The J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport will host a book launch party for The Silver Dart by H. Gordon Green, published by Breton Books. The Silver Dart is the story of Cape Breton’s J.A. Douglas McCurdy, the pilot of the first powered flight in Canada – the flight of the Silver Dart on February 23, 1909 from the ice of Baddeck Bay.
The book launch will be held on Sunday, February 23 from 11:30am to 2:30pm, in the air terminal building at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport. That is an especially appropriate place for the book’s launch because on July 27, 2009 the Sydney Airport was renamed the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, commemorating McCurdy’s contribution to Canadian aviation. A permanent display at the airport includes a bust of McCurdy and Parks Canada murals honouring the 1909 flight of the Silver Dart.
As part of the book launch event, Eleanor Anderson, Project Coordinator of the 2009 Silver Dart Centennial Celebrations, will speak about the enormous appeal and on-going legacy of the latest replica of the Silver Dart, the airplane that recreated McCurdy’s historic flight when it flew one hundred years later in February 2009. That airplane is now on display at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck. Publisher Ronald Caplan will talk about unraveling the stories of some of the lesser-known full-size replicas of the Silver Dart and their present locations in museums around the world.
Working with staff of the Bell Museum, Caplan produced this new edition of The Silver Dart. The book has over 50 photographs, including Bell’s experiments with kites; the Aerial Experiment Association made up of Glenn Curtis, Lt. Thomas Selfridge, Casey Baldwin, Bell and McCurdy; and a group photo of the AEA2005 team that built the 2009 replica of the Silver Dart. The new book is dedicated to Mabel Bell who was the financier and constant encourager — responsible for getting the five inventors together as the AEA, and then into the air.
“We breathed an atmosphere of aviation from morning till night and almost from night to morning,” wrote Alexander Graham Bell. “I may say for myself that this Association with these young men proved to be one of the happiest times of my life.”
The Silver Dart book is the story of companionship and achievement, invention and courage — as Canadian aviation is born on Cape Breton Island. The book includes the rare diary Douglas McCurdy kept as a young boy. His diary reveals the joyous, adventuresome and slightly reckless summers that contributed to the making of Cape Breton’s fearless pilot and lifetime promoter of flight in Canada.
Everyone is welcome to drop in for the launch of The Silver Dart book, enjoy complimentary oatcakes and tea prepared by Todd MacIntyre of Chef Todd’s, and listen to the popular piano music of Johnny Aucoin. The party will be held in the main lobby of the air terminal building at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 23. The Silver Dart book is distributed in bookstores and gift shops across Canada.