Vesta's Corner
Vesta StevensonWhy not allow the NetLetter to be your platform and opportunity to relive your history while working for either TCA, AC, CPAir, CAIL, PWA, AirBC etal?

Share your experiences with us!

The only woman in the world qualified to fly passengers faster than the speed of sound is Senior First Officer Barbara Harmer of British Airways (Concorde Division).
Air Canada - our first 70 years

1997- May 14th - AirBC withdrew service from Campbell River, BC and Comox BC. The service is taken over by Central Mountain Air under an Air Canada designator flights.


  • Feb - To transport the Canadian athletes for the Winter Olympics in  Japan, Airbus A340 C-FYLD fin 904  was suitably repainted as shown in this photo.

This aircraft is now operating with Iberia.

  • June 2nd - Reintroduce between Edmonton & London Eng non stop service with B767 equipment.
CF-TFDcrashsiteOn December 9th, 1956 a TCA North Star CF-TFD crashed on Mount Slesse, near Chilliwack, BC becoming Canada's worst air disaster. There is a book of the event "Disaster on Mount Slesse" ISBN978-1-8947-5921-2 available in Chapters ca$16.68

TCA/AC People Gallery
Over the past months we have been publishing various photographs from earlier "Horizons", should any photos prompt a memory in seeing one of them, feel free to send us your comments and thoughts.

Musings from "Horizons"
In early 1997, recognizing the importance of retaining memories of the airline's history, Lamar Durrett, President and CEO, decided that the 60th anniversary year presented the perfect opportunity to mount an exhibit of Trans-Canada Air Lines and Air Canada artifacts. Fraser Muir, President of Pionairs got involved and, using the vast network of retirees, gathered together items from the past. The project was then assembled into an exhibit, which was made transportable, and was moved around to various system activities.
Alas this exhibit is no longer, having been removed from Air Canada's possession and into the dusty depths of a government archive.

Issue dated October 1997.

Farewell Mirabel
. The final Air Canada flight was B747 flight 870 to Paris on Sept 14th 1997. The first international flight from Paris to Dorval since 1975 was flt 871  on Sept 15th 1997 under the command of Capt. Bob Tucker.
ymx We have this photo from the flight desk.

Issue dated November 1997
As a reminder of Air Canada's involvement with the "Children's Miracle Network", an Airbus A320 fin 205 C-FDRP c/n 122 was painted with children's faces.

Issue dated February 1998
During 1997, several US destinations were being set up for inaugural service, here we have the team which were at Cleveland during December.

High fliers for the on-time performance during the summer of 1997 were St.Louis and Charlotte both with 93%.


Well, at least the Vancouver crowd look happy.

Under the heading  "Hats off to the Employee Call Centre", Diane Carignan informed us of the work at the Winnipeg call centre who handled approximately 640,000 calls during 1997.

callersThe agents were dedicated to handling personal, business, family affaire and various travel needs of the employees and retirees. Here we have this photo.

Air Canada News
Air Canada
Air Canada to launch non-stop Montreal-Geneva service year-round non-stop service between Montreal and Geneva. Daily flights will begin June 1, 2009 (first flight departs Geneva June 2, 2009), with same-plane service continuing on to/from Toronto. 

The carrier's Star Alliance partner, Swiss International Air Lines, will offer seats on a codeshare basis on the new route.Air Canada will operate the new Montreal-Geneva non-stop service using 211-seat Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft offering a choice of Economy Class and Executive First service featuring 24 lay flat bed suites.

Star Alliance News
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Bytes and Pieces

Alan RustWorld's longest air flight - Dec 4, 1958 - Nearly 50 years ago, on December 4, 1958 Robert Timm and John Cook took off from McCarran Airfield, Las Vegas, NV in N9172B. Sixty four days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and 5 seconds later, they landed back at McCarran Airfield on February 4, 1959. By continual airborne refueling they managed to fly the equivalent of six times around the world.

Cessna 172 refuelingThe flight was part of a fund raising effort for the Damon Runyan Cancer Fund. Food and water were transferred by matching speeds with a chase car on a straight stretch of road in the desert, and hoisting the supplies aboard with a rope and bucket. Fuel was taken on by hoisting a hose from a fuel truck up to the aircraft, filling an auxiliary belly tank installed for the flight, pumping that fuel into the aircraft's regular tanks, and then filling the belly tank again. The drivers steered while a second person matched speeds with the aircraft with his foot on the vehicle's accelerator pedal.

Cessna 172 Engine oil was added by means of a tube from the cabin that was fitted to pass through the firewall. Only the pilot's seat was installed. The remaining space was used for a pad on which the relief pilot slept. The right cabin door was replaced with an easy-opening, accordion-type door to allow supplies and fuel to be hoisted aboard.

Early in the flight, the engine driven electric generator failed. A Champion wind driven generator (turned by a small propeller) was hoisted aboard, taped to the wing support strut, plugged into the cigarette lighter socket - and served as the aircraft's source of electricity for the rest of the flight.

Bob TimmThe pilots decided to end the marathon-flight because, with nearly 1500 hours continuous running during the record-setting flight plus several hundred hours already on the engine beforehand (considerably in excess of its normal overhaul interval), the engine's power output had deteriorated to the point that they were barely able to climb away after refueling.

Cessna on displayThe aircraft is on display in the passenger terminal at McCarran International Airport. Photos and details of the record flight can be seen in a small museum on the upper level of the baggage claim area.

Canadi>n/CPAir/PWA, Wardair, etc. Events & People

Over the past months we have been publishing various photographs from earlier in-house magazines, should any photos prompt a memory in seeing one of them, feel free to send us your comments and thoughts.

dc3Pickings from the "CP Air News" magazine donated by David Welham.
From the May 1979 issue we have this photo of CF-CPY prior to being restored and positioned as a gate guard at Whitehorse Airport.

From the August 1979 issue
September 19th marked the 30th anniversary of CP Air service to Tokyo and Hong Kong. The flight aboard a Canadair IV took 33 hours 30 minutes elapsed time from YVR-HKG via Anchorage, Shemya and Tokyo. In 1979 the B747 takes only 13 hours 45 minutes.

agreementThe signing of a collective agreement was celebrated at YVR by these pilots and other CP Air officials.

Skybus service is being expanded to Montreal (Mirabel) and Winnipeg, effective October 28th. YVR-YMX ca$104.50, YWG-YYZ ca$51 and YWG-YVR at ca$59.50 all one-way fares.

From the October 1979 issue
The first DC-10 to fly in CP Air colours was delivered to YVR on Nov 2nd 1979 and will be named "Empress of Alberta". After pilot training it will be assigned to the Toronto to Rome sector on Dec 11th.

John Hopkins sent this along.
I thought I would share a photo of a moment in my career with CP Air that I am particularly proud of and an article from the CP Air News dated July, 1982 page 4 under the headline "JA is getting young people involved in business".

As reported in this story CP Air was a sponsor of Junior Achievement in Richmond, BC and Toronto ON. In 1982 our Richmond BC JA company "Richco" was named Junior Achievement of BC's "Company of the Year", and later that year the Canadian Chamber of Commerce chose "Richco" from among 400 companies  in 67 cities across Canada as the "Junior Achievement Company of the Year 1982".

CP Air employee advisors included myself from Treasury Dept as Finance Advisor, Mavis Mittelsteadt from Marketing, Flight Attendants as Executive Advisor, Tom Buecking from Sales Development as Marketing Advisor and Colin Taylor, from Maintenance Production Control as Production Advisor. Dave Dobson, who was then Executive Assistant to the President (Ian Gray), was CP Air's representative on the Board of Junior Achievement of BC.

I know that at least one of the cpairja1982teenage members of "Richco" went on to a career with CP Air and Canadian Airlines as a gate agent, as I recognized her many years later when I was checking in for a flight.
The photo includes, standing in front of a CP Air B737, (front row)
on the left the Canadian Chamber of Commerce representative making the presentation, and on the right Dave Dobson, and (back row) left to right; unknown JA representative, Tom Buecking, Mavis Mittelsteadt, Colin Taylor, John Hopkins, unknown "Richco" student representative, and unknown JA representative.

I don't know what became of the rest of my colleagues on the Advisory Board and I would be pleased to hear from them if they see this.

Several years later I ran into Mavis working a DC-10 flight from YYZ to YVR, and I heard that Tom eventually left the Company to work for Cathay Pacific in Vancouver.

Keep up the good work with the "Netletter"
(John is a Past President, Air Canada Pionairs 2005 - 2007 - eds)

pwaA special commemorative issue dated March 30th., 1987 provided a schematic of the 17 different airlines which, since 1947, made up Pacific Western Airlines prior to the purchase of Canadian Pacific Air Lines.

nordairHere we have a photo of a Skyvan SC-7 landing at Hall Beach, N.W.T. in 1969, Nordair began operations as Boreal Airways Ltd in 1947 and was a pioneer in northern aviation.

Readers Feedback
Member Feedback Every week we get responses from our readers regarding the NetLetter. We welcome your feedback on what we did right, what we did wrong or just general comments.

Robert Mitchem - In NetLetter #1042 we made mention of Robert Mitchem's song Thunder Road. We received corrections from both John Ward and Laszlo Bastyovansky, both obvious Robert Mitchem fans, that corrected the statement that Robert Mitchem only made one recording.

a310In NetLetter nr 1037 we had this photo of an A310 of Wardair sent in by Viv Rivers. We received this information from Bob Gartshore.
Some time ago, I believe you requested info on the ex WD/Canadian A310 sold to the Canadian Air Force which was doing a run-up in YVR when it ran over its chocks and into a fuel shed next the Canadian hangar. My son (an AC pilot) witnessed the event and sent me the following:

Hi Dad
The A-310 had just had a fresh set of engines hung on the wings and was doing a run up. There was another maintenance engineer in the cockpit doing other checks in accordance with the manual which entailed pulling circuit breakers to trick the A/C into thinking it was in the air. When the final c/b was pulled the computer, now thinking it was in the air, released the brakes and the aircraft lurched forward like it had been shot out of a cannon! No brakes and no reverse.

The c/b was reset, the power was retarded and the brakes applied but too late to stop it from burying itself into a storage shed.

The aircraft was very nearly written off, but it was flown unpressurized to France where they turned it into a combi. Airbus had to pay for full costs as the crew was doing everything in accordance to procedures set down by Airbus.


Yours truly, Bob Gartshore (Ex WD/Candian pilot who flew this aircraft with son Brian).

From NetLetter nr 1043, the conclusion of Sigrun Cowan's memory of the Silver Broom.

They did and I went to Regina... my what a party. The whole town was geared to curling and the atmosphere was electric. Again I was representing the Swedish boys and by now the coach and executives knew me. What a privilege to be chosen twice. Traditionally they (Air Canada) always choose one of the girls to present the Silver broom trophy from the previous years participants. To my great delight I was asked to be trained to bring in the trophy.

In 1984 the event was in Duluth, USA and I had the Canadian team.
I also watched Janice Miller who was the  head flight attendant and presenter. There was much to organize  in other years I had never thought about the actual ins and outs of the event.

Then came 1985 my year..... it was in Glasgow, Scotland and I had my 5 min of fame...I had to bring in the 40 lbs silver broom... in full uniform with high heals on ice.

sigrunI had to pause in the middle while presenting the broom and then proceed to the other end and put the broom into it's bracket. The sheet of ice was lined with Scottish bag pipers and they piped me in....

As I began my walk down the ice (knees shaking) they stopped playing and it was very still in the arena. I made it and after that every day before the games began the BBC had a clip of me walking... they send me the tape and it is one of my most precious possessions.

Unfortunately it was the last year of the Air Canada sponsorship and the game of curling has thrived it is now an Olympic sport and it is played on all continents of the world.

For me during curling season I am a curling groupie....I watch every game I can and I hope that during the Olympic games in 2010 I can be of some assistance as a volunteer .

I retired this past June after 41 years and I had a great carreer with Air Canada. 
Sigrun Cowan YVR

John Hopkins Past President, Air Canada Pionairs 2005 - 2007 has sent along this information.

I very much enjoyed The NetLetter #1040 dated October 25, 2008, especially the photo taken in 1974 of the first B-747 and the last DC-3 both painted in the famous CP Air Orange and Red colours. That incongruous looking DC-3 on the ground (no longer flying then) was one of the first sights that greeted me at the Operations Centre when I joined the Company in the Treasury Department in 1974. About 12 - 15 years earlier, one of my first flight experiences as a young teenager had been to fly in a RCAF Dakota (the military name for the DC-3) while attending an Air Cadets summer camp at Sea Island, so seeing that DC-3 really struck a chord with me in 1974, and it still does.

chinadeiceAlan Gray thought you would like these photos from a 1992 trip to China.

Yes that is the flight crew cleaning the snow off the aircraft.

Sweeping SnowSweeping Snow (They even sweep off snow in Toronto, as shown in this photo - eds)
This & That

Jim Griffith has sent us these two photos and as the 100th anniversary of flight in Canada is imminent, we thought we would publish them.

sd1The first photo, courtesy of Jack Minor, is the Silver Dart at the front of the Russell Group's hangar at Niagara Falls and the photo below, courtesy of Jaro Petruck, shows Astronaut Bjarni Trggvason shaking hands at the RAG Hangar with the grandson of J.A.D. McCurdy, Mr. Gerald Haddon, also our most recent addition to the work team.

sd 2(and yes that is the nose of a Me 109 in the left background. )

For updates visit our website at: www.silverdartreplica.com

Jim Griffith

William J. Cameron has sent us this information.

This summer I was fortunate in being able to visit the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, located at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum of Transportation in Wetaskiwin, AB.. About 45 mins south east of Edmonton.

The occasion was an excellent Air Show, jointly organized by the Hall of Fame, the RAMuseum, and the town of Wetaskiwin. The CAHF Aviation Hangar is located adjacent to the runway at Wetaskiwin airport.

Over the two days of the Air Show, Saturday and Sunday, there were approximately 50,000 attendees. Displays included the CAF Snowbird Display team.  

The CAHF facility is quite amazing, with the display of information about Inducted Members, and the display of aircraft both in the hangar and in the storage facility.

Together with the very large Reynolds-Alberta Museum of Transportation, the CAHF Hangar displays are certainly worth a destination trip for anyone interested in cars, agricultural machinery  and especially airplanes.

The existence of the CAHF is not at all well known, and there is a real need for a wider participation by the Canadian aviation community in supporting the Hall.

EmblemCanada's Aviation Hall of Fame
The CAHF url is www.cahf.ca

On February 23, 1909, John Alexander Douglas McCurdy, a twenty three year old engineering student, flew an aircraft called the "Silver Dart" off the ice of the Bras d'Or, at Baddeck, Nova Scotia - and for a distance of one half-mile.

This was the first flight of a piloted, heavier-than-air aircraft in Canada, and the first controlled flight of an aircraft flown by a British subject anywhere in the British Empire.

This upcoming February 23rd will mark the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada, and plans are underway to celebrate this important milestone with a variety of different events all across the country.

In the time that has passed since that momentous event on Bras d'Or, Canadians have embraced aviation with great enthusiasm and passion. The vast expanse of our country; in particular the northern regions, has challenged Canadian aviators in every decade since the earliest period of flight, and in spite of hardships, and sometimes primitive equipment, great successes have been achieved.

Canadian aviators have flown and fought with great distinction in two world wars, numerous other conflicts, and in other military missions around the world since that first flight. As well as these early challenges, the current Canadian Armed Forces continues to this day to be a highly respected, world-class Air Force.

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War was an incredible achievement of the Canadian Government and people, and the Royal Canadian Air Force - so much so that President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States called Canada - "The Aerodrome of Democracy".

The stories of over two hundred outstanding individuals are, today, enshrined in Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. They include pilots, engineer/mechanics, entrepreneurs, designers, and builders. Along with the men and women honoured in the Hall a number of organizations have also been recognized with the Belt of Orion Award of Excellence.

Those of us who were fortunate in having had a long career in the aviation industry, should be proud that Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame honours a great number of our colleagues of the past - those who created the various airlines that we now know as Air Canada,
and those whose ingenuity and skills have made our air industry among the most successful and safest in the world.  These also include men and women of Trans-Canada Air Lines; Canadian Pacific Airlines; Wardair; and many others - from coast-to-coast in Canada.

(We will continue this information in the next NetLetter - eds)
Terry's Travel Tips

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