Vesta's Corner

Vesta StevensonWhy not allow the NetLetter be your platform, and opportunity, to relive your history while working for either TCA, AC, CPAir, CAIL, PWA, AirBC etal. and share your experiences with us!

Following the story I ran regarding the birds, I received this email from Graham Horne...

, on his first flight in the hangar of his birth, AC YYZ, landed badly and sprained his ankle, so I took him home to recover. He joined us on our daily walks along the Credit River, launching from post to post, and waited for a cat to use the catflap to come back inside under a tail. His flights took him to the bathroom window of the neighbour where he developed a rapport with the visiting father-in-law. Mr Clancy took him home to Victoria, BC, a house without cats, and Henry thrived.

Next year Clancy reported Henry began circling higher and higher each day, said Goodbye and flew to the East. Henry the Homing Pigeon going for his Annual Maintenance?

Graham Horne, AC YYZ 1968-69, WD YVR 1970-72

Air Canada - our first 70 years

1970 - First base expansion of the Power Plant and Unit maintenance shops at YUL opened earlier this year.
powerplanWe have this photo of the ceremony.

  • Feb 15th - In 1940, 30 years ago, Moncton became the centre of the Atlantic Provinces when regularly scheduled passenger services were started between Moncton and YUL.

maritimeThe inauguration of mail service between Moncton and YUL started in 1939, the photo shows the arrival of CF-TCS commanded by Capt. Walter Fowler, and the lower photo shows the first package being handled by G.Pytlik for shipment to YUL. 

  • April 27th - New Vanguard service between Montreal and Sydney N.S.
    - Inauguration DC-9service between Montreal - Fredericton - Saint John under the command of Capt. Burke Fisher and  between Halifax-Boston-New York.
  • Jun 1st - New non-stops DC-9 service between Toronto and Saskatoon
  • June 20th - Introduction of DC-8 equipment between Halifax and Toronto.

TCA/AC People Gallery

Over the past months we have been publishing various photographs from earlier "Horizons", should any photos prompt a memory in seeing one of them, feel free to send us your comments and thoughts.

Musings from "Between Ourselves"

Issue datedFebruary 1970
Shipments of medical supplies to the Nigerian government are being made.

shipmentThe first shipment was 20 tons, and here we have this photo of the DC-8 freighter crew under the command of Capt. R.W.Franklyn taking another 18 tons to Lagos.

On January 1st, Fort William/Port Arthur became Thunder Bay.
Flight 187 Dec 31st 1969 was the last flight into Fort William/Port Arthur, and Flight 186 on January 1st 1970 was the first flight to depart Thunder Bay.

All passengers on both flights received a boutonnières and certificate.
Here we have a photo of the flight attendants distributing goodies.

Construction was due to start on the new Vancouver Purchases and Stores building.

soditHere we have a photo of the sod turning ceremony.
(With no more effort than they put in at the office - eds!)

threeriversHere we have a group from Trois-Rivieres celebrating 25 years service by Jacques Vernier.

Issue dated March 1970 -

chicoutimiSaguenay celebrates and stepped into the past for the week-log "Carnival" during which they portray the life in the 1870's. Here is a photo of the Chicoutimi and Bagotville staff.

Issue dated April 1970

nycstaffA new ticket and information office was opened during March 1970 in New York city. Presidemt John Baldwin dropped in for a view, and here he is with the staff.

During March there was an 80% eclipse of the sun, and the company provided a Vanguard for a group of scientists and photographers to view the eclipse from 25,000 foot above Ontario..

Bytes and Pieces

Alan RustEverything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy

"We live in an amazing, amazing world, and it's wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots."

As most of our faithful readers are retirees over 50 years old, I believe that you will agree that we live in pretty amazing times. While growing up (although my wife thinks I never did), I remember thinking that transistor radios were pretty amazing. We were amused by hula hoops and other low tech devices.

Many new kids on the block take all of this modern technology for granted as it has always been there for them. Now we finally have internet access available on the aircraft. I think you will find the video below both funny and thought provoking. I hope you enjoy it as I have.

Nobody's HappyClick on the image to play video or follow this  link.


Canadi>n/CPAir/PWA, Wardair, etc. Events & People

Over the past months we have been publishing various photographs from earlier in-house magazines, should any photos prompt a memory in seeing one of them, feel free to send us your comments and thoughts.

Pickings from "CP Air News"
Issue dated December 1985

newimageUnder the headline "A new year, a "new" airline, a new look", CP introduces "the MotionMark, the name, and new colours project. The phasing out of the orange CP Air livery will commence during January 1986.

ywgresCP Air Holidays inaugurated weekly flights between Vancouver and Maui December 14th. The non stop flight will be operated as a charter.

CP Air Holidays expanded its Winnipeg facilities, and we have this photo, CP Air employees entered a team, for the fifth year, in the World Airline Road Race which was held in London, England and placed 14th.

warrHere we have this photo of the team.
About 2,000 runners from 64 carriers participated.

B-737 C-FACP fin 728 on long term lease from Air Nauru is named "Empress of St.John's and entered service December 8th.

Air BC commenced service between Vancouver and Castlegar on December 1st with Dash-7's, and between Vancouver and Kelowna on December 13th with Dash-8 equipment.

Issue dated February 1986

b747amsFarewell to fin 744, stripped of its insignia, was being ferried to Amsterdam to be exchanged for DC-10-30. The B-747 was commanded by Capt. Dick Spratt with S/O Al French and F/O Bill Dunn.

Air Atlantic is the newest commuter partner effective February 29th, 1985.

Issue dated March/April 1986

tankjobAppreciation plaques were handed out to 13 employees involved in the installation of long range fuel tanks in the two DC-10-30's. Here we have this photo.

Technically, the airline was 50 years old on December 7th, in 1936, letters patent for Canadian Pacific Air Lines were filed. The airline did not actually commence operations until it's first revenue flight on July 1st., 1942.

The last two B-737-300 were delivered. C-FCPK fin 754  Apr 2nd and named "Empress of Manitoba" and C-FCPL fin 755 named "Empress of Quebec" on Apr 9th. The aircraft are due to be sold off, as the airline will standardize on the B737-200 series.

On March 20th, Wardair was granted authority to operate scheduled services between Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Halifax. Service begins May 1st.

Star Alliance News

Singapore Airlines will launch A380 service to Paris Charles de Gaulle on June 1. The daily flight will replace the existing 10-times-weekly 777-300ER service.
The SIA A380 is configured with 471 seats.
CDG is the carrier's fourth A380 destination after London Heathrow (twice-daily), Sydney and Tokyo Narita (each daily). It has six A380s in service and a further 13 on order. The CDG route will follow the delivery of the seventh and eighth aircraft.

Reader's Feedback

Pionair George Brien is preparing an article on Pennfield Ridge Airport near Saint John. He is looking for anyone who has some information or stories about the site and any of our members that may have had an association of sorts with that airport in the "Ol' days".

pennfield94If you would like to contribute anything, drop George a line.     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mike Leduc sends this after reading NetLetter nr 1050 -
It was a real pleasure to see the photograph of the gang at Station & Cargo Services circa 1969.  I worked in that department for eight years and remember the gang very well.

At the time of the photograph, I was a young Programmer in the Cargo Service Section. That time was just before the great re-organization of 1970 that saw many changes throughout the company.

Thanks for the memories.
Michael Leduc

Jim McKeachie sends us this information -
The two-part NetLetter article about Paul Gilmore and Bill Snyder ditching in the frigid Greenland fjord while participating in the July 1971 air race from London to Victoria (actually from RAF Abingdon near Oxford) really rang a bell with me.

I had taken holidays from my job at the PR Dept. of CP Air at Vancouver to join the CBC-TV crew which had been assigned to cover the air race as the writer/researcher.  
The race was sponsored by the Canadian government as its contribution to the centenary of B.C.'s joining confederation.   
While flying in an Air Canada combi flown by Capt. Jack Muir, we intercepted the news that one of the race aircraft was down in a fjord in Greenland.  Not knowing whether the two men had been rescued, we and the race officials kept quiet, since the wife of one
of the downed crew (I think it was Paul Gilmore) was passenger on our AC flight.

As the NetLetter reported, both men were rescued.
As part of the CBC documentary production, I was sent to Buttonville Airport near Toronto a month or so after the race. 
I did an on-camera interview with Paul Gilmore, standing by an aircraft, with a distress radio beacon of the type that had been deployed and directed rescue aircraft to the downed plane.
It certainly added realism to the story--one of several intriguing events and incidents which marked the historic air race, retained in history as a one-hour CBC documentary.
Jim McKeachie, West Vancouver (retired PR Director, CP Air)

We received an article from Bill Marr, which we have edited and hope you enjoy reading this -

Regarding your invitation "to relive our history", in your last Newsletter, I submit the following article on the DC-3.
Bill Marr  Langley, B.C.

" The Spirit of Skeena "

(A story of a DC-3)

The DC-3, CF-PWH "The Spirit of Skeena" is one of the oldest surviving DC-3 in Canada, and on static display that is open to the public to view within.

cfpwhIt is owned by the Museum of Flight and is located at the municipal airport in Langley B.C. No aircraft can claim to have played a greater part in the development of modern air transport than the incomparable Douglas DC-3, and no other aircraft can ever replace the respect and esteem of those of us who flew these aircraft.

This DC-3, was manufactured on February 24th 1940, and is a true DC-3 and not a C-47 conversion, which was the military adaptation. It first flew as American Airlines "Flagship Texas" but it was almost immediately commandeered by the USAAF. The C-47 Dakotas coming off wartime production lines made this early DC-3, with a light floor and the small starboard side passenger door, an oddity in their transport fleet. As a result it was returned to civil registry and sold to Trans Alaska Airlines.

Later it was owned successively by Queen Charlotte Airlines, Pacific Western Airlines, Great Northern Airways and finally Trans Provincial Airlines. Her flying career ended in 1972 when she was stripped of spare parts and abandoned as a derelict at Terrace B.C. The he aircraft was later purchased from a scrap man by a member of "Friends of the DC-3 -Canada" and moved to the then Transportation Museum in Cloverdale. Upon the closure of that facility, the Township of Langley invited the Museum to relocate the aircraft at the Langley Airport.

Canada purchased 570 Dakota aircraft for the wartime RCAF.  Many DC-3s entered commercial aviation at the end of the war, when these military DC-3s were released for sale.
Almost 200 RCAF repatriated aircraft were placed in Canadian civil registry.

Trans-Canada Air Lines acquired their first three from the USAAF in the fall of 1945.

A total of thirty ex military DC-3s (C47s), were eventually purchased by Trans-Canada Air Lines with the last aircraft retiring in 1963, their registrations were alphabetically CF-TDJ to CF-TET; interestingly in its twenty-eight year history with the airline, no Trans-Canada Air Lines DC-3 was ever written-off as the result of a crash or accident.

Canadian Pacific Airlines operated seventeen DC-3s, having received these aircraft between 1945 and 1947, with most of their fleet being sold-off by 1959. One aircraft, CF-CRX flew on alone in Canadian Pacific Airline's colors, until 1974, on lease to Harrison Airways.

This was the last of the DC-3s to fly with TCA or  CP AIR, and also the last of the piston engine powered aircraft in Canadian Pacific Airlines service.

Truly the end of an era!

The museum's DC-3, "Spirit of Skeena", was named, owned and
operated by our "home grown" B.C. airline, Queen Charlotte Airlines; Jim Spillsbury's "Accidental Airline!".  In June of 1953, at which time this airline was purchased by Pacific Western Airlines, Queen Charlotte was operating a fleet containing three DC-3s, this one and two C-47 conversions. This aircraft being a true DC-3 was given preference by Pacific Western Airlines and became their first DC-3, reregistered CF-PWH and given a company fin number 301.
In total PWA operated seven DC-3s, two of which were written-off, but CF-PWH, which was not sold until May of 1973, was to survive for another 35 years. She flew on for a few more years but had become too old to be useful, yet not old enough to be of historical significance and so was abandoned at Terrace B.C., stripped of what was of little value and pushed into the bush to quietly rust and disintegrate.

Fortunately this was not to be, she was rescued by a group of friends and brought to the Lower Mainland; a story in itself!  This is the DC-3, "The Spirit of Skeena" that is now so proudly displayed by:
The "Museum of Flight" in Langley, B.C..

Drop in sometime and see this wonderful old aircraft.
Captain Bill Marr,-an old  Trans-Canada Air Lines DC-3 pilot
(We have information that suggests CF-CRX last flight was for CPA from Abbotsford to Vancouver July 4th 1974 - eds).

In a subsequent email, Bill tells us - I. There is one ex CPAL aircraft, CF CZZ that was purchased by PWA that may have been still flying at that time, although I contacted Don Watson and to the best of his recall it was gone by '74. 

Interestingly the last two issues of Canadian Aviation magazine had articles by Robert S. Grant, where-in he mentions his DC-3, CF-FTR that is still working! 

Amazing old birds! All the best in "09. 

Bill Marr.

This and That.

Third Heathrow runway approved with green conditions; 2015-20 targeted
Ending six years of public debate, the UK government approved construction of a third runway and sixth terminal at London Heathrow but simultaneously imposed stricter
environmental targets and rejected the introduction of
mixed-mode operations (landings and takeoffs on the same runway) on the existing runways as an interim measure.

In 1970, the British government banned the Concorde from making sonic booms over Britain.The list of countries who had banned the Concorde making the sonic boom were Canada, USA, Norway, Sweden, Holland, West Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and now Britain.

Kingston, Ont., company plans to revive bankrupt Zoom Airlines.
Globe Span Capital has acquired the majority of shares of mothballed Zoom Airlines and CEO James Hultquist-Morrissey says he hopes to have the planes back in the air by the summer. Zoom collapsed in August after years of growth, undone by high fuel prices that made operating the discount airline unaffordable.   

slesseAn interesting book "Disaster on Mount Slesse" is the story of western Canada's worst air crash up to 1956. ISBN 1-894759-21-4. soft cover approx ca$17.00.

Terry's Travel Tips
Terry Baker
Unions at Air France said they called for strike action on January 29,to coincide with industrial action planned throughout France to highlight dwindling
purchasing power and job security.                                (Source: Reuters)

Park 'N Fly, is offering all active and retired ACE family employees an opportunity to save 25 per cent when parking at all Park 'N Fly airport facilities across Canada. For a list of airport parking facilities, consult To take advantage of this discount, present your Air Canada identification card, business card or letter confirming employment and quote the couponcode 31737 This code is valid until December 31, 2009.

In July 1966 Britain introduced a UKP50.00 limit restrictive travel allowance for British residents traveling abroad. This was to defend Britain's dwindling foreign reserves exchange.
But in 1970, this ban was lifted, and Britons will no longer be limited.
(The present world economy notwithstanding - eds) 

In 1970, U.S. domestic airlines set a two-drink limit. The agreement was between American, TWA and United effective on January 15th and provides a total of four ounces of distilled spirits be allowed passengers for two cocktails or highballs. However, an additional two ounces to each passenger when a ground delay of 45 minutes or more is expected.
(Non drinking passengers could probably cover their airfare if they were smart - eds)

JetBlue Airways
have some innovative titles on their A320 aircraft:
- 'Brand Spankin' Blue"
- "Enough about me - Jet's talk about Blue"
- "How's my flying? - Call 1-800-JetBlue"
- "If You Can Read This - You're Blue Close"

Virgin America has names for some of their fleet -
  • "The 1-year old virgin" (Presumably renamed each year - perhaps not! - eds)
  • "Fog Cutter"
  • "My other rides a space ship"
  • "An airplane named desire"
  • "San Francisco pride"

Current Mail List

Join our Mail List

Please use the form below to sign up to our mail list.
Thank you for subscribing to The NetLetter.