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Airlift to the Top of the World

Check out our latest CAHS-supporting discount book offer, Airlift to the Top of the World, a well-written account, accompanied with illustrations throughout, covering a relatively little-known RAF operation in the High Arctic in the early 1950s. The story opens with the involvement of Danish Naval Air Service (later Royal Danish Air Force) Cansos in Greenland and includes a few other Canadian connections further on.

Limited time offer – Please place your orders by 4 December 2020 if you are concerned about having it delivered before Christmas.

order now

Publisher, Linden Hill, has extended to us a limited time offer to sell this new book at a discount in Canada as a fund-raiser for the CAHS.

The publisher's retail USD retail price is $26 (about $34 CAD, not including shipping or any other import costs if purchased directly from their online site).

We are offering this book for $27.00 CAD (GST included) plus $5.00 shipping a single copy, or $6.00 shipping for two copies, in Canada.

Read Fred Hutcheson's review of the book here


A 60-second flight plan

By Crystal Sissons

Queen of the Hurricanes CoverHow do you tell the story Elsie Gregory MacGill (1905-1980) in 60 seconds? What do you focus on? How do you make it happen? How do you ensure that it represents a solid piece of historical research that is both accurate and engaging?

These are some of the many questions that ran through my mind when I was approached by Historica Canada to be one of the consultants for the new Heritage Minute which would feature her story. It was an exciting prospect to say the least, given the notoriety of the Heritage Minutes, but could it do her justice?

The proposed plan was to focus on MacGill’s work as chief aeronautical engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry’s plant (now Bombardier Incorporated) in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay, Ontario). To make the project more manageable, the plan was to target her work on the Hawker Hurricane, where MacGill led the engineering team in the retooling of the plant to produce these fighter aircraft. This was necessary to achieve mass production which was demanded by the needs of the Second World War.

READ MORE on the CAHS website.

EGM Heritage Minute Picture


Link to English Minute:

Link to the French Minute:

To purchase a copy of Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie MacGill in paper, e-book or audio book see: Second Story Press.


Globe and Mail video on vintage “flying newsroom”

Kudos to The Globe and Mail for producing a lively three-minute video on “Canada’s first flying newsroom,” the D.H.89 Dragon Rapide CF-BBG. Well-illustrated with 36 images, the video neatly describes an aircraft that enjoyed a brief period in the limelight flying reporters to far-flung mining camps and other destinations where news was breaking. The grand dreams ended, sadly, when the Dragon Rapide was destroyed in a fire less than three months after entering service in 1937. Nine years later, the Globe introduced a Grumman Mallard to revive the tradition. This must-see video makes a strong impression in telling the story of a unique chapter in Canada’s aviation history.


TAYLOR, Stewart Kenneth

stewart taylorStewart Taylor of St. Thomas, passed away at the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital on September 29, 2020 in his 90th year. Stewart was born in Toronto, Ontario on July 4, 1931, son of the late Clara and Kenneth Taylor. Beloved husband of the late Marion Taylor (2012). Dear brother-in-law of Barbara and Leonard (2015) Morley and Barry and Patricia (2018) Fry. Caring uncle of Gregory Fry (Nancy). Stewart was a world expert on WWI Canadian Pilots and enjoyed people and thrived by having stimulating conversations. Cremation has taken place and Stewart's ashes will be scattered in the Old St. Thomas Church Scattering Garden. A heartfelt thank you to the dedicated and caring staff at Caressant Care Retirement Home. In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to Animal Aid of St. Thomas. Williams Funeral Home, 45 Elgin Street, St. Thomas.

Peter Kilduff, President Emeritus, League of World War I Aviation Historians wrote “Stewart Taylor was an internationally prominent researcher, writer and well-regarded expert on Canadian airmen in World War I. Over four decades he wrote scores of articles for aviation historical journals in Canada, the UK and the USA. An early and long-time supporting member of the US-based League of World War I Aviation Historians and its quarterly journal Over the Front, Stewart wrote 15 articles for that publication from 1986 to 2006. During that time he was a three-time recipient of The League’s prestigious Thornton D. Hooper Award for Editorial Excellence for articles that appeared in 1986, 1994 and 2003 issues of Over the Front. He was a valued friend of mine for nearly 40 years and will be greatly missed.”

Stewart joined the Canadian Aviation Historical Society as member # 642 in 1966. The CAHS Journal (Vol. 34, No. 4, Winter 1996) contained the article “John Roy Allan: Handley-Page Pilot” by Stewart. At the end of his article the following paragraph compiled by the Journal’s Editor, Bill Wheeler, provided a brief summary of Stewart’s exemplary efforts to record Canadian aviation history.

"Stewart K. Taylor is a retired commercial artist and, for most of his life, a devotee to World War 1 flying. He has researched the lives of Canadians who flew with the RFC, RNAS, IAF and the RAF during WW1 and was named Official Historian for World War I Flyers in 1973. Stewart is a long-time member of the CAHS, the former Cross and Cockade (US) and the League of World War 1 Aviation Historians."


The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. Good luck and have fun!

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for September are:

Question: What unit has the motto Per Ardua Ad Astra and what does it mean?

Answer: “The name of the RCAF may have changed, but the commitment, endurance, and readiness to serve the country’s needs that marked its past achievements persists. It is enshrined in the RCAF motto: “Through Adversity to the Stars”.”

Source: The Nova Scotia International Tattoo 1999 – Page 15

Question: Who proposed to the War Office in England that Royal Flying Corps squadrons could be raised and trained in Canada? When was this proposal made and was the Government of Canada in favor of this proposal at this time?

Answer: “Meanwhile, Canada’s minister of militia, the mercurial Sir Sam Hughes had been won over to the view that Canada should participate in an air-training scheme; no longer was the airplane the creation of the devil, Hughes now saw it as vital to winning the war. In September 1916, Hughes was in England, where he made an offer to the War Office to raise and train Royal Flying corps squadrons in Canada and place them at the disposal of the Imperial Government.”

Source: Dancing In The Sky – Page 32

Question: How many RCAF flying squadrons were there overseas? How many of them were heavy bomber squadrons?

Answer: “These RCAF units were governed by RCAF regulations, procedures, and chains of authority. Eventually there were forty-seven flying squadrons overseas, including fourteen heavy bomber squadrons.”

Source: NO PROUDER PLACE – Page 47


Historic Canuck to be Revived

Story and photos by John Chalmers,
CAHS Membership Secretary

00Anyone visiting the small Alberta city of Wetaskiwin (pop. 13,000) can’t miss seeing the historic and preserved water tower that is the city’s predominant landmark. Built in 1906-07, the 150-foot high tower is Canada’s oldest functioning municipal water tower.

Like the water tower, aviation is an important aspect of Wetaskiwin. Dozens of small hangars are located at the city’s airport, and the runways are active with light aircraft. Adjacent to the airport is the Reynolds-Alberta Museum with its large collection of historical aircraft and home to Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

At the airport are the facilities of Historic Aviation Services, Inc. (HASI), operated by Byron Reynolds. He is a nephew of the late Stan Reynolds, an RCAF pilot of Beaufighters and Mosquitos during the Second World War. Stan’s vast collection of farm machinery, automobiles and aircraft comprised the basis of the museum that bears his name. He was installed as member of the Order of Canada in 2000, and became a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009. Byron has been involved for many years in bringing life back to historic aircraft through restoration. Most recently, the RCAF Hawker Hurricane at Calgary’s Hangar Flight Museum was restored under his direction and made its debut at the museum in November 2019. (See “A Hurricane Comes Home” in the CAHS online newsletter of December 2019)

01HASI now has another aircraft from The Hangar Flight Museum at the facility for restoration. It is an Avro CF-100 Canuck, at left, on display for decades outdoors in Calgary, with weather taking its toll. Moved to Wetaskiwin in November 2019, the jet aircraft is now dismantled for rejuvenation. It is expected to be returned to its home in the summer of 2023 after restoration.

“We are excited to preserve this aircraft for future generations,” says Museum executive director, Brian Desjardins, who saw an immediate response to a call last year for funding to restore the aircraft. “It was amazing to see donations come from all across Canada and funding support from the City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta. We raised $400,000 in less than a year!” The aircraft is owned by the City of Calgary, which contributed $240,000. The Government of Alberta provided $25,000, and individual donations totalled $135,000. Of the funds raised, most will go towards restoration and $40,000 is to be spent on a new exhibit telling the story of the CF-100.

02CF-100s began service with the RCAF in 1953 and continued in service with the Canadian Armed Forces until 1981. Powered by twin Orenda jet engines, the CF-100 is the only Canadian-designed fighter to enter mass production, and served as a well-armed interceptor/fighter aircraft capable of supersonic flight in a dive. Calgary’s Canuck is #18126.

Byron Reynolds, seen above at far right, welcomed visitors from The Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary to his shops on September 29 to see progress on the restoration of the museum’s CF-100. In the foreground is a plexiglass panel from the Canuck’s cockpit.

03Shown with both wings of the CF-100 is Byron Reynolds’ son, Ted, who removed the wings from the aircraft prior to it being transported to Wetaskiwin. Named for his great-grandfather, Ted is fourth generation in the family to be involved in aviation. An aircraft built and flown by Ted’s great-grandfather hangs suspended in display at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. The appearance of the Canucks’ wings belies their actual condition, as weathering and corrosion necessitate that new skins be installed.


Hidden art scratched into the primer of a wing was revealed when a section of the outer skin was removed! Created by an unknown worker who helped build the aircraft, this artistic gem will go back into hiding when new exterior skin is installed.

05Shown here is one of the internal fuel cells of the CF-100. As the aircraft is being restored for static display, there is no need to re-install the fuel cells, but at least one will be retained and inflated for a new exhibit with the aircraft when it returns to the museum in Calgary. Now dismantled, components of the Canuck are housed in three buildings of Historic Aviation Services Inc. at the Wetaskiwin airport.


Visitors from the The Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary look over one of the Rolls-Royce Orenda turbojet engines from their CF-100. Like the rest of the aircraft, the engines suffered from exposure to weather. As the aircraft won’t fly again, the engines will not be reinstalled, which would just add to the Canuck’s weight, but one will be dressed up for display with the aircraft.

07Avro CF-100, #18126, was the 26th Canuck built by A.V. Roe Canada and completed January 27, 1953. It first served with No. 440 RCAF Squadron at Bagotville, Québec, in 1953, one of the first to be put into service, and is now one of the oldest surviving Canucks in the world. A total of 692 CF-100s were built in Canada. Years ago, this aircraft was painted black to resemble the livery of the first CF-100 prototype in 1950. In restoration, the aircraft will be restored to its original silver colour, and is believed to be the last surviving dual control variant of the Canuck.


The visit of representatives of The Hangar Flight Museum provided the first opportunity to check on the progress of the restoration project. Shown here is the CF-100’s fuselage, with the tail assembly appearing at left rear bearing #18126.

09Yes, they really are smiling after checking the progress of their classic and legendary CF-100! Left to right are Byron Reynolds; Liam O’Connell, Rob Ballantyne and John Melbourne of the CF-100 restoration committee, and Brian Desjardins, executive director of The Hangar Flight Museum. During these troubled times in the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are worn even in restoration shops! Any having or knowing of CF-100 components that may be of interest to the Museum, can let Brian know by writing to


Gaynor Williams

The CAHS was saddened to learn of the passing of Gaynor Williams, CAHS Ottawa Chapter member from 2003-2013.

To read more about his incredible life, please click here.


Avro Arrow

In the month that marks the Avro Arrow's being rolled out to the public for the first time (4 October 1957), the CAHS is pleased to share two links about this significant and fascinating piece of Canada's history:

After decades of failed searches, the 'holy grail' of Avro Arrow artifacts uncovered at the bottom of Lake Ontario

CAHS Ottawa meeting with guest speaker Palmiro Campagna, Avro Arrow: For the Record


From the home office of the president

I have good news and sad news for you. First the sad news. I am so sorry to say that this will be one of the last newsletters published by our editor, Lisa Ruck, who is retiring. Lisa has been a constant, dependable, and fantastic editor. We will miss her dedication and passion for everything she does for the CAHS. On behalf of every member and supporter of the CAHS, I thank her for bringing us the stories and updates every month. We are now working to find someone to take over as newsletter editor.

The good news is that our appeal for financial support has been embraced by so many of you and we are getting closer to a solid financial position. We aren’t fully airborne yet but, the sky is looking a lot clearer than it did just a short time ago.

Many chapters have been conducting their meetings via Zoom video, and the Regina Chapter for one, has been recording them and placing them on the CAHS national website. What a great way to share the many chapters presentations with everyone.

Please continue to stay safe and healthy. We will make it through COVID-19 with everyone working together, following the health guidelines, and looking after ourselves, our families and our friends.

Gary Williams
National President


From the Desk of the Treasurer - Need for Your Continued Support

The CAHS Executive is extremely grateful for everyone who has come forward in the past couple of months with renewals and donations to help the CAHS maintain its capability to operate. Your generosity is so encouraging and is helping us keep up with immediate financial commitments. Nevertheless, looking just months down the road, we are still in financial need. The CAHS has maintained 100% of its operations on the Journal, the website, the e-newsletter, and the behind-the-scenes administration - all of which incur costs. The income sent to the CAHS for renewals and donations this spring and summer was less than 50% of what was received by the CAHS in 2019 over the same period of time. Unfortunately, this decrease in income over our first and second quarters continues to affect our ability to carry out our operations for the rest of the year, especially on our largest cost – printing and mailing all the quarterly journals scheduled for production this year.

We ask our members who still need to renew for 2018, 2019, and 2020 to do so as soon as possible. You can renew online (paying with your credit card or PayPal) at the following link: If you would prefer to mail a cheque or credit card number for your renewal or donation, you can download the PDF version of the membership form here or the donation form here. If you choose to mail your renewal, we ask that you email our treasurer (Rachel Heide) for her home address, which will ensure quicker processing of your renewal. You may also email her to inquire as to your membership status.

Donations are also an important part of our funding streams. We would greatly appreciate it if you could consider donating to the CAHS to help us maintain our bills, website, and Journal production. You can donate online at our website (paying with your credit card or PayPal) at the following link: Do you know of a corporation that would be interested in, or is in a position to, support the CAHS through a Corporate membership or a sponsorship donation? It would be greatly appreciated if you could reach out to your corporate donor network and advocate supporting the CAHS financially. More information about corporate membership is available at the link

Christmas is just two weeks away. Do you have some aviation enthusiasts on your shopping list? Perhaps they would be interested in a Canadian aviation art calendar for 2021? Or perhaps an aviation history book? The CAHS has items for sale that serve as fundraisers for the CAHS, but are also at great/discounted prices for you. Please see the sales we are highlighting in the newsletter below. Our full sales offerings can be viewed on our website at and

Thanks again for your support of the CAHS, especially as we try to find ways to continue our operations and Journal production during the added mental and financial stress of COVID-19.

Cordially Yours,
~Dr Rachel Lea Heide
CAHS National Treasurer


CAHS Manitoba's next meeting, on Thursday 29 October at 7 pm CDT, will feature chapter secretary Bill Zuk, who will speak on the history of Atlantic crossings by air. Bill's story began a decade ago, when the first of a series of journeys to Canada's Maritime provinces led to visits to the places where aviation history was made in the transatlantic era where aviators tested their frail aircraft against the dangers of the North Atlantic crossing. The locations included St. John's Newfoundland. where Alcock and Brown had triumphed over a collection of adventurers who also wanted to win the Daily Mail £10,000 award. In trying to retrace their steps to find Lester's Field, the small unprepared strip where the pair had taken off, I found it was not marked on any map, but a day of sleuthing finally led to a modern day Royal Canadian Legion that stands on the same ground. Trips to other Newfoundland sites were just as unusual from Trepassey where Curtiss NC Flying Boats made the first flight across the North Atlantic, albeit in a series of hops in 1919. The small outport and harbour was also where the Friendship later set off in 1928 with the first woman to cross the Atlantic on board, a virtual unknown aviatrix, Amela Earhart. In 1932, Earhart returned to fly solo from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland to Ireland. Other famous flights took me to Gander where the RCAF carried out wartime ferry missions, to the less well known Cartwright where Italian General Balbo had set down after a formation flight across the Atlantic and even DIldo (yes, Dildo) which was the end point of an aerial crossing by the massive Dornier DO.X. There were other trips to New Brunswick to St. John to trace where Amelia's newspaper had come from- more about this curio later. Prince Edward Island led me to where CFB Summerside, now gone, was an important waypoint much like Gander had become, especially on 9/11. Stay tuned for more stories of the men and women who flew the North Atlantic. Bill's bio is below.

The meeting poster is here. This meeting will be online only. To attend, you must sign up at, no later than three hours before the meeting, so that we can send you the link. Our events are free and open to CAHS members and everyone interested in Canadian aviation history.

Our next meeting will be Thursday 26 November at 7 pm CDT.