Vesta's Corner
Vesta Stevenson
More on my favourite aviatrix -
One Earhart Search Fades, Another Emerges

As a group that has pored over Gardner Island several times failed in its attempt to find conclusive evidence that the island is the final resting place of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan, another effort to solve the 70-year-old mystery has received fresh funding, thanks in part to its exposure in AVweb. Last week
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery wrapped up its latest effort, recovering a part of a zipper and a melted bottle that might have been used to boil water, but nothing that proves Earhart was ever there. Official accounts say she and Noonan crashed at sea, but theories persist that they crashed on an island and perhaps survived for a time, either as castaways or prisoners of the Japanese.
An Australian man hopes to test his theory that Earhart's plane came down on New Britain Island off Papua New Guinea and the $75,000 in funding pledges David Billings has received since his podcast interview in AVweb a month ago will go a long way toward that effort. Billings believes an Australian army patrol found the wreck of Earhart's Lockheed Electra and dutifully reported the discovery, including engine and airframe serial numbers. Although Billings has searched the area on foot, he believes the aircraft is so buried by jungle the only way to find it is with an airborne metal detector. That will cost about $150,000 and, with the money pledged so far and some promising leads on the way, he hopes to finally launch the search.

and the message reads -
It's a long way from Brussels to Sydney but worthwhile.  What a city!! On to New Zealand and later a tour to Alice Springs by car. Dick Vandam and wife

Sydney, Australia

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)
Air Canada News

Air Canada Air Canada announced that it is increasing frequencies on key Western Canada routes this winter including offering the only daily, non-stop flights from Edmonton to London Heathrow, and daily, non-stop flights from Calgary to Halifax. Air Canada will also introduce new, non-stop seasonal services from Vancouver to Ixtapa and Los Cabos in Mexico. Previously announced new routes beginning this winter include the only daily, non-stop flights from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia featuring the carrier's new flagship Boeing 777 aircraft, and the only daily, non-stop flights from Vancouver to Yellowknife.

Air Canada 777777 Power Weekend coming soon to Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver - the Boeing 777 will be coming to these bases in September! Be there to welcome our newest flagship aircraft at a special employee event that coincides with a celebration of Air Canada's 70th anniversary. Employees and retirees will get a chance to get up close and see our newest aircraft featuring lie-flat beds in the Executive First cabin, personal in-flight entertainment at every seatback and mood lighting.
The following is the present schedule for viewing the B777 -
  • Friday, September 7 in Halifax from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Maintenance hangar, 601 Barnes Drive, Halifax Stanfield Airport.
  • Saturday, September 8 in Winnipeg from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. at the Maintenance hangar, 2450 Saskatchewan Ave.
  • Saturday, September 8 in Edmonton from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Air Canada Cargo building on 6th Ave & Airport Service Road.
  • Sunday, September 9 in Calgary from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. at the Air Canada Maintenance Hangar 101, 8050-22nd ST NE.
  • Sunday, September 9 in Vancouver from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Operations Centre, Bay 4, 6001 Grant McConachie Way.

Bring valid employee ID. Family must be accompanied by employee - maximum three guests. If you plan on travelling to YHZ, YWG, YEG, YYC or YVR, travel charges are at your own expense.


Star Alliance News

While many general aviation pilots revel in avoiding the miseries of airline flight, most find themselves occasionally forced to join the milling crowds in the main terminals. But if they are lucky, they may find themselves aboard a United Air Lines flight captained by Denny Flanagan.

Flanagan won his 15 minutes of fame this week when Wall Street Journal travel columnist Scott McCartney singled him out as an island of niceness amid a sea of mere bland competence. While other pilots may get you to your destination in one piece, Flanagan does that plus checks on your pets and your luggage, calls the parents of children flying alone to reassure them, invites families into the cockpit, makes jokes, raffles off free bottles of wine, and orders hamburgers for passengers during delays.
PWA Reunion Postponed
Unfortunately, the 2007 Reunion had to be postponed until your Planning Committee has "retrenched" and considered how to deal with this setback.  Perhaps a more casual approach for a reunion would be better.  If you have any ideas, please pass them on to us.  We'll consider the feedback and see what might be planned for the future. Please send your feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

On behalf of all of us on the Planning Committee, thank you to those who registered and to those who volunteered their time for the August 17-19 weekend.
Our 70 Years

70 year Anniversary
- March 1st European identity became Air Canada.
May 1st Super Constellation service to Vienna via LHR launched, but cancelled  in 1977.
Oct 25th service introduced YUL to Bagotville but cancelled in  1977.


Air Canada earloy DC-8- Feb 7th., first DC-8 CF-TJD fin nr 804 c/n 45445 delivered and
introduced on the YUL/YYZ-YVR service  April 1st.
- April 2nd YHZ introduced as a stop on trans-Atlantic service.
Apr 24th Super Constellation service to Regina.

During the north Atlantic proving flights on May 28/29th the DC-8 established  two world records YOW-LHR  5hrs 55 mins and        YUL-LHR 5 hrs 44 mins. Trans-Atlantic service commenced on June 1st.
- June 15th DC-8 service to Winnipeg and Constellation  service to Saskatoon.
July 30th service transferred from Dartmouth to Halifax.
October some operations transferred from Winnipeg to the new
overhaul facilities in Dorval.
Nov 15th operations transferred from Edmonton Municipal to the International Airport.

VanguardDec 7th we received Vickers Vanguard CF-TKD fin nr 904 c/n 727

Derek Buckell
Pionair Director UK&EC recalls the 40th Anniversary of Air Canada in 1977. In passenger service, the male uniform was a yellow jacket and green trousers and we were known as the daffodil boys at LHR.   We were required to issue buttonhole flowers to all passengers on the day, just to complete the floral theme!
Viscount Restoration - CF-THG

CF-THG on barge Restoration of former TCA/Air Canada Viscount CF-THG at Victoria International Airport -

Saville Hambleton sends us the information he received from Al Catterall
At the BC Aviation Museum, we are now underway restoring an AC Vickers Viscount, fin 625 c/n 224 originally received March 28th., 1957 withdrawn from use April 1974 and sold to Beaver Enterprises. The aircraft has been stored at Winnipeg and then Vancouver before being shipped to BC Aviation Museum.

Al Caterall a retired AC pilot and Museum member will head up the restoration team of a minimum of 4 Museum members.

CF-THG at MuseumHere's a picture of the Viscount taken August 11th., 2007. Bob's got the black shadowing on, and the masking tape has been removed from all the words except "Trans".  From here we will be detailing the upper fuselage and red side panels prior to the final pressure wash. We will then mask off the lettering and prime everything prior to the final finish.   When that has dried, we'll peel off the masking tape and the "Trans-Canada Air Lines" will be revealed. We're still trying to get good quality pictures of the TCA logos for the forward fuselage, the half-wing TCA logo for the vertical fin and the style of print used on the word 'Viscount' on the tail. These pictures are required by the decal manufacturers so they can replicate them. We're rubbing down the aluminum below the red with # 600 wet & dry sandpaper prior to buffing. The aluminum shines like a mirror after Dave uses his buffer on it.

The restoration team members are Bob Hallworth, Dave Peters, Stan Hegstrom, Wally Hasker, Gus deJardin and I understand Dave Work is going to join the group. As for Viscount pilots, I can vouch for Bob,Wally,Gus and Dave but at this point, I'm not positive about the others.
Readers Feedback
From: Ross Smyth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: North Star Memories

Memories of the North Star by Bill Norberg were most interesting in NetLetter 987.  I was in the first group of trans-ocean flight dispatchers under Al Brown in Montreal in 1946.  I enjoyed  Bill`s comments about Captain Ron Baker,  one of the great builders of our airline.

I remember Ron Baker when I was a green radio operator on the midnight shift in Kapuskasing in 1943.  It was snowing heavily and it took him several approaches before landing.  As the only person on the airport I was standing on the hanger roof with radio in hand.  As I nearly froze to death, I bought a parka next morning.

When we were both retired and my vision had improved, he helped me to become a small plane flight instructor by coaching me on his home table-top computer to become an instrument pilot. He once let me land his own Cessna on floats, my only such experience.  When I much later caused a takeoff accident, he helped me by telling me about his very early accident in northern Manitoba.  He was a friend to so many, an outstanding person,  and one of the main pioneer builders of a great airline.
Bill Norberg also made a very valuable contribution to the airline.

Ross Smyth with wife and Alan Rust - May 2007Ross Smyth, employee 1940-1977, age 86, an energetic peace activist and late author.
Picture taken in May 2007 - Ross Smyth with wife and Alan Rust in the middle.

And now we have yet another story from Bill Norberg -
The Bristol Freighter Story
There are probably not many people associated with Air Canada these days who  have ever heard of these aircraft, let alone the story of how they became a part of its fleet. The year was 1953. In those years Canadian Pacific Airlines was allowed to operate  domestic passenger service up to 25 % of the Trans-Canada Air Lines passenger traffic levels. They were anxious to increase their presence domestically and applied to be the sole domestic Cargo carrier. They had the aircraft to do that job and Trans-Canada Air Lines was not about to let that happen without a fight. They however did not have cargo aircraft so went about obtaining some. They decided to purchase 3 British Bristol
Freighter aircraft in late fall of 1953 in order to have then
available for operations in 1954.
These aircraft were picked up in England by flight crews hired by
Silver City Airways and flown across the Atlantic to Dorval where they were to be modified to meet TCA and Canadian standards. As these aircraft were built to British requirements, in order to fly them across the Atlantic we sent a complete set of radio equipment that would be installed for the flight. When the aircraft arrived in Dorval the equipment was removed and sent back to England to be installed in the second aircraft. This was repeated again for the third one.
During the modification program, the aircraft were to have a standard TCA radio installation, a new and revised instrument panel, a heating system and various cargo handling features. Work had started on the first aircraft in September 1953 when it was determined that the wiring standard used in the aircraft systems was not acceptable. This was serious and a decision was made to re-wire the complete aircraft to AN standards. This was a major task and the wiring was removed to make way for the new standard. We required a complete set of new wiring diagrams and Engineering set about doing that while wiring was
being removed. As diagrams became available we began to fabricate the cables and started installing the cables starting from the wing tips and tail assembly working toward the main junction box aft of the cockpit area. We had to use every employee at Dorval who had ever been involved in electrical or radio wiring to try and complete this major task by January 1st 1954.
The electrical engineers led by Ray Farren and Jack Mitchell worked long hours to complete the diagrams but it was not until midnight before the first ground run was scheduled that we were given a complete set of diagrams. The pressure to complete this task on time was unbelievable and there were many roadblocks that seemed to pop up regularly. Three individuals who had basic responsibility to get this task done literally collapsed due to the stress and had to be taken off the job for their own good. The responsibility to get the first aircraft weighed and ready for test flight fell on my shoulders. I had been working a double shift about every second day for months and triple shifts occasionally. I was exhausted by this time and ready for a break. We made the schedule of January 1st but as I remember it, the fleet was not placed in regular operations until about April or so.
For those who have never seen a Bristol Freighter a small description might be of interest. It was without doubt one of the ugliest aircraft I have ever seen. It had a bulky fixed landing gear as well as a tail wheel and was powered by Bristol sleeve valve engines. As a matter of interest the Bristol fleet was the only one in TCA service that never had an in- flight failure of an engine. The flight crew had to climb a ladder on the side of the freight compartment in order to reach the cockpit. When we were installing the new instrument panels during the modification program we found that the aircraft varied in width by up to 1 inch. Not important but interesting. In today's world where
aircraft are being built in different parts of the world and assembled in another. Being close doesn't count under those circumstances. The nose of the aircraft had two large doors that opened to permit large freight items to be carried. There was a widely told story about the first flight of the Bristol freighter to New York City. The air traffic controller acknowledged its arrival and asked what kind of an aircraft it was as they had never seen one before. The pilot proudly described it and all its particular qualities. The controller listen patiently and finally responded. Make it yourself? The fleet was based in Toronto and operated until North Star aircraft were modified for freight operations. All I can say personally is that it was an interesting experience....but I wouldn't want to do it again.
Bill Norberg

From the "Between Ourselves" November 1953 edition these pictures -

First BristolTCA's first Bristol Freighter CF-TFX fin nr 501 received September 28th., 1953.
All three aircraft were later sold to Central Northern Airways.

YUL Press IntroductionAt YUL press introduction
- l to r  D.B.Clarke, Stan Haggett (Bristol), H.W.Seagrim, Hugh Reid, W.H.Horner, F.R.LaFlammeand Capt. Davis.

Bing Davis and crewCapt "Bing" Davis leans from the cockpit - others not identified.

Prior to takeoffPrior to take-off in the UK
l to r W.H.Bird, Capt. R.J.Baker, P.O.Falconer (Bristol), Capt G.B.Lothian
TCA/AC Events & People Gallery

From "Horizons" special edition April 10th., 1957 -

Malton HousePictured, Malton House, airport administration building.

ChicagoCrew on inaugural flight Toronto-London, Ont, Chicago July 1st 1946
l to r Capt. Herb Seagrim, Stewardess Victoria Stewart and Capt.

Weather BriefingWeather briefing in 1950
l to r -  F/O J.G.Turner, D.P.Davies, Capt. George Campbell and forecaster
Canadi>n/CPAir People Gallery

From the "Contact" Aug 18th., 1989 loaned by Bill Wood -
Contact Header
Canadi>n had a presence at the Abbotsford Air Show in 1989, among the representatives were -

Power PlantPictured mechanic Paul Robles and Chris Nassenstein with visiting Russian minister Alexander Aksenov on side trip to the hanger.

Jim EggenJim Eggen, director YVR mtce base.

Norm FlintoNorm Flinton supervisor powerplant shop
Found on the Internet

The gate guard aircraft on a pedestal at the entrance to Ellington Field in Houston Texas is a B707 registered N939NA which was used to simulate weightlessness for astronauts and was affectionally known as "Vomit Comet".

The lie-flat beds on Virgin Atlantic Airways measure 79.5in x 22 in while British Airways first class are 78in x 25 in and business class are 72in x 25in. - Does this mean that British Airways average customers are shorter and fatter?

Terry's Travel Tips

Terry Baker

From Caesar Hotels Interline Vacations -
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Fully escorted. Cairo/Memphis and Sakkara/Giza/Luxor/Edfu/Esna/Kom Ombo/Aswan/Cairo Daily Departures

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Visa required. May be obtained upon arrival in Cairo. Companions Eligible!

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Is this a sign of the future?
SkyBusOn May 22nd a new low cost carrier named Skybus started operations based in Columbus, Ohio. A minimum of ten seats per flight are being offered at us$10.00 per seat, other seat costs were not mentioned. Cost of checked luggage is us$5.00 per piece, and a us$10.00 charge per passenger for early boarding (presumably to get a preferred seat! - eds). and a first among LCC's - no passenger will be allowed to take food on board, however they can purchase food on board. There is no TV satellite but you may purchase a Suduko puzzle for inflight entertainment. Tickets are only sold through their web site, and no telephone for sales or customer service. (We assume they provide the flight crew though - eds).

In Europe -
EasyJet, Wizz is to charge for all checked luggage EasyJet and Wizz Air announced that they will start charging for each piece of checked baggage. The UK-based LCC said that in order to "reduce the number of passengers who travel with checked-in bags," it will be charging £2.00 ($4.06) per piece of hold baggage per sector from Oct. 1. Previously, easyJet did not charge for
the first bag but levied £5 for each additional piece. Maximum weight per passenger luggage remains at 20 kg.
Wizz Air likewise was charging only for additional pieces but said it now will charge gpb3.00 ($4.10) per bag at the time of the initial booking or gbp6.00 per bag if paid after the initial booking. The policy change is effective for travel from Oct. 27 unless already booked. Wizz will continue to charge gbp8.00 for each kg. over the 20-kg. allowance.

Ryanair's effort to simplify the check-in and boarding process, cut costs and increase ancillary revenue will include a new £2/€3 ($4.00-$4.07) fee charged to each person using an airport check-in desk beginning Sept. 20.

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