Written by Caitlin McWilliams on 16 August 2012.

CAHS Newsletter #22: High Flight, First in Flight, & The Flying Water Can!

e Newsletter
Dear CAHS Member,
The annual CAHS Convention is only a few weeks away! The New Brunswick Convention Committee has been working hard to organize an exceptional event that will appeal to aviation enthusiasts and scholars of all types. If you would like to share your experience at the convention with the CAHS community, feel free to contact me with your photographs, presentation reviews, and personal highlights from the convention. You can also post to our CAHS Flickr page or Facebook. To all those attending, I wish you safe travels and enjoy the company of old friends and new faces!


Two weekends ago I attended the Thunder Over Michigan air show at Willow Run Airport (Yankee Air Museum) in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in the United States. Torrential rain soaked the field until just before show time when the clouds broke and invited the anxious pilots into the blue sky.

Although we are all very proud Canadians, my friends and I make a point of attending this air show every summer because the folks at Willow Run go to great lengths to bring in unique performers and organize rare appearances. For example, in 2010 they gathered thirteen (thirteen!) B-17 Flying Fortresses* and eight of them actually flew together in an (emotional) formation flyover. This year’s treat were the eight P-51 Mustangs which participated in a mock Second World War ground battle re-enactment before individually passing by the showline. Once again, the show delivered an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience for all attendees. Although there are some fantastic Canadian air shows throughout the summer, I highly recommend the show at Willow Run - especially since it's only about 50km from the border!

Blue skies,
Caitlin McWilliams
*Video taken from YouTube, user B17FFlyingFortress
** Both photos by Caitlin McWilliams

This Month in Canadian Aviation History..
 “I am enclosing a verse that I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet and was finished soon after I landed. I thought that it might interest you.” – John Magee, Jr. to his parents, 1941

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. Writes "High Flight," 18 August 1941
In August of 1941, a young Royal Canadian Air Force pilot began writing the sonnet which, over time, has endured as both a celebrated tribute to fallen generations of aviators and a source of inspiration for pilots (and even astronauts!) today.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was born in Shanghai, China in 1922, but moved to the U.S. in 1939. One year later he enlisted with the RCAF in Canada, and flew Spitfires overseas until his death in a mid-air collision on 11 December 1941. (For more details on Magee’s life, career, and family, see the Bomber Command Museum of Canada's website here).

Just a few months before his death, Magee became inspired. While flying his seventh flight in a Spitfire he “slipped the surly bonds of Earth” and climbed up to 33,000 feet. It was here, higher than even birds can fly, that he sought to - as the poem says so eloquently - "touch the face of God." He began composing "High Flight" soon after touching down and sent the poem to his father on the back of a letter. From there the poem quickly grew in popularity. Today, the manuscript copy of "High Flight" resides at the Library of Congress.

- Read the text of "High Flight" here (from

Much can be said about the origin and legacy of "High Flight," one of the most beautiful poems about flying. For a great overview, see Richard P. Bentham’s “High Flight: The Story of John Gillespie Magee” in the Summer 1996 Vol. 34 No. 2 edition of the CAHS Journal. If you do not have a copy handy, read an adaption of the article at (or request a back issue here!).

Vintage Wing’s North American Harvard Trainer is dedicated to Magee and is now painted in the markings of Harvard 2866 - known to have been flown by Magee when he trained at RCAF SN 2866 of No. 2 SFTS, Uplands. Read more about the aircraft and its history here. Vintage Wings also acquired some photos of Magee from his family, viewable here.

*All articles and photographs copyright of their respective sources

CAHS National News
2012 CAHS Convention

From the CAHS President Gary Williams: "It’s not too late to register for the conference in Saint John, NB, September 5 - 8. Please call Sue Ehrlander, Conference co-chair (1-506-633-8513) or rsehlander! as soon as possible. The presentations and special events are all set and ready to go. The clear skies and great weather is on order and the Maritimes will be in their full glory. You don’t want to miss this great event."

Find more details about the 2012 Convention, schedule, events, and accommodations on our website here. Note: For those that find they just can’t get to Saint John, please ensure that your proxy votes are mailed in as soon as possible!

CAHS Journal

An update from CAHS Journal Managing Editor Terry Higgins: "Journal 49-4 features six articles on the de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, and its 'reborn' Viking Air Series 400 Twin Otter, in celebration of the type's 40th year of Canadian military service. The tree CF/RCAF centric articles are balanced with a short piece on the type's origins, another on the floats designed exclusively for this aircraft, and an overview of the Series 400's development. And what's a celebration without colour! Canadian photographers and photo collectors alike have contributed images to grace both the centre-spread and back cover, including a striking panorama of nearly 40 Twin Otters all parked in one spot (taken from another Twin Otter!)."

Work is also well underway on volumes 50-1 & 50-2. A big "thank you" to Terry and his growing editorial board for working hard to get the Journal back on track while maintaining quality publishing.

CAHS 50th Anniversary Committee

From the CAHS National: "In 2013, the CAHS will be celebrating its 50th anniversary and the CAHS National wants to make sure that this milestone is appropriately marked, both at the convention (which will be in Ottawa, the site of the first convention) and throughout the entire year. In order to accomplish this, the 50th Anniversary Committee needs your help if:
  • You are a CAHS Chapter and will be organizing an event marking the 50th Anniversary, let the Anniversary Committee know so that widespread advertising can take place through the newsletter, website, Facebook, and Twitter
  • You are a long time CAHS Member and have stories and/or pictures from the early years, the Anniversary Committee would love to hear from you
  • You have any ideas of how to commemorate the 50th (events, writings to publish, items to create and sell, etc), please contact the Anniversary Committee
  • You can volunteer to be a committee member and help share the workload"
Contact Rachel Lea Heide at for more information.
CAHS Online
On Facebook: Like us at "Canadian Aviation Historical Society - National" for regular updates on CAHS news and aviation tidbits.
On Twitter: Follow us at @CanAvHistSoc along with 420 of our followers!

On Flickr: Join our Flickr group here. It's being constantly updated, so share your aviation photos and view others' favourite shots!

On the website:
Visit to view our rotating blog feature. This month, Marty Howe shares an article written in 1977 by his father John L. Howe, co-founder of Prairie Flying Service. Mr. Howe was one of the original pioneers of crop spraying in Canada, and was inducted into the Saskatchewan Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005. Mr. Howe recently passed away in March of this year, and the CAHS is honoured to feature his article on our website.
Mr. Howe writes: "Bob Mac Knight flew the pride of our possessions: 'The Flying Water Can.' [...] Our job was only a partial success – we did a 100% job of killing the weeds but some spray drift had eradicated his wife’s flower garden. We camped in his yard for three days. He was finally happy to see the weeds dying and the crop still standing. He said, “To heck with her flowers – they don’t make me any money”. He paid us and we were back in business. We had a successful season and now knew that crop spraying could become an important part of any small aviation business."
Read the full story on the blog, and be sure to visit this website created to celebrate Mr. Howe's life and his career in aerial spraying.
Note: All featured blogs are available as downloadable PDF's for easy reading on your smartphone or tablet, or saving for future reading.

Upcoming Chapter Meetings

The month of August will see NO chapter meetings. They will resume again in September. More details are available on our website at
(This great photo by Mike Johnson can be found on his Flickr page here)
CAHS Chapters will be looking for guest speakers once meetings resume. If you have something unique and aviation-related to share, contact your local chapter and inquire about becoming a speaker!

Airshows and Aviation Events: August - October 2012

See below for what is scheduled for the next three months! Click on the event name to be re-directed to their website.

  August 2012  
18 Tillsonburg Regional Airport Air Show Tillsonburg, ON
18 - 19 Val D'Or Air Show Val D'Or, QC
22 Snowbirds Display Yarmouth, NS
25 - 26 Atlantic Canada International Air Show Summerside, PEI
25 - 26 Aviation Calgary Expo Calgary, AB
29 Snowbirds Display Tillsonburg, ON
  September 2012  
1 - 3 Canadian International Airshow Toronto, ON
12 Snowbirds Display Port Stanley, ON
15 - 16 Wings over Gatineau-Ottawa / Vintage Wings Air Show Gatineau, QC
  October 2012  
19 Snowbirds Year-End Show Moose Jaw, SK

Museum and Restoration Initiatives
Alberta Aviation Museum

The Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force will be Flying their B-17 "Sentimental Journey" to the Alberta Aviation Museum August 30th. It will be on display through to 4 September (exact times TBA) so make sure to visit this gorgeous machine!

Bomber Command Museum of Canada /
Calgary Mosquito Society

On 17 August, the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in association with the Calgary Mosquito Society will be hosting a Hangar Dance to celebrate the start of the restoration process of their Mosquito bomber. The 17th and 18th will also be "Meet Calgary's Mosquito" days. For additional information please their website here.

Aero Space Museum of Calgary

The Aero Space Museum of Calgary is proud to present for a second year the Aviation Calgary Expo from 24 - 26 August. This year’s theme is the "Warbirds are Coming." The headliners are the B-17 "Sentimental Journey" from the Arizona Commemorative Air Force and the P-51 Mustang from Vintage Wings of Canada. In attendance will also be other military aircraft from all eras of flight. Additional Activities include a P-51 Technical Ground School, Night Run-Up Photo Shoot (very cool!), and a meet the Crew BBQ. For more information go to or check out this great article from the Calgary Herald!

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

A reporter from recently reviewed the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in "Up in the air at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa." The piece includes an interview with the museum's Director General, as well as some great photos and quality videos. Check out the full article here!

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will host its third Fly-In Day on 19 August. landing fees are waived and all visitors occupying an aircraft receive free admission to the Museum!
Vintage Wings of Canada

Western Canada Aviation Museum
The Western Canada Aviation Museum has a new exhibit focusing on Canada's Coastal Patrol. Read more about it here. Also check out this article on their Fairchild Super 71, "Truly One of a Kind."


If you have a research question or are looking for information on a topic, send the details to - the CAHS community is a great resource!

Bits and Bytes

Take some time to check out all of these exciting current events happening across the country (seriously, from British Columbia to New Brunswick, and even up to the the NWT!)

Fred Hotson, CAHS National President from 1969 to 1984 and member No. 300, died on 20 July at age 98. His touching obituary notes: "Many thanks to his good friend Larry Milberry - you helped more than you will ever know. For those who wish, donations to the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame or St. Hilary's Anglican Church would be appreciated. Online condolences may be made through" Cards of condolence can be sent to the family in Mississauga (please contact me at for their mailing

Second World War veteran and CAHS Ottawa /National member Tom Robinson has passed away. Tom was a regular attendee at Chapter meetings and was known for always setting out the chairs with Archie Graham. His obituary can be read here.

Dear {tag:firstname}, thank you for reading this e-newsletter. We hope you have enjoyed it! Please feel free to forward it to friends and family members, and encourage them to sign up on for FREE to receive future copies directly. If you have any news or events to share, please contact us at

August 2012 - Issue 22



Changed your mailing or e-mail address? Keep in touch! Contact Rachel Lea Heide to update your contact.information or payment records.

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Chapter Date Speaker / Topic Details
Ottawa 31 May
Marc-André Valiquette Debut of his new bilingual history of 425 "Alouette" Squadron (*Note, meeting also includes the Ottawa Chapter's Annual General Business Meeting
Calgary 17 May Bruce W. Gowans The history of the Canadian-built twin-engine Avro trainer in its wartime and civilian roles
Manitoba 24-25 May
"Films Take Flight" Film Festival Featuring The Arrow (miniseries excerpts), For the Moment, and more (see below for details)
Montreal 17 May Major Jean-Paul Peart Pilot training, electronic warfare requirements, and mission planning of the F-35 project
Regina 10 May    
Toronto 6 May    
Vancouver 8 May Dr. Ilya Grinberg (Prof. at N.Y State Collge at Buffalo) & Hugh M. Neeson (Development Director - Niagara Aerospace Museum) "Bell P-39 Airacobra Comes Home to Buffalo"

: Your local Chapter needs YOU! Are you a student working on an interesting research paper? An aspiring author? Pilot? Veteran? World traveller? Astronaut? If you have something unique and aviation-related to share, contact your local CAHS chapter and inquire about becoming a speaker!