was around $60,000 [U.S.].
In the past fifty plus years, I have worked closely with a number of Canadian Aviation Museums and a wide range of Canadian Aviation Historians. In far too many cases, the skills and abilities of Canadian Aviation experts and historians are ignored by the local city run museum experts and this also involves our RCAF and Federal DND run Museums. The Museums in Canada, have no one of authority in control over the history or how our aircraft are painted and as a result history is being lost or twisted. Our Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X WWII bomber is a perfect example.
The world’s largest number of surviving WWII Lancaster Mk. X aircraft, [as you might expect] remain in Canada, with a total of eight. Most of these veteran bombers were saved by pure luck, thanks to the Canadian Public, when they were purchased as war memorials for $500 to $1,000 each. Today they are worth two million each and museums are beginning to take an interest in these veterans and a few are being restored back to flying condition. To the average Canadian this looks and appears to be the right approach to persevering our past. The history of each Lancaster can be found on line and it clearly records we in Canada have only two KB series Mk. X Lancaster bombers that flew operations during World War Two. The original history and original markings of our last two Lancaster bombers have been altered and painted in replica markings, and our “Canadian Aviation Historians” and other powerful V.I.P.’s in Ottawa remain silent. Aviation Historians are trained to discover the truth and make sure these sources of history are in fact true. All historians study history to learn and save our past, preventing these mistakes from happening again. History is preserved in original objects, monuments, written documents, and most of all paintings. Museums then present this history allowing students an analysis of our human past and make change over time, in the world we live in. Out Aviation Museums in Canada are in fact destroying original aircraft and painting them incorrectly.
KB839 in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, has been repainted as a British RAF Lancaster, and now our second original veteran WWII bomber KB882, is being restored to her postwar markings. The other five FM series Lancaster aircraft are all painted in replica WWII markings, etc. Out of eight original Lancaster aircraft, our Canadian authorities, and most of all our Canadian Aviation Historians have not been able to save one Lancaster and paint it in “ORIGINAL” World War Two markings.
If the Canadian authorities in Ottawa can just repaint KB944 as she appeared in No. 425 Squadron markings, and display the true history, they would have the only original WWII KB series Canadian built Lancaster bomber in the world.
It is very simple – “History is the analysis and interpretation of our human past that enables us to study continuity and change over time.”