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Bernie McCormack sends his DC8/Viscount memory -

After flying with TCA for 6 years as a First Officer on DC-3 and Viscount I requested and became a Second Officer on the DC-8. I had vowed, over a couple of years, not to give up my job as a hands on pilot but the arrival of the Viscount aircraft which was initially greeted with enthusiasm by the coast run pilots became a nightmare. The flight time was shortened Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle and back and so we spent more time on the ground between flight departures and required an extra couple of days on duty each month in order to put in our 85 hours for flight pay. There were no duty rigs that catered to that problem and it was not negotiated until years later. During some of the winter months, I remember driving to the airport in the morning darkness and then back home in the dark the same night, sometimes 5 days a week. (I hardly had time to feed my Chinchillas).

A couple of months after my DC-8 check out in the summer of ’62 I operated a flight planned from Vancouver to Toronto, stop over for about 3 hours and then back again to Calgary and Vancouver. After landing in Calgary, a hydraulic leak was discovered in the port aileron area and the flight was delayed. Maintenance determined that the parts required to repair the leak were in Vancouver and that the last flight out of YVR had departed. There was an overnight Viscount parked on the ramp in YYC that could be flown to YVR so crew sched scurried about calling the reserve (standby) pilots. They were able to locate a Captain (George Stewart) but no First Officer. After the last flight of the day had arrived and departed a base it was chancy but not unusual for a reserve pilot to leave home to attend to some other personal chore. I was in the radio/flight planning office and became aware of the problem that was evolving and although it was flight operation’s policy to disallow dual competency (two aircraft types at one time) it occurred to me that I was still technically and legally competent on the Viscount so I volunteered to fly it with George. We flight planned, checked the weather, boarded the aircraft and then completed our cockpit checks. At that point I had been on duty for almost 12 hours. The en-route time to Vancouver would be about 1:50 so the plan was to have another pilot take my place for the return flight to Calgary with the parts.

When we arrived in YVR the crew scheduler on duty advised me that just as in Calgary, the reserve pilots were not available. At that hour all of the scheduled flights had long gone, and so I guess was the reserve F/O. Soooo, I volunteered to take the aircraft back to YYC. The plus was that George allowed me to fly it back and he did the log and radio work That was a pleasure now that I had been a Second Officer (non flying) for a few weeks.

After deplaning in Calgary, I walked up to the crew lounge where Captain Stu Foley and most of his crew were asleep in an assortment of chairs and couches. I finally found a spot and curled up for an hour or two of sleep. We were awakened with the news that the aircraft had been repaired, the passengers were on their way back to the airport from their stopover hotel, the sun was rising and we should flight plan and prepare our DC-8 for departure. When we finally arrived back home in Vancouver I had been on duty for almost 24 hours and it felt good to be home. I’m not sure that flight operations management were even aware that I had operated the Viscount flight because I received no follow up from them and should probably send them a pay claim when I get time!

Captain Bernie McCormack


David Edward has sent this information he received from Paul Sanchez after the CF-TCC article appeared in NetLetter nr 1378.

"Dave, that certainly brings back some wonderful memories for me and I am quite impressed with the story of your family history. You are probably familiar with the CF-TCC, the Lockheed 10-A that Air Canada purchased in 1984.

tmb paul sanchezThe attached pic is of me in 1977 stripping all of the paint off of 'er! Of course, that was 40 years ago and I had a little more hair. What a way to start off in aviation!

I was 17 and you can see the brown spot underneath the wing which was Turco paint stripper. I stripped the paint off most of the airplane myself and that was not much fun for a 17 year old, but it paid off when we later found, etched into the aluminum skin, the letters: CF-TCC.

Bud Clark, who was a former childhood friend of my father's, purchased the airplane from a church that was using it to do mission work in the Caribbean Islands. Bud had been involved in purchasing classic aircraft and I spent my early years working on several of them like a FG-1D Corsair, WACO UPF-7, a Stinson SM-8a and of course N3749 which originally was and is again CF-TCC. We flew the Lockheed to Harlingen, TX in 1977 to the CAF air show and had a fellow come up & tell us that he was an employee at Air Canada and that N3749 was once operated by Trans Canada.

Long story short, in 1984 Bud sold the plane to Air Canada as they were preparing for their 50th anniversary. I corresponded with the pilots that were flying it, but foolishly I never made to Winnipeg to see 'er and now I see she's flying again to commemorate the 80th anniversary! I really would like to go up to Canada to see 'er if you have any information about how I can do that, please feel free to contact me. My contact info is in the directory."

Thanks for sharing your story. Paul. 

The pilots who flew TCC to YWG were Bud Clark....the owner and Captain Ray Lank, a DC-9 pilot based in Montreal.
Ray did the initial cross Canada tour with Captain John (Jean) Gilbert....both long retired...Ray now in rehab due to a stroke in August. This year's tour was over by the time we had this exchange, but Paul is invited here the next time TCC goes on show.

Cheers...Dave

Click Here for a Vimeo video history of TCA/Air Canada as posted by Greg Edward.

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