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History of the CAHS Vancouver Chapter

The Vancouver Chapter was founded in 1968 when Ernie Harrison (CAHS Member #12) moved from Toronto to Vancouver. Another co-founder was Andy Anderson, who is now the President of the PEI Chapter. At that time, Andy was the Manager of the Richmond Arts Centre, which is where the Chapter has met for 44 of the past 45 years!! One year, they tore the old Arts Centre down to build a new one, and we were gypsies for a year.

Other founding members included Dr. Ted Hill (wartime RCAF doctor in Iceland), Eric Drinkwater (Production Engineer at Canadian Vickers on the Stranraer), Dale Molstad (veteran CPAir Captain) and Dean MacLagan (PWA Herc Captain, killed in their Herc crash in Africa). The founding meeting was attended by 25 local CAHS members (surely the most we have ever had at a meeting for a long time since then!!)

9 September 1978 was one of our most interesting evenings over the years; co-hosted with the Quarter Century in Aviation Club, our speaker was Punch Dickins, who spoke on the 50th Anniversary of the completion of his famous Barrenlands Flight. In 1983, Bill Wheeler allowed the Chapter to put together an entire issue of the CAHS Journal (Vol. 21 No. 2), which included an article specially written by CAHS Patron Punch Dickins on his 1928 flight. Another year, one of our members organized a two-day trip to the Boeing factories at Paine Field (Everett) and Renton, where they treated us royally, as if we were a group interested in buying some airliners!!

The current Chapter membership includes several former RCAF Sabre pilots, several retired airline Captains and retired Transport Canada people, as well as pilots, AMEs, aviation artists, writers, photographers, historians, and just plain enthusiasts. We meet 10 times a year, and our current meeting agenda offers a variety of interesting speakers, digital and slide shows on air museums and air shows, and the occasional video.

One of the more interesting speakers in the past year (twice) has been new Chapter member Colonel (Ret'd) Bud White, a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1967, Bud set a Canadian altitude record, which still stands, in the RCAF F-104A that is on display at Rockcliffe. He also had an interesting exchange posting with the U.S. Mercury and Gemini manned space programs. His posting to the Empire Test Pilots' School trained him for duties as an Avro Arrow test pilot, before it was cancelled. We look forward to more interesting evenings with Bud.

Chapter Presidents over the years have included Andy Anderson, Dale Molstad, Norm Penny and Jerry Vernon (since 1993).

Our program for the coming season will include a couple more visits through UK aviation museums with the Chapter President, more air show pictures and hopefully more adventures of our resident test pilot and perhaps another episode on the wartime experiences of Typhoon pilot and Chapter member Harry Hardy.