A Summer's Eve
On July 23rd, 1983, at 8:30 a perfect prairie summer evening was underway along the shores of Lake Winnipeg. The day’s events at the race car strip alongside the Gimli airport were waning down with families sitting alongside their campers and trailers after the final race was held. Barbeques had finished with the hot dogs and burgers on the grills. Cottagers were on their decks relaxing and visiting after a summer’s day. One by one groups of people spotted a very large, very silent aircraft coming along the water. Too silent, noticeably dropping too quickly it did not take long to realize something was wrong, really wrong. Still it did not make sense so, bewildered, they just watched the passenger plane descend.
At the decommissioned runway no one was looking skyward, not even the three young boys riding their BMX bikes on the asphalt surface. There the story begins, the story that would consume world headlines for the next weeks.
Unheard of, a large commercial passenger airliner….what no fuel ????? How does one land a powerless 115 ton metal behemoth without any controls?
The Gimli Glider Exhibit has accumulated, purchased and received much of relevant pieces, memorabilia and aircraft parts from Guan 604, possibly the most famous Fin number in aviation history.
Finally on display the history of the event, ensuing inquiry, and impact of the skilled landing within the aviation industry. Events that have unfolded over the past 34 years from the evening at Gimli airstrip on the Manitoba prairie will be told for visitors and aviation buffs.
From the outset of the drive to raise funds to purchase significant operating parts from the retired aircraft, the goal has been to educate, enlighten and entertain those who visit the attraction.