Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Curtiss HS-2L: La Vigilance

National Geographic, November 1929.  
This was the aircraft type used in the first recorded bush-flying operation in Canadian aviation history.  In late spring 1919, Stuart Graham flew La Vigilance from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to Lac à la Tortue, near Grand'Mère, Quebec, a flight of 750 kilometers.  Stuart's wife Madge accompanied him, along with his mechanic.  Mrs. Graham believed herself to be the first woman in Canada, perhaps in the world, to make an overland flight in a flying boat.  For her highly amusing account of the trip, see Treetop Airwoman.  (Rear Admiral Byrd, when informed about this flight, commented, "Flying seaplanes over land is suicide, and taking a woman along is criminal!”

For more information about Canadian aviatrixes (or "Flying Flappers") visit High Flyers in History:  Women in Aviation.

La Vigilance crashed in 1922 in a lake near Kapuskasing, Ontario. The colour image above is an artist's recreation of the plane's mishap.   The remains were rescued almost 5 decades later, and the restored aircraft is now on display at the Canada Aviation & Space Museum in Ottawa.  For a brief account of its rescue, see La Vigilance.

Below, Curtis HS aircraft being built circa 1918:
Below, photos taken at the museum by Mister G, showing the rescued hull  of La Vigilance and the completed replica:

Replica under construction at Rockliffe in the seventies


Unknown said...

The bottom photo i snot the completed replica of La Vigilance. It is a Curtiss Seagull. La Vigilance is silver, and sits beside the Seagull on the floor of the museum

The Duke said...

Oops! Thanks for the correction!