While the weather has been bizarre in Edmonton, AB this past month, I've managed to get out into the city between shovelling sessions:
Ken Brown's three-part play Spiral Dive was incredible, and we were treated to an interview with Second World War Spitfire pilot Don Murchie during an intermission;
I got a behind-the-scenes tour of Nav Canada's Edmonton Area Control Centre with the Women in Aviation - Polaris Chapter;
I gave a talk to the local Alberta Genealogical Society chapter called "Finding Family in Canada's Skies" and met great people with tips on titles to add to my library, individuals to interview, and archives to access.
This is such a warm (figuratively, at least), welcoming city full of aviation history. I have no doubt you'll enjoy all it has to offer during this year's convention. Unfortunately I don't have much sway with Mother Nature, but to make the rest of the convention as appealing as possible, I invite you to take this quick, anonymous, ten-question convention survey. Your participation is much appreciated!
Thanks to all who've sent encouraging notes to the executive and Journal teams: we know we're not perfect - we're volunteers, after all - but we're willing to put whatever skills and time we have in the service of this society. All because of our passion for Canadian aviation history!
CAHS National President
Holiday Donation Draw Winners
The grand prize goes to Ted J. of Westmount, QC!
The other winners are:
- Clark S. in Calgary, AB
- Paul R. in Davidson, SK
- Charles L. in Bolton, ON
- Allan J. in Big Valley, AB
- Richard F. in Hudson, QC
- Gordon G. in Oakville, ON
- Gordon D. in Breslau, ON
- Helen S. in North Gower, ON
- Al B. in Calgary, AB
The CAHS Journal
Sometimes it seems like forces simply conspire against you; this was certainly the case with the Summer 2010 Journal. While it reached the printers and mailing house quite early in December, some of you did not receive your copies until recently. Canada Post had some difficulties during the holiday season, but in one weird twist I heard from a member in Los Angeles who received his copy in late December while one in Toronto was still waiting in late January!
To help you track future issues of the Journal, we will be posting updates on Twitter (CanAvHistSoc), Facebook (Canadian Aviation Historical Society), and the CAHS website. When the Fall 2010 Journal - which is now in its final edits - goes to the printers and mailing house, we'll let you know.
Send in your photos!
Journal Editor Bill March thanks all who answered his call last month for book reviewers. The response was so good he thought he'd try his luck again by asking you for copies of aviation photos he can use in the Journal. As he explains, photos are often difficult and expensive to aquire from museums, archives, and other official sources. By creating a CAHS Journal photo archive, the Journal team can work more efficiently and cheaply, and you get to share your best shots with the world!
We've posted some fresh content on the website's home page including a Black History Month story by Mathias Joost. You'll also find we've begun adding aviation events to the calendar (if you have any to submit, please contact me) and 2011 convention updates as they become available.
We're still working on those eagerly-awaited members' features. As anyone who's managed a project knows - whether it's remodelling a kitchen or building an aircraft - when you're dealing with contractors and sub-contractors, time delays are bound to happen. We know you're antsy to log in, but please bear with us a little longer. I promise to send around a notice as soon as they're available!
2011 Convention in Edmonton!
The planning is going well and we'll be posting registration information online, soon and CAHS members will receive full convention packages in the mail.
A special thanks to all those who sent in talk proposals. The quality was high and it was very difficult to choose, but I think we've come up with a great line-up of speakers and topics. For a sample of these as well as accommodations info, please go to www.cahs.ca and visit the convention page.
I'm very excited I'll be in Calgary February 17 to hear Dave Lefurgey talk about a forgotten Calgarian who was recruited from the RAF by the British Special Intelligence Service in late 1938 to begin aerial spying in Italy and Germany. Should be fascinating!
Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to these other great talks:
- Vancouver - February 8: photos galore of flying boats and amphibians!
- Regina - February 10: Brent Schill will speak about his eventful career as a commercial pilot
- Toronto - February 12: Alan C. Dares will speak on "Light Sport Aircraft (LSA's) in Canada
- Montreal - February 17: Rachel Lea Heide will give a talk on "The Professionalization of the Royal Canadian Air Force, 1939-1945"
- Manitoba - February 24: learn about the 1CFFTS, formerly the Air Navigation School
Remember: you can access chapter meeting and contact info on the website, and they would love if you offered to be a speaker at an upcoming meeting.
One of our directors, Dr. Richard Goette, will be giving a talk in Waterloo, ON on March 3 on the RCAF and Arctic during the early Cold War. For more information, click here.
If you'll be giving a talk or hosting an aviation-related event, please let me know and we'll put it on the website's calendar and in the newsletter!
Also, if you're willing to be a speaker on your aviation experiences or interests, please contact me with a short bio, a digital photo if you have one, and your preferred contact method. Then we can create a "Member's Page" on the website where organizations, schools, and corporations can find you.
Readers Write Back!
Jean-Claude Marcoux in Montreal suggests you go to www.1000aircraftphotos.com for “literally a GOLD MINE of airplane pictures!”
After reading last month's "Mosquito Fever" Bill Tee wrote in with the following:
"I note in your recent newsletter you didn't mention the old Spartan Mossie that is being rebuilt from an arctic wreck complete with new NZ fuselage. Last I heard it was supposed to be taxiable when finished with NEW Merlin engines. I believe it was British-built imported after the war when Canada sold their remaining Mossies to the Chinese."
FYI: for more info on one of our member's connections to Canadian Mossies in China, check out George Stewart's 1979 (vol. 17) Journal article "Mosquitoes Over the Yangtse." You can always search back issue article titles and authors in the main search bar of the website (and hard copies of most issues are available for purchase).
CAHF 2011 Induction Dinner
If you're lucky enough to be in the Toronto area in late May, you can see CAHS member, Journal editor, and former president Bill Wheeler inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame!
When: Thursday, May 26
Where: Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope, ON
Ticket prices: $225 each or $2,500 for a table of eight
Accommodation: you can request CAHF rate at Courtyard by Marriott 905-383-7772 or Motel 6 905-679-3355
Announcements and Events
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will be hosting a free webinar on the history of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) February 7 at 7 p.m. CST. (and advance purchase admission tickets and camping for AirVenture 2011 are now available through their website).
February 23 is National Aviation Day and commemmorates the anniversary of Canada's first powered flight in Baddeck, NS. Canada's Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa is inaugurating its new wing facilities and hosting a career day - what's happening in your town? Let us know and send photos!
One of our partner organizations, Vintage Wings of Canada, has just launched a new website. To learn more about this new 'mark', please check out their blog posting. A tip of my hat to their dedicated staff, especially for making the new website completely bilingual. Formidable!
Mark your calendars!
- The Snowbirds schedule is up on the web beginning with their Canadian spring shows through to their Texas and California dates in October. Click here for dates.
- COPA’s Fly-in and Convention in Langley, B.C. will be happening June 22-26. If you live in the Lower Mainland and can’t make it to the CAHS conference I highly recommend you go and check it out. For more info go to their convention website.
Are you an Ice Pilots fan?
I was just forwarded information about a new social TV experience for the show (which airs Wed. on History Television):
"Each week viewers poll and play along with the show on the web, iPhone or iPad answering episode-related questions. They can see what other fans think, and post comments - all while watching the show. Each week, viewers also unlock a new, exclusive video featuring jaw-dropping footage of classic, vintage planes soaring the majestic Northern skies as gutsy pilots push them and themselves to the ultimate limits." To check it out go to: www.icepilots.com/social.php
I was very excited when I spotted that a Canadian heritage search engine - Canadiana Discovery Portal - had been launched. It's still in Beta, but purportedly links over 60 million pages of Canadian history. To check it out, click here.
CAHS Member Seeks Collaborator
Almont Baltzer of Lawrencetown, NS writes the following:
Offer of Aviation Research Help
Harold Skaarup of Fredericton, NB says he is more than happy to field questions related to:
- Aviation museums and gate guardians in Canada
- The United States' involvement in NORAD
- His books on Canadian MiG Flights; RCAF War Prize Flights; German and Japanese Warbird Survivors; and Canadian, Arizona and Florida Warplanes
Our membership secretary, Don MacNeil, wrote the following about Bill McRae, who passed on January 9, 2011:
"WWII veteran and a fighter pilot with close to 300 missions to his credit, Bill was a fine as they come: a warm and friendly gentleman in the true sense of the word. He was actively involved with CAHS, Canada Aviation & Space Museum and Vintage Wings where I had the honour to work with him a few times. He was a favourite of school children who visited Vintage Wings.
Dave O'Mally had the foresight to organize a commemoration of Bill's military service when Bill and family members were present at the Vintage Wings Gala just before Christmas (2010). Bill's banner was raised to the ceiling of the the Vintage Wings hangar along with the likes of Charlie Fox and I regret I was not there to see it."
Bill also wrote several articles for the CAHS Journal and over 80 columns for the Ottawa chapter newsletter. For the Vintage Wings tribute to him, please click here.
Irving Farmer "Hap" Kennedy passed on January 6, at the age of 89.
He was a Second World War Fighter Ace, a dedicated medical doctor, and loved flying his aircraft out of the Rockliffe Flying Club in Ottawa, Ont. He was also involved at Vintage Wings and Dave O'Malley wrote: "Canada is a greater country for his life and a sadder country for his death."
For his full obituary, which was published in the Ottawa Citizen, please click here.
Stuart "Stu" E. Soward passed away January 10, 2011. He flew in the RCAF during the Second World War and then enlisted in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm as a pilot, later transferring to the newly-formed RCN Air Branch - 825 Canadian Firefly squadron.
After a long career as an operational naval pilot and commander of the West Coast naval air squadron, he turned to a variety of other business and volunteer pursuits. Then in 1985 he began researching a biography of Canadian naval pilot Lt. Hampton "Hammy" Gray. It was published as A Formidable Hero in 1987. He went on to write three more books:
- Hands to Flying Stations: A Recollective History of Canadian Naval Aviation vol. 1 (1995) and 2 (1996)
- One Man's War: Sub Lieutenant R.E. Bartlett, RN Fleet Air Arm Pilot (2005)