A resident of Kleefeld, Derek Wrigley, recently gifted his helicopter to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.  

Throughout the past few weeks, residents of Kleefeld may have noticed a small helicopter that was sitting on a trailer on Bramblewood Street, Wrigley explains that he was looking to rehome the Mini 500 helicopter and reached out to the museum who agreed to take it. 

“I just wanted to look for a good home. And one of the difficulties you have if you want to pass it on, is you have to pass it on to someone who's a helicopter pilot. And people like that can be few and far between,” he says. “So with the museum I said, if they have a use for it, I'll provide it for them. So basically, here's the helicopter, here's all the documentation, air certification, the aircraft is now yours.” 

The museum will have the helicopter as a static display in the Science of Flight area and use it as a teaching tool as part of their Take Flight program.

There's an aircraft in the area already, which is a Musketeer from the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

They're also going to be putting a small wind tunnel into the area, along with the helicopter. 

Wrigley says the museum gets a lot of young students from all over the province coming to sit down and learn about the dynamics of flight.  

“They're going to have the opportunity of getting into the aircraft and feeling the controls and having that pilot experience, even though they're not going to be leaving the ground.” 

Right now, the helicopter is sitting on the main level on display right beside a few other big aircrafts as they still have a bit more work to do, but Wrigley says the goal is to put it upstairs onto the second level for the purpose of guiding younger people to understand the dynamics of aircrafts. 

“And give them the opportunity if they ever want to think of being involved more with aviation as they get older, this will maybe be the first step for them.” 

Wrigley has been a helicopter pilot for a long time, and notes the helicopter is 25 years old and is a home-built helicopter. 

The helicopter

“They come in kits when you acquire them, which means you're responsible for building over 51 per cent of it, and by doing that, it falls into a certain category for registration purposes of amateur-built or home-built.” 

He adds that Winnipeg International used to have air shows, and this helicopter was one of the demonstrators at the air show for a six year period starting in 1999. 

“That was its claim to fame. I was very pleased the way it was presented at the air shows, and most people that saw it fly were kind of pleased as well.” 

It would fly both days, and would fly just before the snowbirds. The helicopter was also used for air photography. 

To learn more about the Mini 500 helicopter click here.

The helicopter

The helicopter

The helicopter

The helicopter


In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, SteinbachOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the SteinbachOnline app.