Lewie Leigh’s wonderful 1985 autobiography And I Shall Fly. The cover photo shows him and wife, Lin, c1930 with Lewie’s Waco GXE CF-AOI. Then, Lewie’s Waco replacement: 3-seat Command-Aire CF-APQ, in which he barnstormed around Alberta for a few months in 1931. Too bad, but he doesn’t mention anything about his planes’ colour schemes. “APQ” last was heard of around Calgary in 1937.
The early years at CANAV Books were filled with challenge and excitement. A big part of it all was the honour of meeting the leaders of Canadian aviation, then getting to count so many as true friends. All that was 35-40 years ago. Few of these great old pals are still with us, sad to say. Lately, however, I came across an envelope of aging colour negatives labeled, “Lewie Leigh’s Book Launching at Wess McIntosh’s June ‘85”. I had a look and soon was scanning away with a blog item in mind.
Lewis at home in Grimsby c1975.
“Lewie Leigh” was Zebulon Lewis Leigh, born in the UK in 1906, raised on the Canadian prairies and destined for great things in aviation. Having retired from the RCAF in 1956, Group Captain Leigh and Lin settled in Grimsby in the Niagara district, where they enjoyed many years on their hobby farm. In late 1960s Lewie started on his memoir. Eventually, he met Hugh Halliday, a former historian in the RCAF history section, by then teaching at Niagara College. Hugh streamlined Lewie’s manuscript.
One day Lewie called to ask if I would publish his project. I consulted with my literary guru, Robin Brass, who concluded that the manuscript had everything to make a solid book.
Lewie had lived a fantastic life in aviation from early bush flying days to joining newly-formed TCA in 1937 to commanding the RCAF overseas airmail service during WWII. In 1945 the latter evolved into RCAF Air Transport Command, with Lewie as its first commander (not that he is known in today’s RCAF for this fantastic effort). All through his RCAF career, Lewie would battle uphill due to his background as an ordinary airman who had “made good” in an RCAF where none but the graduates of Royal Military College aspired to air rank. Harbouring a bit of resentment about this to the end, Lewie retired as contentedly as possible as a “Groupie”.
In the spring of 1985 Lewie’s wonderful life story, And I Shall Fly, came off the bindery at T.H. Best printing in Toronto. Lewie took 1500 copies, CANAV took 500. I could market my 500 once Lewie’s were sold. This proved to be a good deal. Lewie’s stock soon disappeared in a phenomenal burst of interest. In 1985 he had been Grimsby’s “Man of the Year”, so sales in town were a breeze – the local stationary store sold 700 copies. Meanwhile, Lewie had gotten in touch with good friends in Fort McMurray, where he had flown as a bush pilot in the 1930s. Hill’s drug store there, on which was painted a mural showing Lewie and his old bucket of a Fokker Super Universal circa 1930, sold a further 700. My own stock also disappeared, so we considered our project a grand success. Adding to the fun, in 1989 McGraw Hill- Ryerson of Toronto undertook a 2000 reprint. Lewie’s little $12.95 book had become a blockbuster as far as such Canadian books went at the time (by today’s pitiful standards it would be a mega-success). Although long out of print, And I Shall Fly still can be found. It’s solid “Canadiana” for any sincere aviation reader — the straight goods all the way. There always seem to be copies available on such websites as www.bookfinder.com so why not treat yourself? With that bit of background, here are some of the photos from our book launching 30+ years ago. It was a memorable evening with so many great Canadians present. The captions identify the people about whom I know a bit. Too bad, but our pre-digital photo quality is a bit spotty, but the point here is “content over form”.
Autographs that I collected through the evening at our And I Shall Fly book launch. I did OK, but missed such greats as A/V/M J.L. “Johnny” Plant. Books are fun in so many ways. Naturally, such a one-of-a-kind copy eventually becomes collectable — there still are lots of hardcore aviation bibliophiles around with a passion for the autographed copy. Autograph’s obviously drive up the desirability of a book, but who knew that typos (every decent publisher’s bane) could do the same? Don’t laugh. For the 2018 Boston Book Fair, Oak Knoll Press promoted a 1917 first edition of Parnassus on Wheels. Because of imperfections, Oak Knoll priced this book at US$2500. This is how one of the book’s flaws is described: “First edition … missing “l” from “goldenrod” on page 169, line 11.” That’s a good thing? Yes … to the rabid collector.
Lewie (left) chats at the book launch with his great role model, Johnny Plant. This reminds me of another anecdote. As my first book (Aviation in Canada, 1979) was nearing completion, McGraw Hill- Ryerson asked me to find someone to pen a Foreword. I forget how it happened, but Lewie Leigh agreed to do this, even though I barely knew him. After reading the manuscript, he concluded, “The end product is a well refined story of aviation in a country where the airplane has been prominent for so long.” Thank you for that, Lewie – the book went to 5 printings. A few years later, just before my fourth aviation title (Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924- 1984) was ready for press, I approached Air Marshall (Ret’d) Hugh Campbell for a Foreword. I visited the great man at his home in Ottawa and he agreed to do the job. However, long afterwards I learned a little secret (Lewie spilled the beans one day). A/M Campbell on the sly enlisted his former transport commander, G/C Z.L. Leigh, to do the actual writing. Further down the line, I convinced A/V/M (Ret’d) Plant to write a Foreword for our 1990 book, The Royal Canadian Air Forces at War 1939-1945.
Wesley and Joan McIntosh of Toronto hosted our book launch on June 11, 1985. Here they are in a candid shot with Joan splitting her sides over whatever Wess (left) has just said. Their good pal, Charlie Vaughn, is centre. Wess had his own amazing aviation career, starting in Manitoba pre-WWII. When war broke out in 1939, he became one of the first pilots recruited as an RCAF instructor. He later joined Lewie’s premier 168 Squadron based in Ottawa flying the B-17, B-24, Dakota and Lodestar on airmail duties. Postwar, Wess excelled in civil aviation (famously with Hollinger Ungava Air Transport 1948- 54). In retirement he ferried airplanes all over the world. Wess invited me on one of his final jobs, delivering DC-3 C-GWUG on October 30, 1989 from Kitchener to Kelowna (I got off in Winnipeg where I had some other duties). Wess never met an airplane that he didn’t enjoy. His own well-told story is Permission Granted: Slipping the Surly Bonds of Earth. Charlie Vaughn also excelled as a ferry pilot. His story is Don’t Call Me a Legend. You can (and ought to) have these two top books. Find them easily on the web.
Allan Coggan (left) chats at the book launch with Jack McNulty. Alan flew Dakotas in India-Burma in WWII, put in some postwar time with KLM and HUT, then had a long career in corporate aviation with Algoma Steel of Sault Ste. Marie, where his aircraft included the Beech 18, DC-3 and Gulfstream. Allan penned two books, including his superb memoir of the air war in India-Burma, From Wings Parade to Mandalay (also easily found by googling). Jack McNulty (as any CANAV reader knows) was one of Canada’s most diligent hobbyists chasing airplanes with his cameras. A Hamilton boy and steel worker, Jack encouraged we younger fellows coming up in the 1950s-60s, and always shared his knowledge and photos. Most of his collection resides at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.
Three other Canadian aviation greats at the book launch: Gordon Schwartz, Stu Parmalee and Bob Heaslip. Gordon’s many accomplishments included his early support post WWII of the Toronto Flying Club and his partnership in companies that imported some of Canada’s early Aero Commanders and Lear Jets. Stu spent his early years with RCAF Air Transport Command. One 1970 adventure was captaining the 437 Sqn Yukon that carried some FLQ terrorists from Canada to Havana (these losers eventually were welcomed back by Canada). At this time, Stu was busy bringing Cessna Citations into Canada. Bob Heaslip had a storied RCAF career that included commanding 108 Communications Flight, operating helicopters during the Mid Canada Line construction phase. Recipient of the McKee Trophy, Bob finished his aviation days as a vice- president at De Havilland Canada. For more about these fellows, see Sixty Years and Air Transport in Canada. If you are age 60 or less you may well not have these essential Canadian books. If so, here’s where to shop: Preview attachment Booklist 1 Fall:Winter 2018.pdf
Frank “FEW” Smith and Al Coggan sign copies of And I Shall Fly, as retired TCA pilots Don Patry and Gus Bennett stand by. In the 1980s Frank wrote a detailed history of CALPA(R) – the Canadian Airline Pilots Association (Retired) – but died before it got to press.
K.M. “Ken” Molson talks some history with Frank Russell. Both of these giants of Canadian aviation long since have passed. Ken is in a class of his own in Canadian aviation. From the Montreal Molson’s, Ken studied pre-WWII at the UofT, worked at Victory Aircraft (beginning on the Lysander), then stayed on through the Avro era at Malton to 1959. A dedicated history man, he was the founding curator at Canada’s national aeronautical collection in Ottawa. He authored several books that each reader here should have: Canadian Aircraft since 1909, Pioneering in Canadian Air Transport, and Canada’s National Aviation Museum. Copies usually can be found at bookfinder.com, etc. Ken’s archive resides in Canada’s National Aviation Museum. Frank Russell joined Austin Airways in the 1930s. There he remained, spending most of his career as the company’s chief of maintenance. In his retirement in Grimsby, Frank devoted himself to restoring the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster.
Canadian Aviation Historical Society members George Fuller, Fred Hotson and John Biehler enjoy the book launch evening. From Whitehorse (but a long-time Montrealer), George continues to this day to record Montreal’s earliest aeronautical history, going back to 19th Century ballooning. Having built his own Heath Parasol kit plane as a high-schooler in 1930s Fergus, Ontario, Fred went on to a stellar flying career, including as a WWII Ferry Command pilot (making at least 20 deliveries), bush pilot (a Fairchild Husky man), long-time corporate pilot (DC-3 and Mallard), then demo pilot for de Havilland Canada during its Twin Otter heyday. Fred served the CAHS as national president and authored several renowned books from The De Havilland Canada Story to his award-winning The Bremen to his Grumman Mallard: The Enduring Classic. From Hamilton, John served the RCAF in WWII as a fearless Coastal Command Beaufighter pilot, (254 Sqn) then postwar in accident investigation, before joining Dominion Bridge.
Wardair’s famous captain, Ab Freeman, with Johnny Biehler. In The Max Ward Story Max describes Ab as, “a fine pilot and a meticulous and fair manager of other pilots … a strength for our crews and company”. Johnny’s terrifying wartime service is described in The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945.
James C. “Jim” Floyd (left) with Don “Smoky” Patry. Jim joined Avro Canada early after WWII to become chief designer of the C.102 Jetliner and CF-105 Arrow. Wiki has a good bio for Jim, who was still with us in 2018 at age 104. Jim’s The Avro Canada C.102 Jetliner is one of the most sought-after out-of-print Canadian books. A copy today at US$100 is a bargain.
Mick and Ann Saunders in good spirits at the book launch. Having survived his tour flying Typhoons in WWII (including a horrendous crash), Mick had a distinguished career as a test pilot at de Havilland Canada. Long after retirement, he died in the UK when the Dash 7 that he was test flying went down (Mick’s fellow pilot that day blew it). Mick first took me flying in Otter CF-HXY on June 12, 1961 (my first takeoff in a float plane). I scrounged another ride with him in “HXY” on August 31. Later, he took me along in Caribou “LAN” (August 30, 1962) and Beaver “GYR” (June 15, 1963). All the DHC pilots were keen to encourage any schoolboy showing an interest in aviation. Without this sort of support, most of us would never have been heard of anywhere in aviation.
Equipped with copies of And I Shall Fly and The De Havilland Canada Story, the great Archie Vanhee (1909-2009) chats with Mick Saunders. Frank Russell and Johnny Biehler are behind. Having learned to fly at Cartierville on the JN-4 in the 1920s, Archie had a storied career as a pioneer bush pilot, then as CO of a Canso anti-submarine squadron in WWII. With CPA in 1949, he co-captained the first CPA Canadair C-4 flight into Shanghai just as Mao’s forces were overrunning the city’s suburbs. In later years, Archie flew Field Aviation’s ice patrol DC-4s in the Arctic, flew for his good pal Carl Millard, then finished his flying days as a Twin Otter captain with Austin Airways. Archie is covered in such books as The Canadair North Star and Austin Airways: Canada’s Oldest Airline. By googling you can find Archie’s detailed obit.
Des Chorley, myself, aviation enthusiast and Air Canada tech Dave Thompson, and Jack McNulty. Des had been an RCAF CF-100 pilot, then made a bit of a living in aviation journalism. Any Chorley story could be counted on for high interest and accuracy. For one journalistic assignment, Des became the first Canadian civilian cleared by the Pentagon to fly on a SAC B-52 mission.
Gus Bennett and Harry Holland of TCA fame chat with W.H.D. “Wild Bill” Meaden, DFC. Gus had spent his war teaching flying, then joined TCA. He retired in 1979 as Air Canada’s 747 chief pilot. During the war, Harry had flown Halifax bombers, while Billy was a Lancaster man. Their stories are included in such books as The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945 and Aviation in Canada: Bombing and Coastal Operations Overseas 1939-1945. Most such wartime pilots had exciting tales to relate. In one case, Harry carried a bomb home that, dropped from above, imbedded itself in his Halifax’s wing. Another time, he saved the day at Toronto’s Malton airport, when an engine on his TCA Viscount tore itself from the wing. Out of options, Harry crash-landed. Billy often had returned from operations with his Lancaster peppered by flak. One night his “Lanc” was attacked by a Ju.88, but his sharp tail gunner shot it down. A few missions later, however, the same young man died when he unthinkingly walked into a whirling propeller.
Canadian Aviation Historical Society stalwarts Sheldon Benner and M.L. “Mac” McIntyre. To this day, Sheldon does valuable work for the CAHS “National” and the CAHS Toronto chapter. Few have served the CAHS so faithfully. A superb aircraft mechanic, Mac was especially famous for his wood-working skills. He contributed to various replicas and restorations, including George Neal’s Sopwith Pup, Hawker Hind and Gypsy Moth CF-AAA, all of which reside today in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. In the 1960s, Mac’s efforts were invaluable, when a historic Curtiss HS-2L flying boat was being salvaged from a northern lake. This aircraft also may be seen at the CASM.
Geologist George Werniuk with Dave Thompson and Milberry sons Matt (behind) and Simon. Matt went on to a career in software development, while Simon is a ReMax agent.
George Werniuk and Des Chorley. The always-congenial artist Robert Finlayson (right) completed several CANAV Books aviation commissions.
Having begun as an RCAF Spitfire pilot, Ray Munro was invalided home after a crash. Postwar, he had many interests. He avidly collected stamps, coins and medals, parachuted at the North Pole, flew his own aerobatic plane, was the doorman at a ritzy downtown Toronto restaurant, formed an exclusive club into which he inducted a few select pals, and laid the groundwork for what today is Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. In honour of his best friend (Lewie Leigh) Ray had licence plate “ZEB 2” on his Mercedes sports car, and even changed his name (legally) to Raymond Zebulon Munro. Yes … Ray was an eccentric, but the world needs a few, right. Ray’s book is The Sky’s No Limit. We used to tease him about how 23 of the book’s 26 photos were of himself, one of the other three being of his twin brother!
Book editor and graphics guru, Robin Brass, with Lewie at a slightly later event. CANAV could never have gone far without Robin’s creative input. Then, Lewie and I. Having moved into a senior’s residence in the early 1990s, Lewie died of Alzheimer’s on December 22, 1996.
The great Z.L. Leigh’s obituary.
Brilliant Gift Giving Ideas
Christmas a.k.a. the Holiday Season is upon us. You’ll be needing some special gifts for your aviation pals and relatives (of course you will, right!). What better gift than a world-class aviation book from CANAV? Here are two of this year’s A-1 choices. You can order right here on the blog homepage.
Interesting photos crop up every day as I cull through filing cabinets and boxes. These two are worth an airing after so many years being squirreled away. First is a photo taken about 1985 at some gathering of TCA North Star pilots to which I was invited. Could have been something to do with my book about the old North Star, since a lot of these fellow had contributed. In the back row are Ron “RAC” Dennis, John Higham, Don Lamont, Lyle Greenlaw, myself, Don Lowry, Don Mclean, Gus Bennett and Glen Cawker. In front are Gerry Lloyd, Art Bush, Bob Penrose and H.P. “Harry” Clarke. If “FEW” Smith’s manuscript ever comes to light, we’ll know quite a bit about this bunch of great Canadians, most of whom have since passed.
This “group of four” was taken in the main passenger terminal at YUL Dorval c1982, just about the time I published The Canadair North Star. The great lady here is Beth Buchanan, who was so supportive while I was researching North Star history. For decades, she had been TCA president, G.R. McGregor’s, executive assistant and had ghost written his book, The Adolescence of an Airline (1970). In this era Air Canada maintained a magnificent corporate library and archive at company HQ – 1 Place Ville Marie in downtown Montreal. In her later years, Beth oversaw these priceless Air Canada assets. Beth encouraged my efforts, making sure (for example) that I had Air Canada passes to get back and forth between Toronto and Montreal. When the book came out, she arranged a book launching lunch at Dorval. Many TCA old timers attended; so did Air Canada president Claude Taylor (those were the days when top executives in aviation actually had in-depth knowledge of and respect for Canada’s aviation heritage, so were not too “important” for such an event). Here is Beth with Air Canada PR man, Harold Dondenay (left), the great Don McVicar and I. This event had something to do with the plaque behind us honouring Ferry Command, where Don had played such a key wartime role. Don later operated World Wide Airways, a major Dorval-based DEW Line contractor with C-46s and DC-3s. Later, WWA had Super Constellations doing trans-Atlantic passenger charters, before folding in the mid-1960s. In his retirement, Don wrote some of the best “I was there” books about Canadian aviation. Several were published by prestigious Airlife of the UK – North Atlantic Cat, Ferry Command, More than a Pilot, etc. All are well worth tracking down. Don later published other books, including a rare history of Dorval Airport. Don died in 1997. His wake at the Dorval Canadian Legion was one of the more colourful aviation events of the year. Rarely have there been so many Canadian aviation “characters” in one place having such a good time. Years ago Don was nominated for membership in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. He’s still not inducted, so people need to have another go at the process. For more about Don see donmcvicar.com as well as rafferrycommand.com/capt-don-mcvicar. Ref. the Air Canada library and archives. About this time (1982) the corporate bean counters in Canada were taking charge of day-to-day affairs and there was great joy being taken by them in “saving” money. What ensued was a diabolical wave that swept the country whereby the bean counters convinced corporate boards that libraries and archives were a waste of money. Within a few years most major Canadian corporations had shut their libraries and archives. To Beth Buchanan’s horror, this happened at Air Canada just as I was finishing my North Star research. One week there were notices placed around Place Ville Marie announcing that employees wanting free books could visit the Air Canada library and help themselves. Within days one of the Canada’s finest corporate libraries simply walked out the door to be scattered forever in a flash. Happily, most of Air Canada’s archive (photos and movie film included) was shipped to the national aviation museum in Ottawa. There it sits to this day largely still unavailable for researchers. However, at least it didn’t go to the dump, as did the archives of other companies in this period. Aren’t bean counters a breed unto themselves, and where was that highly-touted genius of Canada’s boards of directors when it was needed?
Annual Beechcraft Fly-In … This year’s famous Beechcraft fly-in in Tennessee was a huge success, a fantastic event from biplanes to Starships (I had no idea that any Starships remained airworthy). Take a look: Starships, Bonanzas, Staggerwings and more flock to Beech Party Also, you can scroll back here (or search for) our detailed Canadian Beech Bonanza blog item.
CANAV’s 2018 Highlight! On October 4, 2018, CANAV Books launched Vol.8 of its “Aviation in Canada” series – Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939. That pushes our series beyond 2000 pages and thousands of photos. This year’s event was held at Toronto’s historic Royal Canadian Military Institute.
Fighter Pilots and Observers was decades in the making, then a push was made in the last three years. With Hugh Halliday turning up historic files and photos in Ottawa’s various archives, proof reading, etc., me piecing together all our raw material, and Linda Irvine doing the precision layout, the project finally came together and went to the printer in August.
Fighter Pilots and Observers is the first CANAV project where I did not visit the printer to do press proofs. Technology has made these visits optional. That said, it always was an adventure visiting Friesen Printers in Altona in southern Manitoba (see earlier blog items). So, with some trepidation I sat in Toronto receiving notice of this last- minute change and that by email from Altona. This turned out to be a serviceable process.
On October 2 my warehouser reported that I had two pallets of books just arrived from the west. From that moment, it was onward in a bit of a panic to the book launch two days later (we little publishers live on the edge). Those who joined us at the RCMI were CANAV fans and supporters having the right stuff (loyalty comes to mind). Three great Canadians in their 90s even showed up, having come down to the RCMI by public transit.
Consulting RCMI catering (such professional people), I had ordered food for 75. This panned out to a “T”, for by the time our 5- hour gig was done, the last treat from the kitchen had disappeared. In the end we all had a super time. Through the afternoon, the inimitable Gus Corujo was our event photographer and here is a selection from his camera:
What a super job, Gus, so thank you again for your contribution. And … thanks once again to all who supported our project over the years.
Early Reader Reaction
So far our readers are pleased with what they’ve seen of Fighter Pilots and Observers. One long-time bibliophile sums up the book in 3 words: “Rich, nutritious, satisfying.” Another old hand writes: “Yours is the most amazing treatment of Canadian fighter pilots in World War I ever and people will thank you for the photographic research and the captions for years to come. What a great Christmas present it will make.” A hardcore aviation bibliophileand CANAV fan adds: “Thank you very much for your efforts to capture and chronicle Canadian aviation. Your latest book arrived over the weekend … There’s something to be said for opening a package and breathing in a newly printed book. It brings a nectar of excitement. I thumbed through it and you have a wide array of great photos and the stories you’ve captured are outstanding.” Finally for today, Bill Wheeler, who edited the Journal of the Canadian Aviation Society for more than 40 years, writes: “The text is comprehensive and flows as would be expected of two such knowledgeable and accomplished authors. Although weighty, their book that is hard to put down.”
New Booklist: Fall/Winter 2018/19
CANAV Readers … Here’s your copy of this season’s CANAV choice of the best in aviation books. If you’re looking for some top reading or for a gift for some special aviation fan, you can’t have a handier solution than right here. Besides … doesn’t a good book still make the best, most thoughtful present?
Walter Eichhorn taxis Cornell CF-EHH at Toronto Island Airport on November 20, 1960. With him is his wife-to- be, Liesel. (photos by Larry Milberry) One of aviation’s well known warbird and airshow personalities is Walter Eichhorn. Born in Germany in 1936, Walter emigrated to Canada in 1955. As a truck mechanic for Loblaws his wages were skimpy, but he saved enough to pay for flying lessons at Central Airways on Toronto Island Airport. Then, to build hours, he bought Cornell CF-EHH for $1000. That’s when I bumped into him one day, while I was photographing at the island. Coincidentally, during my Air Cadet days I had acquired a set of Cornell pilot notes. Walter was keen about these and I was happy to do a trade in exchange for a flight. So it was that on November 20, 1960 I had my first Cornell ride. It was cloudy and a bit windy, but we flew over to Kitchener, where I photographed some interesting planes before we headed home. Walter soon stepped up to $2000 Harvard CF-MTW. Suddenly, however, he was called by Lufthansa, where he had applied for work. He sold “MTW” for $1500 and returned to Germany to begin a career flying airliners starting on the Convair 440, ending on the 747-200. Along the way he also excelled at his sport parachuting hobby, leading the West German national team to some firsts at home, also competing at the world level. Meanwhile, he was moving up on the warbird scene. Eventually, he flew Bf.109s at the Willy Messerschmitt Museum at Manching, and appeared in such big screen movies as “Valkyrie” with Tom Cruise, and in the classic television series “A Piece of Cake”. Over the years he also flew a Ju.52, including on a North American tour. Meanwhile, Walter and his son, Tony, became well- known flying matching Harvards at airshows around Europe.
Walter flies a “109” (red nose) during the shooting of “A Piece of Cake” in the 1980s. These were former Spanish air force planes powered by Merlin engines.
The renowned Willie Messerschmitt Museum at Manching near Ingolstadt, Germany. Then, Walter in the cockpit of museum Bf.109 “Friedrich Karl Muller” in October 2002.
In October 2002 I met Walter at Manching, Germany during a visit to the EADS Eurofighter factory and test flying facility. My visit had been organized by Billie Flynn, former CO of 441 Sqn, but by this time Eurofighter test pilot. I’m not sure how this happened, but EADS learned that Walter and I knew each other. On October 10 Walter flew in from Frankfurt. Bf.109G-10 D-FNME was ready for him and I was driven to mid-field. Soon, Walter was putting on a fantastic “109” display, followed by Billy Flynn showing off one of the prototype Eurofighters.
Walter taxis the G-10 at Manching. Then, he and I on the ramp.
Billie Flynn (in the cockpit) ready for a test flight in Eurofighter prototype No.5. In 2018 Billie was at Lockheed Martin flying the F-35.
In June 2, 2005, when Walter was flying a Bf.109 at Ed Russell’s strip in Niagara, I got to fly again with him and fellow warbird pilots John Romain and Alan Walker in Ed’s Harvard. It was a great day shooting air-to-airs of the “109”, Hurricane and Spitfire:
Walter fires up Ed Russell’s Bf.109E C- GIPB, then goes flying. Having fought in the Battle of Britain, this “109” now resides at historic Biggin Hill airfield near London.
More recently, Walter and I have visited during one of his annual trips to Canada. He almost got to our 2018 book launching at the RCMI, but a delayed flight made him an hour too late. Two days later, however, we got together for a visit to the Canadian Warplane Heritage at Mount Hope.
Walter with Leon Evans and Dave Rohrer (CWH President and CEO). Leon and Dave fly the CWH Lancaster. Next, Walter and I on the hangar floor, and him sizing up the (very tight) CF-100 cockpit.
For nostalgia’s sake, I got Walter to pose by a CWH Cornell.
In 2016 Walter’s life in aviation was published (in German). This is a very neat example of the genre “aviator’s personal stories”. It’s packed with solid history and beautifully designed with many colour photos. Any airman contemplating a book would be smart to use Walter’s book as a model. Copies can be ordered from firstname.lastname@example.org . Walter’s latest honour came in 2018, when he was inducted into “The Living Legends of Aviation” at a gala event in Salzburg, Austria.
North Star Update: CF-TEL Ends Badly
As serious authors know, no sooner is any history book in print than information arises that just missed publication. “C’est la vie, c’est la guerre”, as we say, and so goes the history process. However, not everyone gets this. My files include many letters from sorehead readers complaining bitterly about my supposed sins of omission, such as, “Why did you not include my own great deeds of aviating prowess? Your book isn’t worth a nickel.” So it has gone regarding the history of the Canadair North Star, ever since CANAV’s book about this famous propliner was published in 1982 (you can scroll back to see that interesting story on the blog). News items re- surfaced lately about the disastrous arrival on that August 12, 1948 at Sydney, Nova Scotia of TCA North Star CF- TEL. My book briefly mentions this on p.46, but here is a more detailed report from the Globe and Mail of August 13. Such old reports open any reader’s eyes to the high standards of newspaper writing in former decades. Look at all the personal (and meaningful) data and the sense of excitement and imminent doom that the reporter created. All such info then was considered essential to good reporting. Also, by today’s lame newspaper standards, the reporting is quite politically incorrect, e.g., imagine a reporter today referring to a stewardess as “attractive”. Horror of horrors!
The ill-fated CF-TEL that crashed on landing at Sydney, Nova Scotia on August 12, 1948. (CANAV Books Col.)
(2 items below) A front-page spread from the Globe and Mail a day after the Sydney disaster. Then a photo of what was left after CF-TEL had burned out. All aboard were saved by the cabin crew reacting instantly and professionally.
To show how (ages before the internet) news could spread within minutes across Canada, this is how the Regina Leader-Post covered the story on the very day of the crash. The event must have been hugely traumatic for all aboard, but in 1948 the impact on survivors’ lives rarely was reported upon. Notice the quality of the reporting – good, straight news vs today’s all-too-routine fake daily news:
A Trans-Canada Air Lines stewardess calmly led 11 passengers to safety early from a flaming four-engine North Star aircraft. The five other crew members also escaped uninjured when the big trans-ocean plane burned after touching down at the nearby reserve airport at 1:45 am MDT. Miss Rita A. Meyers, a native of Kitchener, Ont., led the passengers to the emergency exit as flames licked at the opposite side of the aircraft. Purser-steward Jack Triggs of Montreal stood on the ground and caught the passengers as they leaped 15 feet to the ground. The collapsible ladder used to descend from the exit would not work. The pilot was Doug Holland of Montreal.
Trans-Canada Air Lines issued the following statement: “En route flight 210, destined for Prestwick, the aircraft made a normal approach for landing, and it is thought that the right wheel struck a mound of earth approximately 20 feet from the end of the runway. Ditching is being carried out all along the end of the runway. Impact of the wheel striking the mound split a gas tank and, as the plane landed, gasoline was running out of the tank along the runway. After landing the right wing caught fire." Members of the crew, besides Triggs, Holland and Miss Meyer were: Flying Officer Bob Penrose, Navigating Officer Gil Evands and Radio Officer Bob Wright all from Montreal. Another North Star from Montreal was used to continue the flight to Scotland, but first, the passengers were issued with new clothing, passports and luggage. Everything aboard the aircraft was lost. We have no other information regarding this incident.”
Tom Wheler, DFC, Passes On
One of Canada’s last wartime Spitfire pilots, Thomas Wheler, DFC, died in Toronto on October 12, 2018. His funeral in Scarborough, Ontario was a standing-room-only affair with such great Canadians in the pews as LGen Richard Rohmer, Honourary Lieutenant General of the RCAF. Tom was a solid supporter of my efforts over the decades. Here is some story material that I put together about him for CANAV’s 1990 title, Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945.
F/L Tommy Wheler while gunnery flight lead with the Sabre OTU at RCAF Station Chatham in 1952. Later, Tom flew in NATO with 444 Squadron. A man of many accomplishments, he was a very fine artist using several media. At 444 he designed the squadron’s famous cobra emblem that distinguished the “Triple Four” Sabres for years in the RCAF Air Division. (DND)
On October 14, 2012 several of us were awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in an Air Force Association of Canada ceremony at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. In this photo that day are myself, LGen (ret’d) Lloyd Campbell, Senator Joseph Day (presenter), Eric G. Smith, DFC and Tommy Wheler, DFC. (Dean Black)
Museum Activity Around the Country
Recently, there have been some major acquisitions by Canada’s aviation museums and other institutions where aviation history and heritage are paramount. A few weeks ago Canadian-built Lancaster FM104 was shipped from Ontario to join the BC Aviation museum in Sidney, near Victoria. Title to FM104 was held by the City of Toronto. However, FM104’s future had been in limbo for decades. I was happy to support the BC effort to acquire it for restoration. I wrote twice to Toronto historical bureaus, expressing my views. In the end, I was pleased to hear that FM104 was going west. The simple reason is that BC to date had no Lancaster, yet enjoyed an important legacy of Lancaster operations with 407 Squadron from Comox in postwar years. As we know, the rest of Canada has its Lancasters, including (in Ontario, alone) in Ottawa, Trenton, Hamilton and Windsor. Now, an important gap has been filled in BC’s aviation heritage.
Earlier this month the Alberta Aviation Museum acquired an original 1918 Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny”, the type on which hundreds of young men trained with the Royal Flying Corps (Canada) in Southern Ontario during WWI. Then, this week the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alberta acquired a beautiful example of the Cessna T-50 Crane, one of the key light twin aircraft used in WWII by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Here is some background info about the T-50: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/cessna-crane-nanton-museum-transport-1.4871735.
Here is the news about ENA at St-Hubert recently acquiring one of the CSeries prototypes. This is just as important in the long run as adding some ancient airplane like the JN-4. Imagine if back in the mid-1950s people had had the same fervour for Canada’s aviation accomplishments? If so, the Avro Jetliner could have been saved. So good on those “movers and shakers” at ENA who have saved this important CSeries prototype. Here’s the (abridged) Bombardier press release about the ENA CSeries:
On Oct.17, 2018 a CSeries landed for the first time at the St-Hubert airport, where it was handed over by Bombardier to the École nationale d’aérotechnique (ÉNA). This is the 38th aircraft to join the ÉNA’s static fleet, which already includes two Learjets and Challengers donated by from Bombardier. Hundreds of students welcomed the CSeries in an event attended by professors, staff and representatives from Bombardier and Airbus. The CS100 will create new training opportunities across the fields of avionics, maintenance and aerospace engineering, giving Québec students access to the most advanced technology in commercial aviation. Over the next few months ÉNA professors will study the unique features of the CSeries to determine how best to integrate this aircraft into their syllabi. “Building strong partnerships with local teaching institutions is key to develop the next generation of aerospace professionals,” said Alain Bellemare, president and Bombardier Inc. CEO. “The C Series integrates ground-breaking technologies and Canadian know- how into the world’s most innovative commercial aircraft. By donating a CSeries to ÉNA, we hope to inspire a growing number of Québec students to consider exciting careers in the aerospace industry.” As the third Flight Test Vehicle in the CSeries program, “FTV3 accumulated some 1,400 flight hours. It was mainly used for avionics and electrical tests as well as for community noise testing. “To be the first and possibly only school in the world to receive such an immense gift from our partner, Bombardier, positions our school as the best in the world,” said Sylvain Lambert, director of the ÉNA. “The public will be able to visit and experience our CSeries aircraft and our school at our Open House on November 11.” Last year, Bombardier donated a CRJ100 to the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and a Learjet 60 business jet to ÉNA. In June, it announced multi-million dollar contributions to the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research Consortium (DAIR) to establish an aerospace hub in Toronto. Bombardier also provides hundreds of internships annually to students across engineering, finance, IT, marketing, production, supply chain management and other disciplines.
To all CANAV readers … Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 now is printed and bound. We’re launching tomorrow (October 4) at the Royal Canadian Military Institute, 426 University Ave. in Toronto. Solid Canadian history from start to finish, this authoritative book revives a key theme in Canada’s aviation heritage in a landmark year – the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War. This is Canada’s only major title in print covering the nation’s pioneers of aerial combat. It honours the men, the aircraft and the organizations, detailing in a fresh light the incredible story from training in Canada as early as 1914, to the deadly skies over the Western Front, Italy and wherever else the men were needed. The story continues after 1918, covering the many roles played by Canada’s wartime aviators through the interwar years – how the role of the fighter pilot and observer waned at first, then gradually was revived, initially with the Siskin and Atlas, finally — on the eve of war — with the Hurricane, etc. Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 is 184 pages, extra-large format (9×12 inches), hardcover, beautifully designed and produced with a spectacular collection of 350 photographs. There’s never been anything like it in Canadian aviation book publishing. Having seen our previous volumes in the series, you’ll know what to expect. Sticker price? $50.00. Delivered anywhere in Canada $67.20 all-in price. Drop me an email if you’d like a copy. Cheers … Larry (email@example.com)
Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story ORDER your copy today straight from our blog home page. This spectacular title is the world’s most beautifully-produced aerospace corporate history. With its in-depth, authoritative treatment, The CAE Story is world class all the way. Ideal for any serious aviation reader and what a knock-out of a gift book!
CAE announced on Oct. 16, 2018, at the 2018 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention & Exhibition the expansion of its business aviation training footprint at its CAE Dallas training centre with the addition of a CAE-built Bombardier Challenger 604 full-flight simulator (FFS).
“We are excited to expand our training footprint in North America with our first Bombardier Challenger 604 training program in the United States, now available for training at CAE Dallas,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s group president, Civil Aviation Training Solutions.
“This latest addition complements our Bombardier offering and we are glad to build on our partnership with Bombardier as its authorized training provider.”
The Bombardier Challenger 604 FFS was delivered to the CAE Dallas training centre in Texas earlier this fall and is now ready for training. In addition to CAE Dallas, Bombardier Challenger 604 training programs are available at CAE Amsterdam and CAE Dubai.
CAE-USA Renews Historic USAF C-130H Training Contract
Many exotic aspects of Canada’s CAE Inc are covered in Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, including the company’s wide-ranging USA ventures. In the late 1950s, for example, CAE had a California subsidiary (Calmont) involved in missile guidance systems and chemical fuel cells. In another case, in 1964 CAE won its largest contract to date — to produce a complex set of educational visuals needed in training technicians on every system of the forthcoming Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. Since those times some 60 years ago, CAE has had constant involvement “south of the border”. A huge amount of business is done there today, chiefly under the oversight of CAE USA, headquartered in Tampa. This week news came of a huge CAE contract renewal regarding an age-old contract to train flight and technical crew on the C-130H Hercules. This originally was conducted by Link of Binghamton, NY, but since CAE acquired Link in 1988, this work has been under the CAE banner. Daniel Cebul filed this story on September 26, 2018:
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has awarded CAE USA a contract to provide training services for C-130H aircrew, according to a Sept. 26 service announcement. The potential eight-year contract is valued at nearly $200 million and will begin Oct. 1. It comes with a one-year base period and seven additional option years. The company was a subcontractor on the training program for almost 20 years. “[W]inning the C-130 Aircrew Training System program to support the United States Air Force is a significant achievement and further testament to CAE’s experience as the world’s leading provider of training systems and services for the enduring C-130 Hercules aircraft,” said Ray Duquette, the general manager and president of CAE USA. Replacing Lockheed Martin as the prime contractor, CAE will be responsible for providing classroom and simulator instruction, training device modifications and upgrades, systems engineering support, program management, contract logistics support, and management of the C-130H Training Systems Support Center at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. The formal training unit for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard C-130H training is based at Little Rock AFB, but is also provided at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Minneapolis Air National Guard Base, Minnesota; and Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. Each year, more than 11,000 crew members from the U.S. Air Force, other U.S. military services and over 30 other countries are trained under the C-130H ATS program.
Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story is the most detailed and beautifully-produced aerospace company history. It’s a tribute to Canada’s longest-surviving aerospace company and the one that probably has had the widest involvement in aviation, from manufacturing flight simulators, to overhauling and manufacturing airplanes, to running its own airline, etc., on to being in automotive, forestry, medical training, space technology, power plant control systems, on and on. Today, CAE holds the lion’s share of commercial flight simulator development and sales, and ever operates flying schools around the world. Once you get your hands on this fantastic book, you’ll see what I mean. Cheers … Larry
Toronto Air Show 2018
This weekend saw the 2018 edition of the Canadian International Air Show. Take a look here at Gus Corujo’s wonderful photographic coverage of all the activty — the people and the planes:
In case you’re an aviation fan just arrived from Mars, I’d like to let you know about one of Canada’s most dedicated aviation hobby photographers – the late Leslie Corness of Edmonton. “Les”, his father and brothers all avidly followed the exciting aviation scene around Edmonton from the 1930s. For Les, especially, it all became a passion. If you search here for Leslie Corness Collection Keeps on Inspiring you can see one of my earlier blog items that gives you the quick course about the man.
If you are remotely interested in Canada’s great aviation heritage, generally follow old airplanes, or, are a keen “propliner” fan, you’ll want this book (160 pages, 350 b/w &
colour photos, large format, softcover, quality throughout). Current price for Canada is $25.00 (regular price $40.00) + $14.00 for shipping + tax $1.95 TOTAL CDN$40.95 for your
author-autographed copy. Outside Canada CDN$50.00 all-in. Mail your payment to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4E3B6, or pay via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now … on to some more of Les Corness’ wonderful photographs that you haven’t seen before. A “mixed bag”, these were taken around Edmonton — Les’ local “stomping grounds”.
There always were bush planes of one type or another at Edmonton. Les wouldn’t pass up shooting a one of them — even on a bone chilling winter’s day. His subject here is one of Canada’s own Fairchild 82s. CF-AXQ had been delivered in 1939 to Mackenzie Air Service, which later merged into CPA. “AXQ” was sold by CPA in 1946 to Waite Fisheries in Northern Saskatchewan. There it crashed on January 28, 1947. The beloved “82” first had flown at Longueuil near Montreal on July 6, 1935. Twenty-four were built, including examples for Mexico and Argentina. Further sales were squelched by the rise of the Norseman. C. R. “Charlie” Robinson, one of Canada’s great bush pilots from the 1930- 50s, dedicated the first two stanzas of his “Ballad of a Bush Pilot” to the”82”: In days gone by I used to fly A Fairchild Eighty-Two, And was it fair or stormy air We’d always muddled through. For hours I’d sit upon the bit Of Kapok-padded seat, My knees tucked in underneath my chin In comfort hard to beat! The instruments, the cowling dents, The grease spots on the glass, I still recall them one and all As through the years I pass. I see also, in passing show, The day my motor quit; While taking off, it gave a cough. There was no place to sit But in the trees; and I said “Please Don’t fail me now, old chum!” With groan and crack she broke her back, But I just cut my thumb! My head I felt, undid my belt, And said with logic true: “Two motors would, if they were good, Have carried us on through Things happen strange, and courses change, And soon there came a day, In Sioux Lookout, when I took out A Beechcraft “Eighteen A” … You can see a beautiful “82” (CF-AXL) in Ottawa at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.
From the 1920s, airplanes passed through Edmonton almost daily (weather permitting). As a rule, they were en route to or returning from points north, especially the Mackenzie River Valley, Yukon and Alaska. Then, in the 1950s Edmonton became a hub for DEW Line re-supply. Les would have been ecstatic about seeing this ancient Sikorsky S-39 amphibian (NC806W) likely on the Alaska run. There’s no date, but I’m guessing 1940s (I can’t find many particulars for NC806W).
Through the 1950s Les photographed hundreds of aircraft plying the northern airways. Normally, these stopped for fuel or to collect freight for the DEW Line, etc. Every day seemed to bring some fascinating visitor to photograph. Here, it was a massive USAF C-124A Globemaster II. 50-109 may have been northbound for a DEW Line site, headed for Alaska on a military support mission, or maybe was on the way to Haneda, Japan via the Aleutians on Korean War duties. 50-109 served usefully into 1969, then went to the Arizona desert for scrapping.
There was so much going on in Edmonton after the war. One notable project saw Leigh Brintnell’s Northwest Industries Ltd. produce the Bellanca 31- 55 Skyrocket, an improved edition of the great Pacemaker of the late 1920s. As were others in Canada, Brintnell was convinced that operators would be rushing to re-equip, following the war, during which few had been able to obtain new aircraft. The first NWI Skyrocket flew on February 28, 1946. However, sales did not pan out. For one thing, operators could purchase cheap war surplus Norsemans. Then, in 1947 De Havilland Canada introduced the modern and affordable Beaver. Only 13 NWI Skyrockets were built, but they gave good service. When I visited it in Fort William in 1961, Superior Airways still was operating Skyrocket CF-DCH.
The airplanes of the 1930s – 40s certainly were durable. The Barkley-Grow light twin was introduced in Canada in 1939 with Yukon Southern Air Transport. Along with other operators, YSAT merged early in WWII into CPA, in which markings Les frequently saw CF-BLV. “BLV” remained in Edmonton when acquired by Associated Airways in 1951, also when Associated was absorbed by PWA in 1956. Sadly, it came to a harsh end in a January 12, 1960 crash at Peace River, Alberta. This is about the best basic angle for shooting a Barkley-Grow, Beech 18, any Lockheed twin, DC-3, or most “tail draggers”. Airplane hobby photographers understand such fundamentals.
Les photographed any DC-3 that he spotted, be it static on the tarmac, taxiing or in flight. Action shots, however, were not the breeze they are today, due to slow shutter speeds and low film ASA ratings. Few of Les’ landing or take-off shots are “spot on”. Les had several favourite vantage points around Edmonton airport. Quite a few RCAF aircraft were shot from a certain spot, maybe an upstairs window at 418 Squadron, where he served in the 1950s. Parked handily for his lens this day was a beautifully-attired RCAF Dakota. KG808 had many RCAF assignments, eventually being re-numbered “12947”. Retired in 1971, it was sold in the US, where today it’s in Knoxville, Tennessee as N982Z. Check out “Cincinnati Magazine” to see what sort of work this ancient ex-RCAF Dakota is doing (you can see by such research why we hobby photographers and writers just love what we do): http://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/features/high-flying-martha- lunken
Les’ affiliation with Air Cadets during the war, then with 418 Squadron, opened some important doors. In this case, he was flying in a 418 Mitchell, so was able to grab some candid snapshots of formating Expeditor HB105. In 1968 HB105 became N6694 with Priority Air Transport in California, but soon was sold to Hamilton Aircraft of Tucson. There it was cannibalized for useful parts needed in manufacturing Hamilton’s line of modernized Beech 18s.
Immediately after the war, the RCAF began an on-going effort to examine the impact of severe winter weather on its men and equipment. “Winter Experimental Establishment” was set up in Edmonton to do the R&D (see Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984). Projects were conducted at such locations at Namao, Fort Nelson, Cold Lake and Churchill, and the fleet of aircraft was amazingly varied, even including Halifax bomber RG814. I like this shot and can guess what was happening. Les has slipped under the rope at this Edmonton airshow setting to grab his photo. Some people nearby are watching in surprise, and the cop down the line is heading over to chastise Les. The result? A bit on the wonky photo, but by 2018 an important scene in its own right.
In 1953 Trans-Canada Air Lines, experiencing a rise of postwar air cargo business, acquired several Bristol Freighters. These operated a cross-Canada service, but proved to be too slow and short of range. Instead, TCA converted some of its North Stars for cargo, and the Bristols were sold. With such northern operators as Associated, Maritime Central, PWA, Transair and Wardair, they demonstrated their true usefulness, the last example working into the 1980s. Les saw PWA’s CF-TFZ at Edmonton on a winter’s day in 1956. Unfortunately, “TFZ” was wrecked later in the year while landing on Beaverlodge Lake in the NWT. There it rests on the shore to this day. You can see photos and more details at Aviation History and Photography – Ruud Leeuw > Vintage Transports, photos by Friends & Guests and at Abandoned Plane Wrecks in the North
On September 17, 1955 CF-GBT of Associated Airways crashed soon after departing Edmonton for Yellowknife. Two of the six men aboard died. Hearing of the disaster on the radio, Les drove out to photograph the aftermath (since by then he was an RCAF padre, he wouldn’t have had any trouble getting access). After investigating all the details, the Department of Transport concluded: “”For reasons as yet undetermined the starboard engine failed and as a result of being overloaded [SOP for most such northern flights “back in the day”], the aircraft did not maintain altitude on one engine and struck the ground with the starboard wingtip. A further contributory factor was considered to be the failure of the co-pilot’s vacuum-driven gyro instruments, without his knowledge.”
There was nothing remotely ghoulish about photographing wrecks. It was part of the aviation fan’s commitment to history. Here’s another case where Les was Johnny-on-the-Spot with his camera. Over the winter of 1946, USAF C-46 44-77678 had pancaked on the edge of Edmonton airport.
For five decades Les covered aviation events around Edmonton. On this occasion it was the inaugural visit in August 1958 of CPA’s new Bristol Britannia. A gleaming CF-CZW “Empress of Edmonton” was assigned for the day’s duties and you can see that Edmontonians responded enthusiastically. Can you imagine such a casual community event today at a major airport!
Often including more than just an airplane, many of Les’ photos stand above the standard “set- up shot”. In this case, when he photographed CPA C-46 CF- CZH, he didn’t wait for the ESSO fuel truck to move off. Originally with the USAAF in 1945, this C-46 went to Flying Tiger Line in 1949, then joined CPA in 1955 to do DEW Line work. It migrated to Quebecair in 1962, thence in 1976 to Jack Anderson’s North Coast Air in Prince Rupert. On September 29, 1977 “CZH” was operating from Thompson, Manitoba, when there was engine trouble. Unable to maintain height, captain Fritz Bluethner put down in the bush. There “CZH” remains today. Again … for more detail and some great photos, see Ruud Leeuw’s fantastic website Abandoned Plane Wrecks of the North – Ruud Leeuw
If this is the sort of aviation history “gets you going”, The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection will not disappoint. Not only do you get Les’ great aviation coverage across southern Canada, but also much from his Arctic era in early DEW Line times (Avro York, C-46, C-47, C-54, etc.), and wonderful photos from his UK period of such types as the Ambassador, Britannia, Carvair, CL-44, Dart Herald, “Deux- Ponts”, Il-18, L.1649 Starliner and Vanguard. Having a biographic side, the book also includes some non-aviation photography (rail, shipping, etc., even some rare ethnographic photos from the \ Arctic). It’s an all-around production for the serious aficionado.
Fred Phillips of Canadair
Ken Swartz has sent along the sad news that the great Frederick Clayton Phillips has died at age 103. Fred spent the second half of his illustrious career at Canadair in Montreal, having joined the company in 1954 as Chief of Aerodynamics and Preliminary Design. Right away he became CL-41 project engineering manager, then saw that assignment through to production. He also instigated VTOL R&D and in 1956 presented his preliminary results to the Canadian Aeronautical Institute in 1956. Canadair pursued Fred’s VTOL concept and in May 1965 the prototype CL-84 Dynavert flew at Cartierville. It was the most advanced such “tilt-wing” aircraft in the world.
In this photo, Fred (left) is with another legendary Canadair designer, E.H. “Ed” Higgins. Here is Fred’s obituary (for more details see Canadair: The First 50 Years):
Hanover, N.H. — Frederick Clayton Phillips, 103, died at Wheelock Terrace, on Saturday, June 30, 2018, after a long and happy life. Fred was born in the small coal-mining town of Osceola Mills, Pa. on Jan. 18, 1915, the eldest child of Fred and Edith (Sankey) Phillips. He attended high school in Tyrone, Pa., graduating in 1932, having earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1931. After graduating magna cum laude in Aeronautical Engineering from NYU in 1938, and completing the course requirements for a master’s degree at M.I.T., Fred accepted a position as an aerodynamicist at the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Baltimore, Md., where he worked throughout WWII. In 1942, he wed Harriet Mae Cowher, an old friend from Tyrone with whom he remained happily married for more than 71 years. Harriet predeceased Fred in 2014. As well as his aerodynamic work, during WWII Fred also taught the subject at night school at Johns Hopkins University. In 1947, he and Harriet moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he became a Professor of Aircraft Design for the Brazilian Air Ministry. Daughter Sarah Ann was born in Rio in August 1948. The three returned to the U.S. in 1951, where Fred took up a position at the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in St. Louis, Mo. Son Jon Frederick was born in June 1953. In 1955, Fred accepted a position at Canadair Ltd. in Montreal, Canada, and son David Macready was born there in January 1957. After 25 years at Canadair as the Director of a variety of aircraft productions, Fred and Harriet retired to Lyme, N.H. in 1981. He worked occasionally as an aircraft industry consultant for a few years, but both became very involved in the Lyme Congregational Church and local community. Among many ventures, Fred was active in the Boy Scouts, the preservation of the Lyme horse sheds, as a town trustee, and sang heartily in the church choir for decades. Fred will be lovingly remembered as a true gentleman, a man of spirit and conviction, loyalty and love. He was a keen gardener, a voracious reader, and a passionate lover of classical music, especially that of J.S. Bach. To those who knew him, he loved people, a good joke, good food and wine, but above all, his family. As well as the three children, Fred is survived by his three grandchildren: Rebecca, Tyler and Evan. A memorial service at Lyme Congregational Church is planned for late August. Donations in Fred’s memory may be made to local charities such as the Boy Scouts of America Daniel Webster Council, or The Lyme Foundation.
To all CANAV readers … Volume 8 of “Aviation in Canada” now is at the printer. You can expect to see Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 in September. Solid Canadian history from start to finish, this authoritative book revives a key theme in Canada’s aviation heritage in a landmark year – the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War. This is Canada’s only major title in print covering the nation’s pioneers of aerial combat. It honours the men, the aircraft and the organizations, detailing in a fresh light the incredible story from training in Canada as early as 1914, to the deadly skies over the Western Front, Italy and wherever else the men were needed. The story continues after 1918, covering the many roles played by Canada’s wartime aviators through the interwar years – how the role of the fighter pilot and observer waned at first, then gradually was revived, initially with the Siskin and Atlas, finally — on the eve of war — with the Hurricane, etc. Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 is 184 pages, extra-large format (9×12 inches), hardcover, beautifully designed and produced with a spectacular collection of 350 photographs. There’s never been anything like it in Canadian aviation book publishing. Having seen our previous volumes in the series, you’ll know what to expect. Sticker price? $50.00. Watch our blog for more details and drop me an email if you’d like to receive Volume 8 updates in the next few weeks. Cheers … Larry (email@example.com)
News from CAE: New Business, New Products, Profits Strong: “Flight Simulator’s CEO Says Bigger U.S. Armed Forces Budgets are a Boon” by Christopher Reynolds of the Canadian Press
Since CANAV published Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, CAE has been on a steady climb, introducing new products and seeing share value and profits steadily rising. When I started researching the company’s history in 2011, a single CAE share was valued at about CDN$10.00, a price that had been stagnant for years. By the time the book was published in 2015, however, CAE share value had risen (literally) overnight to CDN$15.00 and today (August 15, 2018) sits at CDN$25.58. In his Canadian Press item today, Christopher Reynolds brings us up to date about this great Canadian company. If you don’t yet have your copy of The CAE Story (one of CANAV’s best ever titles — you’ll see what I mean once you get your hands on a copy) drop me an email today and fill that gap on your aviation bookshelf. Also … for more CAE info check CANAV’s blog: http://www.canavbooks.wordpress.com Cheers … Larry firstname.lastname@example.org
CAE corporate headquarters are shown in Montreal on August 10, 2016. The CEO of flight simulator CAE Inc. suggested U.S. President Donald Trump’s appetite for defence spending is a boon to the Montreal-based company, with newfound access to contracts tied to top-secret missions paving the runway for more revenue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
MONTREAL – The head of flight simulator company CAE Inc. said Tuesday U.S. President Donald Trump’s appetite for defence spending is a boon to the Montreal-based company, as newfound access to contracts tied to top-secret missions pave the runway for more revenue. “On the defence side, budgets continue to be on the rise worldwide, and in the U.S. they are at historical highs,” president and CEO Marc Parent told shareholders at an annual general meeting Tuesday. On Monday, Trump signed a $716-billion defence spending bill for 2019, an $82-billion increase from 2017 and a dramatic upswing from most Obama-era military budgets. CAE’s acquisition of Virginia-based Alpha-Omega Change Engineering earlier this month opens the hatch to “top-secret missions,” mainly out of the U.S., Parent told reporters.
An agreement between the U.S. government and a CAE subsidiary allows a proxy board made up of two American generals and a military contractor executive to oversee the high-security contracts, he said. “That opens up an extra $3 billion of potential market for us. So that brings our total addressable market in the world to $17 billion,” Parent said. As to what the classified missions involve, he said only, “You can speculate all day long.”
Parent defended how CAE potentially stands to benefit amidst heightened military spending south of the border, more combative language from the White House and the creation of a new armed services branch focused on fighting wars in space. “It’s certainly not offensive,” Parent said of CAE’s training and simulator programs. “It’s for defence and security forces and search and rescue. To me, there is a societal benefit to what we do. It’s to help personnel execute their mission and save lives that way,” he said. “I don’t see it negatively.”
The annual meeting at CAE’s Montreal headquarters Tuesday saw former federal finance minister John Manley named chair of the company’s 10-member board of directors. Manley, current president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, replaces James Hankinson at the helm. CAE, which operates in roughly three dozen countries, saw annual revenue rise five per cent year-over-year to $2.83 billion in 2018. Record order intake in the civil aviation wing fuelled the increase as that division’s operating income grew 12 per cent.
CAE also increased its dividend as it reported its first-quarter profit and revenue improved compared with a year ago. The simulator maker says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share, up from nine cents. The increased payment to shareholders came as it reported a first-quarter profit attributable to equity holders of $69.4 million or 26 cents per diluted share for the quarter June 30. That compared with a profit of $59.6 million or 22 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue in the three-month period totalled $722 million, up from $656.2 million.
100th Anniversary of Our Air Mail: Canada Post Drops the Ball
Lt Brian Peck of the Royal Air Force Canada flew Canada’s first air mail from Montreal to Toronto in a JN-4 on June 24, 1918. Here he is at the time, then a photo of his arrival with the mail at Leaside (Toronto). Read about this historic event in the June 2018 edition of the CAS publication, “The Canadian Aerophilatelist” and elsewhere. Peck’s mission was a bit of a comedy of errors, yet made it deservedly into the official records.
As you noticed in our previous blog (n.b. as always, any views stated on the CANAV blog are strictly my own), June 24, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first air mail. This event is covered in such books as Canada’s Flying Heritage (1954) and Aviation on Canada: The Formative Years (2009), and in the newsletter of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society. If you follow the early years of Canada’s great aviation heritage, you will not regret joining the CAS (you don’t need to be a stamp collector). To follow through (please do) see http://www.aerophilately.ca
A sample page from Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years covering Canada’s earliest air mail flights. Then, the crowd scene when the second Canadian airmail flight (also a JN-4) reached Ottawa from Leaside on August 27, 1918.
On June 30 an enthusiastic crowd packed into the Leaside Pub on Laird Drive in Toronto to celebrate Lt Peck’s historic mail flight. Represented (naturally) were the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society and the Canadian Aviation Historic Society, while such other organizations as the Great War Flying Museum and a number of history-minded Leaside people added to the fun. But what about Canada Post?
CAS members Chris Hargreaves, John Bertram and Dr. Robert Galway at the Leaside Pub “air mail bash”. Then, CAHS members Dick MacIntosh, Sheldon Benner and John Bertram.
Old-time CAHS members Chris Terry and Jack Gow. Chris formerly headed the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
Aviation history researcher and author, Dr. Robert Galway, talks over some Leaside aerodrome history with event organized Chris Daniels.
A highlight of the afternoon was the arrival overhead (to honour Lt Peck and his airmail “first”) of the Great War Flying Museum’s Sopwith 1½ Strutter replica. Pilot Kees van Berkel made several wonderful passes over the pub and neighbourhood. A hundred years ago the sky here would have been full of JN-4 Canuck trainers, for the Royal Flying Corps Canada’s Leaside aerodrome then occupied this very corner of Toronto. Sheldon Benner caught this candid scene. Then … the crowd having a great time in Leaside’s 30+ degree that afternoon.
“Leaside Life” has published this nifty little piece about the air mail celebration.
Around the world any major postal anniversary (such as a 100th anniversary of the air mail — what could be more important to postal historians) normally is greeted with commemorative postage stamps and important historic events sponsored by the post office itself. Totally befitting, right? However, as far as I know, Leaside was Canada’s only formal celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canada’s air mail. So … that Canada Post didn’t bother to send a representative is hard to believe. Neither was even one commemorative air mail stamp issued from Ottawa. Only in Canada you say? What? Take a look (in contrast) to what the ever-history loving United States did this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its air mail (also, look on the web to see how Australia celebrated its air mail anniversary in 2014):
United States Postal Service to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of U.S. Air Mail Service
First of Two United States Air Mail Forever Stamps to be Dedicated May 1WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service will honor the beginning of airmail service by dedicating two United States Air Mail Forever stamps this year.The first, depicted above in blue, commemorates the pioneering spirit of the brave pilots who first flew the mail in the early years of aviation. The first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place May 1, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public.
On May 15, 1918, in the midst of World War I, a small group of Army pilots delivered mail along a route that linked Washington, Philadelphia, and New York—initiating the world’s first regularly scheduled airmail service. The United States Post Office Department, the predecessor to the U.S. Postal Service, took charge of the U.S. Air Mail Service later that summer, operating it from Aug. 12, 1918, through Sept. 1, 1927. Airmail delivery, daily except on Sundays, became part of the fabric of the American economy and spurred growth of the nation’s aviation industry. The second stamp, red and pictured above, will commemorate this milestone with its first-day-of-issue to take place later this summer. Both stamps, printed in the intaglio print method— a design transferred to paper from an engraved plate — depict the type of plane typically used in the early days of airmail, a Curtiss JN-4H biplane. The biplane was also featured on the stamps originally issued in 1918 to commemorate the beginning of regularly scheduled airmail service. The stamp designs evoke that earlier period.
For airmail service to succeed in the early days of flight, the Post Office had to develop profitable routes, such as between New York and Chicago, and to establish the infrastructure for safely making night flights. It set up lighted airfields and erected hundreds of airmail guide beacons between New York and San Francisco so that by 1924 regularly scheduled, transcontinental flying was possible, day and night. Airmail delivery, daily except on Sundays, became part of the fabric of the American economy and spurred the growth of the nation’s aviation industry. The United States Air Mail stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First Class Mail one ounce price.
On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of regular airmail service, this stamp celebrates the courage of the pioneering airmail carriers and the foresight of those who fostered the new service and made it a success. The stamp, printed in intaglio, features a drawing of the type of plane typically used in the early days of airmail, a Curtiss JN4H biplane. This type of biplane was also featured on the 24 cent stamp that was issued in 1918 to commemorate the beginning of regularly scheduled airmail service. The words “UNITED STATES” and “AIR MAIL” are respectively at the top and bottom of the stamp. “EST” is an abbreviation for “established.” The stamp designer and typographer was Dan Gretta; Greg Breeding was the art director.
Pretty impressive, no? But we’re talking about the United States of America, so what else would one with half a brain expect? This certainly makes one wonder about Canada Post being conspicuous by its absence at the Leaside Pub. Just another example of Ottawa’s growing insouciance when it comes to our great country’s incomparable accomplishments? Or … is it simply that Canada Post has no one with a clue? Regardless, Leaside, the CAS, CAHS, GWFM, etc. pulled it off royally.
Enjoy the rest of your summer … Larry email@example.com
A lovely Air Ontario Dash 8-300 departs London, Ontario on June 3, 1993, likely headed
for Toronto YYZ. Delivered in March 1991, some 27 years later “JVV” is still hard at work.
Books galore have been written about Canada’s astounding contributions in aviation dating way back to the Silver Dart of 1909, then progressing to the Vedette, Norseman, North Star, Beaver, Husky and Arrow to today’s incomparable CSeries (recently rebranded as the Airbus A220). Armchair fans and “experts” all have a list of favorites. Debates on the topic can get heated. But it’s mainly great fun, right.
One of my great Canadian aviation heroes is the late R.H. “Bob” Fowler. Having earned his wings during the war, Bob flew the B-25 Mitchell on such bloody operations as Market-Garden. Bob ended as a senior test pilot with de Havilland Aircraft of Canada. There he few all the types from the 1950s into the 1980s. A pilot of such incredible experience usually ends with a special place for one particular type. I asked Bob one day what his was, figuring it would be something like the P-38 or Sea Hornet, which he had flown doing photo survey after the war, or maybe the impressive Buffalo. No, by far Bob’s favourite airplane was the DHC-8 — the “Dash 8”.
On June 20, 1983 Bob, his great pal, Mick Saunders (a wartime Typhoon pilot) and flight test engineers Don Brand and Geoff Pyne crewed the first Dash 8 C-GDNK on it inaugural flight from Downsview airfield in Toronto. Having evolved from the (perhaps) overly specialized) Dash 7, the Dash 8 was to become one of the world’s top commuter airliners. With more than a 1200 delivered by now, after 35 years many of the earliest Dash 8-100s are still giving solid service around the world, and the series remains in production as the incomparable Q400.
It may seem surprising, but the Dash 8-100 now is reaching the end of its frontline years with several leading commuter airlines. In a recent case, on July 4 , 2018 Piedmont Airlines recorded its last of hundreds of thousands of Dash 8 flights. What’s the story about this great US airline? Check out Piedmont’s website for the details, but for our purposes I’ll quote a few points from the company’s own history that tie in to the Dash 8:
The 1980s were a decade of dramatic growth and change for us. The addition of new equipment transformed the airline into a modern regional carrier. The first significant change occurred in 1983, when Piedmont Aviation agreed to purchase Henson and our company became known as Henson, the Piedmont Regional Airline. The next year, eight de Havilland Dash 8 aircraft were purchased. Through subsequent re-orders for the Dash 8, we have become the world’s largest operator of that highly efficient, passenger-friendly aircraft. In 1985, we boarded our five-millionth passenger… By the end of 1987, the route structure touched 38 cities in ten states plus the Bahamas. In 1989, Piedmont merged into USAir and Henson planes were repainted to reflect the new identity of USAir Express. In 1993, Henson was renamed Piedmont Airlines in order to preserve the Piedmont identity within the USAir Group family. In 1997, USAir itself underwent a name change, becoming US Airways.
That year the company’s fleet totalled 37 Dash 8-100s plus 10 Dash 8-200s. Twenty-one years later the 37 -100s remained in service along with 50 -300s. At the same time, US Airways Express was flying 187 Canadair/Bombardier regional jets, so what a relationship between this star of an American commuter airline and the Canadian economy! I think you will enjoy this nostalgic video about US Airways Express and the Dash 8. This is what I call a heartfelt tribute to one of the world’s greatest commuter planes. Have a look here: https://youtu.be/I3KNEhAbbyo
Next, you can flip through my own little album of Dash 8 photos. In scouring my collection taken over the decades, I was surprised at the depth of coverage. It seems that wherever I travelled since the mid-1980s, there often was a Dash 8 involved (I’ve roughly arranged these shots from west to east).
I grabbed this quick shot of Air BC 38-seat Dash 8- 100 No.807 at CFB Comox on a perfect April 15, 1991. “807” had just delivered its passengers from Vancouver, a scenic 30-minute hop across Georgia Strait. Notice the Dash 8’s pure aesthetics as far as airplane good looks go. This particular week I was on the BC coast gathering material for what eventually would become my 1997 book, Air Transport in Canada. A highlight during this Comox visit was a famil flight with 424 Squadron aboard DHC-5 Buffalo ‘456.
On April 4, 1990 I flew across to Comox from Vancouver to spend a few days with the Snowbirds. Heading back east on April 9, I crossed back to Vancouver on a TimeAir Short 360. Walking through the “YVR” terminal after arrival, I spotted Dash 8-300 C-GTAG (the 200th Dash 8) on the ramp. Built in 1990, at age 28 “TAG” still is on the go carrying the travelling public and making lots of money for current owner, JAZZ. For June 2018 alone, “TAG” completed 242 flights (8 per day), covering 56,485 miles (90,750 km). Cities served included Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Kamloops and Vancouver.
Having flown to Vancouver from Toronto on July 31, 1993 aboard a Canada 3000 757, I had to wait a while for my Air BC flight to Prince Rupert. In the process, I spent an hour or so taking landing shots. Several gorgeous Dash 8s came by, including Horizon’s N823PH. It would serve Seattle-based Horizon from 1988 into Y2K, when Bombardier took it back, perhaps as a trade-in. Next, it migrated to the Caribbean to fly for Air Jamaica Express as 6Y-JMZ, then in 2009 moved Africa, becoming 5Y-EMD. On arrival from Nairobi at Moba, DRC on January 13, 2010, “EMD” had a very hard landing and was written off. Happily, no one was injured.
While waiting at Edmonton “Muni” for a flight to Yellowknifeon June 25, 1993, I photographed Dash 8-100 C-GABH. Delivered new to Air BC in 1990, “ABH” next served Air Nova of Halifax 1999-2001, when Air Canada amalgamated several regional carriers under its new commuter brand – JAZZ. “ABH” was parked in 2005, then re-appeared later that year in North Caribou Flying Service colours. After several more productive years in the BC market, in 2011 it crossed the Pacific to start yet another career, this time in Papua New Guinea. Note the Air BC Jetstream in the background. This was the period of airline deregulation in North America that saw new carriers appearing, and modern commuter planes replacing the traditional old Beech 18s, DC- 3s, etc. that had been serving Canada’s smaller markets for far too long.
A handsome pair of TimeAir Dash 8-300s on the tarmac at Calgary on April 7, 1991. I had just flown in from Toronto on a CAIL 767 and was headed to Edmonton to spend a week with 447 Squadron (Chinooks).
Every part of Canada has enjoyed Dash 8 service and talk about lucky for Canada. Here TimeAir’s C-GHTA waits at Saskatoon on a frigid winter’s afternoon January 8, 1993. At the time I was en route to Prince Alberta to interview the folks at Athabasca Airways, who recently had upgraded to the spiffy Beech 1900D. In you’re plane spotting around BC and Alberta this summer, you could be seeing a lot of “HTA” in the colours of Air Canada JAZZ.
The Canadian military could not find much of a role for the Dash 8. This is an old state of affairs. In the 1940-50s the DND couldn’t find or make a role for the Beaver, and later couldn’t use the Caribou or Twin Otter other than in token numbers. With the Dash 8, two early examples joined the Canadian Forces in 1987 as utility planes based at Lahr, West Germany. Here is 142802 there on June 2, 1991. It was disposed of in 2002 and today is C-GSUR doing maritime surveillance with Transport Canada.
Air Ontario’s Dash 8-100 C-FGRC at Sault Ste. Marie on July 23, 1992. Right into the early 1970s such Northern Ontario cities had limited air service. One or two Viscount flights daily was about the max. Then, competition heated up with deregulation and there was overkill, as any airline with a 737 wanting into the Soo, Thunder Bay, even Dryden, anything to complete with Air Canada’s DC-9 skeds. But for these big jets there wasn’t the demand. Fortunately, fuel still was cheap. Then along came the Dash 8 and “problem solved” with the right size of airplane plus the ideal capacity, performance and economic specs. At its peak, Air Ontario was run by James Plaxton of London and the Deluce family of White River (Delplax Holdings Ltd.). They quickly identified the Dash 8 as the way to go for their Ontario-wide network, replacing an uneconomic fleet of Convair 580s. By 1990 Air Ontario had something like 27 Dash 8s and was building up a solid business at Toronto Island Airport with some 60 scheduled flights daily. In 1985 49% of Air Ontario was sold to Air Canada (Delplax kept 51%). Eventually, Air Ontario went outright to Air Canada, so the original Dash 8s today flit around in JAZZ or Air Canada Express colours. First delivered to Air Ontario in 1990, “GRC” remains in the JAZZ fleet. What was I doing in the Soo the day I saw “GRC”? I was travelling from Toronto to Red Lake with as many stops as I could arrange: Toronto-Soo-Thunder Bay-Winnipeg-Red Lake. I was on Brasilias to Winnipeg, then took a Beech 1900C to Red Lake.
Air Ontario Dash 8s on the ramp during the company’s heyday there in the 1980s. When Air Canada bought out Air Ontario, it let the Island Airport business die. However, Air Ontario’s original boldness in developing a thriving Ontario network in its early years, provided a solid foundation for what followed in the 2000s – the world class Porter Airlines network founded by the Deluces using the amazing Q400 (i.e. the Dash 8-400).
Every Air Ontario passenger (and all who fly Porter today) revelled at the sight of Toronto’s landmark skyline each time they departed from or arrived at Toronto Island in a Dash 8.
Had the burgeoning US commuter airlines not seen the Dash 8 as “the” way to go for the future, the whole project would have fizzled. But early on de Havilland salesmen were able to sell American carriers on their new product and close the vital deals. Dick Henson took this Dash 8-100 serial No.176 N975HA in October 1989. Henson soon had a large Dash 8 fleet with nowhere to go but up – which happened. N975HA served Henson and Piedmont into 2015, when it parked. In 2017 it was sold to Avmac in Calgary, perhaps to be parted out. I wonder how many airframe hours this Dash 8 had piled up and how many cycles (landings and takeoffs). Here is N975HA at Baltimore on December 11, 1989. I was on a trip that week to Norfolk to spend a few days with the great RCAF legend, J.C. “Big Joe” McCarthy of Dam Buster raid renown. However, I didn’t fly once on the Dash 8 on this trip. My transportation was via 727, F.28, Jetstream and Short 360.
My very first Dash 8 flight was aboard this Eastern Metro Express example on October 22, 1986. Mike Valenti and I had just spent a fantastic few days with Canada’s ace CF-18 team competing at Tyndall AFB in Florida for the William Tell Trophy. The party was over and we were headed home. This new Dash 8 took us from Panama City to Atlanta, where we connected back to Toronto. This carrier disappeared when “big” Eastern Airlines folded in 1991. In taking this quickie shot, I failed to include the registration, so don’t know which particular Dash 8 this is, other than fleet No.7.
Again while working towards Air Transport in Canada, in 1992 I made a trip down Quebec’s famous Côte Nord, working out of Sept-Îles for a few days. On November 18 I photographed Air Alliance Dash 8-100 C-GJMO there. Having begun in 1987 with Air Ontario, “JMO” moved the following year to Air Alliance, later was with Air Nova, and most recently has been in JAZZ colours … 31 years of steady service.
On November 28, 1990 I was aboard CanForces C-130 130325 returning from Honduras. The crew had a Twin Huey to deliver for CFB Gagetown, so had to go in to Fredericton on the way to Trenton to make the drop-off. We landed late at night in very claggy weather. While waiting for fuel, I snapped off a few time exposures. I was happy to catch these Dash 8s “being put to bed” after their day’s work. Nearest is Air Atlantic’s C-FDNF fleet No.153. In Y2K “DNG” migrated to BC operator Central Mountain Air.
In the 1970s air transportation really started improving in northern Canada. The Twin Otter and HS748 revolutionized things, finally edging the DC-3 out of its hallowed place. Formed in 1982 with backing from Austin Airways (recently acquired by the Deluce family), Air Creebec brought modern service at last to the many small Cree Indian communities in James Bay Quebec. Even better, in the early 1990s the Dash 8 arrived. Here an Air Creebec Dash 8-100 starts up at Waskaganish. That day I was doing the rounds in Air Creebec 748 C-GGNZ from Timmins to six Cree centres and back one town at a time. Six hours on the flight deck with pilots Marc Boisvert and Bruce Godby. Although the 748 was a fine airplane for this region, the Dash 8 was the icing on the cake. Today, it brings top daily service to all of Quebec’s James Bay centres.
How it looked “back in the day”. One of Germany’s famous aluminum-skinned Junkers in a typical northern Canadian setting. Pilot, engineer and some local men are hefting a big cedar strip freighter canoe from atop the plane. CF-AQW came to Canada in 1931. It flew with Canadian Airways and CPA into 1947, spent the next decade with Central BC Airways, then was with PWA and Skyway of BC, until wrecked taking off from Kootenay Lake on August 10, 1959. (all photos CANAV Books Collection)
Here is an aviation book in which you’ll get years of enjoyment! Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years is the very best book ever published about the beginnings of commercial aviation in Canada, the birth of bush flying included. These were amazingly exciting times. It all begins where Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades leaves off. With WWI over in November 1918, Canadian enterprisers were quick to adapt war surplus JN-4s and HS-2Ls for commercial uses. The first Canadian air mail already had been carried on June 24, 1918, when Capt Brian Peck piloted a JN-4 from the Bois Franc Polo Grounds near Montreal to Leaside aerodrome (near Toronto). The Centennial of this historic event will be celebrated in Leaside on June 30 this year. The Formative Years dives into all this excitement, showing how the airplane proves its usefulness. It carries passengers on Canada’s first scheduled airline routes, photographs Canada from the air, opens up mineral exploration, supports such huge projects as constructing the port at Churchill, Manitoba with its direct oceanic link (the very port in the media these days for being in such pitiful shape), and supports such other essential Canadian activities as forestry and the coastal fisheries.
The Formative Years traces the evolution of the commercial airplane in Canada from the original war surplus stock to the first then- modern types designed for commercial use — the Buhls, Canadian Vickers, de Havillands, Fairchilds, Fokkers, Hamiltons, Junkers, Loenings, Stinsons, Wacos, etc. Canada itself gets involved, designing its first purpose-made commercial plane, the Canadian Vickers Vedette, and manufacturing international designs by such companies as de Havilland, Fairchild and Fokker. The book brings you to the early/mid 1930s just before the Norseman bursts onto the scene. rm
The Formative Years is a completely fresh approach to the topic. Besides all the aircraft, this beautifully produced 224-page large format hardcover includes the key personalities who staked everything they had to advance civil aviation. Many of the book’s hundreds of photos have never previously been published, and it brings some of Canada’s giants of aviation back into the limelight after generations in the shadows. This is a book that you will cherish for a lifetime. Treat yourself, go ahead! Order your copy today – right here on the blog. I’ll autograph it for you and get it on its way within a day. Is this an enticing offer or not? Thanks and all the best … Larry Milberry, author
Rare 1930 views of Fokker Super Universal CF-AJH on duty with W.J. McDonough’s prospecting operation in Canada’s Northwest Territories. “AJH” later flew with Dominion Skyways from its famous Noranda base in northeast Quebec. It faded from the scene in 1936.
Mining and air transport pioneers, W.J. “Jack” McDonough and Bill Spence, pose in a winter setting with one of their sturdy Fairchild bushplanes.
Heads up for a Bit of Norseman News
On our blog and in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman you’ve read about one of the more famous Canadian Norseman’s, CF-DRD, and how in 1992 it became the symbol of Canada’s famous gold mining town, Red Lake, Ontario. Back then, “DRD” was a sad looking mess, having been abandoned in Kuby’s parts and scrap yard in Kenora. Happily, however, once Red Lake decided to brand itself as “The Norseman Capital of the World”, “DRD” was acquired from Kuby, trucked to Red Lake, then restored at Whitey Hostetler’s Red Lake Seaplane Service.
Such a fine job was done, that “DRD” was able to taxi across Howie Bay under its own power to be lifted atop its specially designed pylon. There it sat majestically for years as one of Red Lake’s proud symbols. Until, that is, a hail storm roared through last July and tore its fabric to pieces. This year, money has been raised through a brilliant $50K gofundme effort (have a look at https://ca.gofundme.com/Save-DRD and please make a donation). Right now, DRD’s wings are at Gordy Hughes’ famous Ignace, Ontario Norseman base being recovered. The fuselage is back in the Red Lake Seaplane Service hangar, where Superior Airways will do what’s needed. It’s hoped that “DRD” will be ready for next year’s Norseman Festival.
Here’s a look at “DRD” back in Kuby days in the 1980s. This photo was taken by one of Canada’s prominent aircraft hobby photographers of the 1960s-80s – Joan P. Turner of Toronto. Joan was a solid photographer, always doing the best with available composition and lighting opportunities. She also showed her high level of interest by keeping fastidious notes for each photo. Here are a few of her numerous other Norseman shots. It wasn’t always easy to get the desired “set-up” shot – it took know-how, determination and imagination.
Green’s Norseman CF-JDG at Red Lake on September 20, 1977. “JDG” was ex-USAAF 44-70273 in 1944. George Green imported it in 1956. In 1986 it went to Alaska for Diamond Aviation, but it was wrecked in a landing accident at Bronson Creek, BC on June 4, 1987. It was further damaged there by a rampaging grizzly bear, then the ruins were acquired by the BC Aviation Museum of Sidney, BC. The museum used parts from “JDG” to complete restoration (to airworthy condition) of its Norseman CF-DRE, which can be seen at the museum resplendent in WWII RCAF markings.
CF-UUD also at Red Lake on August 4, 1979, while serving Wings Aviation. This spring, the very nicely restored “UUD” was for sale at US$425,000, but no one would pay such a price, when other excellent Norsemans were in the $200,000 to $300,000 range.
The famous CF-SAM at Prince Albert on May 25, 1964. Joan traded this negative from her fellow hobbyist, the famous Jack McNulty of Hamilton. Trading was great fun among all the serious aviation fans back “in the old days”. We all enjoyed trading. If anywhere near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, visit the Western Development Museum where “SAM” is restored to its former glory in Government of Saskatchewan colours.
While checking out the action in Fort Francis on September 23, 1977, Joan photographed Norseman”project” CF-LSS at Ed Steim’s outpost. While with Kyro’s Albany River Airways, “LSS” had been in a fire at Thunder Bay. Then, Ed acquired it in 1973, having some sort of plan. “LSS” originally had been delivered to the USAAF in August 1944. Postwar, it was sold to the US Dept. of Agriculture, where it flew as NC58691. It came to Canada in 1961 for Barney Lamm’s Ontario Central Airlines of Kenora. There it became CF-LSS. From Ed Steim’s, it went to the US where Forrest Klies turned it into the beautiful, Oshkosh award winning Norseman N786921. Believe it or not, after around 74 years it’s now in Alaska as a work-a-day Norseman bushplane. If you want more about the Norseman story, read up on our blog about CANAV’s two-volume history — The Noorduyn Norseman. Something else to add to your Canadian aviation history bookshelves.
VIPs and parents getting set to enjoy 330 Squadron’s 75th annual inspection at Danforth Collegiate and Technical School in Toronto on June 9, 2018.
We covered Air Cadets in an earlier blog (check this out by scrolling back to “Air Cadet Camp at Trenton 2017”). Today, here’s a further look at one of Canada’s most historic Air Cadet units – Toronto’s 330 ‘Danforth Tech” Squadron, which turns 75 this year. What a proud legacy the squadron has developed over all those the decades.
330’s band marches in, then the squadron stands at attention waiting for things to get rolling. Next, 330’s colour guard enters and the squadron flight leads march by.
If you have a child or grandchild age 12 to 18, they couldn’t be in a more fantastic youth program than Air Cadets. The fun and long-lasting rewards include sports and fitness, good citizenship, developing personal self-confidence and responsibility, introduction to flight (gliding and powered airplanes), travel, summer camp, etc. No other youth program in Canada offers such potential. There are Air Cadet squadrons all across Canada as far north as Iqaluit in the Arctic.
The band again, then the percussion section performing a special piece developed for the ACR.
Cadets receive a number of important awards at the ACR. As usual, several cadets leave the squadron at this time, having reach age 18. Others receive well-deserved promotions.
The 330 cadets enjoy a scrumptious lunch following another show-stopping annual parade. Most will be back in the fall for the new season. Meanwhile, several will attend a challenging Air Cadet camp this summer at CFB Trenton and CFB Bagotville. Take a look 330aircadets.comto get all the details and, wherever you are, see if you can steer some young Canadian into Air Cadets.
PS … for all fans of Canada’s great aviation heritage … CANAV Books Spring/Summer 2018 Booklist is out! For the very best in Canadian aviation history reading have a look! Highly recommend for front porch summer reading: Millardair and Me, Alberta Forestry Helicopters in Wildfire Management, Propliner 2018 Annual, The Captain’s Widow, Farm Boy to Fly Boy, The Noorduyn Norseman and The CAE Story. For the full list, click here (see p.4 for ordering details): CANAV 2018 Spring_Summer List