KF Centre for Excellence ready to take flight

By Dayna Fedy-MacDonald | August 31, 2022

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 28 seconds.

KF Aerospace is officially ready to open the doors to its new Centre for Excellence in Kelowna, British Columbia — also known as the Okanagan Valley.

A 60,000-square-foot building located right next to the Kelowna International Airport, the centre features an impressive aviation museum as well as a conference facility. KF hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 30, ahead of the grand opening to the public on Aug. 31. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a minimum donation of $10 per family or $5 per person required.

The 60,000-sq-ft mass timber building includes two dedicated hangars featuring a rare aircraft collection. KF Aerospace Photo

The idea for the centre was conceived about eight years ago by KF Aerospace founder, Barry Lapointe. The goal was to showcase the aviation industry and how it has grown in B.C. and across Canada. He envisioned the building to look like an aircraft, which is why the centre was designed to reflect the fuselage and wings of an airplane.

The centre includes two large hangars that house a rare aircraft collection, while the “fuselage” features an interactive exhibition that “tells the story of aviation in the Okanagan Valley,” said KF in a press release.

“The Okanagan Valley has an incredible history of achievement in Canadian aerospace,” and the Centre for Excellence is intended to “celebrate this heritage,” the press release reads.  

The building also features an airfield viewing gallery and conference facilities for businesses and events in the region.

Some of the historic aircraft on display at the centre include the newly-restored Hawker Tempest MKII, the Odyssey DC-3, and the de Havilland 98 Mosquito (VR796).

The Mosquito, which features a unique wooden airframe, is one of 30 Mosquitos remaining worldwide, and one of four currently airworthy. The aircraft underwent a five-year restoration project completed by Victoria Air Maintenance, and arrived at the Centre for Excellence on June 30.

The recently restored Mosquito (C-FHMJ) was flown by pilot Mike Spalding to Kelowna on June 30. KF Photo

The mission of the KF Centre for Excellence (a non-profit organization), is to celebrate the people and history of the aviation community; promote career development through education and training support; and advocate on behalf of the Canadian aerospace community.

“It was built with the entire community in mind, to be a place where those from all generations, cultures and backgrounds can gather,” added Paula Quinn, KF Centre for Excellence executive director. “It promises to be a must-see for tourists and locals alike, as well as a major asset to the local business community.”

KF Aerospace, formerly known as Kelowna Flightcraft, provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul; engineering; and modification services for both commercial and military air operators. The company is also involved in cargo (KF Cargo) and passenger air charter services (KF Aeroflyer). Established 52 years ago, KF now has several locations across Canada, in addition to its headquarters in Kelowna.

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