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Launching in Abbotsford BC in Summer 2022

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Enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver City, the Fraser Valley, lakes and mountains in our sightseeing tour packages.

Feel the acceleration and g-forces of dives, spins, rolls, and loops in our aerobatic flight package.

Fly in an authentic Chinese Military plane from 1958 lovingly restored and maintained to modern safety standards.

Read more about our Nanchang CJ-6

Explore the Pacific Coast and Experience Aviation History


Thin Air Adventures

Vancouver and the Fraser Valley’s premium warplane flight experience.

Our Latest Blog Posts


  • Chinese SKS (Type 56) Rifle in Canada

    The SKS (Russian: Самозарядный карабин системы Симонова, or Samozaryadny Karabin sistemy Simonova) is a Soviet Union designed carbine rifle. Many communists and Soviet allied countries such as China (named Type 56), Yugoslavia, Albania, North Korea, North Vietnam, East Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria manufactured their own variants during the Cold War.

    SKS Specifications

    Mass3.85 kg (8.5 lb)
    Length1,020 mm (40 in),
    Barrel length520 mm (20 in)
    Cartridge7.62×39mm
    ActionShort stroke gas piston, self-loading
    Rate of firesemi-automatic 35–40 (rd/min)
    Muzzle velocity735 m/s (2,411 ft/s)
    Effective firing range400 meters (440 yd)
    Feed system10 round stripper clip, internal box magazine.
    SightsHooded post front sight, tangent notch rear sight graduated from 100 to 1,000 meters.

    History of the SKS

    During World War 2, the Soviet Union looked to replace the large bolt-action Mosin-Nagant with a reliable semi-automatic intermediate cartridge rifle. Research had shown that most battles happen within 300 meters, and a smaller cartridge would allow soldiers to carry more bullets. 

    The SKS was designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov and came into service in 1945. The simple design was easy for relatively poorly trained troops to shoot and maintain. The SKS was soon exported and manufactured in many countries. The design remained surprisingly similar across the eight manufacturing countries.  

    The SKS was quickly made obsolete by the infamous AK-47 because the SKS lacked full-automating firing, and its box magazine was limited to 10 rounds. Furthermore, the AK-47 could be manufactured with a stamped receiver rather than a milled receiver making it lighter to carry and far cheaper to manufacture.

    Chinese SKS (Type 56) Variant

    Early in the Cold War, the Chinese depended on Soviet military technology and then tinkered with improvements over time; Much like the Nanchang CJ6 and Nanchang motorcycle.

    The Soviet Union stop manufacturing the SKS in 1958, but the People’s Republic of China still continues to build the rifle for the export consumer market. Over 15 million SKS rifles have been manufactured worldwide with China manufacturing more than any other country. The Chinese named their first SKS variant the Type 56, but they went on to make many other slight variants: Type 63, Type 86, Type 73, Type 81, and Type 84.

    Millions of SKS rifles were manufactured between 1955-56, China built a small number of SKS rifles with Russian parts and advisers, before making numerous minor changes, and continuing to manufacture millions of Chinese Type 56 variants. The most notable change is a spike bayonet rather than the Russian blade bayonet.

    SKS Rifles in Canada

    The SKS (and Chinese Type 56) is classified as “non-restricted” in Canada and is legal to own and operate in a safe manner by anyone with a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL).

    Starting in the 1980s, SKS rifles were imported to North America, but in 1993 the Bill Clinton administration banned the import of Chinese firearms to the USA. SKS rifles are still imported to Canada and are one of the few firearms cheaper in Canada than in the USA. The SKS is one of the cheapest semi-automatic, non-restricted rifles chambered in an intermediate cartridge available in the Canadian market. They are extremely common in Canada and a mainstay in most Canadian gun collections.     

    You can now buy a Norinco commercial consumer model. There are a ton of aftermarket stocks and attachments. If you can find a military surplus one with matching parts and serial numbers, I think that you should leave it stock as a piece of military history. But realistically the SKS is a common target rifle that is cheap to shoot and maintain.

    Typically, the Canadian import has a spacer welded into the 10 round box magazine to comply with the Canadian 5 round capacity law. Otherwise, they are affordable military rifle that is likely to increase in value.    

    SKS rifle
    Kate shooting a surplus SKS that I bought for $200 about 8 years ago

    The Chinese SKS (Type 56) is the most common variant found in Canada and will cost about $400 Canadian. Whereas, the more sought-after Russian versions will cost about $500 today.

     

  • Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley

    The Canadian Museum of Flight is a non-profit museum located at the Langley Regional Airport (YNJ) and dedicated to Canadian aviation history. I live in Langley, so naturally Kate and I wanted to visit the museum and share some of the highlights.

    Canadair CT-114 Tutor

    A side by side two seater Canadair CT-114 Tutor formally used by the Canadian Snowbirds.

    Beechcraft Expeditor

    Kate standing next to a Beechcraft Expeditor

    Lockheed CF-104D Mk 2

    Handley Page Hampden

    Avro CF-100 Canuck MK 3B

    Avro CF-100 Canuck MK 3B;
    The first 100% Canadian built all-weather interceptor.
    Many of the design innovations were used in the Avro Arrow.

    Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Display

    Museum Details

    The volunteer guide was very knowledgeable and interesting. You can easily spend a few hours there but most people would probably leave in an hour. Young children would like it, but it probably best for middle school kids interested in aviation. There surprisingly cheap gift shop, filled with books and movies (I found DVD of Battle of Britain for my “Best Warplane Movies” post). Overall the Canadian Museum of Flight is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon, if you are interested in aviation history.

    Address: Hanger # 3 – 5333 216th Street Langley, BCV2Y 2N3

    Cost:

    • Adults: $10.00
    • Seniors/Youth: $7.00
    • Family: $25.00 (2 adults and up to 5 students)
    • Children under 6: Free

    Website: www.canadianflight.org/

  • Nanchang Chang Jiang CJ750 Motorcycle

    The Chang Jiang CJ750 (Simplified Chinese: 长江 or traditional Chinese: 長江) is a Chinese motorcycle, that was manufactured by the China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Company. The same company that manufactured the Nanchang CJ-6 airplane.

    The CJ750 was originally produced for the Chinese military and was powered by a four-stroke 746cc engine, with a rear-wheel shaft drive train. The engine is air-cooled, and nearly all the original CJ750s had a sidecar. 

    CJ750 History & Development

    Early in the Cold War, the People Liberation Army reverse-engineered the German Zündapp KS 500 motorcycle. Starting in 1951 the Chinese government built 4,248 Zündapp replicas before the Soviets considered the M72 (the soviet version) obsolete. Soon after the Chinese acquired the tooling to build their own M72s named the Chang Jiang 750.

    Soviet M72 motorcycle

    CJ750s grew less popular in China as the market was opened to American and European motorcycle manufacturers, but there is still a loyal CJ750 rider base.