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Text by owner/pilot Brian Russell who operates the Chipmunk in Reagh Simpson’s honour.


On December 15th 1949 FHY started her life as a demo aircraft for De Havilland Canada and remained in that capacity until the early 1960’s. She never saw military service and was never used as a training aircraft. She was the flying test bed if you will for the development of the later versions of the Chipmunk, so she of course received all of the updates and modifications used in the Chipmunks that followed her.


In the early 60’s she was sold to an executive at Power Corp and flown regularly for pleasure by many notable people including but not limited to Sports Hall of Fame and Olympic Hall of Fame Vic Emery, Canada’s Gold Medal Bobsled Champion at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.


At the time of her sale to Power Corp she had less than 1000 hours total time. About the same time as FHY arrived at Power Corp so did a young maintenance engineer & pilot from Sydney, Nova Scotia by the name of Douglas Reagh Simpson. Reagh was hired to maintain the corporate fleet and do some commercial flying. FHY was kept in the same hanger and Reagh of course became responsible for her maintenance. That was to be the beginning of a very long love affair between Reagh and FHY.


Reagh quickly rose to the position of Chief of Maintenance and started a lifelong relationship with the late Peter Thompson who was head of Power Corp at the time. He also started to fly FHY for pleasure and that’s where the love affair became solidified for life. FHY had him hooked; her superb flying characteristics and aerobatic abilities were something he had never experienced before.


Around the same time Aircraft Industries in St. Jean, QC were under contract with the Department of National Defence (DND) to maintain all of the military Chipmunks under what was called the “Care Program”. Nearing the end of the Care programme FHY was sent to St. Jean to be re-powered with the Lycoming 0-320 engine. The initial reason for this upgrade was to convince the DND to repower all of the military Chipmunks which would have surely extended the life of the Chipmunk as a military trainer.


This project was fortunately or unfortunately never accepted by DND and eventually a hasty decision was made to replace the Chipmunk with Beechcraft Musketeers. During this confusion and the cancellation of the Care programme, it was at Aircraft Industries that the original logbook for FHY was unfortunately lost in the shuffle.


In the late 60’s and early 70’s Power Corp decided to restructure the corporate aviation plan and Reagh was put in charge of selling off many of the corporate aircraft. At the same time Peter Thompson offered FHY to Reagh and of course the rest is history. Reagh also received the rights to the Lycoming 0-360 engine conversion.


Reagh, his wife Lorraine and their sons Todd and Dean continued to fly FHY until 1987 when Reagh decided it was time to take her out of service for a complete inspection and overhaul. Over the next few years Reagh went through FHY from nose to tail checking and correcting everything possible. In the early 90’s the overhaul was completed and complimented by a brand new paint job by renowned Sky Harbour Aircraft in Goderich, Ontario. The De Havilland scheme was used and remains today.


For personal health reasons FHY was maintained but not flown for approximately 9 years (2004-2013) however in 2013 Reagh was convinced to have selected pilots fly her to allow the public and aircraft community to see her in her glory. Sadly, on February 13th 2015 the aviation community suffered the great loss of a friend and aviation icon with the passing of Reagh Simpson in his 82nd year. Without a doubt one of Reagh’s many legacies is his 50 year love affair with FHY.

CF-FHY is being flown today in Reagh Simpson’s honour


A special thanks to photo plane pilot Mike Diaczyk


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