Sunday, August 1, 2010

Airborne Reunion with Old Friend, Tiger Moth biplane

Second World War pilot relives years of flying military aircraft

Reprinted from Ottawa Citizen, by Claire Brownell

OTTAWA — For his 90th birthday, Bill Morton got a reunion with an old friend — a Tiger Moth biplane from the Second World War.

“You wouldn’t believe how excited I am,” he said. “I can barely talk.”

Morton served as a flight instructor and used Tiger Moths to train young recruits fresh out of the farms and cities. He showed off two dog-eared flight logs from the war, in which he had recorded every flight he had ever taken — including his very first flight in a Tiger Moth on Aug. 31, 1942.

Morton’s friend, Kevin Pyle, got the idea for the ultimate birthday present when he showed Morton the website for Vintage Wings, a hangar at the Gatineau airport that restores antique military airplanes. Morton spotted the Tiger Moth and identified it as the first plane he had ever flown, Kevin’s father Bill Pyle said.

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Image: First flight in the Tiger Moth, an entry in Bill Morton's original log books.
Photo credit: Mary Lee

1 comment:

  1. Reprinted from an email by Kevin Pyle.

    I just wanted to take the time to personal thank each and everyone of you for all the hard work and dedication you have put into this to make this happen. Nothing could have prepared me emotionally for when Mr. Morton got in and took off in the big blue yonder.

    I know this was for Mr. Morton but understand that Vintage Wings and it's crew have touched the hearts of many. I find that in this day and age most kids don't know or simply don't care about the past. We need more people to donate time and money to organizations like you whom are not allowing this important time in history to be forgotten.

    Mr. Morton is a very modest man and has done so much all his life for others and has never asked for anything in return. It was so fitting to see him in that plan with all the camera's going off. Everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame but for Mr. Morton it meant more then it would to most.

    Because my father was in the Air force. I have always held veterans a cut above the rest. For me to be able to do this for Mr. Morton was a dream come true. I have always wanted to do something special for someone like Mr. Morton but never had the chance, thanks to Vintage Wings I was finally able to make it happen.

    Again thank you for everything and the many hours of hard work put into this but everyone. You made on person feel like a million dollars. I could have not asked for anything better.