This antique aircraft has an unusual connection to the original Star Wars film, and Aldergrove resident Robert Gillcash, a volunteer who conducts tours of the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, will explain if you visit. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Why Langley’s Canadian Museum of Flight is maintaining pandemic protections

Pre-booking and mask wearing still in effect

The easing of pandemic restrictions under phase three of the provincial return-to-normal plan won’t mean an end to pre-booking visits or to mask-wearing at Langley’s Canadian Museum of Flight.

Museum president Bruce Friesen told the Langley Advance Times the museum is still asking visitors to wear masks even though they are not technically compulsory, because the cramped main entrance to the museum and its packed indoor exhibition space don’t allow a lot of room for social distancing.

“It can become a little crowded, so we encourage people to think about wearing masks,” Friesen said on Sunday, July 25.

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And visitors are still being asked to phone ahead to book visits in advance.

“We’re going to continue the pre-booking, because it’s a lot of fun for us and our guests,” Friesen said.

“It gives them an opportunity to ask questions.”

Canadian Museum of Flight president Bruce Friesen said they are still asking visitors to pre-book, a practice that started during the pandemic. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Aldergrove resident Robert Gillcash, a volunteer who conducts tours of the museum, said the most commonly asked questions vary according to age.

“Kids want to know where the guns are, while older folks want know when it [an aircraft] was acquired.”

Normally, people will tour through the museum in about half an hour, but, for small groups (maximum of six) , Gillcash said visitors can expect a longer presentation that shows off some of the museum’s lesser-known attractions.

For example, there’s an aircraft with mounted machine guns in its landing gear, tires on a restored Second World War bomber that still have the original air from when it crashed, and one antique aircraft with an unusual connection to the first Star Wars film.

Friesen said the museum is renewing its hunt for a new home after a 1.6-acre site in the 21300 block of Fraser Highway, next to the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, turned out to have some unexpected issues.

While the proposal to construct the museum on protected farmland won the approval of the Agricultural Land Commission, Friesen said required environmental setbacks from a fish-bearing stream that runs past the location would reduce the amount of available space to less than the museum needs, and the cost of hooking up services was going to be higher than expected.

“We are hoping there will be other options for us,” Friesen commented.

Overall, the museum is in “good shape” financially, Friesen disclosed, thanks to government grants and “some pretty severe economies.”

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The museum and restoration site houses over 25 aircraft ranging from a WWII Handley Page Hampden to a T-33 Silver Star in Hangar 3, off 216th Street on Airport Way and takes bookings by phone at 604-532-0035.

Flight-worthy aircraft include a Fleet Finch, Tiger Moth, SE5A replica, Waco AQC Cabin, Fleet Canuck and a Harvard II.

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Langley Advance Times