Niagara Windriders Newsletter

The Official Newsletter of the Niagara Windriders Kitefliers Association, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Replica Silver Dart

On November 22, Bob White arranged for a group limited to 20, to visit the hangar at the Russell Aviation Group Airfield. This hangar houses 4 vintage WWII airplanes as well as the replica of the famous "Silver Dart" originally built by the Aerial Experiment Association headed by Alexander Graham Bell 100 years ago. As most of you know, Dr Bell was also a kite enthusiast as well as the inventor of the telephone in 1876. The group that attended was made up of kitefliers who had expressed a long time interest in kite history and aviation.

Here is the current state of the replica. The main fuselage is almost complete and the motor is mounted. The 2 wing sections are 2/3s constructed and the ailerons are in place.

This is a non functioning replica of the original Curtis Engine that was in the original plane.

A closer look at the fuselage with the engine mounted and the replica engine beside it.

Here is the "modern" version of the "cockpit". It is modified for the historic reenactment of the original 1908 flight. The original controls were too crude to be used so some modifications were made to make them more like a modern airplane.
Here is the end section of the wing and the ailerons.
This is the rudder and a replica of the original seat. After the reenactment, the silver dart will be transformed into it's original designed state with the replica engine and seat replacing the "modern versions" for authenticity.
This is the right wing section, still being assembled.

Here is the stabilizer. On modern airplanes this is at the back of the plane. AEA's version mounted it on the front.

Here is the working engine, more powerful than the original, but in working condition.

Here are a few pictures of the details of the workmanship that are put into the replica.

Some drawings from the original blueprints.

Pieces of the yet to be assembled wing sections.

Bamboo rods waiting to be assembled for the rear end of the fuselage.

Wing skins ready for assembly.

Doug Jermyn, the president of the AEA 2005, gave a presentation of the history of the Silver Dart, as well as the history of the replica. All of the work is done voluntarily and is relying on donations by the public and private industry. The kiters that attended each donated $10 to the fund.

He explained that all of the work done was as close as possible to the original aircraft including the type of wood used in construction. The fabric, however, is different as silver balloon material was not available. Doug answered all questions from the group and was very knowledgeable on the history and facts of the the original Dart.
At the end of the presentation, Bob gave Doug and the AEA group one of the plaques he designed for the last Canal Days Festival. This plaque commemorated the Aerial Experiment Association's 100th anniversary. We also were treated to visit and photograph the 4 other vintage aircraft that are housed in this hangar.

After the tour, we all headed out to lunch at Betty's Restaurant in Chippewa, where we talked about the tour, kites and just enjoyed the food and company.

If you are interested in more information on the Silver Dart Replica, the website is
The directors met in November and are planning the 2009 season. We are planning the spring kite making workshop for March and the first Fun Fly on April 26th. With winter slowing the flying season, I am keeping warm inside and planning my next winter kite project. I'll post pictures and comments in the new year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Directors of the Niagara Windriders!