First Aircraft to fly the Rondel
In NL # 1325 I incorrectly identified Fin # 817 (pictured on right) to have been the first aircraft to sport the Air Canada Rondel.
I was corrected by NL reader Ken Pickford who advised that the aircraft was actually Fin # 809 (see NL # 1327) as identified in Bill Norberg’s excellent article in NL # 971 regarding the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Canada in 1964.
However, I remained curious because in the image here (provided by Terry) the last digit appears to be a ‘7’. So in our last issue I thought I would throw it out to our readers again in an attempt to satisfy my own curiosity.
Thanks to Ken Murphy who sent us a link to a National Film Board documentary (Follow this Link) on Her Majesty’s visit that clearly shows “807” (pictured below) on the nose gear door as the camera pans the aircraft at the 19:30 point in the video as the narrator states that this is the first aircraft to wear the new Air Canada emblem.
Besides clearing up a minor mystery; I enjoyed watching this video as it takes place at a very interesting time in Canadian history.
Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson's minority governments from April 1963 to April 1968 introduced universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada and, of course, the Flag of Canada. In retrospect, this was a period of asserting our Canadian identity and pride. The Air Canada Rondel became a symbol of that. It also seems completely appropriate that Canada's largest airport be named for Mr. Pearson.
As Her Majesty has reached her 90th birthday and Canada is approaching its 150th next year, it seems like a good time to reflect on the last 50+ years and the evolution of the airline and the country. For myself, it feels good.