Southport is marking 25 years of flight training with special events and a new "gate guardian."
At a ceremony held on April 28, Southport’s tenants, board members, staff and local residents dedicated a Canadair CL-41G Tebuan that will be permanently placed on a pedestal next to Southport’s entrance.
Southport CEO Peggy May said the aircraft will be the start of what is hoped to be a park area with interpretive information on Southport’s history, and possibly include other aircraft.
"We have this rich history here. We wanted to do something to commemorate that," May said.
The former CFB Portage la Prairie was transferred to private ownership in 1992. KF Aerospace - Defence Programs now provides the Canadian Forces primary flight training program at Southport for 3 Canadian Forces Flight Training School.
The plane that was dedicated had been displayed at the Pacific Northwest Aviation Museum in Pasco, Wash. after having been flown by airshow performer and former Canadian Snowbird Ross Granley, according to information provided by Bill Zuk, secretary of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society.
After purchasing the aircraft, Southport had N402AG disassembled and shipped to Portage la Prairie. KF Aerospace technicians reassembled and repainted the aircraft in Golden Centennaires colours, Zuk said in an email message.
May said Southport’s anniversary celebrations will include a charity golf tournament on Thurs., June 8 at Southport Golf Club with proceeds going to the Community Foundation of Portage la Prairie and District.
The annual Southport residents’ barbecue will be expanded to include all local residents on Wed., Aug. 30 to celebrate Southport’s 25th and Canada’s 150th anniversaries.