Category Archives: Reader comments

CAE: “A great company & a family affair”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early Reaction from Our Readers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Else Is Up So Far in October?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pierre Gillard’s Blog Features Ralph Clint’s Long-Lost Airliner Photos, A310s to the Boneyard, Readers React to Norseman Vol.2 + Initial Errata Details

The demise of Norseman 495, about which Bob Cameron of Whitehorse adds some details. (John Biehler Collection)

The demise of Norseman 495, about which Bob Cameron of Whitehorse adds some details. (John Biehler Collection)

All the best to CANAV’s great supporters over 2014! Thanks hugely to one and all of you solid folks, who go back to the birth of CANAV in 1981, but also to you many new fans/younger readers who are gradually getting to know CANAV and all it has to offer via its top-notch book list and always-informative blog.

For January 4, 2014 please note that I’ve added an addendum to blog posting “The Wartime Era Fades”. This is based on an obituary that I spotted in today’s newspaper. You’ll absolutely enjoy this item. Find it easily by using the search box.

Blog followers will love what Pierre Gillard is doing with Ralph Clint’s collection of old slides. Born in 1935, Ralph passed away in 2013. A long-serving TCA/Air Canada radio operator, Ralph was the commensurate aviation fan (nothing shallow for him) and one of CANAV’s hard-working researchers, proof readers etc. since the days of our Canadair North Star book.

Three cheers for Pierre, a professor at E.N.A. at St. Hubert, who does such a fantastic job with his blog. To see his fine gallery of Ralph’s airliner photos, have a look at this week’s headline offerings at his blog. Looks like most of Pierre’s “Ralph” photos were taken in the 1960s-70s at Toronto YYZ, mainly from the upper parking level of the original (now recycled) “Aeroquay” passenger terminal. This is really a great trip back into the days of such types as the stubby DC-9-15 and such Classic 747s as CF-TOA, a vintage -133.  Each photo was decently taken by Ralph and and has been nicely “tweaked up” by Pierre. As to “tweaking”, Pierre explains: “Most of Ralph’s slides are easy to scan and process because they are not Kodachromes. So, I can use a function to virtually wipe dust and remove scratches, which is totally impossible to do with Kodachrome slides. This saves a lot of time.”

This week Pierre also covers the dismantling of a couple of Air Transat Airbus 310s (“On démantèle à Mirabel”, A310 “au recyclage”, etc.). Who would believe that these seemingly modern airliners so soon could be over the hill but … I guess we’re all getting there. Something to think about, eh!

“Merci bien” CANAV people and good reading (as usual) to one and all … Larry

A Norseman Aficionado Weighs In

Norseman readers are gradually getting back to me with their comments about our new books. I’ve just heard from Bob Cameron of Whitehorse. Bob led a small team back in the 1990s restoring Fokker Super Universal CF-AAM (dormant since a 1937 accident) to flying condition. He and his pals then toured Canada in this astoundingly historic plane, a photo of which graces the cover of Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years. CF-AAM today is permanently on show at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg. Last year Bob’s grand book, Yukon Wings, was published. You can read my review of this big-time beauty for more details.

Bob also is a veteran Norseman pilot, so who better to pass judgment on a Norseman book? Off the top, this is what he has to say: “The hi-lite of my Christmas was the arrival of your magnificent Norseman Vol. I! It is fabulous, and I am absorbing every millimeter of it!”

Encrusted remnants of Norseman 495 as they sit today on the bottom of Tagish Lake. (via Bob Cameron)

Encrusted remnants of Norseman 495 as they sit today on the bottom of Tagish Lake. (via Bob Cameron)

Bob adds some historic tidbits about the dramatic wreck of RCAF Norseman 495, pictured on p.151 of Norseman Vol.1: “That happened 40 miles south of here on Tagish Lake on St. Patrick’s Day, 1950. One guy was checking out another on skis. Unfortunately, they chose to shoot a landing too far off shore, in flat light, rendering depth perception next to impossible.” He then explains the final fate of 495. The RCAF salvage team stripped it of useful parts, then abandonned the wreck to settle to the lake bottom with the spring melt. If one flies over Tagish Lake today, the outline of 495 may still be spotted in the shallow water. Bob finishes: “Anyway, good work, Larry, I’ve waited a long time for a pictorial history of one of my favourite airplanes!”

 The Gremlins are About!

Several typical typos have been pointed out in the Norseman volumes. These inevitably seem to occur no matter how hard we try to correct them before printing. Thanks to former Norseman pilot Rodney Kozar for spotting these. The real clanger is the one referring to the great Dishlevoy/Magnusson Norseman website as noorduynnorseman.com, when that should be norsemanhistory.ca. So please make a note (but do use both sites, eh).

In Vol.1: In Norseman Vol.1 p.119, the correct date for the Hazelton crash is the one shown on the grave marker.

For p.120 somehow the caption for Norseman 2477 got transposed. In an earlier version of the galleys the correct caption is in place — can you believe it! So how in the world did it end up with a caption for Norseman 2469. The desired caption is: Camping with 2477 at Crystal 1 in March 1942. From February 6 to April 4, 1942 this Norseman was on loan to Ferry Command for the Eastern Arctic airstrip/weather station survey. Postwar, it was CF-PAB. While serving Associated Airways of Edmonton, in August 1954 it was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident. (A.W. Baker Col.)

p. 197 – the correct month for the Nelles incident is August.

In Vol. 2 – p.11, line 2 of caption, change RCAF to RCMP

p.13 – lower caption, change Ontario to Canadian

p.14 – top caption for CF-OBG incorrectly gives the info for CF-OBF

p.17 – in the chart, change CF-UDD to CF-UUD

p.20 – lower caption change CF-SAN to CF-SAH

p.41 – at end of  CF-GUE entry, the Huron Air mention applies to above entry for CF-GSR

pp.62/63 – all registrations should read CF-EIH, delete CF-EIN

p.74 – CF-GUM Mark IV, change to UC-64A; CF-HFV change serial no. to N29-50; CF-SAHI V, change to CF-SAH  IV; CF-SAM Mark IV, change to V.

p.123 – lower caption change OK-XDB is OK-XBD

p.194 – lower caption, change CF-ORD to CF-OBD

p.239 – 2nd para, col.3 CF-DRD went on permanent display in 1992

p.246 – top caption change CF-GTN to CF-GJN

p.286 – lower photo, Norseman shown is CF-JIN, not CF-JEC

Pierre Gillard Reviews Norseman Vol. 2

 Probablement que, pour Larry Milberry, les 232 pages du premier volume consacré au Noorduyn Norseman avait un “goût de trop peu” car il a immédiatement embrayé, en solo cette fois-ci, avec un second volume ne comprenant pas moins de 304 pages ! Il restait donc beaucoup de choses à dire encore au sujet de cet avion de brousse produit à Cartierville. Et vous n’allez pas me croire quand je vous dirai que l’auteur a reçu des commentaires acerbes de certains frustrés mentionnant qu’il manquait de détails au sujet de quelques opérateurs “oubliés” par le récit!

Toujours est-il que ce second volume traite essentiellement des Norseman utilisés après la Seconde guerre mondiale par la Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC-RCMP), les opérateurs civils canadiens ainsi que les opérateurs étrangers, toujours avec le souci du détail et la minutie que l’on connaît à Larry Milberry. Une place importante est réservée aux résultats de nombreuses entrevues et échanges que l’auteur a eus avec des personnes pour qui cet avion était le gagne-pain. C’est ainsi que j’ai retrouvé une belle participation de mon ami Paul Gagnon, à ses débuts en qualité de pilote de brousse, dont des récits de quelques “aventures” vécues avec des Norseman.

Sur le plan des illustrations, un grand nombre de photos en couleur, dont certaines sont absolument magnifiques et relèvent du grand art, complètent les archives extraordinaires en noir et blanc publiées dans les deux volumes. Comme toujours, à la lecture des ouvrages de Canav Book, on peut se demander comment il est possible de rassembler autant de documents photographiques inédits. Avec ces deux volumes au sujet du Norduyn Norseman, Larry Milberry et Hugh A. Halliday ont définitivement comblé un vide historique pour cet avion construit au Québec.

For Pierre’s review of Norseman Vol. 1, click here.

Reminder to  UK and EuroZone bibliophiles … pick up your copy of Norseman Vol.1 and Vol.2 at  Simon Watson’s Aviation Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells, UK. Email:  simon@aviation-bookshop.com. Or … visit Henk Timmers’ Aviation Megastore at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport. Email: henk@aviationmegastore.com.

Noorduyn Norseman – The Story is Far from Told and … Vol.1 Rates an “Airways International” Review

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No sooner do we get a book into print, than readers pop up with supplementary material. This helps keep any story fresh and moving ahead. First to jump aboard re: Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2 is H.E. “Herb” Smale. From London, Ontario, Herb joined the RCAF at Hagersville in 1946. Trained in radio, he requested a posting to the RCAF crash boat unit at 12 Group (Vancouver). Instead, he was sent to Fort Nelson, BC, far up the wartime Northwest Staging Route. There, one of his tasks involved the Station Flight Norseman in which he would got to ride along, sending radio messages over an HF radio set using a Morse key. (Double click on any photo to see it full size. Thanks to Andrew Yee for high-lighting these important new Norseman pix.)

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Herb submits these photos of Fort Nelson Norsemans 3538, still in wartime yellow with the prominent radio mast (a trademark of BCATP wireless training Norsemans), and 2476 in its flashy new postwar aluminum-with-red paint scheme. Taken on strength in March 1941, 2476 is noted in John Griffin’s seminal Canadian Military Aircraft as serving that year with 119 Squadron at Yarmouth. In July 1942 it was on strength with 121 (Composite) Squadron at Dartmouth. A related in Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.1, from January 17 to 26, 1943 it was stranded due to weather on a desolate frozen lake, while being ferried by F/L S.A. Cheesman from the RCAF repair depot at Scoudouc, New Brunswick, to Goose Bay. Spotted by a patrolling Hudson on January 24, the crew soon was rescued.  Norseman 2476  reached Goose Bay on the 29th. Its ultimate fate presently is unknown.

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Norseman 3538 joined the RCAF in January 1942, serving that year along the Northwest Staging Route. In January 1944 it began a stint with 4 Wireless School, where it flew from the RCAF satellite station at Burch, Ontario, not far from Brantford. Late in 1944 it supported Ex. Eskimo, a major cold-weather exercise in Northern Saskatchewan (Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.1). From August to October 1946 it conducted experimental aerial spray trials at RCAF Station Suffield in Southern Alberta (also in Vol.1). It’s noted as joining North West Air Command in August 1948. It was struck off RCAF strength in June 1953. From then into 1957 it served the Royal Norwegian Air Force as “R-AY”. Finally, it had a long career in civil aviation in Norway and Sweden, and today resides in the aviation museum at Arlanda Airport near Stockholm.

While he was at Fort Nelson, LAC Herb Smale’s request for an aircrew slot was accepted. In 1949-50 he trained at RCAF stations Clinton and Trenton in radio and air gunnery, then flew many years in Maritime Air Command on the Lancaster, Neptune and Argus. From 1965-68 he commanded 407 Squadron at Comox. As Colonel Smale, Herb finished his career as Base Commander Greenwood, retiring in 1974.

Airways Mag Jan. 2014 Meanwhile .. it’s encouraging to report the newest book review for Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.1. This has just appeared in the January 2014 edition of Airways International: The Global Review of Commercial Flight (airwaysmag.com). Written by “The King of Airways”, John Wegg, have a look at how it goes:

To paraphrase publisher Larry Milberry’s introduction, ‘More than 75 years have passed since the Norseman first flew and the brilliant design of Robert Noorduyn has become the enduring symbol of everything typifying the Canadian bushplane. The Norseman blazed new trails in the North, serving trappers, hunters, fishermen, prospectors, explorers, sportsmen, missionaries, medical people, policemen, government representatives, military personnel, and all others inhabiting or visiting Canada’s remoter geographical niches. Whatever these people needed, the Norseman carried it all. Inevitably, the saga of the Norseman arose, and every saga needs a good book, but none ever appeared.’

Until now, that is, and heeding what he calls readers’ complaints about his overly large books, Milberry has divided his subject into two volumes. The first covers the genesis of the Norseman and its career through Word War II and the transition into a more peaceful world. A dozen chapters examine all facets of this aircraft’s development, such as design, early sales and operations, Royal Canadian Air Force and US military service, commercial use during the war, and search and rescue operations.

As CANAV ‘regulars’ already know, Milberry’s approach is to combine facts from original documents with the stories of those associated with the subject, drawing upon logbooks and personal albums. The result is, as expected, another splendid title, the 33rd from this award-winning publisher.

Richly illustrated, with intelligent and well- researched captions to accompany the hundreds of period photos, this is a fact-filled and comprehensive account of bushplane history by two of Canada’s leading aviation writers (Halliday is a retired Canadian War Museum historian). Finally, the saga of the Norseman has been told in superlative style. I can’t wait for the second volume, which as a bonus is illustrated in color throughout.

 

Reminder to  EuroZone bibliophiles … pick up your copies of Norseman Vol.1 and Vol.2 at  Henk Timmers’ Aviation Megastore at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport. Email: henk@aviationmegastore.com.

The Readers Are Getting into It … The Latest “Bombing and Coastal” Commentary

For any book publisher reviews are part of the business. On the whole, however, the book reviewing trade has been sliding for years. While the daily press used the revere its full-time and professional book editors, today many dailies have pitifully watered down this important arts feature.

Book editors/reviewers are more than ever inclined towards fiction, so that makes it harder than ever to get any Canadian history book noticed. Right off the top, Canadian dailies are almost guaranteed these days to ignore anything to do with an aviation book. Apparently, this is drab, démodé stuff. But give them something in the line of fiction — some easy reading, nothing to tax the brain — then you might catch their eye. Or maybe a nice shallow cook book or some Hollywood starlet’s latest sexercise book, or something really intellectual, maybe about ultimate fighting or hockey violence. Above all, give them something out of New York vs any hopeless Canadian effort, right! This said, there always will be serious reviewers seriously reading serious books. The smaller Canadian dailies and weeklies seem to attract this sharper type of book critics. These fine citizens  are rarely arrogant the way our “supporters” in the mainstream press tend to be.

CANAV has had a few hundred solid reviews over 30 years, and only the one dud, that from Aeroplane Monthly by some poor sod who does not appear to have done any serious history or arts studies.

Many fine comments have already reached CANAV about Aviation in Canada: Bombing and Coastal Operations Overs 1939-1945. On the whole people are getting the big picture — this is a good book. Roger Lindsay in the UK submits the comments below — his first impressions. Roger knows a bit about books, having toiled at serious research and writing for decades. His publications about such aircraft as the Javelin, Lightning and Venom are classics. His latest — Cold War Shield — is simply magnificent. Here is Roger’s take on Bombing and Coastal Operations:

Hi Larry … your new “Bombing and Coastal Operations Overseas” arrived today by post. I’ve spent the best part of a day drooling over the photos and absorbing the personal recollections covering so many of your courageous countrymen who served in the RCAF. The book is magnificent and already a total joy, a stellar production. As usual I’m in awe at the detail, the exceptionally high standards of layout, design and printing, and can only imagine the effort expended in putting it together.

I feel that we Brits owe a huge debt to the thousands of Canadians who came across to our side in the last war, not least those who served in Bomber Command at such great sacrifice. Your book brings that terrific contribution into focus with more impact than many other publications.

I’m also greatly enjoying your Coastal Command coverage, which never receives the publicity it warrants. You’ve found some super photographs, almost entirely new to me, and I suspect most readers. 

Finally, I must congratulate CANAV Books on achieving 30 years of fabulous top quality publishing, in spite of all the problems. I hope the book sells in truck-loads and brings in a small fortune!

What great stuff, Roger. This worn-out old publisher is grateful.

Another note comes from Ron Butcher, who served his tour on Lancasters with 408 Squadron. I cover a bit about his crew on pp 133-34. Ron requests an amendment ref. p.133. In the centre column he has asked that I add how his crew completed two operations on D-Day. Then, he correctly raps my knuckles for saying that his crew completed their tour February 20, when the date should be June 11. Somehow the odd such gaff creeps into every such book, to say nothing of ordinary typos which always evade the proof readers. We spot them in the highest quality books and everyone understands how those nasty little cockroaches creep in. Ron notes some of these, which I’ll add to the errata list and send to my readers at the next mailing. I’ve asked Ron to join my cadre of intrepid proof readers. One can never have too many eyes checking manuscript and galleys.

CANAV Books 2010 Fall-Winter Newsletter and Booklist

Aviation in Canada … News from the CANAV Situation Room

After a short breather following our recent book launch, it’s back to normal in CANAV’s dungeon. The publisher is again putting the screws to his staff. He’s laying on the lash, cutting salaries, demanding more unpaid overtime, reducing benefits, etc. He says that he will continue with this until morale improves. Seriously, good readers … this is where CANAV’s new Centennial of Flight series stands: Vol.1 Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades, Vol.2 Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years and Vol.3 Aviation in Canada: Evolution of an Air Force are now in print (and available to purchase online – check out the sidebar to your right!). Reader comments about ACEAF would put a smile on any publisher’s face.

Terry Higgins, Aviaeology/SkyGrid publisher of Canadian Aircraft of WWII, writes: “Another stellar CANAV production… It is like a well put together documentary film in paper form. This is a consistent characteristic of your books that I enjoy so much. And the cover price is just astounding. Next please!”

At Passion Aviation, Pierre Gillard offers his own view: “Espéron que la saga Aviation in Canada continue encore longtemps car elle représente une mine incroyable d’informations qui devrait être “la” réference de quiconque s’intéresse ou voudrait s’intéresser à l’aviation au Canada depuis le ‘Jour 1’…”

Those who already have these three gorgeous books can easily relate; now I’m just waiting for the rest of you die hard aviation fans to get aboard the “CANAV Books Express”. “Aviation in Canada” is the first attempt to create an encyclopedic coverage of Canada’s aviation heritage. Vol.4 is now in the CANAV system: Aviation in Canada: The RCAF Overseas 1939-1945 will pick up from Vol.3, providing a solid look at a key era. Due by mid-2011, it will have major chapters about Bomber Command, Fighter Command, Coastal Command, Southeast Asia, etc. with an emphasis on bringing as much new material to the printed page as we can.

Check out CANAV’s new book list. Click on it, take a good, serious look and you’ll find some irresistible titles. This is where the real aviation reading starts this season — not on the internet. Forget about that, unless all you want is fluff or a quick history “fix”. When it comes to the solid goods, real aviation fans read books — the internet’s for kids. As you peruse our list, the “Aviation in Canada” series leaps out, so make that a shopping list priority. Next (and naturally so) comes Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace. If you don’t have this knockout of a trilogy, you can finally break down and order a set — CAFWP is on sale! Here are more than 1000 pages of RCAF heritage with 2000+ photos that no true RCAF supporter would be without. Reader Bernie Pregler, who once navigated on CF-100s, recently discovered CAFWP and was moved to comment:

“I started reading Vol.3 and was reminded of a W.B. Yeats poem — ‘When you are old and gray and nodding by the fire, take down this book and read, and dream…’ In fact, Yeats was writing it in regard to a girl he once loved, but since most of us are also in love with airplanes and flight, it’s fair to think of it as being applicable to ourselves, as well. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of information and photographs, and completely in awe of anyone who can produce such a work – and not just one volume, but three …”

I doubt that there’s a book editor at any major Canadian newspaper who could touch this commentary for intellectual and literary depth. Would they even know today who Yeats is, let alone what a CF-100 is? Gads, its depressing … whatever happened to the good old, well-versed, broadly-educated, fired-up daily press book editors, who knew what readers wanted (and that fiction mostly was for kids)? Check out the booklist for the special prices on CAFWP. Deal expires with our Spring 2011 list.

CANAV’s fine book selection should conjure great gifts ideas, if you’re wondering what your aviation-minded or Canadian history-loving friends, employees, customers or suppliers want for Christmas. Any sharp young person would be inspired by a book like Pioneer Decades, so buy him/her a copy, already. Meanwhile, what’s to stop anyone from donating a good Canadian aviation book to the local public or school library? What a great civic holiday gesture!

All the best … Larry Milberry, publisher

Formative Years: Our Readers React

HS-2L G-CAAD at rest at Lac-a-la-Torue, Quebec along with a spiffy-looking Curtiss Seagull. G-CAAD ended its day in a crash at Tadoussac, Quebec on August 4, 1922. (LAC PA89145)

HS-2L G-CAAD at rest at Lac-a-la-Torue, Quebec along with a spiffy-looking Curtiss Seagull. G-CAAD ended its day in a crash at Tadoussac, Quebec on August 4, 1922. (LAC PA89145)

Jim Court flew the Quebec North Shore for decades, then retired in Sept-Iles. One of the first in line for a copy of Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years, Jim’s already into it and today he comments:

Hi Larry,

The book arrived on Friday and the cheque is in the mail. Excellent — those books will be something to bequeath to our grandkids!

Re the HS-2L that was lost at Kegaska in 1927. My dad remembered that one. They were forced down either by bad weather or engine trouble, or a combination of both. The pilot’s name was Guay, I think. They landed at a place called Foreman’s Gull Island, about three miles west of the village.  It’s a fairly sheltered area among some islands, but with no protection from a SE wind. A storm blew up and the airplane drove ashore and broke up. There’s a piece of the prop still around, hanging on the wall of a fishing lodge down there, owned by a descendant of the Foremans for whom the island was named.

The one lost at Sept-Iles was in Lac a l’Eau-Dorée, just north of here. I can’t remember whether it went in on glassy water or it hit a deadhead on takeoff — there are varying theories. The wreck was located by Gilles Ross some years ago via underwater camera, the same rig he used to locate the Cessna 180 that went in on glassy water and sank in Rapid Lake in 1968. He told me the HS is in pretty good shape. The lake is very deep, and the wreck is down over 200 feet, as I recall. That lake is so deep it’s the last one to freeze in the fall and the first to thaw in the spring.

Anyway thanks for the book Larry. As soon as the third one’s out, drop it in the mail along with the invoice, and keep me on the mailing list for any specials you may run across, including The Penetrators.

Take care … Jim.

We love to hear what our readers and critics have to say! If you have any comments on the new book, or wish to submit a reader review, email larry@canavbooks.com.