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CAHS Annual Convention, June 17-21

Photo-story by John Chalmers,
CAHS Membership Secretary

The 52nd annual general meeting and convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society was held in Hamilton, Ontario. Starting with a Meet & Greet session on the evening of June 17 held at the RCAF Association 447 Wing facility, attendees from coast to coast had a chance to raise a glass and renew friendships.

On June 18 the formal program at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel began with the theme of “Celebrating Canada’s Aviation Industry.” Presentations covered aviation in Canada from the first flight through bush flying, wartime production, aircraft restoration and present-day developments.

The program organized by Richard Goette, Jim Bell and Gordon McNulty was based around sessions with two half-hour presentations plus time for questions. It allowed for 22 well-prepared and well-illustrated sessions plus three lunch presentations.

Two optional evening events were offered for June19. Shown at the hotel was the classic 1942 film, Captains of the Clouds. Held at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum was a Night Fighter Run, a chance to see warbirds running their engines under special lighting. Following the last of presentations on June 20, an optional day on the 21st to attend the Skyfest event at the Museum was enjoyed by many who stayed over.

The 2016 convention and annual general meeting will be held in Winnipeg, date to be announced.

001 Richard Goette 575

Convention co-chair Richard Goette welcomed attendees at the 52nd annual convention of the CAHS, held in Hamilton. Starting with a Meet & Greet session on the evening of June 17, the convention concluded with an optional day at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum to attend the Skyfest event.

002 CHAA 575

At the Meet & Greet social event held at RCAF Association 447 Wing, the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association was the subject of a video presentation by Roger Cross. (CHAA photo)

003 Dean Black 575

Retired helicopter pilot and squadron commander, RCAF LCol Dean Black was the first speaker in the program starting on June 18, on the topic of “John Boyd and the Procurement of the F-35.” Dean serves as publisher and editor of Airforce magazine and as Chief Staff Officer of the RCAF Association.

004 Maya Hirschman 575

Maya Hirschman, of the Secrets of Radar Museum in London ON, spoke about “Canada’s Second World War RCAF Radar History.”

005 Gerald Haddon 575

Gerald Haddon spoke about his famous grandfather, J.A.D. McCurdy, the first man to fly in Canada, and McCurdy’s affiliation with the Aerial Experiment Association and the development and building of the Silver Dart, which first flew at Baddeck NS in February 1909.

006 Peter Roe 575

Peter Roe, author of six books of aviation pioneers in his Pigs Might Fly series, spoke of early aviation inventor and entrepreneur, William Wallace Gibson.

007 Anna Marie Willey 575

At the June 18 lunch, Anna Marie Willey of Regina presented her video, “The Willow Tree,” a story put to original music telling the story of her father’s RCAF wartime service in England. The seven original songs that she wrote were based on the contents of her late father’s kit bag, which had remained unopened for 70 years after the Second World War.

008 Robert Galway 575

Robert Galway from Toronto presented his session on “Capt. William Roy Maxwell, the Forgotten Pilot of Canada’s North,” in outlining Maxwell’s accomplishments in aviation.

009 Diana Trafford 575

Diana Trafford of the Montréal chapter spoke of “Howard Watt: From Bush Pilot to Independent Operator, 1928-1941.”

010 John Coit 575

Don Coit and Wayne Ready (not shown), presented sessions on the fascinating and time consuming projects to restore and rebuild an Avenger and a Bolingbroke at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

011 Mark Peapell 575

Mark Peapell of the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum in Halifax spoke about the production of Canadian-built Lancasters at the Avro Victory Aircraft factory in Malton ON during the Second World War. He illustrated his talk with photos from over 800 recently-discovered and previously unpublished pictures of building the Lancasters.

012 Jerry Vernon 575

Jerry Vernon from Burnaby BC spoke about “The Hapless Hampden,” a lesser-known and fateful twin-engine bomber of the Second World War.

013 Bernie Runstedler 575

Bernie Runstedler from Nepean ON presented his session on the story of the F-84 Sabre Mark III and the mighty Orenda jet engine.

014 Bill Zuk

Bill Zuk of the CAHS Manitoba chapter in Winnipeg, spoke on the intriguing topic of “Avro Canada’s Secret Projects,” including attempts to develop a flying saucer. Bill has written a book on the subject of the strange aviation projects undertaken post-war by Avro, entitled Canada’s Flying Saucer: The Story of Avro Canada’s Secret Projects, published in 2001.

015 Allan Snowie 575

July 19 lunch speaker Allan Snowie of Bellingham, Washington, a former Royal Canadian Navy pilot and Air Canada pilot, described the plans of “A Nation Soars” to build replica First World War biplanes to fly over the Vimy Ridge monument on the 100th anniversary of the famous battle there. Allan flies his own Nieuport biplane reproduction, one of the aircraft to participate in the flypast. Following the Vimy Ridge flight, the group plans a cross-Canada tour.

016 Mindy Gill Johnson 575

Mindy Gill-Johnson of the Bishop House Museum in Owen Sound ON spoke about the career of Billy Bishop VC during and after the First World War. Bishop was an original Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974.

017 Nadine and Will Chabun 575

Will Chabun of the Regina CAHS chapter presented an historical account of “Aviation Genealogy in Saskatchewan. At a lucky draw on first day of a full program, he won a Snowbirds cap, poster and pin, which he gave to 11-year old Nadine Carter of Stouffville ON, our youngest CAHS member. Nadine was a guest for the day, and had received a one-year complimentary membership for her successful work in seeking recognition for Roy Brown at Stouffville, his last home. He is generally credited with bringing down the “Red Baron”, Manfred von Richthofen, in the First World War. Brown later founded General Airways Limited, which operated from 1930-1940.

018 Isabel Campbell 575

Isabel Campbell from the Department of National Defence’s Directorate of History and Heritage delivered her paper on a post-war story, “Sitting Ducks: The Air Division 1959-1967.”

019 John Bertram 575

John Bertram from Toronto explored the depiction of aviation in postage stamps from Canada and other countries in his presentation on “Aerophilately: Where Business, Art and History Fly Together.”

020 Jonathan Scotland 575

Western Ontario University doctoral student Jonathan Scotland from Etobicoke ON gave his paper on “George Drew and Canada’s Fighting Airmen,” based on the title of Drew’s 1930 book that dealt with 12 distinguished pilots of the First World War.

021 John Weatherseed 575

John Weatherseed from Cheltenham ON spoke of the painstaking work involved in research to restore and replicate vintage aircraft. He himself is building a 1917 Fokker D-VII to flying condition.

022 Marilyn Dickson 575

A retired professor who still teaches flying, Marilyn Dickson of Durham ON spoke about Vi Milstead Warren, a Canadian pilot of the Second World War who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary, flying 47 types of aircraft. Vi was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 2010.

023 Gary Williams 575

CAHS National President, Gary Williams of Regina, in addition to his official duties, described the rescue of his father, F/S George E. Williams, an RCAF Lancaster pilot in the Second World War. He was saved by a 19-year old Swedish girl, Aina Kristiansson, and her father, Oskar. They put their own lives at risk to rescue George. He was the only survivor of the crew when their bomber of RAF 61 Squadron was ditched off the coast of Sweden. Last August, Gary travelled to Sweden to meet Aina, then a lively 92 years old.

024 Crystal Sissons 575

Crystal Sissons, author of Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie MacGill, spoke of MacGill’s success as an engineer in a field dominated by men. MacGill was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1983.

025 Erin Rice Gregory 575

Erin Rice Gregory from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa spoke about the work of Canadian Aeroplanes Limited in building Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” aircraft during the First World War.

026 Rachel Heide

CAHS National Treasurer, Rachel Heide, presented the financial report of the Society.

027 AGM

Left to right at the annual meeting are CAHS treasurer Rachel Heide, president Gary Williams, secretary and convention co-chair Jim Bell, and convention co-chair Richard Goette.

028 Questions

George Fuller, centre, of the CAHS Montréal chapter, poses a question for the board at the Annual General Meeting.

029 Awards

Rachel Heide, left, and Jim Bell, centre, were co-winners of the annual Bill Wheeler Award for their years of service to CAHS. President Gary Williams, right, made the presentations.

030 Larry Milberry 575

Inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004, writer Larry Millberry, owner and publisher of CANAV Books in Toronto, spoke of the development of CAE, the subject of a book he plans to publish.

031 Handoff 575

At the convention banquet, convention co-chairs Richard Goette and Jim Bell presented “Avi,” the CAHS mascot to Bill Zuk, right, of the Manitoba chapter. Winnipeg will host the 2016 annual convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society.

032 Nadine and John 575

Budding historian Nadine Carter, left, and CAHS membership secretary, John Chalmers.


Graham Ireland
Feb. 8, 1933 - Apr. 19, 2015 in Almonte hospital, with family, on Sunday, April 19, 2015, at the age of 82. Beloved husband of his first wife, Gloria Kostyk, and his second wife, Ellen Smith. Loving father of Joan (Andrew) and Robert (Linda), and stepchildren Gordon, Heather and Kelly. "Cool inventor" grandfather to Shawn, Kirsten and Beverley. Brother of Leonard Ireland (Endicott) and Peggy Jacobson (St. Catharines). A Junior Engineer on the Avro Arrow Project, Graham came to hold seven patents relating to Canadian-designed aircraft altimeters and airspeed sensors used by DND Canada, USAF and US Navy. A founder of DG Instruments (Kanata), over his 45-year career Graham also held senior engineering positions at Computing Devices of Canada, Leigh Instruments Ltd., Theratronics, and JDS Uniphase, and designed a wide variety of high-tech devices. An early builder of scale aircraft models (MAAC 105), Graham's scratch-built RC models appeared in documentaries, dioramas, and World Championships; owner of Northcraft Hobbies, known for his model aircraft plans (HD82c Tiger Moth). To read the full obituary, please click here.


Ted Barris Visit Draws Record Crowd to Manitoba Chapter Meeting

On 28 May, a record crowd of over 180 people attended the Manitoba Chapter meeting to hear Ted Barris talk about the Canadian aspects of the Great Escape, the famous attempt by Allied prisoners of war to escape from Stalag Luft III. Ted gave a fascinating talk that kept the crowd engaged for two hours. The chapter was also honoured by the presence of Gladys Williams, the daughter of John Hayward, who was a "penguin", a person who disposed of the earth excavated during the tunnelling.


IMG 0032

The crowd overflowed from our normal meeting space into the upstairs observation deck area.

audience 1

Ted Barris wanders through the audience as he talks about the Great Escape.

ted barris and gladys williams

Gladys Williams shows Ted photos of her mother and father, one of the "penguins" who helped prepare the tunnels.

charles adler and ted barris

Ted speaks to Charles Adler, a nationally syndicated talk show host, on Winnipeg's CJOB radio.


Work underway to move Lancaster KB882 to Edmonton

Assessment complete, preservation work to be done this summer, dismantling and shipment scheduled for next spring.

Since announcing in late March that Avro Lancaster KB882, now located in Edmundston, NB, will be moving to the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton, AB, our team has been busy preparing for the re-location.

The museum has hired Lancaster specialist Tim Mols, of Ingersol, ON, to lead the complex job of moving this 70-year-old aircraft. Mols is an experienced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) and was the crew chief for the restoration of Canada's only flying Lancaster, at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, in Hamilton, ON.

Mols has completed an initial on-site assessment of the Lancaster and has found the aircraft is in better shape than expected, despite its exposure to the elements for more than 50 years. Three of the four propellers still turn, which raises hopes that we will be able to restore KB882 for “ground running” to allow visitors to hear the roar of its four Rolls Royce Merlin engines.

The leadership of the Alberta Aviation Museum has decided to do preliminary work to preserve KB882 at its site near the Edmundston, NB, airport this summer and complete the task of moving the aircraft next spring.

“It's a complex job of logistics,” notes Project Director Jack Van Norman. “We want to take the time to do it right. It will also give us more time to raise the money we need to bring the aircraft to Edmonton.” Van Norman estimates that cost at about $350,000.

The job will require moving the aircraft, which has a wingspan of 31 metres and a length of 21 metres, to Moncton by road and then to Edmonton by rail. Mols and his crew are still trying to locate the wheel assemblies needed for the first part of the trip.

Van Norman notes that additional work will be done this summer to clean the interior of the aircraft with a special preservative that will make the task of dismantling next spring easier.

KB882 is one of only 17 complete airframes to survive worldwide. One of 430 Mk. X models built in Canada by Victory Aircraft, it flew about a dozen bombing missions in Europe at the close of the Second World War.

But the aircraft went on to see active service with the Royal Canadian Air Force. It was modified for coastal patrol and Arctic mapping. The Alberta Aviation Museum has decided to acknowledge that role by displaying it in its post-war configuration.

Fundraising is underway, and a major sponsor has come forward to help with the move. Those details will be made public later. But we are still looking for individuals and organizations to join our team to help preserve this important part of Canada's aviation history. Anyone interested in getting involved as a donor, sponsor or volunteer please contact the Alberta Aviation Museum at

For more information on the aircraft visit the KB882 Facebook page at: or the Alberta Aviation Museum website at:

For more information:
Steve Finkelman
Communications Coordinator

Jack Van Norman
Project Director


Cathedral of wood ingrained with history

Kelley Spruce buildings exemplify Powell River’s great contributions
by Paul Galinski |
Published: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 8:50 AM PDT

 de havilland mosquito cf hml
SPRUCE AIRPLANE: This de Havilland Mosquito, CF-HML, operated by Spartan Air Services for aerial photography in the Canadian north, underwent a decades-long restoration to become the second flying Mosquito in the world, and is now in a hangar in Vancouver. Spruce milled in Powell River went into a large number of these airplanes, which fulfilled fighter, bomber, photographic and pathfinder roles for the Royal Air Force during World War II.

While the prospect of Island Timberlands dropping trees in the PRSC Limited Partnership lands is generating controversy, a huge structure on those lands that milled trees for decades might be allowed to stand, at least in part.

For more than 40 years, Kelley Spruce processed mighty conifers, some so enormous that the logs had to be sawn in the millpond before the wood could be brought ashore for milling into dimension lumber. Some of the most magnificent wood, brought from the Kelley Spruce timber holdings on Haida Gwaii, contributed greatly to the World War II effort. A substantial portion of the spruce making its way through the Kelley Spruce milling complex was used for de Havilland Mosquito aircraft manufacture. These all-wood airplanes made significant contributions to the Allies during the war years, leading to victory in Europe in 1945.

There are only two flyable Mosquito aircraft in the world because the elements are far less kind to wooden aircraft than metal ones, which can remain flyable for decades. So, too, the wooden structure of Kelley Spruce has been diminished by decades of exposure to the damp climate of BC’s West Coast. The deteriorating building is now off limits to the public because it is hazardous.

There are many people in this community with fond memories of the Kelley Spruce operation and there are concerns the Kelley Spruce complex will have to be torn down because it is hazardous in its current state.

The foreshore on which Kelley Spruce sits would make an ideal site for a log dump if the building was torn down. One of the reasons why Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation entered into an agreement with Catalyst Paper Corporation and City of Powell River to create the PRSC (Powell River – Sliammon – Catalyst) Limited Partnership was to situate a log dump adjacent to the millpond.

Tla’amin Chief Clint Williams is aware of the historical significance of the old mill. He said it’s appropriate to have an expert walk through the structure to see what parts can be saved and what parts need to be demolished.

“I think the birth concept of PRSC was having the log dump down at the Powell River millpond,” Williams said. “That’s what started it and that’s what we are looking at doing. We have a design for the area and we are waiting for some surveys to be done. We want to get started and have that Sliammon-owned log dump down there.”

Williams said, however, if there were use for the old Kelley Spruce mill buildings, the intention would be to squeeze as much use as possible.

“We don’t want to just rip something down,” he said. “We want to bring structural engineers in to review this and if there still is use in those buildings, we absolutely want to try to make use of them.

“They are massive. Just the covered area, the dry storage, it would be so expensive to try and build something like that today. To build anything close to that now, I wouldn’t even want to see the price tag.”

Enterprising entrepreneurs have taken note of materials used to build the giant cathedral of wood known as Kelley Spruce. There have been enquiries, for example, about the massive beams that support the gigantic roof.

“People are really after those,” Williams said. “We’ve had many offers. People have said they’d take it down for us and it’s like, uh…no. If there’s any use left in those buildings without breaking the bank, we don’t want to tear them down. If we don’t have to, we are not going to remove Kelley Spruce.”

In a June 1942 feature in the Powell River Company’s Digester newsletter, Harold Foley, the company’s president, wrote about the 1,000-airplane raid on Cologne, Germany. He stated that not only were 1,000 Canadians reported to be in the raid, but also probably many of the aircraft were manufactured from the spruce lumber cut here. The Powell River Company, with Kelley Spruce Ltd., was cutting more airplane spruce lumber than any other plant on the Pacific Coast.

According to the Digester, in August 1943, Flight Lt. Harry Donkersley, DFC, had returned to Powell River and gave high praise for the war effort in this community. Donkersley was told his hometown was in “the Mosquito business,” and that Powell River was one of the largest manufacturers in Canada of airplane spruce timber. The Mosquito, also known as the Wooden Wonder, was being mass-produced in Canada, and shipments of the vital spruce used in its construction were leaving Powell River regularly.

Exacting timber grading was employed in the Kelley Spruce plant for aircraft-grade lumber according to the Digester. Even today, Sitka spruce is revered. Acoustic musical instrument manufacturers highly prize the wood because of its strength, lightness and clear grain. New acoustic guitars with spruce tops can command thousands of dollars from some of the leading instrument manufacturers such as Taylor, Martin, Gibson and Collings.

Because Allied aircrew were being sent to battle in aircraft, in some cases, entirely made of wood, timber grading for aircraft grade lumber in Powell River was even more stringent than for instrument-grade spruce. According to the Digester, the slightest blemish, the slightest doubt, and the spruce was rejected for airplane manufacture.

“The graders know that the lives of thousands of Canadian boys, among them fellow employees, may pay the penalty of faulty or careless grading,” the Digester story stated. “Nothing but the finest and most perfectly grained ‘stick’ is allowed through.”

Bill Thompson’s Powell River Mill Story, outlines that during 1934, Tom Kelley had extensive holdings of Sitka spruce in the Queen Charlotte Islands and arranged with the Powell River Company to have his high-grade logs sawn into rough-cut lumber, which he then had re-sawn and sold as Kelley Spruce. Powell River Company eventually purchased Kelley Spruce in 1944 and expanded the operation into all grades of lumber and also began milling other species. The operation remained known as Kelley Spruce after the Powell River Company acquisition because of its excellent reputation. The mill produced about 25,000 board feet of lumber in 1934, according to Thompson’s mill story, and its capacity had increased to nearly 10 times that in 1979.

Dave Barrett, a 92-year-old former Mosquito pilot, now living in Chilliwack, has great appreciation for the Mosquito, known during the war as the Wooden Wonder.

“It was like bullfighting,” he said. “You had to hang on with everything you’ve got. I’d love to do it again. If they’d let me get in that aircraft…”

After the victory in Europe, Barrett was asked if he wanted to fight in the war in the Pacific. He asked if the Mosquitos were going and was told they were not.

“I said, then, that I’m not going.” He could not countenance going into armed conflict in anything else.

When asked if spruce aircraft were easy to maintain, Barrett thinks so, but he admits he can’t remember seeing a lot of battle damage.

“They were too damned fast,” he said.

He knows, however, the spruce construction was incredibly tough. A control tower mix-up put a taxiing Mosquito on the runway from which Barrett had permission to begin a nighttime take off.

“I cracked open the throttles and we were rolling down the runway at about 100 miles an hour,” he said. “A Mosquito crosses right in front of me. We bash into it, come into the air, bash down on the runway again, and I haul it back into the air.”

Barrett said he flew for the best part of half an hour. The control tower said he couldn’t land on the runway he’d taken off from because there was wood all over it.

He was given another runway to land on and was told to land “hot,” so he flew over the fence well over 150 miles an hour. When Barrett landed he cut the throttle, heard a nice little squeak when he touched, and then he went into a gigantic ground loop. He and his navigator walked away from the wreck and all Barrett did was “rip the ass out of his pants.”

When Barrett was able to examine the aircraft, he’d knocked a foot off the propeller blade on the starboard side, he took the whole wheel nacelle off and there was no tail plane on the right-hand side. While keeping the Mosquito aloft after the collision was anything but a milk run, the toughness of its spruce manufacturing saved his life and the life of his navigator.

Here’s hoping that Kelley Spruce, unlike Barrett’s Mosquito, does not become a write-off.


Winner of the Douglas MacRitchie Memorial
Scholarship Award at Centennial College

douglas macritchie scholarship


The names of the people in the photo are L to R: Sheldon Benner, President, Toronto Chapter CAHS, representing CAHS National; Chi Wai (Wilson) Wong, the 2015 winner of the MacRitchie Memorial Scholarship Award; Marilyn Scott, Chief of Staff, Centennial College; and Larry MacRitchie. Larry is the son of Bruce MacRitchie who was unable to attend and who initiated the award in 1980 with CAHS. Bruce wanted to honour his brother Douglas, a CAHS stalwart, who lost his life tragically in an airplane accident while on his way to Fleet Aircraft in Fort Erie to assist in the restoration of a Fleet Cornell aircraft. The award is given to a student who best exemplifies a responsible attitude, combined with acceptable academic standards. Chi Wai Wong is currently enrolled in Centennial Colleges' Aviation Technician – Aircraft Maintenance program.


Visiting Aircraft: B-17 and B-25 Bombers

b 25 commemorative air forceThe Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada will have a special visit of the Commemorative Air Force's B-17 Flying Fortress and B-25 Mitchell bombers, from Monday 29 June to Sunday 5 July. For more information, check out the RAMWC's web page.


Journal Report – June 2015

The 2014 Publication Year in Retrospect

cahs journal 2014 2015 comp 575

By the time this newsletter is issued, the two final numbers of CAHS Journal volume 52 – the fall and winter editions of the 2014 publication year – should be well on their way to members’ mailboxes if not already there (or in your email in-box, in the case of online-only members).

Given the fact that this was centenary ‘year one’ of that dark and tragic episode of broad-scale human conflict, it seemed only fitting that each 2014 number of our Journal should carry at least one article of First World War related content. Not all were on the war itself, but rather its turbulent wake. In Vol 52 No 1 and “Air Staff Memorandum No.50…” Dr. Robin Higham guided us through decades of fluid projection and conception, much of it based on roots firmly planted in Great War experience, as the Royal Air Force (RAF) grappled with the prospect of fighting yet another ‘war to end all wars’. This made for interesting rereading back to back with our own Dr. Rachel Heide’s closer to home account, in Vol 52 No 4, of the multifaceted struggle to grow an independent Canadian national air force out of the First World War experience. Between these two decidedly academic works, each Journal number featured a great mix of other material on the men and machines that first large-scale war in the air.

All told, this has made it a year of edification for me, given that my particular personal niche aviation history interests did not wander too far into the Great War era. But now both my understanding of, and interest in, the aviation aspects of the First World War have shifted beyond the general. Perhaps many of you may feel the same?

Meanwhile, the balance of our 2014 publication activity was occupied by the usual interesting and eclectic range of aviation history; some of it equally as sharply edifying, some of it well within the comfort zone of an expansion upon the familiar. Bill Upton’s excellent series on the CL-41 programme, “Canadair’s Tutor Emeritus”, was in some of its parts a model example of both ends of that spectrum. Having been an ‘aviation nut’ since boyhood, the Snowbirds demonstration team and its enduring mount would be something I could call familiar with some justification. The airplanes, their configuration, their raison d'être within the jet age Canadian Forces / RCAF, and even the careers of some of its aerobatic display pilots, were all familiar things. My first exposure to Bill Upton’s writing and extensive photo collection gave me the pleasant feeling that there was so much more to learn about the aircraft’s bigger picture: it was an unassuming little trainer (in my mind’s eye, looking out on the world stage of military aircraft programmes) that carried with it a rich history of inception, conception, production, and a long life of continuous operation. So much more beyond ‘that trainer the Snowbirds fly’!

Canadian aviation is just that rich. There’s always a deeper story for those interested in looking, writing, or reading. After 50+ years, it continues to amaze me that contributors to our journal still find ample material to mine, refine, and present within our pages. Thank you one and all.

Forward into 2015

cahs journal vol53 no1 2015 cover 575

Preparation of Journal 53-1, our first in the 2015 publication year, is well advanced and should go to proofreading sometime before the CAHS National Convention later this month. I’ll leave the cover design to tell its own story for now. It is pretty much fixed as is but some content may move around again before we go to press, so a more detailed table of contents will be reserved for the next newsletter.

I hope to see you at the convention!

With thanks!


We hope you enjoyed answering the Canadian Aviation Moments in May. We encourage readers to send in their responses to the Canadian Aviation Moments questions at: Your responses will be included in the following month's newsletter. Here are the correct answers:

Question: When did the RCAF test fly the CT-114 Tutor? How many did the RCAF buy and in what time period?

Answer: Submitted by Bill Upton - A RCAF evaluation team first evaluated the Canadair CL-41 (Note: the military's "CT-114" designation was only assigned in 1968) prototype aircraft, CF-LTW-X, in March 1960 at Canadair Ltd. in Cartierville, Quebec. There are too many references, that for some unknown reason, quote the actual time period for this event as having taken place in December 1960. This oft-reported date is in error.

Most of these references and many other reliable ones mention and confirm that the RCAF pilots tried out the aircraft the day immediately following the recorded incident where this CL-41 prototype lost its canopy during a company test flight with Canadair pilots Ian MacTavish and Colin Harcourt aboard, almost scuttling the RCAF evaluation scheduled for the next day. This lost canopy event duly occurred on 8 March 1960, and a series of eight Canadair photo negative numbers record the canopy retrieval in the dark, early evening hours on this particular date. There were no photographic recorded events related to the CL-41 programme at all during December 1960.

Some reliable confirming references are:

  • "Aircraft" (periodical) April 1960 issue, page 47, shows a photograph of the RCAF evaluation team posed with the CL-41 prototype aircraft (not a Canadair photo, probably one from the RCAF).
  • Canadair News, March 1983, where Ron Foran (Canadair test pilot) states in part, '...first winter of 1960....canopy popped'.
  • CAHS Journal Spring 2007.
  • Canadair's photographic Journals.

Initially, the RCAF had planned to order 265 CL-41s but this was eventually reduced to 190 aircraft due to budgetary reasons. (Ref. periodical "RAF Flying Review", December 1961)

Source: Snowbirds Flying High. Canada’s Snowbirds Celebrate 25 years – Page 28.

Question: How many Canadian airmen served overseas in World War 1? How many were killed and wounded? How many of the top 20 highest-scoring British services were Canadians? Who were they and how many victories did they have?

Answer: “…, the nation teemed with young men anxious to join the Royal Flying Corps or its sister force, the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). By war’s close, an estimated 11,160 Canadian airmen had served overseas with the RFC, the RNAS and the fledgling Royal Air Force (RAF), an amalgamation of the two previously-mentioned British flying services. Of those who served, 1,388 were fatal casualties, while a further 1,130 were wounded or injured. In all, at least 495 British decorations for gallantry, 170 Mentions – in-Dispatches and many Allied national awards were presented to this courageous band of warriors. Canadian airmen thus served with great distinction in all the air combat disciplines during the Great War, including strategic and tactical bombing, reconnaissance and artillery observation, and maritime patrol. However, it was the scout or fighter pilots that truly captured the interest and adulation of the air-minded Canadian public, and of the top 20 highest-scoring British service flyers, eight were Canadians. Maj. William Avery “Billy” Bishop of Owen Sound, Ont, was the unrivalled virtuoso of the Commonwealth scores, with 72 confirmed victories. Close upon Bishop’s scoring heels was Mr. Raymond Collishaw with a score of 62. They were followed by Capt Donald MacLaren with a total of 54, Maj. William Barker with 52, Capt F.R. McCall with 37 kills, and Capts W.G. Claxton and J.S.T.Fall, each with 36 confirmed victories. Capt A.C. Atkey was the last of the top eight Canadians, with a score of 35.”

Source: Airforce – Vol 22 No 3 Fall/Automne 1998 – Page 32.

Question: What was the name of Canada’s first national air force, and how many personnel and airplanes did it have?

Answer: “On 16 September 1914 (while the original Canadian Expeditionary force was forming up in Valcartier), Col Sam Hughes, Minister for the Militia and Defence, authorized the creation of the Canadian Aviation Corps (CAC). This corps was to consist of one mechanic and two officers. E.L. Janney of Galt, Ontario, was appointed as the Provisional Commander of the CAC with the rank of Captain. The expenditure of an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars for the purchase of a suitable airplane was approved. The aircraft selected was a float-equipped Burgess-Dunne bi-plane from the Burgess Aviation Company of Massachusetts. Captain Janney flew the aircraft back to Canada. Upon his arrival in Sorel, Quebec, Captain Janney was arrested by Customs officials and the aircraft was impounded. After Canada Customs received notification from the Department of the Militia and Defence, Captain Janney and the aircraft were released. As it turned out, the, this was to be the only flight of Canada’s first military aircraft.” “After landing at Plymouth, England, the aircraft was off-loaded and shipped to Salisbury Plain where it was considered unsuitable for military service. It was placed in storage, where it eventually rotted and was written off.” “This ended the first attempt at a national air force.”

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Pages 21-22.

The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS.

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions for June are:

Question: What airplane, first acquired in 1927 by the RCAF, made it highly suitable in the ground liaison role? How many in total were acquired?

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Page 53.

Question: When was the first reported theft of an airplane in Canada?

Source: "Dancing in the Sky -- The Royal Flying Corps in Canada", by C.W. Hunt, published by Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2009, ISBN 978-1-55002-864-5.

Question: What was the average number of Airspeed Oxfords on strength at 32 SFTS Moose Jaw and what was the time frame the Oxford was on strength at 32 SFTS?

Source: Windsock – Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter – CAHS – December 2008 – Page 7 – Report by Will Chabun