Two Fine Books Telling the Story of the Earliest Days of Aviation

Birdmen_coverBirdman: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss and the Battle to Control the Skies

by Lawrence Goldstone

This fantastic best seller is one that will satisfy any serious fan of aviation history. Beginning with such pioneers of flight as Otto Lilienthal in Germany and Octave Chanute in the US, Goldman quickly comes to the Wright brothers of Dayton, Ohio and Glenn Curtiss of Hammondsport, New York. Showing how Lilienthal and Chanute influenced these three innovators, he then details how each persevered in flying America’s first powered airplanes.

This book is downright exciting – a “page-turner”, as they say. The author delves deeply into each participant’s human side, warts and all. Often these heroic figures are at loggerheads – the Wrights clash with each other, let alone with Curtiss, whom they accuse of stealing their patents. They strive to virtually patent the airplane. Their battles rage for years in the courts.

Leading the way in powered airplane flight, the Wrights engender a whole new world of entertainment – exhibition flying. From 1909-14 they and Curtiss bring their performing troupes to city after city all the way west to Los Angeles and Seattle. This is a magnificent era, but it comes at a huge cost. The touring flyers introduce millions to the airplane and make piles of money. But by 1912 more than 100 have lost their lives, mainly at public appearances. Airplanes fall apart in flight, turbulence hurls pilots from their seats, planes crash into crowded bleachers, the first bird strike kills a famous pilot, etc. All along the crowds are loving it all. The great Lincoln Beachey, who performed some of the earliest airshows in Canada, grows disgusted at how the hordes come out mainly to see him die. And so they finally do in 1915, when his plane disintegrates during a show at the great San Francisco exposition.

Another major theme is the years-long lawsuits pursued almost insanely by the Wrights against all other aeronautical enterprizers. Obsessed by their patents and paranoid about these being infringed upon, the Wrights spent a fortune in the courts. While aeronautics was progressing at Hammondsport, in the UK and across Europe, the Wrights dithered and lost their chance. Their Wright Flyers, in the meantime, became known as death traps. Dozens of airmen and passengers died in Wright Flyer crashes, while Curtiss machines gained the opposite reputation. In the end, Goldman concludes that the Wrights held up America in its quest to advance in aviation. Curtiss on one hand and Europe on the other set the pace in advancing aviation’s cause. Ironically, in the end the two warring sides made peace through a 1929 corporate alignment creating the Curtiss-Wright Co., which survives to this day.

Don’t miss this exceptional book that brings to life the great years of powered flight!

Birdman: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss and the Battle to Control the Skies

230 pages, hardcover, photos, notes, index $34.00, CANAV price $21.00 + $12.00 Canada Post + $2.10 tax. Total for Canada $35.10 Mail your cheque or pay by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com. USA and overseas please enquire for a price: larry@canavbooks.com

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Blog Pioneer Decades Jan. 2016Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades

By Larry Milberry

Complementing Birdmen is this detailed history of the early years of flight in Canada. Beginning with Canada’s first flight – a balloon ascent in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1840, The Pioneer Decades explains how aviation went decade by decade in America’s next-door neighbour. Ballooning alone was a huge public fascination that produced one Canadian “first” after another, whether the Saint John ascent, the “first” aerial crossing between Canada and the US, the first powered airship appearances or the first parachute jump.

The Pioneer Decades then introduces heavier–than-air flight with teenager Larry Lesh’s daring glider experiments in Montreal in 1907. While Birdmen does tell a bit about Alexander Graham Bell and the Aerial Experiment Association, The Pioneer Decades covers the AEA program in detail, ending with the dramatic first powered airplane flight by the “Silver Dart” at Baddeck in 1909. There also is much of Glenn Curtiss and Hammondsport, where the “Silver Dart” was built and first flew.

The Pioneer Decades continues with the great years in Canada of the exhibition flyers, nearly all of whom are also covered in Birdmen. For example, Toronto’s first airplane flight is made by Charles Willard – a Curtiss-trained pilot flying his Curtiss-made “Golden Flyer”. The great Montreal and Toronto air meets of 1910 and 1911 are also here, with tales of the famed Curtiss and Wright pilots, many of whom would give their lives in the cause from 1907 onward – Lincoln Beachey, Cromwell Dixon, Eugene Ely, Ralph Johnstone, Phil Parmalee, etc.

The Pioneer Decades tells how McCurdy and Baldwin of the AEA tried selling their designs to the Canadian military, how Canada’s first WWI airmen trained at Curtiss and Wright schools, then how they excelled “Over the Front” in the first great aerial conflict. Many would fly the great Curtiss JN-4 and Curtiss’ renowned long-range, anti-submarine flying boats, about which, a few years earlier, the Wright camp had been scoffing. You’re bound to enjoy this beautifully-produced CANAV title.

Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades

176 pages, large format, hardcover, photos, bibliography, index. $50.00 but with this offer $35.00 + $12.00 for Canada Post + $2.35 tax. Total for Canada $49.35 Mail your cheque or pay by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com. USA and overseas please enquire for a price (email me at larry@canavbooks.com).

BOTH these leading titles: $56.00 + $15.00 for Canada Post + $3.55 tax. Total for Canada $74.55. Mail your cheque or pay by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com. USA and overseas please enquire for a price: larry@canavbooks.com

CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E 3B6

Email: larry@canavbooks.com

Tel: (416) 698-7559

Noorduyn Norseman Year End Update

Norseman1

Typical US Army Commando Group UC-64 Norseman scenes from the Far East in 1944-45. You’ll see these historic shots with a host of others in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.1.

Norseman2

Since CANAV published its Norseman books in 2013-14, it’s been fun posting new bits of Norseman history on “the company blog” for everyone to enjoy.

One little known wartime Norseman operator was the US Army in the Far East. In one case 12 Norsemans were assigned to the First Air Commando Group. Designated UC-64s (“U” for utility, “C” for cargo), their usefulness was described in the December 7, 1944 issue of CBI Roundup, a US Army newspaper published in Delhi (“CBI” signified China-Burma-India). You’ll enjoy this little period piece:

UNSUNG PLANE ‘WORKHORSE OF THE SKIES: Rugged Little UC-64 Performs Minor Miracles In Jungle

BURMA – To the wounded, isolated, supply-starved foot soldiers lost in Burma’s dense jungles, and to the pilots and other crew members who fly her, the UC-64 is a ‘sweet little airplane – the workhorse of the skies.” The stories told about those small, single-engined utility cargo planes are many and most always exciting.

Members of the late Gen. Orde C. Wingate’s phantom army tell a typical tale of what these planes have done under combat conditions in Burma. A number of Wingate’s boys found themselves deep in enemy territory, cut off from all possible help, many of them wounded, some on the verge of starvation. Evacuation by air seemed almost impossible, too, as they were faced with Jap machine gun fire on one side and surrounded by long stretches of rice paddies. Certainly, it wasn’t an inviting landing spot for an ordinary plane.

Suddenly, a lone, stubby-nosed aircraft appeared overhead, swept low over enemy installations and settled on a small rice paddy clearing. Painted on its fuselage were the five white diagonal stripes of the First Air Commando Group. The plane was a UC-64 Noorduyn Norseman bringing in 2,000 pounds of supplies and ready to evacuate 10 seriously-wounded soldiers to a base hospital.

Another story of the plane’s durability is proudly told by Lt. David C. Beasley, a pilot. “You can bang her up, but you can’t keep her down,” he declared, upon returning from an advanced Commando-built airstrip that had, a moment before his arrival, undergone a severe attack by enemy bombers. His radio wasn’t working and he hadn’t learned of the bombing that had dotted the runway with dangerous craters. When he landed, one of the craters snatched off his tail wheel. But five minutes later, with the wheel wired into place, Beasley was back in the air.

The C-64, as it is frequently called, is strictly a new bird in India-Burma skies. Prior to last spring’s airborne invasion of Northern Burma, Col. Philip Cochran, commanding the Air Commandos, foresaw the need of landing vital supplies upon short strips hacked from Burma’s rugged terrain. He needed a ship as tough as the jungle. His choice was the Noorduyn Norseman, a plane unproved in any other theater of operations. “We knew very little of her capabilities,” Lt. Julius Goodman, a volunteer pilot, admits, “as no other organization had used her in combat. We had thought of her as a very tricky ship to handle because of her narrow landing gear. It wasn’t long, though, before we knew her as a tough little workhorse.” As operations progressed, new hazards developed to test the aircraft’s durability. Shortage of transportation between Commando airstrips and the home base frequently forced the plane to carry 1,000 pounds in excess of its factory-stated capacity. She carried them with ease.

The scarcity of C-64’s in this neck of the war necessitates the immediate dismantling of their frames after crack-ups. The constant ferrying of troops into small clearings, supplying their positions and other outposts with radio equipment, drop packs, ammunition, rations and other supplies, plus evacuating the wounded, would diminish the effectiveness of an ordinary plane. But the Norseman, with its Pratt-Whitney Wasp engine, the pilots insist, isn’t an ordinary plane.

More News about Norseman CF-GLI

Norseman CF-GLI is well covered in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2. Last year we heard that “GLI” had been sold in The Netherlands. An update appears in the Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre newsletter, “Fly North” (Vol.4, No.7, Dec. 2015). It turns out that “GLI” was transferred to the Dutch “Noorduyn Foundation” on May 10, 2015. Plans are to fully restore this 1944-model Norseman within two years.

“Fly North” includes some personal recollections from Gerry Bell, who flew CF-GLI from Red Lake in the 1990s. His list of the old bird’s deficiencies is a long one, yet “GLI” wouldn’t quit. Gerry concludes: “Together we moved people, freight, boats, did rescue flights, etc., through the endless skies of Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba and over countless miles of forests and lakes – times I shall cherish forever.”

If you are a fan of northern aviation, you ought to have your NWOAHC membership. Click here to find out more.

Norseman CF-GLI Air Dale Ltd. Larry's pic

CF-GLI at the Air-Dale dock in Sault Ste. Marie. In this period it was painted a soft yellow with black and white trim. Larry Milberry took this photo with his reliable “2¼” Minolta Autocord more than 50 years ago, while on a Lake Superior canoe trip with his old pal Nick Wolochatiuk.

Norseman Vol.2 erratum: You can scroll back in the blog to find the few errata that so far have come to my attention. Today, please note that the caption on p.36 should read: An evocative Arctic scene showing what is thought to be the first airplane to visit Pond Inlet at the top of Baffin Island. Piloted by Gunnar Ingebrigston of Arctic Wings, Norseman CF-BAU made the harrowing 650 mile flight from Frobisher Bay in April 1949 on a charter with a party of federal government people, including Donald Wilkinson of the National Film Board. Here, “BAU”, well tied-down using 45-gallon drums, warms up. (National Film Board of Canada) All the best as usual …Larry

Norseman Vol. 1cover jpg

Norseman Vol. 2 cover

 

 

Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman comes in two impressive volumes, representing the most thorough treatment ever given by any publisher to any of the classic bushplanes. These splendid books belong in your aviation library.

You know how some airheads never shut up about “everything” being on the web? Well, CANAV’s titles prove what a load of BS that is (but you already know that, if you’re a serious aviation reader). You’ll find no comparable Norseman coverage anywhere.

So, for the detailed story about Canada’s renowned Norseman, order your set online today: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Few books could make such a royal gift for any serious fan.

 

Ancient CAE 737-200 Flight Simulator Still Doing Valuable Work after 40 years

CAE and Eastern Provincial Airways staff with the new EPA 737 flight simulator at the factory early in 1976 during final approval and acceptance. (Ed Bermingham)

CAE and Eastern Provincial Airways staff with the new EPA 737-200 flight simulator at the factory early in 1976 during final approval and acceptance. (Ed Bermingham)

The cockpit of the EPA 737 simulator during approval at CAE in 1976. (Ed Bermingham)

The cockpit of the EPA 737-200 simulator during approval at CAE in 1976. (Ed Bermingham)

In the 1970s CAE remained a tiny competitor in the flight simulator world dominated by such giants as Link in the United States and Redifon in the UK. Nonetheless, CAE was winning a few contracts and already had a reputation for delivering high-quality products.

Initially introduced in Canada by Nordair in 1968, the Boeing 737-200 soon was delivering outstanding service and profits to Canadian operators — CPAir, EPA, Nordair, PWA and Transair.

So far there was no 737 “flight sim” in Canada, but the 737 was gaining in popularity, so training demands were increasing. Finally, in 1975 CAE won a contract to supply Halifax-based Eastern Provincial Airlines with a 737-200 full flight simulator to train its pilots.

EPA 737s CF-EPO and CF-EPP at Wabush in 1975.

EPA 737-200ss CF-EPO and CF-EPP at Wabush in 1975. (Larry Milberry)

CF-EPL landing at Toronto. Two since have "gone for pots and pans", while CF-EPP was wrecked while landing at Gander in 2001. Even though nearly all the early Canadian 737s by now are long since retired, the CAE ancient sim on which hundreds of 737 pilots trained since 1976 remains in daily use. (Larry Milberry)

CF-EPL landing at Toronto. Two of these three 737s since have “gone for pots and pans”, while CF-EPP was wrecked while landing at Gander in 2001. Even though nearly all the early Canadian 737-200s by now are long since retired, the ancient CAE/EPA sim on which hundreds of 737-200 pilots trained since 1976 remains in daily use. (Larry Milberry)

Unless Canadian operators were doing sim training in the US, pilot training and qualification upgrades mainly still were being done expensively in the airplanes as “OJT” — on the job training. Having its own sim instantly enhanced training at EPA. Delivered early in 1976, the sim remained in Halifax at least into 1984. Other  737 operators bought time on it, so it turned into a valuable cash cow for EPA.

In 1984 EPA was sold to Canadian Airlines International of Vancouver. Some time thereafter, EPA’s 737 sim was shipped across Canada to Vancouver.

The 1976-model CAE Boeing 737-200 flight simulator as it sits today in the Air Canada training centre in Vancouver. Note that it remains in its vintage Canadian Airline International colour scheme.

The 1976-model CAE Boeing 737-200 flight simulator as it sits today in the Air Canada training centre at Vancouver. Note that it remains in its vintage Canadian Airline International colour scheme. (A.T. Jarvis)

the present day cockpit. Note that the basic instrumentation remains, while numerous improvements have been added (compare with the original version above). (A.T. Jarvis)

The present day cockpit. Note that the basic instrumentation remains, but how numerous improvements have been added (compare with the original version above). (A.T. Jarvis)

The old-fashioned looking instructor's station in the 1976 sim. Clunky, but it works. (A.T. Jarvis)

The old-fashioned looking instructor’s station in today’s sim. Clunky, but it works. (A.T. Jarvis)

Photo Gallery: Canada’s Historic 737-200 Fleet

This series of photos illustrates some of the many airlines whose pilots have  trained since 1976 on this reliable old piece of CAE technology.

Canada's first Boeing 737 was Nordair's CF-NAB. This historic 737 soon was serving points from the High Arctic to the tropics. 737 operations on ice were pioneered by Nordair. Sadly, "NAB" is long gone -- who would ever dream of saving such a valuable piece of Canadian air transport history, right! (All, Larry Milberry)

Canada’s first Boeing 737 was Nordair’s CF-NAB. This historic 737 soon was serving points from the High Arctic to the tropics. 737 operations on ice were pioneered by Nordair. Sadly, “NAB” is long gone — who would ever dream of saving such a valuable piece of Canadian air transport history, right! (All, Larry Milberry)

CP Air's 737 C-GCPT landing at Vancouver in September 1986.

CP Air 737 C-GCPT landing at Vancouver in September 1986.

Transair 737 CF-TAO at Toronto on January 5, 1974.

Transair 737 CF-TAO at Toronto on January 5, 1974.

NWT Air 737 C-GNWT waits at Winnipeg on November 14, 1990 for its next DEW Line re-supply mission. NWT Air today is part of FirstAir, whose 737-200 pilots still train on the famous old CAE sim in Vancouver.

NWT Air 737 C-GNWT waits at Winnipeg on November 14, 1990 for its next DEW Line re-supply mission. NWT Air today is part of FirstAir, whose 737-200 pilots still train on the famous old CAE sim in Vancouver.

NWT eventually was sold to Air Canada, so adopted the new owner's fleet colours. These NWT Air 737-200s were  at Yellowknife on August 18, 1995 (C-GNWN nearest).

NWT eventually was sold to Air Canada, so adopted the new owner’s fleet colours. These NWT Air 737-200s were at Yellowknife on August 18, 1995 (C-GNWN nearest).

Pacific Western Airlines was a major Canadian 737-200 operator, which also trained pilots in the EPA sim over the years. Here, C-GJPW waits at Edmonton "Muni" on May 17, 1987.

Pacific Western Airlines was a major Canadian 737-200 operator, which also trained pilots in the EPA sim over the years. Here, C-GJPW waits at Edmonton “Muni” on May 17, 1987.

Canadian North uses the Air Canada/CAE 737-200 sim. Here C-GDPA 737-200 (formerly of Dome Petroleum) arrives at "YFB" Iqaluit on a February 2006 quick turn-around from Ottawa bound for Rankin Inlet and Yellowknife.

Canadian North uses the Air Canada/CAE 737-200 sim. Here C-GDPA 737-200 (formerly of Dome Petroleum) arrives at “YFB” Iqaluit on a February 2006 quick turn-around from Ottawa bound for Rankin Inlet and Yellowknife.

RCAF Commits to the Most Advanced in Simulation Training

To give a sense of the depth in technology development in simulation training today, check out this recent item from Defence News: “Canada Setting the Scene for Future Pilot Training Program”It discusses where Canada’s air force is going in simulation training, when considering such fleets as the CH-147F Chinook, CC-117 Globemaster III and CC-130J Super Hercules.

For the broader history about the evolution of flight simulation, order yourself a copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, 2015’s blockbuster aviation book of the year.

Flight Simulators Save Lives

SAS ConvairBefore the airlines had fully embraced flight simulation about 1975, many aircraft were lost unnecessarily in training accidents. In Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, such dreadful cases as the Air Canada and Air New Zealand DC-8 training flight crashes are cited. Someone could write a lurid book about all those avoidable accidents.

From the 1950s the airlines took a good 25 years before concluding that such advanced pilot training must be done only in a modern flight simulator equipped with motion and visual systems. Some airlines came kicking and screaming to the flight simulation table, but that era finally had become ancient history by 2015.

In doing some misc. research lately, I came across yet another crazy mishap caused by taking up a crew-in-training in an expensive airliner, then introducing them to a dangerous scenario. This involved an SAS Convair 440 training instructor at Stockholm retarding the power on one engine as the Convair lifted off. Usually, such challenges to the pilot-in-command were not announced in advance.

This incident involved Convair 440 SE-BSU on November 1, 1969 (shown above is a fine period view of “BSU” taken by my old photography pal, the late, great Wilf White of Glasgow). The accident report (available at the Aviation Safety Network) concludes: “An engine failure was simulated during the takeoff (at V1). The yaw was corrected and the Convair lifted off the runway. When airborne, the left wing dropped slowly, causing the aircraft to drift to the left. Power was restored to the No.1 engine, but the left wing hit the ground and the aircraft crash-landed. The nose and right main gear collapsed.”

End result? One lovely Convair 440 unnecessarily wrecked. Happily, the four pilots aboard survived, but with many similar training flights since 1960, there were tragic outcomes. In another of the hundreds of such crashes over the decades, on February 6, 1992, USAF C-130B Hercules 58-0732 crashed near Evansville, Indiana, while simulating engine failure during an in-flight training session. This “real life” exercise cost 16 lives. Although they have clearly been slow learners, today’s airline and military operators finally are with the program, almost all such training now being done “in the sim”

You can get the big picture about how the airlines gradually adopted flight simulation, by ordering yourself a copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, 2015’s blockbuster aviation book of the year.

 

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority History Room

No.1 P1100321Many airports have shown imagination in devoting some of their scarce space for historical/educational purposes. Depending, some photos might be displayed and periodically rotated, or there are artifacts, models or complete aircraft on show. There might even be a museum adjacent to the airport, as at Victoria or Halifax. Whatever is on show, the airport authorities deserve credit for at least showing some interest in our aviation heritage.

Many years ago, when the new Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport (“YYZ”) was in the planning stage, I wrote to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (overseer of all things at YYZ), suggesting that it consider acquiring a dormant ex-Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation. This was CF-TGE. I presented the “Super Connie” as a vibrant piece of aviation history and genuine modern art. The aircraft could be finely restored, then suspended from somewhere up in T-1’s wide-open ceiling vault. Such a display would add hugely to the ambiance in T-1, inspiring millions of travelers yearly. To this day, sadly, I’m still awaiting a reply from the GTAA about my crazy idea. In the meanwhile, the sharp-minded and visionary acquisitions people at Seattle’s Museum of Flight came along and scooped up CF-TGE. That’s where to go today to see this incomparably beautiful airplane appropriately displayed in TCA colours. We wrote about it here and here.

All is not lost, however. Thanks to the GTAA, YYZ does today have a small room that tells (in rotating displays) its story from pre-WWII times to the present. Late in 2015 this included a lovely cabinet set-up by local aviation history aficionado, Carl Mills. Carl spent years researching the history of the Trans-Canada Airlines Canadian-built Lancaster XPPs (sometime known as Lancastrians – the name that the British ascribed to their own civilianized Lancaster).

So … the next time you pass through YYZ T-1, ask any employee for directions to the GTAA history room and take a few minutes to enjoy its many displays. Too bad that you will not be awestruck by a full-size TCA Super Connie, but you will see a very lovely little model of one. Here are two views of Carl’s TCA Lancaster set-up, plus another featuring some of the locally-produced Avro Aircraft of Canada designs – the Jetliner and Avrocar.

No.2 P1100322

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ETSA Comments on Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story + the Ottawa Citizen gives it a nice nod.

A few days ago I was elated to hear from the European Training and Simulation Association about The CAE Story. There couldn’t be a more important such organization in the world, so how encouraging it is to have ETSA’s blessing for the CAE book. ETSA secretary, Steve “Wilkie” Wilkinson,  comments :

“I have just finished reading an absolutely fantastic book written by one of our ETSA Members, Larry Milberry from CANAV Books, entitled Aviation in Canada – The CAE Story.

This recently published authoritative history is packed with facts about the major simulator manufacturer and is enhanced by a wealth of interesting photographs.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the simulator industry, who is keen on aviation, or who just wants a good read! Further details, together with details of how to obtain your own copy are given here.”

For and on behalf of the European Training and Simulation Association,

~ “Wilkie”

Earlier, in the Ottawa Citizen of October 9, business writer David Pugliese gave a welcomed “mention” to our new book:

“CANAV Books has just produced a new volume to its Aviation in Canada series. This one deals with one of Canada’s most successful aviation firms, CAE… This is Volume 7 of the series begun in 2008. Like all Aviation in Canada books, this one is lavishly illustrated with rare photos, both in colour and black and white. It is a whopping 392 pages.

There is lots of inside information … There are even some strange tales from the 1960s such as the deal CAE had to produce a simulator for Jugoslovenski Aerotransport (JAT). The company didn’t have the $1.5 million for its simulator so it paid CAE in canned meat, which was then sold.”

What a treat! To read the full story click here.

CAE: “A great company & a family affair”

Fred von Veh chats at the book launch with C. Douglas Reekie, CAE’s longest-serving CEO (1967-85), who retired in 1995. Fred served many years with Stikeman-Elliot, the law firm which for decades had such a prominent influence on CAE’s affairs.

Fred von Veh chats at the book launch with C. Douglas Reekie, CAE’s longest-serving CEO (1967-85), who retired in 1995. Fred served many years with Stikeman-Elliot, the law firm which for decades had such a prominent influence on CAE’s affairs.

On September 30 CANAV Books officially launched Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. We had the ideal venue — the Royal Canadian Military Institute on University Ave. in downtown Toronto. Gus Corujo, who is the ideal fellow to cover any such aviation event, took most of the photographs, which you can see on his blog gusair.com.

Chris Hadfield with RCMI President, Gil Taylor. It was great having Chris on hand, since he had pioneered with the CAE-developed “3 degrees of freedom” Canadarm hand controller used on the Shuttle and ISS.

Chris Hadfield with RCMI President, Gil Taylor. It was great having Chris on hand, since he had pioneered with the CAE-developed “3 degrees of freedom” Canadarm hand controller used on the Shuttle and ISS.

CANAV supporter Tom Appleton (left) had a long career at de Havilland Canada, where he influenced such key programs as the DHC-5 Buffalo (test and demo pilot, etc.). Tom later was vice-president at Bombardier of that company’s amphibious division and in 2015 was Chairman of the Board at Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. With tom is Dr. Richard Goette, who teaches history at Canadian Forces College and for years has been prominent in the Canadian Aviation Historical Society.

CANAV supporter Tom Appleton (left) had a long career at de Havilland Canada, where he influenced such key programs as the DHC-5 Buffalo (test and demo pilot, etc.). Tom later was vice-president at Bombardier’s amphibious division and in 2015 was Chairman of the Board at Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. With Tom is Dr. Richard Goette, who teaches history at Canadian Forces College and for years has been prominent in the Canadian Aviation Historical Society.

Key family members throwing in their support at the book launch: Milberrys Foster, Owen, Marin, Simon and Amanda with U of T staff alumnus Dr. Jack Pitre in the red sweater.

Key family members throwing in their support at the book launch: Milberrys Foster, Owen, Marin, Simon and Amanda with U of T staff alumnus Dr. (and Grampa) Jack Pitre in the red sweater.

Then, Shannon, Owen and their dad, Simon, taking off a few minutes to catch up on the Blue Jays.

Then, Shannon, Owen and their dad, Simon, taking off a few minutes to catch up on the Blue Jays.

Publisher Milberry (right) with Trent Horne. Fred von Veh and Trent were the Bennett Jones lawyers who kept the publisher from self-destructing as the CAE project came down to the final stretch.

Publisher Milberry (right) with Trent Horne. Fred von Veh and Trent were the Bennett Jones lawyers who kept the publisher from self-destructing as the CAE project came down to the final stretch.

Fans Donald Hall, Lillian Roberts, Sheldon Benner, Gordon Roberts and Chris Hadfield.

Fans Donald Hall, Lillian Roberts, Sheldon Benner, Gordon Roberts and Chris Hadfield.

Early Reaction from Our Readers

There already have been many supportive comments about the CAE book (so far the nitpickers have been keeping a low profile):

Former CAE CEO C. Douglas Reekie observes: “I am impressed with what you have accomplished. You deserve a great deal of credit for undertaking this task and for doing it so well. There should be a medal for you for perseverance.”

Notes Fred Moore, the test pilot who, as a young man, helped CAE salvage the CF-100 flight simulator, when the project was on the brink of collapse, “What an impressive book full of historic detail and a wealth of photos. On top of that, it’s an easy, entertaining read.” Fred is a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

General W.K. “Bill” Carr, DFC, founder of Canadian Forces Air Command, and also “a Hall of Famer”, simply observes, “The book is fantastic!”

Long-serving CAE evaluation pilot, Roy Lefebvre, notes: “Thank you, Larry. I have received my CAE book and can only say that it surpasses my fondest expectations. The quality of the book is exceptional.”

Dave Tait, who joined CAE in 1958 and eventually was a senior vice-president, writes: “You are very well regarded by the Canadian Aerospace Industry, including by a large number of retired CAE employees and much of the present staff. I am pleased that you stayed with your project. Thank you for this valiant effort.”

Robert “Bob” Hodge submits a detailed, almost page-by-page review of the book, which brought back for him a tidal wave of memories. I’m hoping to hear similarly from others, so that small gaffs can be corrected and new history added for any future version of the book. In part, Bob writes: “To me, CAE was the most exciting and interesting place to work from 1965 to 2002. The variety of research and technological developments, plant expansions, etc., going on were seemly endless.”

Here are a few of Bob’s “Memory Lane” observations:

Page 27 … Eileen Jensen in the lower right photo  was the executive secretary to Robert Cooke. She also assisted the telephone operators in the days when you actually spoke to a real person when calling CAE.

Page 32  … In the Resolute Bay photo I see Ken Robinson (far right ). I drove him to and from work for 5 years.

Page 34 … My artwork- CAE plant (since this diagram includes the  first “Elephant House” plant addition, it’s not quite from 1954, but a few years later).

Page 37 … I set up this photo with the plant maintenance guys for our photographer, Ed Birmingham, for that year’s company Christmas card.

Page 40 – I actually flew a Link “Blue Box” and took it to 4 CAE shows.

Page 82 … Robert Kemerer photo … I can’t thank him enough. I owe my CAE career to him.

Pg 91 … the C-141 Starlifter trainer panels became first Illustrating job at CAE. However, the job also brings back some sordid memories.

Page 100 … Byron with my first simulator model based on the motion system built in our model shop by Ziggy Rheul, and Steve Bradford.

Page 109 … Frank Borlace was my manager in Technical Publications before I moved to marketing. Frank was a dear friend and an extremely wise mentor. We  spent many hours playing music on keyboards and synthesizers. I’m the good looking guy in the background.

Page 115 … The F.28 illustration was my rendering. I also created artwork for most of the plaques CAE required.

Page 125 … The two “unknown” fellows here are Brian Welsh (left) and (myself wearing the pink short and bell bottom pants).

Page 161 … Slight error: the L1011 sim used a 6-DOF motion system.

Page 172 … I got to fly a mission on this Huey sim, but made a very hard landing.

Page 181 … I was one of the test subjects for Andy Lippay, while he was doing human engineering for the Canadarm controllers.

Page 182 … In this photo, Jim McLaughlin was a wonderful and powerful baritone. Any time he would break in song, everyone within earshot would stop and listen.

Page 183 … I not only got to meet the astronauts who visited CAE, but got to play with their toys. That’s me in the White Room photo.

Page 186 … This pilot “Morton” impressed me by flying the helicopter with the CAE 3-axis controller without having practiced before Pierre Giroux and I went to the NRC to record the historic moment.

Page 226 … CAE sports: I played fastball with Paul Hamilton, Don Amos and Barry Noonan the last 2 years we had a team in the Montreal Industrial Recreation Association. Later, we started a touch football league, but had to quit after 3 years due to injuries. CAE also had a couple of great bowling leagues under Frank Watts and Jim O’Donnel.

Page 254 … Pierre Giroux and I took these aerial photos from his Cessna with the doors removed and some creative co-operation from ATC at Dorval.

Page 267 … Almost froze to death in Chatham to get these pics with Pierre. The ADATS driver had to leave the hatch open because of exhaust fumes. Same page … the Emirates trainer artwork was done by Ed Tiger. In my books Edwas the most talented tech illustrator.

Page 272 … One long night to get this shot with no actual pilots. In fact, one of the stand-ins was my office clerk.

Page 292 … Aerial shot. Our oldest son, Bradley, worked for CAE for 7 years, including at the Bombardier Training Centre, performing updates and morning ready tests. Our daughter Tara was at CAE in the control systems sector. My wife, Gail, was in accounting before leaving to raise our children. So … CAE was really a family affair, as it was with so many other employees. CAE remains a great company and now it has a great and informative book to tell its story.

What Else Is Up So Far in October?

On October 5 I joined some of CAE’s people for an exclusive tour of the Vintage Wings collection at Gatineau airport near Ottawa. VW CEO, Peter Allen, was our guide, giving a running commentary about each of the aircraft from Tiger Moth to Swordfish, Lysander, Hurricane, Spitfire and Sabre. Later that day I spoke briefly to the CAE contingent, each of whom received a copy of the CAE book.

The CAE people take a break during their meeting in the Vintage Wings library to flip through their copies of “The CAE Story”.

CAE people take a break during their meeting in the Vintage Wings library to flip through their copies of “The CAE Story”.

Peter Allen of Vintage Wings briefs some of his CAE people about the museum’s WWII Fleet Finch trainer.

Peter Allen of Vintage Wings briefs some of his CAE guests about the museum’s WWII Fleet Finch trainer.

Peter’s guests with the airworthy Vintage Wings F-86 Sabre, which Chris Hadfield has been flying since 2008.

Peter’s guests with the airworthy Vintage Wings F-86 Sabre, which Chris Hadfield has been flying since 2008. (CAE Photo)

Peter’s guests with the airworthy Vintage Wings F-86 Sabre, which Chris Hadfield has been flying since 2008.

… On the same trip, I met up with my old book publishing compatriot, John McQuarrie. As sometimes has happened over the decades, we each had a new title out at the same time, so we traded books in the bar in the Hilton Lac Leamy. John’s 2016 book will be a spectacular trans-Canada photographic cavalcade. See magiclightphoto.ca for info about John’s wonderful line of books.

On the same trip, I met up with my old book publishing compatriot, John McQuarrie. As sometimes has happened over the decades, we each had a new title out at the same time, so we traded books in the bar in The Hilton Lac Leamy. John’s 2016 book will be a spectacular trans-Canada photographic cavalcade. See magiclightphoto.ca for info about John’s wonderful line of books.

Next morning Hugh Halliday picked me up for a drive into the Gatineau hinterland, mainly to spend a couple of hours at Kingsmere – the legendary get-away that William Lyon Mackenzie King built for himself back in the early 1900s. Here is a view up to the great man’s abode.

Next morning Hugh Halliday picked me up for a drive into the Gatineau hinterland, mainly to spend a couple of hours at Kingsmere. This national heritage site is the legendary get-away that William Lyon Mackenzie King built for himself back in the early 1900s. Here is a view up to the great man’s abode.

Hugh “among the ruins”, which King collected from demolition sites around Ottawa in the early 20th Century, then reconstituted in the Gatineau Hills.

Hugh “among the ruins”, which King collected from demolition sites around Ottawa in the early 20th Century, then reconstituted in the Gatineau Hills.