Category Archives: In the News

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ “Wilkie”

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

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

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

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

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Peter Anthony Holder interviews Publisher Milberry about The CAE Story

stuph_file_logoPeter Anthony Holder is a Montreal-based broadcaster who produces The Stuph File, a podcast that features an eclectic mix of interviews and news. With 20 years in the biz, Holder has interviewed celebrities, including Star Trek‘s George Takei and Lindsay Wagner, The Bionic Woman. He also features quirky stories, like the one about the person who has Hitler’s toilet, the guy who trains llamas to be golf caddies, and the founder of the Church of Jediism.

Holder helps the CANAV cause by interviewing Larry and promoting the work of CANAV Books, including our recent Aviation in Canada series.

Check out the latest interview, about The CAE Story here.

Publisher Milberry in the Toronto Sun!

Air Canada's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, landing at Toronto Pearson International

Air Canada’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, landing at Toronto Pearson International

From Mike Filey’s Saturday column in the Toronto Sun:

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 12.37.03 PM

Canadian Space Agency’s final decision: Hansen & St.-Jacques

The Incredible Sixteen at the CAS's March 16 news conference.

The Incredible Sixteen at the CAS's March 16 news conference. (photo Larry Milberry)

In our earlier post on the contest to become Canada’s next astronaut, we refrained from speculating on the winners. Now the Canadian Space Agency announces its two picks. From the press release:

Nearly 25 years after the first Canadian astronaut flew into space and only weeks before two Canadian space veterans launch to the International Space Station, the Honourable Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) President Steve MacLean revealed the names of Canada’s newest astronauts.

“Canada is poised for the future, extending our proud history of achievements in human spaceflight, science and technology innovation and space exploration,” said the Honourable Tony Clement. “These new astronauts will support Canada’s contribution to the International Space Station and continue to inspire our young Canadians to pursue advanced studies in the sciences and reach for their dreams.”

The new astronauts were chosen among 5351 applicants. Through the year-long recruitment process, candidates underwent evaluations ranging from robotics to physical fitness testing.

“I am inspired by the outstanding talent I have seen in the Canadians that applied to become astronauts. Canadians have risen to the top in so many areas of achievement and our recruitment campaign attracted the best and the brightest of our nation,” said CSA President Steve MacLean. “The Canadian Space Agency’s two new astronauts will embark on a career which, I can say from personal experience, will be full of adventure and personal fulfillment.  And they will do important work on behalf of Canada and on behalf of humanity.”

Jeremy Hansen and David St-Jacques are the first Canadians to join the astronaut corps since 1992. [You can check out their bios here.]

They become the 11th and 12th Canadians to join the Canadian Astronaut Corps.

The new astronauts will undergo brief training at the CSA headquarters this summer. In August 2009, they will begin their astronaut training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Until then, the new Canadian Space Agency astronauts will support the launch activities of their colleagues, Canadian astronauts, Robert Thirsk and Julie Payette. Bob Thirsk will take part in a long-duration mission on the International Space Station and is scheduled to launch on May 27 from Baikonur Kazakhstan. Julie Payette, will be a mission specialist on STS-127, which is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 13.

For more info on the National Astronaut Recruitment Campaign, visit the CSA’s website.

A nice little write up in Cornwall’s Seaway News

nick

Here is a recent editorial about Larry Milberry and CANAV Books, written by Nick Wolochatiuk of Cornwall’s Seaway News. Nick, Larry and a few other Toronto area high school kids comprised a little clique of “aviation hounds” beginning back in the late 1950s. They hung out at the airports taking photos, making and comparing notes, scrounging plane rides and just having the greatest fun. Today, Nick is a freelance columnist based in Williamstown, Ontario. He’s one of Canada’s great aviation “characters”, e.g. having flown in something like 300 different flying machines from homebuilts to blimps. He’s a versatile photographer, a naturalist, canoeist, educator, you name it! His column, which is so good that it needs to be syndicated one of these days, appears regularly at cornwallseawaynews.com. Have a look!

Fantasyland: The Arrowmaniacs Strike Again

Canada sure has its mythology under many a banner. Aviation myths involve Billy Bishop shooting down 72 enemy planes in WWI (not), the Beaver being the world’s greatest bushplane (not) and the Avro Arrow being the greatest everything ever made by anyone in the universe (not).

No one with any sense can besmirch the reputation of a Billy Bishop – read The Brave Young Wings, for example, to get a taste of the war in the air 1915-18. Anyone who died, got wounded, cracked up, or somehow survived in that cauldron of death is a special hero in my books. The only argument is with the statistics and some odd details. These things were manipulated by the generals and their PR lackeys far behind the lines where they were suffering no lack of anything – there was no mud but there were clean underwear, silk sheets and booze. These people could make Donald Rumsfeld look like a beginner at fact-twisting, and they didn’t need a Blackberry (no shortage of very effective, hi-tech communicating devices in WWI). Billy Bishop certainly scored high, but not likely anywhere near 72. But it suited “Colonel Rumsfeld i/c propaganda” back there to say that Bishop did so do all that and should have a Victoria Cross. Explanations for this are in the best of books, such as mentioned above, Canadian Airmen and the First World War, etc.

Of course, the 1948 Beaver is a tremendous little workhorse. Who would say no? But not even 2000 Beavers were ever built. Meanwhile, the DC-3 or Beech 18 had been working the bush since the late 1930s, and far exceeded the Beaver in numbers alone on every continent! Then came the Cessna 180/185. Well, Beaver, please stand aside.

The ultimate bushplane in my view has to be the Antonov An-2 biplane: more than 10,000 built, service since 1947 on all continents, incalculable loads carried, current presence still in the many hundreds if not a few thousand, production life from pre-Beaver to post-Beaver, on and on. However, mention this in Canada and you make a new brigade of furious enemies wishing you every malevolence imaginable: “Puleeze, keep the facts to yourself, we Canadians prefer our myths!”

Then comes our beloved Arrow, Canada’s grandest aviation tall tale, and one that never goes away. Wonderful technology project that it was, it wasn’t to be and for all the good reasons. Even so, Arrow silliness again crops up in this April 3, 2009 Toronto Star article. Not surprisingly, the perpetrator is an academic – ironically, when it comes to history, these folks can be pretty sloppy with the facts.

In “Privatization of AECL Radioactive Issue for Ottawa”, Prof. Duane Bratt of Mount Royal College in Calgary, begins irrelevantly and erroneously by harkening back to the Arrow: “In 1959 the Diefenbaker government shut down the Arrow, the world’s most technologically advanced interceptor aircraft. Not only did it mean the demise of a uniquely Canadian high tech invention, but it also forced thousands of highly skilled scientists and engineers to leave the country.”

Well, talk about a crock of doggy doodoo (as I have commented before)! The Arrow was one of many similar advanced fighter projects underway throughout the world during the 1950s. Most of these aircraft concepts never reached production, and all the participant nations moved ahead. Only Canada created a myth out of its unsuccessful effort. Like the Arrow, all the other shelved projects had proved too costly or had been superseded by advancing science or geo-politics. (Two Cold War designs that did succeed in entering service were the superb US-built McDonnell F-4 Phantom II; and the SR-71 which, in speed alone, would leave an Arrow in its wake – so much for the generally unproven Arrow being the “mostest” of everything.)

Professor Bratt states that the Arrow cancellation “forced” ex-Avro workers to leave Canada — the alleged post-Arrow “brain drain”. However, nearly every worker worth his/her salt let go by Avro soon had a new and, often, better job in Canada. In researching history in the subsequent decades, I have interviewed many of these workers (and workers they were). Most moved quickly and naturally to other aviation or science-type employers, where they shone with their successes developing truly useful products for humanity — as opposed to fighters. (In the late 1950s, do you really think that the world needed yet another jet fighter?)

Development of the PT6 engine by Pratt & Whitney Canada, and of the
Dash 8 by de Havilland Canada are proof positive that fabulously important spin-off products resulted from the timely demise of the Arrow program. So the loss of the Arrow “forced thousands” of Canadians to flee the country in search of meaningful work, eh? In truth, but a handful of ex-Avro workers emigrated to the US or UK. Meanwhile, hundreds of the best minds behind the Arrow in its heyday circa 1952 to 1959 had been post-WWII immigrants to Canada from other nations. Now we’re talking brain drain, but into Canada.

Without these reverse brain-drain people there would have been no Avro Arrow. Canadians did not have the ability to single-handedly produce such an advanced airplane. Had it not been for WWII, they would still have been building wood and fabric airplanes by 1950. Typical of the reverse brain-drain genii were design team leader James C. Floyd from the UK; and Arrow test pilots Jan Zurakowski and “Spud” Potacki, and designer Waclaw Czerwinski, from Poland. Why is this important reality never mentioned in the Arrow nostalgia debates? Well, for one thing, it wouldn’t help book sales in Canada’s “Avro Arrow” publishing industry (there’s always a new Arrow book looming somewhere).

Bottom line on the brain drain? Canada gained immensely by draining brains from many countries in the post-WWII industrial boom, but contributed very few in terms of any outflow of brains to the US, etc. On top of that truth, some of the ex-Avro emigrants from 1959 returned later to Canada, as did James C. Floyd himself.

Some basic research into aviation history would reveal these and other facts – not as charming or exciting as our cherished myths, but true all the same.
Larry Milberry, publisher

PS … The never-ending lament for the Arrow includes one in the Montreal Gazette of January 23, 2012 reiterating the moronic old claim about John Diefenbaker, etc., and has the predictable anti-American crapola about some Washington conspiracy being behind the Arrow’s downfall, since Americans can’t stand anyone out-doing them, bla, bla, bla. Talk about pitiful! Here is what this simple-minded “reporter” says in the Gazette: “It was killed by John Diefenbaker’s government, presumably at the behest of Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower on behalf of his country’s aerospace industry (which hates competition).” Can you believe this garbage? Where does the Gazette find its muse? Maybe from the “Coast to Coast” loonie bins … or the National Enquirer?

Canada Post’s boo-boo: A tail-less Silver Dart!

2009_silver-dart-stamp

The Toronto Sun’s Peter Worthington had this piece last week about Canada Post‘s new commemorative stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the Silver Dart, which was the first heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada.

These stamp stories have been circulating lately, mainly about how the artist totally left the tail off the Canada Post plane. Talk about a boo-boo! That’s the real topic and the one that Jack Minor, retired RCAF and Silver Dart aficionado, should be grousing about. It’s probably not a “mistake” that the image of Douglas McCurdy on the first-day cover was used. My guess is that it was used because it’s such a nice picture of McCurdy, probably the best of him in any airplane. The McCurdy Biplane was a basic Curtiss design, likely built in Curtiss’ workshop in Hammondsport, NY. It was a far better plane than the Silver Dart.

Well, I’d say this just makes the first-day cover more interesting, as the collectors always love something to gossip about. I like the looks of the new stamp regardless of it being non-airworthy without a tail, and bought 4000, which I’ve been using on a mini-mailout. I’ll use the rest for the spring mailing (keep your eyes peeled!). Supposedly, the print run was small, maybe three million, so collectors will be loving these stamps for the next few centuries. Collectors really got off on the Canada Post stamp years ago showing an Air Canada Boeing 767 without engines! Now that’s pushing artistic licence…

There’s a version of the 767 called the 767 ER (extended range). Air Canada pilots call the plane on the stamp a 767 ER for another reason, ER standing for “engines removed”! Once when Canada Post botched a commemorative, they corrected the art and re-issued the stamp. Guess what that did to the value of the originals? Well, the philatelic folks just thrive on this stuff. Let’s see if CP re-issues the Silver Dart stamp.

Also great fun is how I wrote a year ago to Canada Post asking if they were planning to do an aviation commemorative for 2009. I’m still waiting to hear back about that! Any of our knowledgeable aviation history people sure could have saved Canada Post from putting out the tail-less Silver Dart stamp, if only they’d ask or answer their mail! Ah well, I guess that’s the Ottawa way…