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Buffalo Airways:

Darrell Knight

Diamonds, DC-3s, and “Buffalo Joe” McBryan

If you’re a fan of Ice Pilots, NWT you won’t want to miss this one! Be prepared to sit on the edge of your seas as former Buffalo Airways flight crew member takes you through stories and photos of flying in Canada’s north.

Hear how the young pilots and aircraft engineers brave minus forty degree temperatures, engine failures and seemingly-impossible demands from expeditors and the airline's owner to bring food, fuel and freight from civilization to remote, isolated settlements high above the Arctic circle in lovingly-restored vintage aircraft.

“Doc” Knight was in the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve for seven years and held a pilot’s license for 23 years, ending his active flying career with Buffalo Airways. His passion for all things military and aviation has led him to write numerous articles for Canadian newspapers and several books, including: Pete Knight: the Cowboy King; Buffalo Airways - Diamonds, DC-3s and “Buffalo Joe” McBryan; and Artillery Flyers at War: A History of the 664, 665 and 666 Air Observation Post Squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He also edited a new edition of Major Horace Singer’s History of the 31st Battalion C.E.F. originally published in 1938. He is currently working on a history of the 403 "City of Calgary" Auxiliary RCAF Squadron (1948-1964).


Archaeology of a Crash:

Todd Kristensen

 B-17 Discovery and Heritage Survey in the Yukon

As any serious wreck-chaser knows, airplane crash sites are important historic resources protected by heritage legislation. In this presentation, you will venture to a remote mountainous region of the Yukon where archaeologists recently performed a heritage survey on a 1952 Boeing SB-17G Flying Fortress crash site. Learn the story of the 1952 crash, the role of B-17's in the northern U.S. air force, and see the fuselage and crash site through the eyes of archaeologists fifty years later.

Todd Kristensen is an archaeologist for Matrix Research Ltd. and conducts heritage assessments in BC, Yukon, and Alberta. He was raised in the Edmonton area and developed an interest in aviation archaeology through training in the Department of Anthropology at Memorial University in Newfoundland.


Frigid Wings, Warm Hearts:

Whitney Lackenbauer

Richard Goette

RCAF Arctic Mercy Flights During the Early Cold War

During the early Cold War period (1945-1960), the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) maintained a regular presence in Canada’s North. Though many are familiar with the RCAF’s role in sovereignty protection and continental air defence in the region at this time, the story of the air force’s Mercy Flights has gone largely untold.

Flying from a variety of locations – including Edmonton – RCAF aircraft performed many Search-and-Rescue (SAR) missions, delivered emergency aid (medical and supplies), and brought relief and joy (notably “Operation Santa Claus” in December) to numerous people.  Come learn about this valuable contribution to aviation history from two of Canada’s most engaging scholars.

Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer is associate professor and chair of the department of history at St. Jerome’s University (University of Waterloo).  He has travelled extensively throughout the Canadian North, and has (co-)written or edited a dozen books including most recently The Canadian Forces and Arctic Sovereignty: Debating Roles, Interests, and Requirements, 1968-1974 and A Commemorative History of Aboriginal People in the Canadian Military.

Dr. Richard Goette is an assistant professor in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.  A National Director of the CAHS, Richard is an air force historian who has published a number of articles on Canadian military aviation, air power (notably air defence and maritime air power), and air force leadership and command and control.


Tom Lamb: “Mr. North”

Bill Zuk

Tom Lamb was born into a frontier life and imprinted with the lore and spirit of that bygone time. He became Manitoba’s greatest bush pilot but also a conservation and environmental advocate for the north; a successful businessman and entrepreneur; and the tireless promoter and patriarch of a great flying family. To the people of the Arctic and sub-Arctic, he was “Mr. North,” and from 1935 to 1981, the company he founded, Lambair, became synonymous with northern aviation.

Bill Zuk is an author, filmmaker, photographer and artist, with a passion for aviation history. He has been published extensively in aviation magazines worldwide, served as editor of Manitoba Aviation, and has published several aviation titles including: True-life Adventures of Canada’s Bush Pilots, (2009); Janusz Zurakowski: A Legend in the Skies (2007);The Avro Arrow Story, (2006). He also built a flying saucer for the Discovery Canada television documentary, Avrocar: Flying Saucer Secrets of the Past, which now resides at the Western Canada Aviation Museum. For more details, click here.


Flying is Funny: 

Clark Seaborn

The Lighter Side of Alberta Aviation in the 1930s

 While aviation history can be a serious business, there are times when it pays to have a sense of humour. In this talk, Clark Seaborn looks at three particularly amusing instances in Alberta during the 1930s:

  • “I felt I was touched by the hand of God” about a life-or-death struggle onboard Fokker Standard Universal, G-CAHE.
  • “For the sake of art” about recreating a bit of aviation history with famed bush pilot Stan McMillan for an Imax film.
  • “When I landed the three guards were very agitated”: Perhaps the first shot fired in anger by a Canadian in the Second World War- all the result of a practical joke gone awry!

A longtime member of the CAHS, Clark Seaborn received his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta.  While working as an engineering consultant his real passion was, and is, aviation history and the restoration of vintage aircraft.  He is presently working on his fifth aircraft restoration project – a 1928 Gipsy Moth. Flying his old airplanes around Canada has allowed him to hear and experience many old aviation stories, which he loves sharing with audiences.


Mercy and Mail by Air: 

 Marg and Denny May

Wop May's Historic Interwar Flights

This presentation will use photos and family artefacts to tell the story of Wop May’s famous interwar flights with fellow bush flying legends Vic Horner and Punch Dickens. Prepare to be amazed by their exploits, including the 1929 mercy flight to Fort Vermilion, and the first air mail flights to the Arctic.

 Denny May has a long association with aviation in Northern Canada. He has been a pilot since 1952 and has researched and written aviation history – especially that concerning his father – for decades. He is editor of the Alberta Aviation Museum Newsletter as well as a life member of the CAHS. Margaret May has had a passion for northern bush flying since living and teaching at Norway House, a Cree reserve in Northern Manitoba. For more details on their work, please see


High River: Alberta's First
Air Station

 Chris Weicht

The Air Station at High River was, in 1920, the first legitimate (i.e. non-barnstormer) aviation presence in Alberta. Staffed with Royal Flying Corps veterans of the Great War, this station became responsible for all forest fire protection of the Rocky Mountains; licensing Alberta pilots, aircraft and airfields; and later (as the Royal Canadian Air Force) flying surveys for the projected Air Mail route from Lethbridge to Vancouver.

The Second World War meant High River went from civilian aviation centre to BCATP hub. Soon it was the site of No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School and many a young pilot destined for overseas duty spent time in the cockpits of the school’s Tiger Moth "yellow peril" trainers.

Through archival photos and illustrations, as well as humorous stories, this presentation will outline this little-known history!

Chris Weicht has had a long and varied career in aviation both in Canada and the United States: he served in the RCAF at Jericho Beach and Comox; worked for Pacific Western Airlines on the DEW Line in the Northwest Territories; and flew for several firms in the Pacific Northwest. He has published eight books on aviation history including, most recently, Alberta Skies (2010). For more information, please see his website,


Maverick of the Sky


Shirlee and Fred

From the perils of World War I aerial dogfights to the daring antics of his post-war barnstorming stunts, the adventures of Captain Freddie McCall, flying ace and maverick Calgarian, come to life in this presentation.

Come explore this ace pilot’s wartime accomplishments and post-war entrepreneurial spirit from author Shirlee Matheson Smith (who literally wrote the book on him!) and his son, Fred. Also find out about the process of constructing a full scale replica of the Curtiss JN-4 – now housed at the Glenbow Museum – that he and Wop May flew for barnstorming shows after the war.

Shirlee Smith Matheson is the author of numerous aviation books, including: Amazing Flights and Flyers; Flying the Frontiers, volumes I, II, III; Lost, True Stories of Canadian Aviation Tragedies; and Maverick in the Sky. She is a much-loved speaker in Western Canada where she brings to life stories of real Canadians – pilots and priests, explorers and engineers, bushmen and prospectors. For more information, please visit

Fred McCall is the son of Freddie McCall. Fred built a replica of the 1919 model of the Curtiss JN-4 his father once flew using original plans. It has become part of a special long-term exhibit at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. For more information, click here.


A Century of Aviation in Alberta

John Chalmers

This talk will highlight some of Alberta’s most fascinating aviation history events and personalities, as well as ongoing efforts in the province to conserve this heritage – all with amazing photos and video footage.

Come learn about the earliest flights in 1909, through to the bush flying years that cemented Edmonton’s status as “Gateway to the North,” to the Second World War and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Also hear about some of Edmonton’s celebrity air visitors (and their adventures), including: Wiley Post, George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Kent, and Richarda Morrow-Tait. Then discover how the Alberta Aviation Museum and other heritage institutions in the province are keeping that history alive through restoration of significant aircraft; historically important re-enactment flights; and commemorative events.

John Chalmers is an accomplished speaker and writer with deep ties to aviation history. In his younger days he spent six years in the RCAF Reserve, and today serves as a director of the Alberta Aviation Museum, and as historian for Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. He is a national member of CAHS and the Ottawa chapter, and has contributed numerous articles to the CAHS Journal and other aviation magazines. His latest book is Navigator Brothers, based on the memoirs and letters of his father, a navigation instruction in the BCATP in Alberta, and his uncle Alfred, who died in Denmark during the Second World War while serving as a Lancaster navigator with RAF 101 Squadron.