Vesta's Corner
Vesta Stevenson
A Rooed Awakening For Australian Doctors
The Royal Flying Doctor Service, which dispatches medical help to Australia's far-flung regions by air, has now relaxed restrictions on night flights after the communities it serves took steps to keep kangaroos off their airport runways.
Last April, a medical flight hit kangaroos while landing at Coonamble in New South Wales. The Doctor Service then told the communities that it would only dispatch aircraft in the most urgent cases at night until something was done to improve safety. Last week, spokesman Roger Pethram said normal night flights resumed to 14 communities after they took action, usually at the expense of the kangaroos. "Most of them have carried out a cull but they've also improved their arrangements in a sense of making sure someone's going out to clear the roos off the runway before the aircraft lands so that's working quite well," he said. There's also $22 million in funding available for airport fencing that should allow aircraft and wildlife to co-exist more happily. "One of the strong statements from the Department of Transport and regional services is that a priority is airstrips that the Royal Flying Doctor Service uses," Pethram said.

This week's postcard sent to me by one of the NetLetter readers - February 2005
South Africa is definitely worth the trip, Best trip yet.  Andy K


Note: for our new readers, I have been collecting postcards from our travelling NetLetter "family" for many years. If you are away and have a minute, I'd be delighted to get one from you as well. You can obtain my address by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (it's automated and will respond right away)
Star Alliance News

Star AllianceEGYPTAIR and Lufthansa have signed a code sharing agreement, prompting rumours that
EGYPTAIR plans to join the Star Alliance in the future.

Air Canada News

Air Canada LogoCiting "excess capacity" the company has stopped its dedicated freighter operations into China. It has returned the leased MD-11 freighter to World Airways terminating its all cargo service between Shanghai and Toronto. The company recently extended the lease for a MD-11F with World Airways for freight service to Frankfurt.

New Ottawa Service --this winter will see the addition of six new non-stop destinations from Ottawa plus 36 additional weekly frequencies on exissting routes this winter.  The overall increase amount's to about 10 per cent over last winter in terms of number of seats.

Effective Oct. 28th a new, year-round non-stop service to Fredericton will be introduced using a Jazz Dash 8-100 aircraft.  The same day a new daily non-stop service to Moncton will be launched with a 50-seat CRJ aircraft.  A new non-stop service linking Ottawa with St.John's will also commence on October 28th using a 93-seat Embraer 190 jet.  Two new winter non-stop sun flights from Ottawa have been added to Cancun and Montego Bay through Air Canada Vacations, each with Saturday service aboard Embraer 190 aircraft starting December 22nd.  Twice weekly Ottawa to Las Vegas service launched this summer and will be continued through the winter.  Frequencies will be added between Ottawa and Vancouver (3 daily non-stop), Calgary (3 daily non-stop), Edmonton (2 daily non-stop), London ON (2 daily non-stop) and Boston (4 daily non-stop) for the winter period. (Source www.yyznews.com)

Montreal & Maritimes New Service - Montreal will see a new Thursday non-stop service to the Turks & Caicos beginning December 20th and Sunday non-stops to Sannta Clara Cuba starting December 23rd.  In addition, Air Canada will continue daily Boeing 777 service to Paris through the winter schedule period.  The frequencies will be increased between Montreal and Montego Bay to two per week and to Orlando they will increase to 10 non-stop weekly flights.  Montreal-Quebec City will go to 17 daily flights.   In the Maritimes service between Halifax and Gander will be upgraded to operate twice daily using 50-seat CRJ aircraft.  Summer services that will continue through the winter include Toronto to Deer Lake and Charlottetown, Halifax to New York-LGA, and St. John's to Deer Lake.  Air Canada will also continue to evaluate opportunities for future expansion in Saint John, NB.  (Source www.yyznews.com)

Our 70 Years

70 year Anniversary



  • 1963
    • March 2nd - Douglas DC-8 aircraft introduced on transatlantic service to the U.K. in a cargo/passenger configuration.
    • April 12th - the last of 4 DC-3 aircraft were retired and TCA became the first carrier in the world to operate an all-turbine fleet and the ninth largest airline in the free world.
    • Sept 3rd Trois-Rivieres received service.

During the year, RESERVEC goes into operation. Due to the inability of airports at Brandon, Yorkton, Swift Current, and Medicine Hat to accommodate Viscount aircraft, service was withdrawn and handed over to TransAir.

  • 1964
    • May 16th - Direct YOW - YWG service introduced.
    • Oct 10th - 24th daily charters operated Montreal - Hamburg carrying video tapes of the Olympic games in Tokyo.
    • Oct 13th  First DC-8 with Air Canada titles used for the Royal Family's return to LHR from YOW after the Royal Tour.
    • Oct 25th  DC-8 service extended to Paris and Dusseldorf.
    • Oct 31st New terminal completed at YYZ.

With the acceptance of the Douglas DC-3 aircraft, we noted the following article -
From "Between Ourselves" dated October 1946
Taller Stewardesses for Larger Planes. Good things may come in small packages - but who will say a word against Larger ones? Somehow, the tidings that new TCA Stewardesses may henceforth be an inch taller than previously strikes an enthusiastic chord. Although, we know that renowned girls already approach perfection, we are still great believers in variety. From now on, TCA will accept Stewardesses up to five feet six inches, with, the minimum remaining the same at five feet. Weight limitations still draw the line at 125 pounds. These larger aircraft of ours seem to bring blessings innumerable.

(We were unable to locate any similar statement with the advent of the Boeing B747 Jumbo jet - eds)


Found on the Internet
SMINTAir or SmokersInternational Airways will launch later this year with services from Germany to Japan utilizing a B747 leased from South African Airways.
As the name implies, smokers and non smokers will be welcomed. The upper deck will have a lounge and a duty free shop. The lower desk will have several lounges to encourage passengers to move around. The advanced air conditioning units will keep the air clean.
Ryanair, the Irish low cost carrier is the first airline to take advantage of the overhead luggage bins as a promotional medium, placing its own adverts on all flights.
Readers Feedback
From: "Fowlers Flyline" This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
YVR Hangers under construction - 1940YVR hangars under construction Circa 1940 - Note the old Landsdown horse track and the pile driver in the river constructing the PBY launch ramp..

Roger Fowler,

Salmon Arm BC



Bill Norberg has sent us yet another great memory to share -
The  C.G.T.A.A S  and some Lancaster memories.
In this 70th anniversary year of Trans-Canada Air Lines and Air Canada it is easy to overlook the contributions made by this organization starting in 1943 along with its operation of a fleet of converted Lancaster bombers. The far sighted plan by Trans- Canada Air Lines management to become involved in the development of Trans Atlantic air service was a major step in the development of  TCA beyond its original role as a Canadian domestic air carrier.

The Canadian Government Trans Atlantic Air Service, or CGTAAS as it was known, was established to provide a  service to transport Government officials and air mail to the United Kingdom during World War II.  Lancaster bombers built at Victory Aircraft in Toronto, were converted to provide this service and were referred to as "Lancastrians". These aircraft were designed as bombers and were ill equipped to provide a comfortable mode of transportation. They were however, the only aircraft readily available that could do the job. The military equipment such as nose and tail gun turrets were removed and replaced by  streamlined metal cones. This improved air drag conditions and also gave the aircraft a slightly more pleasing appearance.
The first Lancaster received for this operation, aircraft # 101, had these aerodynamic modifications but suffered from unacceptable vibrations in the empennage area. In an attempt to determine the cause of this problem, a dummy rear gun turret was fabricated out of wood by the carpenter shop and installed in the same position as the original turret. It seemed to improve things and it remained there. This aircraft, after it had completed its operational service, was converted into a power plant test stand for North Star power plants. It became known as "Oscar" and was used for quite a time until a special truck based test stand was designed by Ground Equipment Engineering to replace it. It was much easier to use and move.
Lancastrian # 102 was used as a flying test bed for the new Rolls Royce TML power plants designed for the new North Star fleet being built at Canadair in Cartierville P.Q. These new power plants were quite different from the power plants used on the rest of the fleet of Lancastrians. The power plant frontal shape was round compared to the rectangular shape of the standard ones. This aircraft was used in operations, but unfortunately was lost in a crash after take-off from Dorval as I remember, in 1946. It landed in Strathmore just short of the railway tracks and all the crew escaped without injury. As I remember it Captain George Lothian was the pilot in charge and did a magnificent job of bringing the aircraft down without injury or loss of life. An electrician named Fred McCowatt was also on board.
The Lancastrians were not pressurized and flights across the Atlantic lasting around 14 hours were not exactly a walk in the park. The need to use oxygen, fly at altitudes that were not conducive for smooth flights, and to have 4 surging Merlin engines with straight open exhaust stacks producing high decibel noise levels, made flights interesting to say the least. The original aircraft as received used Rotol "toothpick design" propellers. This design of propeller when combined the tendency of the merlin engine to surge placed high stress levels on the tips of these propeller blades. On one flight in mid Atlantic one of the tips on a propeller blade failed due to metal fatigue caused by this surging process. The tip was propelled at a high  velocity upward and in its flight managed to seriously damage the front half of the astrodome on the top of the fuselage. This formed a scoop which allowed a stream of high velocity air to flow into the fuselage. As I remember the Radio Operator on the flight managed to stuff his great coat into the opening to stop the flow. The propellers were later exchanged for Hamilton Standard "paddle style" blades which were shorter and wider and solved the problem.
Apart from the loss of Lancaster # 102, there was only one other Lancaster lost in operations. It disappeared over the Atlantic with the loss of all on board. I do not believe the exact cause of this loss was ever established.
The Lancaster fleet was used to test and develop many procedures and types of equipment that were being considered for the North Star fleet. The new Fluxgate remote reading compass system selected for the North Star had its original test installation in a Lancaster. It was a fascinating system that provided excellent directional information using a completely new way of detecting magnetic directions. It use a gyro stabilized platform for its sensing element that used a "One ball gyro erection system". When the system was later installed in the North Stars, the erection system became a "Two ball gyro erection system". This greatly reduced the time required for the gyro platform to stabilize. The original Lancaster remote reading compass system was a British Smith system model that I suspect could well have seen service on the Mayflower. It was bulky and unique to say the least.
One of the Lancasters, # 104, had a special General Electric autopilot system installed for evaluation purposes as a possible North Star system. It was not selected and the Eclipse Pioneer PB-10 system was chosen instead, an excellent choice. I was responsible for the Smith autopilot systems installed on the rest of the fleet and was to go up on a test flight to make some adjustments to the General Electric system. There were the two pilots, myself and Ernie Hand on board. Captain Ron Baker was in command. After reaching cruising altitude we were to suffer a complete loss of hydraulic fluid out the rear of # 3 engine, not good ! We immediately started to return to Dorval and realized the problems we might face with a loss of all the hydraulic fluid. The main concern was to get the main landing gear down and locked. The gear would free fall but we did not know if it would lock in place. The landing gear on the Lanc retracted backwards which meant if not locked, the force of landing would likely cause the gear to collapse. After much discussion a plan was developed to try and help matters. These aircraft always carried a case of spare hydraulic fluid and we had one on board with about 12 quarts of fluid. Captain Baker would bring the aircraft on approach and about 2 miles out from the airport Ernie and I would start pouring this extra fluid into the reserve tank which was accessible in the cabin. We would continue to pour until Captain Baker was flaring the aircraft out for landing at which time he would give us a hand signal. This was our signal to crouch down behind the main wing spar which crossed through the cabin as we were not able to have safety belts on during this process. All went as planned and Captain Baker settled that big aircraft on the runway in a perfect 3 point landing that was so smooth we hardly knew we were down. He did not use the brakes as any such force could have collapsed the gear if it was not locked. When the aircraft finally  came to a smooth stop, Ernie and I exited by the rear door with the Jury struts to install them in place in the undercarriage to act as a safety lock.

Lancaster Fleet

The Lancaster was never one of my favorite aircraft. I respected its outstanding service with both the R.A.F and the R.C.A.F and it served a valuable purpose in the development of Trans Atlantic operations for Trans-Canada Air Lines. It was the only aircraft type that directly caused me physical injury. I carry a dent in the leading edge of my right shin bone caused by a fall from the passenger cabin into the bomb bay when a fellow employee failed to place a warning sign there was a hole in the cabin floor. I really can't blame the Lancaster for this injury, but I always  associate it with that fleet.
John W. (Bill) Norberg

and from "Between Ourselves" issued December 1944 was this article -
Between Ourselves - December 1944MONTREAL TO SCOTLAND -10 HOURS!
We've done it again. With emphasis. In accordance with habit, TCA has once more smashed its own Trans-Atlantic record. After a lull of ten months (the last headline crossing was in January), one of the big Lancasters, pushed by strong winds, on November 6th broke its leash and raced Eastbound across the ocean in just 10 hours and 13 minutes. This was 1 hour and 1 minute less than the previous fastest non-stop time ! Crew: Captain G. B. Lothian, First Officer M. Gauthier, Navigation .Officer G. F. Chipman
and Radio Operator R. D. Smith.

Ye Gods/-At moment of going into type we learn that we have just broken the Westboundrecord of 12 hrs. 56 minutes by 1/2 hrs.


TCA/AC Events & People Gallery
TCA Fleet in the 40's
Pictured is the TCA fleet at YUL during the late 1940's.

From Between Ourselves September 1944 -
Between Ourselves - Sept 1944A report from Blissville "The biggest little station on the line"
July 1st 1944 - the inaugural flight arrived piloted by Capt. Barnes, co pilot Capt. Garth Edward and stewardess Miss E. Boucher. Station Manager Bob Reynolds with Don Widney, Frank Meakin and Mrs Edna Reynolds (Gamblin) making up the staff.

A report from Montreal penned by Ross Smyth mentioned some of the crew based in YUL due to the inauguration of the new Maritime schedule - Capts. Bert Trerice, Doug Siple, F/O Art Tonkin, stewardess Marion Grouse.
Canadi>n/CPAir/PWA, etc. Events & People

CP Athens Inaugural FlightInaugural flight to Athens.
(We would welcome any work related memories from former CPAir, CAIL, retirees which we could share with our readers - eds)
Terry's Travel Tips

Terry Baker

Tours for W.A.C.A. members only -
Come to Lisbon, enjoy a full week-end (Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday) We offer 2 nights at Hotel Berna (or similar) on room and breakfast basis and also a tourist trip through Lisbon downtown and the historical area of Belem

World Airlines Clubs Association
Valid during 2007 -
Euro125,00 per person twin sharing with WACA fee.
Euro 50,00 additional for single supplement.
Extra.nights: on request basis.

Package includes:
- 2 nights accommodation with breakfast at Hotel BERNA *** (or similar).
- 1 sightseeing tour by bus.
Package does not include:
- Expenses of a personal nature, transfers, laundry and telephone calls etc.
- Airfare to and from Lisbon.
- Transfer APT/HTL about Euro10,00

TAP Portugal grants for this event IDICN2 tickets subject space availability

European flights  Euro 65.00
International  Euro 130.00
Nor endorsement or refund applies to these tickets.
Registration forms and full payment must be submitted 3 weeks before date chosen.
Personal cheques not accepted.
Bank service charges for bank transfers will have to be borne by the participants.
For further information contact -
Interline Clube de Portugal
Rua Coronel luna de oliviera 24-3
1900-167 LISBOA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or contact www.waca.org for more information or your local interline rep.
An upcoming tour:-
Mar 24 - Mar 30 2008  Snow, Sun and Fun 2008 Venue: Arosa
Interline club:- Zurich  Deadline date:- February 16, 2008  Cost:-CHF 850.00
Interline deals from Caesar Hotels Airways Vacations -
Spend Christmas in grand style in Europe, with Uniworld's "Two for One" special, your companion cruises FREE.
European Holiday Grand River Cruise
7 Nights from $1698 per couple
Nuremberg to Vienna Dec. 19
Rhine & Main Holiday Grand River Cruise
9 Nights from $1998 per couple
Cologne to Nuremberg Dec. 28, 2007
Hawaii Deals to Go Galore!
Fly and Drive Packages
3 day car rental and round trip confirmed air
Oahu from $349*
Maui from $349*
Honolulu 6 Days/ 5 Nights with confirmed air $509*
No kidding! Airfare to Hawaii has been sky high all summer and doesn't seem to be dropping for fall travel. We have this 5 night Waikiki package, good for fall travel, for just $509 per person. You'll avoid the summer crowds, while still enjoying Hawaii's ideal fall temperatures. Book now these deals sell out quickly!
Maui from $585*
Kauai from $735*
Big Island from $665*
Make Europe your fall destination!
Shoestring Packages include 4 Days/ 3 Nights Hotel, breakfast and taxes
Rome on a Shoestring from $183*
Just In! Winter Rates Stay 4 Pay 3 or Stay 5 Pay 4 Begins Nov. 16, 2007
Florence on a Shoestring from $204*
Just In! Winter Rates Stay 4 Pay 3 or Stay 5 Pay 4 Begins Nov. 16, 2007
Venice on a Shoestring from $198*
Just In! Winter Rates Stay 4 Pay 3 or Stay 5 Pay 4 Begins Nov. 16, 2007
Prague on a Shoestring from $249*
London on a Shoestring from $372*
Paris on a Shoestring from $284*
Amsterdam on a Shoestring from $319*
*Prices shown are per person based on double occupancy.
Caesar Hotels Airways Vacations.

SmileyIf flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

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