During the First World War, Edmontonians were introduced to aviation through the visits of the great American aviatrix, Katherine Stinson, and newspaper stories documenting the daring dogfights in the air over France. A generation of young people dreamed of flying, and in the interwar years, the first steps were taken to make this a reality.
In 1927, the Edmonton and Northern Alberta Flying Club was established at Blatchford Field. Two airplanes, both DH 60 Cirrus Moths, were available for flight instruction, but this proved inadequate as membership in the Flying Club soon exceeded 100 students.
A group of students, unsatisfied with their flying hours, purchased a set of plans for a Cranwell CLA4 – a sesquiplane (one long lower wing and one shorter upper wing) designed by Flight Lieutenant Nicholas Comper, a lecturer at Cranwell Cadet College in England. The aircraft, one of only three ever built, was assembled in a house basement, but then moved to Blatchford Field for flight trials. On February 18, 1934, it crashed in the vicinity of 127 Street and 119 Avenue due to icing.
Alf Want collected and stored the wreckage, then donated it to the Edmonton Aviation Historical Society in the early 1980s. The restored model rates as the oldest surviving airplane originally built in Edmonton.