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We invite you to Click Here to visit now to view the new site and take advantage of the new features.

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Also visit the Newsflash page at to read about the latest developments.

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convention2018 save the date 545


Time is marching on and the 2018 Convention is getting closer! Mark your calendar today for the convention - May 30 to June 3, 2018. Take a look at our heading, a head-on view of a Mosquito, and stay tuned for more on that. Also we have a deal for you! Our host, the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel is offering the chance of a free night to someone who is an early bird registrant. Those who register before March 15th to stay at the hotel, will be eligible for a draw for a free night. Check out the Sheraton Cavalier and to book your room, CLICK HERE.

During the convention we are planning a visit to the Viking Air Ltd. Calgary facility. Viking Calgary is building Twin Otters and doing work on CL-215’s. We are sure that you will want to participate.

The call for presentations for the 2018 Convention will be coming soon.

Book your airfare now or gas up your car. We look forward to seeing you in Calgary in 2018. You may even wish to come early or stay after the convention, to visit other attractions like The Military Museums (also Cold War Museum) Wetaskiwin, Edmonton, Calgary Zoo (pandas and lemurs), Telus Spark Centre, Heritage Park, Glenbow Museum, Banff, Lake Louise, shopping – no provincial sales tax.

See you in Calgary in 2018,
The 2018 CAHS Convention Committee


RCAF Bracelet Mystery Solved

By Elinor Florence

Bracelet with initials ed feature

Four long years ago, reader Emily Tucker of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, asked me to find the owner of this Royal Canadian Air Force souvenir bracelet. After an exhaustive search, I located the owner's brother in Cambridge, Ontario!

The mystery surfaced way back in 2013 after Emily Tucker of North Battleford, Saskatchewan sent me photographs of a bracelet bearing the name "Barnes, J. M. J." She found the bracelet in her uncle Lige's effects long after he died, but she had no idea where it came from.

Emily knows little about Lige’s service overseas. She recalls seeing letters sent from him when he was in Europe, bearing lots of holes cut out by the censor..... So when she sorted through his things, Emily generously decided to return the bracelet to J. M. J. Barnes, or a family member. She asked for my help in finding the rightful owner.

Over the past four years, I have been using all my sleuthing skills to find the bracelet’s owner.... The bracelet bears the number W301958, the name “Barnes, J.M.J.” and the date: January 10, 1942. On the opposite side is the RCAF crest, shown here.... Because I had her service number, Veterans Affair Canada was able to tell me that her name was Jean Muriel Jane Barnes. It wouldn’t release any other information because I wasn’t a family member.

I didn’t know whether Jean was still living.... I posted about her on various websites and Facebook groups, hoping someone might recognize the name.... I was still hoping that someone might read my website and know something about the bracelet’s owner. But as the years passed, I began to lose heart.

Finally, in one last-ditch attempt, I wrote up a brief item and sent it to the Legion Magazine, where it was posted in The Lost Trails section. And who should read the item but Jean's youngest brother and only surviving sibling, 88-year-old Jack Barnes of Cambridge, Ontario!

To read the rest of the story and fine out who Jean Barnes was, please go to Elinor's blog at


Canada's First Helicopter Commemorated

CAHS Manitoba is pleased to work with the Froebe family and the Rural Municipality of Dufferin to raise funds to create a permanent memorial to the designers, builders, and pilots of Canada's first helicopter, in their hometown of Homewood, Manitoba. Tax deductible donations to the project may be made by sending cheques payable to CAHS Manitoba to: 819 Ashburn St, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3G 3C8. We can also accept Interac transfers sent to

Marking Homewood history with helicopter cairn

Emily Distefano


1298003249218 ORIGINAL

When the community of Homewood celebrates its reunion next summer, residents will also be able to mark a significant chapter in local – and federal – aviation history.

It may be a little known fact to the majority of the country, but Homewood was the site of the first helicopter flight in Canada – and the site of the second flight in the world.

And that accomplishment wasn’t result of millions of dollars of research and equipment; it was the result of an aviation obsession shared by three brothers who worked on their pioneering aircraft in the moments they could spare from farming.

Nicholas, Doulglas and Theodore Froebe moved to Homewood in 1921 with their family from Chatsworth, Illinois.

The brothers had lived close to an airport in Illinois, and were mesmerized by the new flying machines.

Flight was still a relatively new invention at the time. The Wright brothers had only take into the air in 1903.

Charlie Froebe, the son of Nicholas, said his father and uncles were interested in all sorts of flying machines.

They believed that flight would be the mode of transportation of the future. Instead of the cars we now have congested in traffic, they believed people would be traveling from place to place in the air right now.

The Froebe brothers’ first foray into building aircraft came in 1927, after spending time building various powered snow machines and other ground apparatuses.

They sent away for a blueprint for a “Heath Parasol” airplane that was available from Chicago. Charlie said they assembled it with the help of their trusty Mechanix Illustrated magazine.

They spent some time learning the fine points of engine torque and balancing the aircraft. It was a little under-powered, said Charlie, and ended up piled into a fence.

Undeterred, the brothers rebuilt a burnt “Barling” airplane in 1931 and learned how to fly it. An acquaintance crashed that plane in 1933, at which point the Froebes started thinking in terms of vertical flight.

“At this point in time, there were still those who swore that vertical flight was impossible,” said Charlie.

Undaunted - and innovators to the core - the three Froebe brothers decided to develop and build first helicopter to make it off the ground.

This was during the Great Depression, when money with scarce, and the brothers scavenged parts as they could.

They used Model T Ford accelerator pedals for rudder pedals. A Model T Ford tire jack became a collective control. The engine was a D.H. Gypsy #737, acquired from Los Angeles for $100.

That engine was connected to a transmission constructed of crown gears and the pinion from a Chevrolet.

To deal with the issue of torque, counter rotating rotors, one above the other, were used. Charlie explained that collective pitch control by use of a handcrank changed the pitch of both rotors, while cyclic control with used on the lower rotor. Directional control was achieved by the control of torque, increasing the pitch on the top and decreasing the bottom pitch by foot pedals.

All that hard work paid off on December 20, 1938, when the helicopter left the ground, with all three wheels hovering over the snow at once.

The highest wheel made it three feet.

Unfortunately, the makeshift parts and inability to balance the rollers resulted in excessive vibration that made it difficult to control and unsafe for the pilot, Charlie said, and very little maneuvering was possible.

Although they made attempts to refine the aircraft to a suitable level for flight, money constraints and discouragement caused the brothers to return to fixed-wing aircraft.

Charlie noted timing also played a role. Within one year the Second World War had started and there were other considerations to deal with.

Those three feet made a difference though: the flight is recorded by the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada as the first helicopter flight in the country’s history. Only Germany can boast an earlier flight; the country holds the record for first helicopter flight in 1936.

“The most interesting thing you have to take into account the time that they did it, which was in the mid-1930s in the depth of the Depression,” Froebe said. “And these guys were just very young people who had been fascinated by aviation forever. Just the fact that they came up with the idea and built the thing in the ‘30s is the amazing part of it.”

Now, Charlie Froebe and CAHS Manitoba are working to make sure that this accomplishment is commemorated properly on a local level.

Fundraising is currently underway to place a cairn in the centre of Homewood for residents and visitors to note the site of Canada’s first helicopter flight.

The cairn should be unveiled at Homewood’s reunion next July.


Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame

Ten airmen from Colorado who served with the RCAF and the RAF during the Second World War were recently inducted as members of the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame. To see the story by Karl Kjarsgaard from the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, click here.


The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. Spoiler alert - if you read any further than each question, you will find the answer to the questions directly below. Good luck and have fun!

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for December are:

Question:  What was the main purpose of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan relief fields at both the Elementary and Service Flying Training Schools?

Answer: “The main purpose of the relief fields was to provide pilots in training with an aerodrome to fly circuits or “touch and go” landings. Circuit flying was a major component of the flying training syllabus at both the Elementary and Service Flying Training Schools and proficiency in takeoffs and landings required considerable circuit-flying practice. The relief fields effectively doubled or tripled the capacity of the schools.”

Source: CAHS JOURNAL - WINTER 2008 – Page 125

Question: Who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and raised on a farm near Zehner, Saskatchewan, and became one of the 17 Red Knight pilots?

Answer: “D.C. “Tex” Deagnon was born in Regina and was raised on a farm near Zehner, Sask. He joined the RCAF in 1957 and received his wings in 1959. After training on the F-86 Sabre at Chatham, he was posted overseas in Nov 1959. Deagnon went to Grostenquin, France, to No. 2 Wing and served with 430 “Silver Falcon Sqn. He returned to Canada in late 1962 and became a flying instructor at Portage La Prairie. While at Portage Deagnon was selected as the 1964 alternate Red Knight. In 1965, he assumed the role of the Red Knight. Deagnon completed 21 displays during his year as the Red Knight.”

Source: Airforce Revue Magazine – Fall/2008 – Page 15

Question: How many personnel were recruited by the RFC / RAF during its approximately 21 months in Canada? How many pilots graduated and how many fatal crashes were there?

Answer: “In its twenty and a half months in Canada the RFC/RAF training establishment had recruited 16,663 personnel and had graduated 3,135 pilots, of whom 2,539 went overseas and 356 remained in Canada as instructors, and 137 observers, of whom 85 were sent overseas. At the time of the armistice, it had an additional 240 pilots and 52 observers who were ready for overseas service. There had been 130 fatal crashes involving RFC/RAF aircraft in Canada during this same period.”

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – T.F.J. Leversedge – Page 23


Remembering Patrick Campbell

(August 29, 1923 – November 5, 2017)

Patrick CampbellBorn in Selkirk, Manitoba, and after losing both of his parents while he was a young boy, Patrick spent the wartime years in London with relatives, when he developed a love of aviation. Following the war, he was part of a task force sent to Germany to dismantle military factories. After returning to Canada, he worked for Canadair. His passion for aviation led to being a member of the Montreal chapter of CAHS. He served as a director with the Montreal Aviation Museum, which now houses the Bibliothèque Patrick Campbell Library.

Patrick was also an avid member of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society and a member of a Montreal Sherlock Holmes group, writing several books in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Those titles included Tides of the Wight, Shades of Sherlock, and Holmes in the West Country. He also wrote At the End of the Final Line, a book on the construction and manufacture of aircraft.

Patrick was a tireless genealogist and a skilled woodworker. He spent his last two weeks at the West Island Palliative Care Residence and passed away with his family at his side.


Quietus: Last Flight

Quietus Cover2

The latest book from Anne Gafiuk, Quietus: Last Flight - Accident Proneness in WWII, Wartime Aviation Stories on the Canadian Home Front, was released November 8th, 2017, at Owl's Nest Books. Members of CAHS Calgary Chapter were there to help the book take flight. The foreword was written by Lt. Col. Martin Leblanc, Flight Safety Directorate, RCAF.


In 1948, Hugh Burns Hay, a decorated Second World War navigator returned to university to finish his medical degree. As a part of his studies, he requested sixteen pilots' files from the RCAF in an effort to identify 'accident proneness'. Generously illustrated, Quietus: Last Flight offers a unique insight into war on the Home Front in Canada, as well as a glimpse into post-war aviation research.

Books are available through Owl's Nest Books, the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, who are the publishers, and Anne Gafiuk.


Remembrance Day Flight
With the Fraser Blues


Story and photos by John Chalmers
CAHS Membership Secretary

Nearly forty-five years after retired Colonel George Miller led the aerobatic Snowbirds of RCAF 431 Demonstration Squadron, he is still flying as leader of an aircraft formation team, the Fraser Blues, based at the Langley BC airport. In 1973, Miller was appointed to lead the Snowbirds as team commander, following Colonel Owen Bartley “O.B” Philp, who formed the aerobatic team in 1968.

02George Miller, seen giving the pre-flight briefing for the November 11 flight of the Fraser Blues, followed O.B. Philp as Base Commander of CFB Moose Jaw and retired from the air force in 1988. After moving to British Columbia, George served as manager of the airport at Langley BC. There he established the Fraser Blues, a formation team of Navion aircraft. In 2015, he and O.B. Philp were both inducted as Members of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.


Starting with a formation takeoff, each year aircraft of the Fraser Blues perform formation flypasts over Remembrance Day ceremonies in the Langley area. On November 11, 2017, crowds at cenotaphs in eight locations were treated to four aircraft making a pass with streaming smoke trails.


Above is the Navion flown by George Miller’s son, Guy, who has succeeded his father as manager of the Langley airport. Guy filled the position after serving as an RCAF pilot, followed by 13 years as a commercial airline pilot. Named “Bonnie Blue,” Guy’s aircraft carries nose art reminiscent of the pin-up style of images seen on aircraft of the Second World War. The other two very experienced pilots in the team are Ray Roussy and Clive Barratt.


I gladly accepted George’s invitation to fly with him on Remembrance Day 2017. Each of the four aircraft in the formation carried two passengers.


Even on a cloudy day, the Remembrance Day flight saw some spectacular scenery. In 40 minutes we passed over eight cenotaph locations. Upon landing, the day’s events continued with hangar flying over coffee, then camaraderie at the nearby Cloverdale Legion, where pipe and drum music and choral singing of Second World War tunes contributed to the social gathering of remembrance. A dinner hosted by the Fraser Blues and attended by pilots, spouses and passengers concluded my most memorable Remembrance Day ever.


With the smoke trail from the exhaust in one of the cenotaph flypasts, seen off the port wing of George Miller’s aircraft is Clive Barratt in his Navion.


Grant Ward, who served 12 years as a councillor for the Township of Langley, has been associated with the Fraser Blues and was especially pleased with the Remembrance Day flypasts. “For the first time in about 40 years the cenotaph at the Langley Murrayville Cemetery was publicly used for Remembrance Day ceremonies,” he said. “A small citizens' group had taken the initiative, together with local media promotion, to revive the cenotaph service. We expected a small turnout, but some 250 attended and expressed appreciation of the Fraser Blues participation.”


The “crew” in George’s Miller’s aircraft. At left is award winning former air cadet Warrant Officer First Class Tristan Dyke, holder of glider and pilot licenses. He is now in second year studying physics at the University of British Columbia. John Chalmers is at centre, pilot George Miller at right.

See and John’s video of the flight at


Jet Aircraft Museum Red Knight CT-133 moving ahead

Report and photos by Gord McNulty

JAM Red Knight CT 133 Silver Star C FUPP ex RCAF 133573 London Oct 29 2017 Gord McNulty

JAM Red Knight CT-133 Silver Star C-FUPP, ex-RCAF 133573, London, Oct. 29, 2017

A tribute to a memorable aerobatic tradition in RCAF history, the Red Knight, is moving ahead at the Jet Aircraft Museum (JAM) in London, ON. JAM plans to return one of its Canadair CT-133 Silver Stars, painted in the striking red paint scheme of the “T-birds” that thrilled aviation fans in solo aerobatic displays from 1958 to 1970, to the skies in 2018.

C-FUPP, formerly RCAF 133573, was on static display at the JAM hangar when I visited on Oct. 29 for the museum’s final “jet blast” fly day of the 2017 season. It made a vivid impression with its glossy red finish, featuring a red knight’s helmet emblazoned on the nose. JAM president Scott Ellinor noted the ejection seats were being removed from the jet trainer at the request of Transport Canada. Successful engine runs were completed earlier this year and if all goes well, JAM is anticipating flight testing can take place in the spring.

JAM Red Knight Silver Star C FUPP London Oct 29 2017

JAM Red Knight Silver Star, C-FUPP, London, Oct. 29, 2017.

The classic Silver Star, introduced into RCAF service in 1953, was a highly successful jet trainer into the 1970s. A number remained in service for other roles such as electronic warfare training until 2005. The introduction of the Red Knight dates to 1958. Instructor F/L Roy Windover, concerned about the lack of a high-profile Canadian presence at the CNE air show, received approval to paint a CT-133 in red in order that it would stand out among the foreign aircraft. Windover flew as a solo performer and his red T-bird shone like a beacon. The instant popularity of the demonstration convinced the RCAF to establish the Red Knight program. Nearly 100 appearances were made in 1963 alone. Seventeen RCAF pilots carried the mantle of the Red Knight. In 1968, the lighter Canadair Tutor served as the Red Knight before the program ended in 1970.

The restoration of the 64-year-old CT-133 has been an ambitious project, involving more than 1,200 hours of work, under the direction and supervision of AME Brian Rhodenizer. Various organizations have supported the project, including generous donations from two sources in the U.S. among others. Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings of Wichita, Kansas, donated the paint and California-based Concorde Batteries donated two brand new batteries.

The Air Force Heritage Fund contributed and Bill Burns of CanMilAir produced accurate markings. Rich Refinishing Auto Body, London International Airport, Executive Aviation and North Wind Aviation also provided much-needed support.

For excellent reading about the Red Knight, highly recommended is A Tradition of Excellence: Canada’s Airshow Team Heritage, by Dan Dempsey. For more information about JAM, consult the website or phone 519 453-7000.

Of note, also seen at London on Oct. 29, was a Grumman HU-16 Albatross, the latest addition to the International Test Pilots School fleet. An ex-U.S. Navy aircraft, now registered N7025J, the versatile amphibian was acquired by the ITPS to train pilots in connection with the large AG600 amphibious aircraft being developed in China.

The Jet Aircraft Museum BAC Jet Provost C FDJP flew during the Jet Blast on Oct 29 at London

The Jet Aircraft Museum BAC Jet Provost, C-FDJP, flew during the Jet Blast on Oct. 29 at London.

 Grumman HU 16 Albatross of the International Test Pilots School in London ON Oct 29 2017

Grumman HU-16 Albatross of the International Test Pilots School in London, ON, Oct. 29, 2017.

Rockwell Commander RC700 C FLSJ one of nine fixed wing aicraft in the ITPS fleet London Oct 29 2017

Rockwell Commander RC700, C-FLSJ, one of nine fixed wing aircraft in the ITPS fleet. London, Oct. 29, 2017.


Canadair CT-133 Silver Star refurbished for display in Dundas, Ontario

Story and pictures by Gord McNulty

Refurbished Canadair CT 133 Silver Star outside the Hamilton Air Force Association in Dundas Oct 1 2017 Gord McNulty

Refurbished Canadair CT-133 Silver Star outside the Hamilton Air Force Association in Dundas. Oct. 1, 2017

More than 200 people gathered at the Hamilton Air Force Association in Dundas on Sept. 30 to celebrate the restoration of a Canadair CT-133 Silver Star that has been on display for the past 41 years.

Dozens of club members and other interested citizens volunteered to return the ‘T-bird’ to its former splendour in an intensive, week-long effort. The aircraft was lowered by crane, then buffed, polished, and painted. The markings were replaced with authentic decals and tail number 21123, the RCAF number it flew under at No. 2 Advanced Flying School at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, starting in November, 1953. The eye-catching appearance of the jet today is a tribute to the dedication of the volunteers and the people who have donated in many ways. The project was overseen by aviation historian Cam Harrod, Association President Ed Watson and Secretary Steve Moir.

CT 133 Silver Star at Dundas Oct 1 2017

CT-133 Silver Star at Dundas, Oct. 1, 2017

Hamilton reported that the project cost a total of $12,150, including the $4,500 construction of a new stone wall and rock base at the bottom of the column which the airplane rests on. The association received a $2,000 grant through the Hamilton Community Foundation and the national Community Fund for Canada’s 150th birthday.

 The Hamilton Spectator published this photo by Gord McNulty of the Silver Star arriving in Dundas in March 1976

The Hamilton Spectator published this photo by Gord McNulty of the Silver Star arriving in Dundas in March 1976

 The CT 133 Silver Star is lowered from the Chinook at Dundas in March 1976

The CT-133 Silver Star is lowered from the Chinook at Dundas in March 1976


Another view of the CT 133 arriving at the Hamilton Air Force Association in Dundas in March 1976

Another view of the CT-133 arriving at the Hamilton Air Force Association in Dundas, March 1976

The jet was originally airlifted to Dundas from CFB Borden by Chinook helicopter in March 1976. I was a reporter at The Hamilton Spectator at the time and took photos as the Silver Star arrived in Dundas. Crews brought it down in a safe location, then put it on a flatbed and took it to the Association on King Street East. It was an exciting event for the town of Dundas, to be sure.

One of 656 Silver Stars built by Canadair, the Dundas example had served as an advanced trainer until 1959 when it was converted for on-ground instruction and eventually struck off strength in 1975. Cam described the restoration as “a memorial to all armed forces members past and present.”


merry 2017

Merry Christmas to all from your National Executive and the Board of Directors. We wish everyone good health and happiness for 2018.

2017 has been a challenging year for the CAHS with many exciting events along with the sadness of losing some great friends and fellow members.

We are putting a plan and procedures in place for 2018 to be the year we see the Journal back on schedule and the new release of our website up and live. As well, our 2018 national convention is in Calgary, Alberta, from May 30 to June 3, 2018. Plans are well on their way to make this convention another great success and opportunity to meet with CAHS friends, new and old. We all succeed when we work together in mutual support of the goals and purpose of the CAHS:

to support and encourage research in to the history of aviation generally and Canadian aeronautical history in particular and to foster the collection and dissemination of knowledge thereof; and to stimulate interest in and to further the appreciation and understanding of the influence of aviation on Canada’s development and on the world.

I thank every member of your national Board of Directors, all the Chapter executive members, our Journal editor and our webmasters for all their hard work, dedication, and commitment.

To everyone in our Canadian aviation history community, all the best this Christmas Season. Let’s make history again in 2018.

Blue skies,

gary williams sig

Gary Williams
National President
Canadian Aviation Historical Society