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Aviators Honoured at June 2017 Annual Celebrations

By John Chalmers
CAHS Membership Secretary

Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame will celebrate and honour outstanding achievement in aviation at the Hall’s annual gala dinner and induction ceremonies to be held at the Vancouver International Airport on June 15, 2017. The 44th annual inductions will bring the number of individual Members to 228 since 1973, with the Belt of Orion Award for Excellence, given to an organization, for the 23rd time.

The span of individuals being honoured reaches from the First World War to present times. Again, both military and civilian aviation achievement is being recognized by the Hall.

Erroll BoydErroll Boyd (1891-1960) was born in Toronto and flew for Canada in the Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War. He survived mishaps in combat flying, was interned in Holland after being shot down, and did test flying after the war. He rose to fame as the first Canadian to fly across the Atlantic, a flight with navigator Harry Connor in October 1930. Taking off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, the flight took 17 hours, coming down in the Scilly Isles when a blocked fuel line, with 100 gallons of fuel still left, necessitated the landing. The flight continued the next day to Croydon, England, the original destination. Erroll had previously flown a record-setting flight in the same Bellanca aircraft to Bermuda and later toHaiti. After his transatlantic flight, he spent the rest of his life promoting aviation.


Robert DeluceRobert Deluce, born in Chapleau, Ontario, is President and CEO of Porter Airlines. He began working for his parents’ company, White River Air Services, as a youth and earned his Private Pilot Licence at the age of 17. A year later he earned his Commercial Licence and flew new aircraft from the factory in Kansas to deliver to his parents’ company. Over the years he became increasingly involved in airline development and service, eventually establishing Porter Airlines in 2006, operating from the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and flying Bombardier Q400 aircraft. Service commenced with 10 return flights per day to Ottawa. A major Canadian carrier, Porter now serves 20 locations in Canada and the U.S. Bob Deluce is highly regarded in aviation and business communities, and is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from three universities.


Danny SitnamDanny Sitnam, born in England, got his first flight in a helicopter after moving to Canada with his family in 1963. After investing in a small helicopter with others, in exchange for learning to fly it, he soon earned his helicopter licence and landed his first job as a pilot. He then established Helijet Airways and now has over 5,000 hours as a helicopter pilot. Over the years, he built his company to become Helijet International Inc., operating the world’s largest scheduled passenger helicopter airline. Besides some 300 IFR certified scheduled flights weekly between Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo, Helijet operates B.C.’s largest medevac service with both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. The company has 160 employees and operates 16 helicopters and 2 fixed wing aircraft from bases in Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert and Sandspit, Haida Gwaii.


Rogers SmithRogers Smith, born in Dawson Creek BC, is widely recognized as one of the world’s top test pilots. He holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Toronto, where he studied aeronautical engineering. He has had a stellar career as an engineer and test pilot. Starting with the RCAF as a pilot who trained in the ROTP program, after his air force service Rogers flew as a test pilot for the National Research Council and later for NASA. “Rog” has flown many types of jet aircraft, and logged time for over eight years in the SR-71 Blackbird at over three times the speed of sound. Now retired after over 10,000 hours as a pilot, including 8,000 in jet aircraft, of which 6,000 hours were spent as a test pilot, he remain involved in the industry as a consultant.

Golden Hawks

The Royal Canadian Air Force Golden Hawks aerobatic team is the recipient of the Belt of Orion Award for Excellence. The team was formed in 1959 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of powered flight in Canada. Under the leadership of S/L Fern Villeneuve, who was inducted as a Member of the Aviation Hall of Fame in 2006, the Golden Hawks comprised the first official RCAF aerobatic team. It flew six Canadian-built Canadair F-86 jet aircraft. Intended to fly for only one year, success of the Golden Hawks saw them continue to fly until 1964. At least five F-86 Sabres in original colours are located at museums in Canada. In the Vintage Wings of Canada collection at Gatineau, Québec, a restored F-86 named “Hawk One” is in authentic livery and has flown at aviation events from across Canada.

For more information about the 2017 award recipients and details of the Hall of Fame inductions, click here. For event details, click here.


Meet and Greet Reception

As part of the 2017 Convention, we are looking forward to an evening Meet and Greet reception on June 8 at the 427 (London) Wing RCAFA. The Wing, which has a new website,, is rich in history and has much to offer. The Wing is housed in an original 1940 RCAF canteen. One of the features at the Wing is a memorial to LAC Kenneth Gerald Spooner, GC, of No. 4 Air Observer School at London. A student navigator with no pilot training, LAC Spooner, age 20, took over the controls of an Anson aircraft when the pilot suddenly fainted. His action enabled three comrades to bail out. Soon after, the aircraft crashed into Lake Erie. The gallant airman received the RCAF's second George Cross posthumously in tribute to his act of self-sacrifice so that others might be saved.

The Wing is also developing a Spirit of Flight Aviation Museum. In 2015, it planted 100 trees as a "living honour guard" or tribute honouring the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 2017. We appreciate 427 Wing President Rene McKinnon's support of the Convention and there is little doubt that our continuing efforts to promote the event will result in a most worthwhile gathering in London this year.

427 London Wing

427 (London) Wing is housed in an original 1940 RCAF Canteen and will be the home of the new Spirit of Flight Aviation Museum.

Bill Grahlman and wife Marg May 22 2016

Bill Grahlman, President of 447 (Hamilton) Wing, and wife Marg at 427 Wing during the 67th Ontario Group AGM May 22, 2016.

427 London Wing memorial tribute

427 (London) Wing memorial tribute to LAC Kenneth Spooner, GC, of No. 4 Air Observer School.


History in the news

February 20, 1959 marks the anniversary of the end of the Avro Arrow. Here are a few recent newspaper articles on the Avro Arrow:

Canada History Feb 20, 1959; Death of a national dream

Remembering the death of the Avro Arrow


Close Call

Global News Article

Harrison Ford had another close call this week while flying his private plane in California. The actor was reportedly involved in a serious incident involving a 737 passenger airliner at John Wayne Airport in Orange County on Monday.

According to NBC News, Ford, 74, was attempting to land his single engine Husky on a runway at the airport, but mistakenly landed on a taxiway instead of a runway.

The experienced pilot and Star Wars actor’s plane went overtop an American Airlines 737 that was carrying 110 passengers and a six-person crew.

The passenger jet involved in the incident with Ford’s private plane managed to depart safely minutes after the incident.

“Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?” the actor was caught saying on an air traffic control recording. To which he was informed that he had landed on a taxiway, not the runway.

RELATED: Harrison Ford Remembers His Friend Carrie Fisher: ‘She Was One Of A Kind’

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Ford was given the proper landing instructions and read them back. As a result of the serious mishap, the FAA has launched an investigation.

The FAA gave the following statement to Variety: “Air traffic controllers cleared the pilot of a single-engine Aviat Husky to land on Runway 20L at John Wayne Airport Monday afternoon. The pilot correctly read back the clearance. The pilot then landed on a taxiway that runs parallel to the runway, overflying a Boeing 737 that was holding short of the runway. The FAA is investigating this incident.”

Ford could receive a simple warning letter or a suspension of his license.

ET Canada reached out to Ford’s rep, who declined to comment on the incident.

This isn’t Ford’s first accident in the sky. In 2015, he crashed-landed a World War II airplane on a Santa Monica golf course after the engine failed. He escaped with a broken arm and minor head injury. A witness told NBC News at the time that Ford had “saved several lives” by rerouting his plane away from a tract of suburban homes before he hit Penmar Golf Course.

READ MORE: Engine carburetor problem led to Harrison Ford plane crash on golf course

The actor has been flying planes for almost 50 years and is known for collecting vintage aircraft.


CAHS Convention 2017

2017 convention slide savethedate 600px

The next CAHS Convention and AGM will be held in London, Ontario, for the first time, on 8 - 11 June 2017. Most convention activities will take place at the Best Western Stoneridge Inn and Conference Centre. The hotel is conveniently located just off Highway 401 at Colonel Talbot Road, about a 20 minute drive from the London International Airport.

London is home to the Diamond Aircraft factory, the Secrets of Radar Museum, the Jet Aircraft Museum, and the International Test Pilot School. The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association in Tillsonburg, the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association in Windsor, the Waterloo Warbirds in Kitchener, and the Canadian Warplane Heritage in Hamilton, are all within a couple of hours' drive. The amazing Henry Ford Museum and the Yankee Air Museum (Willow Run) are just across the US border. The area is rich in aviation heritage, with significant aeronautical activity by the RCAF, de Havilland Canada, and Air Ontario, amongst others.

Last Call for Presentations

The call for presentations is available here. Speakers will have a maximum 45 minute block to make their presentations. The deadline for submissions is 28 February.

Convention Registration and Hotel

Convention registration is now open. Register online using our EventBrite page here. You can pay online, or you can pay by sending a cheque to our national mailbox at CAHS Convention, PO Box 2700 Station D, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5W7. Please make cheques payable to CAHS.

You can register at the hotel now, using this link. You can also call the hotel directly at 519 652-6022 or toll free at 1-888-471-2378, and quote reservation code 5B0VB6B3. Our special convention rate is $110 plus taxes, which is held for us until 7 May 2017. A breakfast buffet is included with your hotel registration.

We are pleased to offer an opportunity to win your stay, courtesy of Best Western Stoneridge. Attendees who register for the convention before 1 April 2017 will be entered into a draw to win a three night stay, which can be applied to your convention stay.

Getting to London

There are direct flights to London from Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary. Most major car rental agencies have an office in the London airport terminal. The hotel is approximately a two hour drive from Toronto Pearson International Airport.

More information

Questions about sponsorship opportunities and general enquiries may be sent to organising committee chairperson Jim Bell at

We are pleased to work with the following partners:

 Best Western PLUS Logo Vertical RGB 300 DPI CHAA  logo  rcaf a 
Best Western Stoneridge Inn Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association

No 427 Wing RCAFA

cahs hummingbirds


First Aerobatic Flight

Originally published on June 17, 2015

Four year old Léa accompanied her father, Raphael Langumierher, on first aerobatic flight and loved it! To view the video, click here. The ride took place in Lachute, which is about 85 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

lea flight


I'm the Toronto member of the Canadian Aerospace Artists Association and we're having our 2018 convention at the Great War Flying Museum on the 2nd weekend of Sept. 2018 in Brampton. Do you have a member who could give us a historical talk; WW1 preferably? I'd appreciate any help you could give me. We have a 3 day convention typically with trips and talks, with an art display and on-site sketching session.

Thank you,

Martin Myers


The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. The questions and the answers are now being published together in the same e-newsletter, rather than questions one month and the answers the next. We are hoping this instant gratification might encourage more interest and research by our readers. Spoiler alert - if you read any further, you will find the answer to February's questions directly below. Good luck and have fun!

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for February are:

Question 1: How did the responsibilities in regards to forestry flying change for the Canadian Air Force in 1921? What impact did the change have on the type of aircraft used?

Answer: “Initially, forestry flying consisted of spotting and reporting fires, but in July 1921 the aircraft of the Northern Ontario Mobile Unit went a step further by transporting rangers and equipment to fight the conflagrations., The aircraft thus moved from a passive to an active role, known as “fire suppression.” This created a need for a new type of aircraft, one capable of airlifting firefighters, pumps, etc. The old H2SL could carry only minimal loads. In 1923, the RCAF introduced a larger, sturdier machine – the Vickers Viking: followed in 1926 by a type designed specifically for fire suppression: the Vickers Varuna.”

Source: Legion Magazine – Sep-Oct 2009 – By Hugh A. Halliday - Page 34

Question 2: In 1919 and 1920, the British Government bestowed upon Canada a number of different types of airplanes with associated equipment. This was called “The Imperial Gift”. What were the types and numbers of airplanes given to Canada?

Answer: “After many suggestions and changes, the final mix of aircraft consisted of the following types; Avro 504 - 62, De Havilland D.H.4 – 12, De Havilland D.H. 9 – 12, Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5A – 12, Felixstowe F.3 Flying Boat – 11, Curtiss H.16 Flying Boat – 2, Bristol F.2B Fighter – 1, Sopwith Snipe – 1, Fairey IIIC Seaplane – 1. It should be noted that not all the aircraft ultimately delivered were eventually flown. G-CYDQ, an F.3 appears to have been assembled, registered, and then never given a Certificate of Airworthiness. And F.3s N4012, N 4013, N4178 and N4179 did not even reach the stage of registration. Similarly, four AVRO 504K aircraft may never have left their crates; they were not subsequently registered by the Air Board (H9552, H9554, H9557, H9733). A Curtiss H.16 (N4902) and a D.H.9a (E991) appear to have suffered the same fate. One Sopwith Snipe (E8213) was also part of the Imperial Gift that was not registered by the Air Board.”

Source: Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal – Vol.47 No.1 – Spring 2009 –Page 26

Question 3: Which aircraft, originally designed in 1913 as an operational type, provided the backbone for flying training throughout the First World War for Britain and her allies? Did Canada ever take this type of aircraft on strength and if so how many did they have and where did they obtain them from?

Answer: Originally designed in 1913 as an operational type, the Avro 504 provided the backbone for flying training throughout the First World War for Britain and her allies. In 1918, Canada ordered a substantial number of 504 aircraft to be built by the Canadian Aeroplanes Company. When the war ended the order was terminated and instead, in 1919, Canada received sixty-two Avro 504K’s as part of an Imperial gift of 114 aircraft from Britain. The type then served in a variety of roles for more than a decade. Additional examples were also acquired and the aircraft was progressively modified and improved.”“TOS: 1920 SOS: 1934 No: 97”

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – A Military Compendium – T.F.J. Leversedge – Page 57