Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years — Off to the Races!

Friesen Sign ... It's always great pulling into Altona and being welcomed by the Manitoba-friendly folks at Friesen Printers. (Photos by Larry Milberry)

Friesen Sign ... It's always great pulling into Altona and being welcomed by the Manitoba-friendly folks at Friesen Printers. (Photos by Larry Milberry)

August 4, 2009 was another red-letter day in the annals of CANAV Books. Beginning at 0800 at Friesen Printers in Altona, Manitoba, Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years hit the presses. My job was to be on hand to approve press sheets one sheet at a time before they were run. I’ve been used to this routine since the days of Bryant Press and T.H. Best nearly 30 years ago, when the technology in use was the truly dinosauric 72″ Harris press.

Pre-production of ACFY had begun 3-4 weeks earlier with a lot of pre-press detail work at Friesen — validating all the e-files sent by CANAV, arranging for paper stock, scheduling presses and shifts, eventually making plates, etc. With much of this nailed down, Freisen gave me my “be there, or be square” press date.

A quick meeting in the plant at 0800 involved me, Friesen’s Tom Klassen, plus two pressmen handling today’s job.

Pressman at work ... A Friesen pressman checks a proof during the ACFY job.

Pressman at work ... A Friesen pressman checks a proof during the ACFY job.

Big Press ... It's a "go large or go home" world out in Altona. But not to worry, for Friesen knows the importance of keeping technologically current. Here is some of its advanced equipment ... a huge Roland 900 colour press.

Big Press ... It's a "go large or go home" world out in Altona. But not to worry, for Friesen knows the importance of keeping technologically current. Here is some of its advanced equipment ... a huge Roland 900 colour press.

Friesen Bindery ... A small stretch of Friesen's sprawling book bindery. This equipment was between jobs and just waiting to get rolling.

Friesen Bindery ... A small stretch of Friesen's sprawling book bindery. This equipment was between jobs and just waiting to get rolling.

Friesen Robot ... No surprise that robotics play an important role at Friesen Printers. This Motoman HP165 specializes in picking boxes of books off the end of the bindery and stacking them on pallets for shipment.

Friesen Robot ... No surprise that robotics play an important role at Friesen Printers. This Motoman HP165 specializes in picking boxes of books off the end of the bindery and stacking them on pallets for shipment.

Before long I started looking over press proofs, first the endpapers, the dust jacket, then the “guts” of the book. Soon it was clear that a lovely clean job was in the works. I quickly approved the entire run, confident that ACFY would be as masterly a printing job as had been ACPD, done by Friesen last November.

Having inspected the pressman's proof, the publisher has signed it off "good to go".

Having inspected the pressman's proofs, the publisher signed them off "good to go". Here's some of the finished product: dust jackets and endpapers. "Formative Years" went down the bindery on August 6 and hit the Trans Canada Hwy next day. Everything's on track for the book launch August 13 at the Downsview Legion (Br.527)

 Friesen wall of fame ... Friesen Printers produces thousands of new titles and reprints each year. Down one wall in a corridor the company displays book jackets in a sort of publishers wall of fame. Top left is the cover art for Dan Dempsey's incomparable book, A Tradition of Excellence.

Friesen wall of fame ... Friesen Printers produces thousands of new titles and reprints each year. Down one wall in a corridor the company displays book jackets in a sort of publishers wall of fame. Top left is the cover art for Dan Dempsey's incomparable book, A Tradition of Excellence.

Today’s job ran for 10 hours and resulted in pallets piled high with finished sheets. Friesen once again had wowed me with their professionalism. I was a happy boy when I headed back to Winnipeg to catch WestJet home. In the next two days ACFY would pass through the bindery, hit the Trans Canada on the 8th, then comes distribution to all our solid readers. Hang in there … books within three weeks pretty well where ever you are in North America. Place your advance order here.

Besides all the work at Friesen, I made my usual visit to the Altona airstrip to check out the action. Lovely day that it was, all was quiet. However, there was an eye-catching Rockwell Commander S-2R that I hadn't seen before at Southeast Air Service. C-FPOS "Reno Ripoff" (c/n1777R) looked just fine under Manitoba sun and sky. Sad to say, but time was short and I hadn't a chance to visit Arty's "ag" operation at Winkler, not even Peter Funk's at Morris, en route back to Winnipeg. Oh well, maybe next year.   There can be the odd snag on an outing like this, sometimes one that can really cheese a fellow off. What was it this time? One word -- Budget. To be sure of smooth sailing all the way, I had web-booked a rental with Budget. How smart is that, I figured! Well, not so smart, so renters beware of YWG Budget.

"Reno Ripoff" awaits its next ag contract, which might come with a phone call. Spring, summer and fall each brings its own spray requirements -- maybe blight, maybe bugs, maybe weeds. To get the job done, this hefty "ag truck" gets plenty of oomph from its 600-hp P&W Wasp, although the fuel burn is 45 Imp. gph.

Besides all the work at Friesen, I made my usual visit to the Altona airstrip to check out the action. Lovely day that it was, all was quiet. However, there was an eye-catching Rockwell Commander S-2R that I hadn’t seen before at Southeast Air Service. C-FPOS “Reno Ripoff” (c/n1777R) looked just fine under Manitoba sun and sky. Sad to say, but time was short and I hadn’t a chance to visit Arty’s “ag” operation at Winkler, not even Peter Funk’s at Morris, en route back to Winnipeg. Oh well, maybe next year.

There can be the odd snag on an outing like this, sometimes one that can really cheese a fellow off. What was it this time? One word — Budget. To be sure of smooth sailing all the way, I had web-booked a rental with Budget. How smart is that, I figured! Well, not so smart, so renters beware of YWG Budget.

Budget assigned me a Hyundai with Manitoba plate EYS641. Have a look at this little beauty! Wouldn't you just be happy as all get-out driving this little beauty around to impressed your business associates! Oh well, just ask for something a bit cleaner, right?    Nice try, old boy! Budget's rep was miffed at how picky I was being. If I wanted a replacement, I would have to go back out and inspect it personally, then get the keys since, "At Budget we just can't keep changing contracts for fussy customers." This whole farce took me about an hour to get straight, so three cheers for booking your YWG Budget rental on line. Not!

Here's Budget's latest promotion to pull in the discerning corporate customer: EYS641 awaits at YWG on the afternoon of August 3. Nice, eh!

Budget assigned me a Hyundai with Manitoba plate EYS641. Have a look at this little beauty! Wouldn’t you just be happy as all get-out driving this little beauty around to impress your business associates! Oh well, just ask for something a bit cleaner, right? Nice try, old boy! Budget’s rep was miffed at how picky I was being. If I wanted a replacement, I would have to go back out and inspect it personally, then get the keys since, “At Budget we just can’t keep changing contracts for fussy customers.” This whole farce took me about an hour to get straight, so three cheers for booking your YWG Budget rental on line. Not!

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