A Fine Canadian Pilot in 1930.
The McKee Trophy, which is annually awarded to the pilot who performs the greatest service in advancing flying in Canada, has this year been awarded to Captain W. R. May, familiarly known as "Wop" May, of Edmonton, the chief pilot of Commercial Airways, Ltd. It was Captain (then Lieutenant) W. R. May, who was engaged in a fight with Baron Manfred von Richthofen at the moment when the latter was killed by another Canadian, Captain Roy Brown.
Mr. Floyd Gibbons, in his book "The Red Knight of Germany," described May as an Australian, but apparently this was incorrect. The author said that May was a novice at the time of this fight, but had shot one Fokker down in flames, when he was himself attacked by the famous Baron and wounded in the arm.
The Baron seemed on the point of finishing May off when Brown got on the tail of the red Fokker triplane and shot von Richthofen through the heart. The novice of 1918 has now been acclaimed the foremost Canadian civil pilot in 1930.
The Prairie Air Mail.
The Prairie air mail from Winnipeg to Regina and on to Edmonton and Calgary is a particularly interesting experiment. It was a definite attempt by the Post Office to use the aero plane to beat the train. Experimental flights began in December, 1928, and were carried out by Western Canada Airways, Ltd. It soon became evident that, in order to save sufficient time, night flying was necessary.
The route from Regina to Calgary was therefore lighted for night flying taking the shape of a horizontal Y. Flying westward, the aero plane starts from Winnipeg and flies to Regina. There the route branches into two, one making for Edmonton and the other for Calgary.
The total mileage is 1,226, made up as follows:
(Source: Flight International archives May 23rd 1930)