The museums Scamp 1 may be the only aircraft that has been truly designed, built, and flown in Nova Scotia exclusively. It was designed, constructed and flown by Cape Bretoner Donnie MacDermid of Margaree.
Born on 10th May 1927 (the same day Lindbergh flew the Atlantic) Donnie seemed destined to be involved with aviation. He has always been interested in flying but it was not until 1959 that he became involved. Donnie wanted to buy an aircraft but since it was too expensive he decided to construct one. Donnie purchased the plans to an aircraft called the A6B for $35.00 from Ray Spitze of Riverside, California and began building it. All that remained was for Donnie to learn to fly. He visited the Eastern Flying Service at the Sydney airfield where he met Jimmy Shanahan. Jimmy had been overseas as a pilot in W.W.II. Donnie persuaded Jimmy to teach him to fly and to test fly the A6B for the first time.
A number of years later Donnie became interested in ultra-lights and purchased a kit from British Columbia. According to Donnie the kit was a very poor design so he decided to plan and construct his own ultra-light. He originally designed the Scamp 1 on the back of an old calendar. Donnie decided to make the Scamp 1 into a pusher type ultra-light because he feared that someone could be injured coming up to the aircraft after landing. He reasoned that, if the propeller was in the back, then no one would be able to run into it.
It is amazing enough that Donnie designed, build and flew 14 different aircraft but he did all of this with only one hand. Unfortunately Donnie lost his left hand in a wood chopping accident when he was young lad. However, that has not slowed his interest in aviation one bit. In fact, Donnie has done something that many people could not do. Designing and flying ones own aircraft is still considered a rare feat.
The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum is extremely grateful to Mr. MacDermid for donating the Scamp 1 for display and we are very proud to be able to preserve it as a piece of Nova Scotia’s aviation heritage.