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Member Profiles


Erskine Leigh Capreol

Birthdate: September 17, 1898
Birth Place: Ottawa, Ontario
Death Date: January 7, 1963
Year Inducted: 1981

"His contributions in war and peace as a flying instructor, bush pilot, test pilot and aviation executive, coupled with his commitment to defeat all conditions of adversity, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1981

Erskine Leigh Capreol was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on September 17, 1898, where he attended school. On graduation he enlisted in the Canadian Army, and served in France with the 77th, 73rd and 85th battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), in which he was commissioned in December 1917, after completing cadet training at Oxford, England.

He received his flight training at Yatesbury, England, after which he was posted to the School of Special Flying as a flying instructor. At the time, instructors communicated by the Gosport System in which the instructor talked through a rubber speaking tube to a student pilot while in flight.

In March of 1918 Capreol was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and joined the staff of the RFC's Central Flying School at Upavon Downs on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. While instructing, he was seriously injured in an aircraft accident. After 1-1/2 years in hospital he recovered, but for the remainder of his life he needed to use a cane.

On his return to Canada in 1920, he was employed by the American Bank Note Company in Ottawa. In 1927, on receiving the encouraging news from the medical authorities that he was fit to fly, he joined the RCAF at Camp Borden, Ontario, becoming an 'A2' category flying instructor, later upgraded to category 'A1'.

In March 1932, Capreol was hired by the newly formed de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. (DHC) as its chief test and demonstration pilot. During his six years with DHC he conducted manufacturer's tests on all new aircraft, as well as demonstrating them to potential customers. He was responsible for adapting these aircraft for service in northern Ontario and Quebec under all weather conditions.

These included the Gipsy, Puss, and Fox Moths. His research and development of floats and skis contributed significantly to the development of the successful Tiger Moth in January 1930. He also gave instructor flying courses to prospective flying club instructors and Ontario Provincial Air Service pilots.

In 1934 he became General Manager and Chief Pilot of a newly formed company, Capreol and Austin Airways. This company was incorporated by Jack Austin and his brother Charles Austin, to operate charter flights into the mining areas of northern Ontario and Quebec from its seaplane base in Toronto Harbour. The company operated the first properly equipped flying ambulance in Canada with a Waco, which held a stretcher, nurse, and patient.

Capreol resigned in 1935 to accept the position of test and demonstration pilot for Noorduyn Aviation Limited, Montreal, Quebec. His experience was fully utilized in the initial flight testing of the first bush plane to be designed and manufactured in Canada, the Noorduyn Norseman. It was equipped with wheel, ski, and float capabilities to meet the demanding Canadian flying requirements and weather conditions.

In 1939 Capreol was loaned to National Steel Car, Malton Airport, Ontario, to test the first Lysander aircraft built there, and became involved in the initial flight testing of the North American Yale trainer. On completion of these assignments he returned to Noorduyn Aviation, which had been given a contract to construct Harvard trainers and Norseman aircraft. He had the responsibility of organizing the flight testing of hundreds of these aircraft.

Capreol was actively involved in aviation for 37 years. He upheld the highest standards in research, test work, development, and instructing on all types of aircraft, using wheels, skis and floats. He ignored his physical handicap, and through example led others to do likewise. He earned the certificates which permitted him to act professionally in his demanding field of endeavor: Instructor's Licences,  Commercial and Transport Pilot Certificates and an Air Engineer's Certificate. Capreol died at Baie D'Urfe, Quebec, on January 7, 1963.

Erskine Leigh Capreol was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1981 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.


In the early 1960’s, Capreol accepted the position of Manager of the Dorval Airport, a new facility designed to accommodate the fast growing domestic and international air traffic into and out of Montreal. It is a credit to his managerial skills that the airport kept pace with the demands of this rapidly growing centre of aviation. In January 1963, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Lionel Chevrier, wrote, “When Leigh Capreol became manager of the airport, things took a different turn. He was held in the highest regard at Headquarters Ottawa.

Frederick James Carmichael

Nickname: Fred
Birthdate: May 6, 1935
Birth Place: Aklavik, N.W.T.
Year Inducted: 2016
Awards: CM, LL.D.

The first indigenous pilot from the Canadian Arctic, for 60 years Fred Carmichael provided northern aviation service ranging from bush flying to charter flights through interests he developed as an entrepreneur. Beyond his flying experience he has served northern interests, aviation and community organizations in both appointed and elected positions. Award Citation, 2016

Frederick James Carmichael has spent over 60 years in Northern aviation in the course off which his accomplishments have made him a legend. he is well known as an aviation entrepreneur, search and rescue pilot, mentor for aspiring aboriginal youth, pioneer aboriginal commercial pilot and contributor to community life in the Northwest Territories.

He was born at Aklavik, Northwest Territories in 1935. His mother was a descendant of Gwich’in Chiefs, his father, a long time trapper, was the first elected member of the Territorial Council representing the Mackenzie Delta.

Carmichael’s urge to fly began when he was 12 years old, watching an aircraft land at his parents’ bush camp near Aklavik. He worked on the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) to earn enough money to take flying lessons. While taking flying lessons in Edmonton, he upgraded his education, receives private pilot’s licence in 1955 and became the first Aboriginal pilot from the Arctic region.

In 1956 he purchased his first airplane, a Stinson Voyageur with wheels and skis for $2,600.00. He flew it back to Aklavik, using the only aids available to him, a map and a compass. Thus he began a lifetime in aviation. He became known for his involvement in mercy flights, regularly volunteering to search for lost or desperate people.

In 1958 he earned his Commercial licence, which he holds to the present time. From the mid 1950’s to the 1960-’s he volunteered time to build airstrips in Aklavik and at Reindeer Station, 80 kilometres south of the Arctic Ocean. He then invested time and money to build an airstrip at Inuvik with volunteers to help him.

In 1959 he obtained a Specialty Licence for aerial patrol and began operating Reindeer Air Service Ltd. flying personnel and supplies to support a government reindeer-herding project in the Mackenzie Delta, locating stray reindeer and carrying herders to round them up. He moved to Inuvik and in 1960 obtained a charter licence. The business grew to a fleet of 15 aircraft consisting of single-engine aircraft and twin-engined Douglas DC-3, Curtiss C-46 and Beechcraft 18 aircraft.

Business was not easy flying in northern Canada, with stiff competition from larger companies. He faced uphill battles with the Canadian Transport Commission in the late 1960’s when he applied to operate larger aircraft. In the 1970’s he sold various parts of his company, Reindeer Air. He spent the next several years flying for Kenn Borek Air Ltd., then decided to start his own charter company again, in partnership with the Dene-Metis of the Mackenzie Delta. He bought Aklavik Flying Services from Mike Zubko, one of his original mentors and close friend.

In the 1990s he operated his air tourism business, Arctic Nature Tours Ltd., for several years, showing the country he loves to visitors from around the world. He also worked as a commercial pilot for his son Frank, who owned and operated Arctic Wings and Rotors Ltd. in Inuvik.

Carmichael contributed much to community life in the NWT. He is a founding member of the Inuvik Aviation Council, and has served for many years on various boards, and as an aviation consultant. He served as Grand Chief and president of the Gwich’in Tribal Council for eight years. he was one of the first members of the Northern Air Transportation Association (NATA), based in Yellowknife. He many awards include installation as a Member of the order of Canada in 2009, a lifetime membership in NATA, Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2013.

Fred Carmichael, aviation pioneer, successful entrepreneur and father of four children, lives in Inuvik with his wife Miki O’Kane.

Frederick Carmichael was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 2016, in a ceremony held at Ottawa, Ontario.

Recommended Reading: Polar Winds - A Century of Flying the North (Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail)

William Keir Carr

Birthdate: March 17, 1923
Birth Place: Grand Bank, Newfoundland
Death Date: October 14, 2020
Year Inducted: 2001
Awards: CMM, DFC, CD****, the C.D. Howe Award (CASI), The Paul Tissandier Diploma (France)

"His achievements in both military and civil aviation, along with his proven leadership and organizational abilities, have been of outstanding benefit to Canada." - Induction citation, 2001

William Keir Carr, CMM, DFC, CD***, BA, BSc, was born in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, of Scottish stock, on St. Patrick's Day in 1923. After graduation from Mount Allison University in 1941, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Trained as a Spitfire pilot, and with No. 683 RAF (Photo Reconnaissance) Squadron, he flew 143 reconnaissance sorties, in enemy skies over Europe, Malta, North Africa and Sicily, gathering intelligence which proved invaluable to the Allied forces. All of these sorties were made with a single aircraft, unarmed and unescorted.

In 1941 Flight Lieutenant Carr was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The accompanying citation for the DFC read, in part, "His missions lacked nothing in determination and accuracy... F/L Carr is outstanding as a PR pilot and as a Squadron Detachment Commander."

After the Second World War, Flight Lieutenant Carr decided to remain in the RCAF and upon his return to Canada was posted to  No. 413 (Photo) Squadron. Beginning in 1945, with Norseman aircraft, Carr participated in the first major post-war program to photograph large areas of northern Canada, which up to that time had remained unmapped.

The accurate positioning of the photographic runs were dependent upon ground surveys. The transportation of the surveyors from the Geodetic Survey of Canada was the responsibility of No. 2 Detachment of this squadron and involved a significant degree of risk and extremely accurate flying without the aid of charts or radio navigation aids. As recognition for the manner in which he carried out his duties, a 125 square mile lake was named for him - Carr Lake, located in the southern Nunavut area.

In 1956 Wing Commander Carr took command of No. 412 (VIP) Squadron in Ottawa, Ontario. In addition to his duties as Commander, he personally piloted many world dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth and General Charles deGaulle during their visits to Canada. He flew then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker during his round-the-world tour in 1959. Carr was instrumental in establishing the first Trans-Atlantic scheduled twice-weekly passenger jet service in the world, using the de Havilland Comet aircraft.

Carr, now Group Captain, was chosen in 1960 to go to the then Belgian Congo where he was the first officer ever to be commissioned to form an Air Force under control of the United Nations Organization. He successfully integrated airmen and aircraft from fifteen nations into what proved to be an effective element of one of Canada's early peacekeeping efforts.

Later in 1960, as Commanding Officer of RCAF Station Namao in Edmonton, Alberta, Carr and his staff played a key role when this base hosted a major United States Air Force Strategic Command deployment during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Carr was awarded a special commendation from the United States Air Force.

Carr was the first airman to be charged with both army and airforce training of the new Mobile Command in 1965. After a stint as Chief of Air Operations at National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ), Major General Carr was named to command Canadian Forces Training Command in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1968 and during that tour completely modernized aircrew training, which had seen little change since the end of the Second World War. As Chief of Air Operations, he had been successful in bringing the air industries more into rapport with the military, and in stimulating the synergism that resulted. Indeed, with the Minister's direction, Carr negotiated the Dutch buy-in to the CF-5 program with a very large add-on of aircraft to be produced for them by Canadair.

After a tour in charge of American and Canadian operations in NORAD, he again returned to NDHQ, and in 1974 became Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff. General Carr originated and developed what came to be known as the CAMRA (Canadian Advanced Multi-Role Aircraft) which eventually evolved into the German-British-Italian Tornado aircraft program. Canada withdrew finally, but he followed up by initiating the new fighter aircraft program, which eventually resulted in the acquisition of the CF-18. During this period, Carr was also able to secure government approval for the Aurora CP-140 Long Range Patrol Aircraft program.

1975 saw General Carr's arguably most important achievement related to Canadian military aviation. While serving as Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, he was able to convince his Navy and Army colleagues that fragmented air forces then controlled separately by the land, sea and air elements constituted an inefficient and ineffective way to employ Canadian air power. After gaining the approval of the Minister of National Defence and the Cabinet, he was charged with planning what became the Canadian Forces Air Command, and in 1975 was appointed as its first Commander.

At the outset, General Carr established a highly effective and lean structure without provoking emotional reactions from political and military sources, which had been, at best, skeptical. Air Command was unique in that it included all military aviation. Previously, the sea and land elements had air branches they considered their own. Air Command, to this day, is the only airforce in NATO to be successfully structured this way. Carr is commonly referred to as the "Father of the Modern Air Force" for these efforts.

In 1976 General Carr was the first serving military officer to receive the C.D. Howe Award from the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, citing his achievements in the fields of planning, policy-making and leadership in aeronautics and space. Later in the same year, he was made a Commander of the Order of Military Merit.

He was awarded the Gordon R. McGregor Trophy in 1977 for his contributions to aviation, especially in the field of transport aviation. In 1978 he was the recipient of the Paul Tissandier Diploma from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale for outstanding service to the course of general aviation.

After retiring from the military in 1978, Carr held several senior positions with Canadair Ltd. His initial employment coincided with the early production of the Challenger aircraft. His sale of seven Challengers to the German government at a crucial time in the program's survival was followed quickly by sales to other governments and reportedly provided the spur the program then needed.

During this period, he established the worldwide network for Challenger marketing. His efforts are acknowledged to have strongly influenced the future success of the Challenger program, a noted element of Canadian aviation exports and commercial aircraft development, production and sales. He retired from Bombardier Inc. in 1988 and became an aircraft marketing consultant.

In August of 1993, Lieutenant General Carr was invested as Honorary Colonel of #412 (VIP) Squadron.

William Keir (Bill) Carr was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001 at a ceremony held in Ottawa, Ontario.

For many years, Bill Car was involved with Scouts Canada and served as National Commissioner from 1972 to 1977. In the late 1960‘s & early 1970‘s he was chair of the Arctic & Northern Scouting Committee and organized & operated the 1st Arctic & Northern Jamboree at Prelude Lake NE of Yellowknife, N.W.T. in 1968 and the second Arctic & Northern Jamboree at Churchill, Manitoba in 1970. At the 1970 Jamboree he was responsible for having a royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip with their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Nicholas Byron Cavadias

Birthdate: February 8, 1929
Birth Place: Galgaun, India
Year Inducted: 1996
Awards: LL.D.(Hon), C.D. Howe Award.

"His vision and dynamic leadership in the development of flight simulation through commitment to technological innovation, excellence and total team effort for nearly forty years has significantly enhanced civil and military aviation safety and economy world wide, and has been of outstanding benefit to Canada." - Induction citation, 1996

Nicholas Byron Cavadias, LL.D.(Hon), was born of Greek parents on February 8, 1929, in Galgaun, India. He received his high school education in Greece, and his engineering training at the University of Southampton and the London City and Guilds Institute.

From the beginning, his career was in the application of electronics to aviation. He started as a radio engineer for TAE Greek Airlines in 1946. In 1950 he moved to the U.K., and in 1953 he joined the Royal Air Force, where he became a ground radar specialist. Cavadias came to Canada in 1956 and joined the engineering department of Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd. (CAE), a Montreal-based company, designing, manufacturing and servicing avionics equipment for the Royal Canadian Air Force. He became President of that company 18 years later.

The company entered the flight simulation field early in the 1950's when Canada purchased a fleet of Avro CF-100 all-weather fighter planes for the RCAF and needed flight simulators to train its pilots. Success there, and the cancellation of the Avro Arrow in 1959, positioned CAE to provide the simulator for the Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter in the early 1960's. Cavadias was Project Manager of the highly successful CF-104 flight simulator program, which supplied 32 systems to Canada and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies from 1960 to 1963. In 1961 CAE established its first off-shore subsidiary simulator company in Germany, CAE Electronics GmbH.

In 1963 CAE Industries was formed, and the original company, Canadian Aviation Electronics, became CAE Electronics, the principal subsidiary of the new parent company.

Cavadias continued his rise at CAE Electronics. By 1967 he was Vice-President Operations, responsible for engineering, manufacturing, program management and quality assurance. In 1975 he was appointed President of CAE Electronics Ltd. In this role, he focused the company's efforts on  simulation, and initiated a period of unprecedented growth.

In addition to the company's involvement in commercial and military aircraft flight simulation, space and air traffic applications, nuclear power station simulation, and oil field automation, other fields of endeavour included power generation, transmission and distribution automation, machinery control systems for Naval ships, and airborne magnetic anomaly submarine detection systems.

CAE Electronics grew to become the number one force in the international commercial flight simulation business. Under Cavadias' leadership, CAE's share of the world market for commercial airline flight simulators increased from less than 3 percent to over 60 percent. CAE exports over 90 percent of its simulators, which are used to train pilots around the world by over thirty airlines in more than thirty-six countries.

In 1990 Cavadias was promoted to Senior Vice-President, Aerospace and Electronics Group of CAE Inc., the Toronto-based corporate parent. He was responsible for four companies, including the U.S.-based CAE-Link Corporation, the Germany-based CAE Electronics GmbH, CAE Electronics Ltd. in Montreal, and Northwest Industries in Edmonton. At that time, these companies were earning a total revenue of over one billion dollars annually.

Cavadias retired in 1994 after a 38-year career with CAE. His efforts resulted in many world firsts, such as the 1983 Boeing 757 simulator which was the first new simulator ever to be FAA-certified prior to aircraft certification.

Cavadias was active in the Canadian aerospace industry outside of CAE. He served as Director of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. He contributed to Canadian government policy as a member of the Consultative Committee on the Electronics Industry, and to New Brunswick's government while on the Advisory Board for Science and Technology. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Concordia University in Montreal in 1985, which recognized his ongoing encouragement of links between industry and the university community.

He was recognized in 1988 by the Commander-in-Chief of the USAF Military Airlift Command for significant contributions to their C-5 simulator program, and in 1990 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for outstanding cooperation between government and industry on the Crew Station Research Program. In 1990 he was the recipient of the C.D. Howe Award presented by the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute for leadership in Canadian aeronautics and space activities.

In retirement, Cavadias lives in Kingston, Ontario, with his wife Juliet, enjoying their family, sailing, woodworking, and classical music, and, recently, golf.

In 2001 he was honoured by the Royal Aeronautical Society with the Flight Simulation Silver Medal for the year 2000 in a ceremony held in London, England.

Nicholas Byron Cavadias was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996 at a ceremony held in Toronto, Ontario.


The introduction of flight simulators for complex aircraft like the CF-18 “Hornet”, the Lockheed CP-140 “Aurora”, and the C-130 “Hercules” enhanced flight safety and reduced wear and tear on valuable airframes.

Alfred Beebe Caywood

Nickname: Alf
Birthdate: January 22, 1910
Birth Place: Oelrich, South Dakota, USA
Death Date: May 23, 1991
Year Inducted: 1988

"His foresight and high standards not only benefited the company he led, but indeed the entire aviation community, in his own words, he took the romance out of bush flying and turned it into a viable business, complete with balance sheet. He played an integral role in the development of Canada's atomic age. There is no doubt that he contributed greatly to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1988

Alfred Beebe (Alf) Caywood was born January 22, 1910, in Oelrich, South Dakota, U.S.A. and moved with his family to Edmonton, Alberta, in 1911. After receiving a diploma from McTavish Business College in 1925 he worked up to comptroller of a mine in the Coal Branch in southwestern Alberta. Later he worked with Alberta Land Titles and Provincial Income Tax.

In 1933 he struck out prospecting in British Columbia, northern Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories. During this period he became impressed with the use of aircraft to reach remote areas and also to investigate favourable prospects by means of aerial observation. With this as an incentive, he received his Private Pilot's Certificate early in 1937 under the tutelage of Maurice 'Moss' Burbidge. He joined the staff of Canadian Airways Ltd. as a mechanic's helper, and became one of their pilots in 1938. He was  associated in those early years of flying with several well-known northern pilots who would later become Members of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame, including W.R. 'Wop' May, G.H. 'Punch' Dickins, Walter Gilbert and Jack Moar.

Flying regularly over unmapped country, he actually covered the area which he had walked over as a prospector. Caywood instituted the filing of sketch maps of the locations where various prospectors, trappers, etc. had been left so they could be picked up more easily at a later date. He added sketches of major routes showing predominant characteristics of the areas for the guidance of others. When Canadian Pacific Airlines was formed, he became a mainline captain on all of their routes in the Yukon, Alaska and the Northwest Territories.

On one flight in 1942, Caywood was piloting a fabric-covered, single-engine Norseman in mid-winter from Yellowknife to Coppermine on the Arctic coast. The aircraft inexplicably caught fire in mid-flight and the flames ignited boxes of ammunition which exploded, shredding the plane's skin. Caywood, barely able to control the plane, landed safely on the frozen tundra.

He and his air mechanic, Jack Rennie, escaped as the fuel tank exploded, but their friend, Paddy Gibson, had already perished in the plane. Then began their struggle to survive. They had suffered blistered faces in the fire, and the minus 40 degree weather added to their miseries by freezing the skin of their hands and feet. They had lost their gloves and their felt liner-boots were shredded. They had no tent, little food and no one knew where they were. They spent nine days huddled in shelters constructed of snow, tree boughs and airplane parts. When a search aircraft located them, they were snow-blind, had frost-bitten hands and feet and had each lost twenty pounds.

In 1944 Caywood joined Eldorado Mining and Refining on Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, to form their Air Division. Eldorado Aviation transported uranium for the first atomic bombs, a venture known as the Manhattan Project. Working in shifts, Caywood kept Eldorado's planes flying almost non-stop to bring supplies in to the mine site, and fly uranium ore out from Port Radium. This was of vital importance to the Allied cause.

He acquired for Eldorado the first Douglas DC-3 to be licensed commercially in Canada, from war-surplus stock, enabling him to expand what was known at that time as 'bush service'. Thus he initiated the first extensive use in Canada of the DC-3 for freight and passenger haulage. Douglas Aircraft Division called it "a saga of what dedication, determination and ingenuity can accomplish under the most dire maintenance and flying conditions." During this time Caywood broke many new records for tonnage and mileage, and initiated the use of pallets to save time loading and unloading air freight.

Caywood retired from Eldorado in 1965 to live in Victoria, British Columbia. During his retirement he served as aviation consultant for the World Bank. He died in Victoria, B.C. on May 23, 1991.

Alfred Beebe (Alf) Caywood was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988 at a ceremony held in Toronto, Ontario.

Recommended Reading: Four Degrees Celsius - A Story of Arctic Peril - (Kerry Karram)  

Caywood recognized the importance of both preventive and corrective maintenance for his small fleet of aircraft and his standards of excellence resulted in a very safe and efficient operation, even in severe weather conditions. Under his direction, Eldorado’s per-ton and per-passenger costs were the envy of the aviation industry.

James Arthur Chamberlin

Birthdate: May 23, 1915
Birth Place: Kamloops, British Columbia
Death Date: March 8, 1981
Year Inducted: 2001
Awards: The Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and The Exceptional Service Medal (NASA)

“His engineering genius, technical direction and leadership have been of significant benefit to Canada. Further, his contributions to the United States space programs have given much credit to his home country of Canada." - Induction citation, 2001

James Arthur Chamberlin was born in Kamloops, British Columbia on May 23, 1915. He and his mother settled in Summerland after his father died in the First World War. He began school in Summerland, but the family moved to Toronto, Ontario where he received most of his early education. As a child, he built original design model airplanes and during this period he won a Toronto newspaper contest for model aircraft design.

Chamberlin graduated from the University of Toronto in 1936 with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering (Aeronautical Option) and was the winner of the J.A. Findley Scholarship in his third year. He then went to London, England, where he earned a Diploma from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1939. Before returning to Canada he worked briefly at the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company.

On returning to Canada, he worked for Federal Aircraft in Montreal, Quebec on the Canadian version of the British Avro Anson from February 1940 to September 1941, performing stress analysis and design. In September 1941 he joined Clark Ruse Aircraft in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where, until 1942, he was Chief Engineer in charge of engineering and overhaul of aircraft used in training and anti-submarine work. For the balance of the Second World War he was with Noorduyn Aviation in Montreal working as a research and design engineer, where he designed and built a wooden mock-up of a twin-engine Norseman intended for post-war commercial bush operation. This aircraft never went into production.

In February 1946, Chamberlin joined the engineering staff at Avro Aircraft Limited in Malton, Ontario, where he became Chief Aerodynamicist on the Avro C-102 Jetliner and the CF-100 All-Weather Jet Interceptor. He played an influential role in establishing the resulting configuration of both aircraft.

In the early 1950s, the RCAF accepted an Avro Aircraft proposal for a supersonic interceptor, the CF-105 Arrow, a future replacement for the CF-100. Chamberlin was appointed Chief of Technical Design, heading up a team of technical staff working on the Arrow project, as well as supporting the ongoing CF-100 program and other studies being conducted by the preliminary design group. The Arrow was state-of-the-art in almost every technological area: structures, aerodynamics, propulsion, stability and control, flight controls, armament, electronics, hydraulics, air conditioning and fuel system. Under Chamberlin's leadership many of the engineering research and development techniques applied to the Arrow project were a generation or more ahead of those used by other aircraft companies. His methods of technical leadership and his achievements were remarkable by any standards. The cancellation of the Avro Arrow on February 20, 1959 initiated the breakup of the extraordinarily talented team of engineers at Avro - a team that had placed Canada at the forefront of world aviation technology.

At that time, the newly formed Space Task Group at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) facility at Langley, Virginia, was overloaded with urgent work on the design of the Mercury space capsule that would put the first Americans into space. The Group desperately needed experienced engineering personnel to develop the project. Robert Gilruth, a former Assistant Director for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA'S predecessor organization, led the Space Task Group and Project Mercury. Gilruth was well aware of the unique capabilities of the Avro engineering team, since the Langley facility, as well as the Wallops Island site, had been involved with the wind tunnel and free-flight testing of some of the Arrow models. He was quick to take advantage of their availability. He arranged with Avro to hire a team of around 25 engineers, under Chamberlin's leadership, to go to Langley to work on the development of Mercury. After moving to Langley, Chamberlin became Gilruth's close advisor. He played a major role in the final design of the Mercury capsule that made its first manned, sub-orbital flight in May of 1961, and put John Glenn into orbit on February 20, 1962. He became head of engineering and contract administration on the Mercury project and later, Program Manager for Gemini, the two-man spacecraft that bridged the gap between Mercury and the Apollo lunar landing program. He spearheaded the design effort on Gemini, which contained many technical advances over the Mercury spacecraft.

Chamberiin was one of the first people at NASA to understand that Apollo would more likely succeed by using the lunar orbit rendezvous flight mode, rather than the direct flight mode favoured by others. He became one of NASA'S top troubleshooters on the Apollo program, helping to solve problems with the command and service modules, the lunar module and the lunar life support systems. Chamberiin received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He was described by one of NASA'S administrators as "one of the most brilliant men ever to work at NASA". In February of 1962, a ticker tape parade was held along the streets of New York City honouring America's first astronaut to orbit the earth, John Glenn, who was seated in the first car. In the second car was a quiet Canadian from Kamloops - James Arthur Chamberlin.

Chamberlin was honoured in Canada by the receipt of the University of Toronto 1966 Alumni Medal and was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Distinction in 1978.

In 1970, he left NASA to work for McDonnell Douglas Astronautics. As Technical Director for Advanced Space Programs, he contributed to the work on the Space Shuttle.

While James Chamberlin's aerospace activities in Canada and the United States have received worldwide acclaim, his inspirational technical genius was passed on to many Canadian engineers who worked with him. He died in Houston, Texas on March 8, 1981.

James Arthur Chamberlin was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001 at a ceremony held in Ottawa, Ontario.


Along with Chamberlin, other senior Avro engineers working on the design of the Arrow were Robert Lindley, Chief Engineer, Jim Floyd, Vice President and Director of Engineering, and Guest Hake, Project Engineer. Floyd was named Hall of Fame Member in 1993). In addition to these exceptionally capable designers, Avro had on its staff an exceptionally talented test pilot, Janusz Zurakowski, who tested every facet of the Arrow taking it to Mach 1,189. (Zurakowski was named a Member ofd the Hall of Fame in 1974).

Walter Frank Chmela

Birthdate: May 28, 1926
Birth Place: Vienna, Austria
Year Inducted: 2006
Awards: Paul Tissandier Diploma (France), Roden Trophy (Canadian Soaring Association)

"His tireless devotion to the grass roots promotion and growth of soaring, his enthusiasm, inspiring leadership and years of service with Air Cadet Gliding Programs have been of great benefit to the sport of gliding and to Canadian aviation in general." - Induction citation, 2006

Walter Frank Chmela was born in Vienna, Austria on May 28, 1926. His interest in aviation began as a model aircraft builder, and he participated in many competitions. Enthusiasm for the sport of gliding was taking hold in his country, and he made his first solo flight in a German Primary Glider SG 38 in 1940. At the time, all first flights were solo, and the glider was launched by a rubber cord sling-shot type of device^on a hillside. He received his Glider Pilot Licence in 1943.

Following his high school matriculation, he studied machine design at the Technical High School, and law at the University of Vienna. From 1948 to 1950 he worked in technical administration during the reconstruction of Vienna.

In 1950 he immigrated to Canada with just $25. in his pocket. He was determined to be successful, and studied courses in engineering at the Canadian Institute of Science and Technology in Toronto. He worked for several years in the engineering field as an electrical designer and designer of special purpose machinery, tools and dies.

In 1962 he formed his own company, Indesco International Ltd. in Toronto, which provided personnel and consulting engineering services for mining, petro-chemical, automotive and general manufacturing industries. He holds a patent for a new style 'floating pump' used to pump water from low-lying areas. Chmela operated his company until 1995, a period of 33 years.

When he arrived in Canada in 1950, Chmela found few opportunities to continue with his love for the sport of gliding, but with his 'can do' attitude and persistence, he made it happen. In 1954 he co-founded a gliding club, the Aero Club Harmony in Toronto. The club needed tow pilots so he took flying lessons, earning his Private Pilot Licence in 1956, and bought a British Auster to use as a tow plane.

In 1961 he founded the York Soaring Association. He provided the land, supplied the tow planes and gliders, and soon rounded up help to build two large hangars and a club house. By then he had his Commercial Pilot Licence, his Multi-Engine Rating, and Glider Instructor Rating, including Aerobatics.

Over the next 45 years Chmela inspired others by his many personal achievements. He gained his 'Diamond C' badge, the highest achievement award available to individual pilots. He set numerous Canadian gliding records, five of which still stand after 30 years or more, most notably Gain of Altitude and Absolute Altitude, accomplished at Colorado Springs. Examples are:
1971 - Multi-place glider speed record of 47 kph to a declared goal of 100 km distance.
1974 - Canadian citizen absolute altitude record: 12,449 m. (He is believed to be only the third person in the world to have flown a glider over 40,000 ft above sea level.)
1974 - Canadian citizen gain of altitude: 8,321 m.
1975 - Canadian citizen absolute altitude record in multi-place glider: 10,390 m. (35,000 ft.)
1976 - Multi-place glider speed record of 65 kph over a 300 km out-and-return course, in Pennsylvania, USA.

Chmela's encouragement for young people to enjoy flying is legendary. Over a period of 34 years, from 1972 to the present time, he has organized annual flying training camps for the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. More than 500 cadets have graduated from these camps. In 1973 he was named Instructor of the Year by the Soaring Association of Canada.

In 1976 and again in 1993 he was presented with Achievement Awards by the Ontario Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation. In 1993 he was awarded the prestigious Paul Tissandier Diploma by the Paris-based Federation Aeronautique Internationale for long and devoted service to the sport of soaring.

In 1979, and again in 1984 and 1986, he served as Contest Manager during the National Soaring Championships. Since 1984 he has served as President of the Ontario Soaring Association, an organization dedicated to providing umbrella services to all of Ontario's gliding clubs.

But Chmela's real contribution to the sport is as a builder and promoter, as represented by his work with the York Soaring Association. The expressed goal of the Association is to introduce more people to the sport and provide instruction at a reasonable cost. What has evolved under his direction is a Club that has done more, by far, than any other in Canada to foster these ideals.

He has served as its President and Treasurer since 1961. He was chief flying instructor for about 10 years, tow pilot and recruiter of new people into the sport. The club has won the Soaring Association of Canada's Roden Trophy for the most efficient club many times between 1974 and 1988.

Under his leadership the York Soaring Club has grown to be one of the largest and busiest in Canada. The Club has about 200 members, and its fleet now7 consists of 19 gliders and 5 tow planes. It has its own 200-acre airfield at Arthur, Ontario, complete with a serviced campground and 10-bunk trailer for cadets. In each of the past 15 years it has averaged 5000 aero-tows, 600 introductory flights, mostly to first-timers, and 2500 instructional flights. Each year the Club graduates an average of 25 new licenced pilots. As well, Air Cadet training camps are held concurrently with normal club flying operations.

Chmela continues to pursue his work vigorously and organized the first ever Air Cadet Officers' glider pilot training camp for 2006. He remains very active in the Club, looking after its finances and maintenance of aircraft and field. As well, he arranges meetings and takes care of membership, which continues to grow. His spirit of volunteerism still sets a high standard and his enthusiasm for the sport has never diminished.

Chmela enjoys travelling back to Austria each year to visit family and friends. He and his wife, Eva, live in Toronto, Ontario.

Walter Frank Chmela was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame at ceremonies held in Montreal on May 27, 2006 at a ceremony held at Montreal, Quebec.

From 1970 to 1984 Walter Chmela organized wave-flying camps at Colorado Springs, where he taught high altitude flying to groups of up to 20 licensed pilots. Since gliders may fly at over 30,000 feet in these mountain waves, he lectured on the physiology of high altitudes and the use of oxygen, and conducted orientation and instructional flights.

Nils Christensen

Birthdate: August 15, 1921
Birth Place: Berum, Norway
Death Date: August 6, 2017
Year Inducted: 2012

“Following service in the Norwegian merchant navy and air fords, Nils Christensen developed a reputation for his vast knowledge and skill in aircraft service and maintenance. As the founder of Viking Air Limited, is legacy has continued the work of de Havilland Canada in contribution to the Canadian aviation industry.” - Induction citation 2012

Born in Berum, Norway, near Oslo, on August 15, 1921, Nils Christensen began training as a mechanic while attending school. In 1939 he joined the Norwegian Merchant Navy, sailing on Norwegian and Allied ships in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean Sea. When Nils left the navy in 1942, he joined the Royal Norwegian Air Force at the age of 21 and came to Canada to train in Toronto as an aircraft mechanic.

Back overseas in 1943, he joined No. 333 Norwegian Squadron as a flight mechanic engineer for Mosquito aircraft at bases in Scotland. Following air gunner school in 1944 in England and operational training in Ireland, he flew on Catalinas with the squadron as a flight mechanic/air gunner on convoy duty and submarine patrols.

After the Second World War, Nils trained in England on aircraft engines, then instructed on engines and aircraft for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Leaving the air force in 1947, he flew as a flight engineer with a Norwegian company, Braathens South-American & Far East Airtransport. He also served as a station engineer for the company at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, flying and maintaining Douglas DC-3 and DC-4 aircraft.

In 1951 Nils emigrated to Canada, and was employed by de Havilland Canada. His first job "was converting Lancaster bombers to air sea rescue by upgrading engines. In 1952 he was hired by Sault Airways Limited in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, maintaining Norseman and Cessna aircraft, and earned his Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) license. For the next four years, he worked at Sault Airways as Chief of Maintenance, servicing Norseman, Cessna, Piper, Stinson and Seabee aircraft used in bush flying operations.

In 1956 at the age of 35 he moved to British Columbia to be Chief of Maintenance at the Victoria Flying Club. There he serviced club aircraft, as well as Harvards and Beech 18s maintained by the club for the Royal Canadian Naval Air Reserve Squadron VC 922. On March 28, 1957, Nils became a Canadian citizen at ceremonies held in Victoria.

In 1959 Nils joined Forest Industries Flying Tankers as Director of Maintenance and Chief Flight Engineer on the Martin Mars water bombers. His work included sorting and cataloguing parts, and training six new flight engineers. In 1965 he joined Fairey Aviation, doing overhauls and maintenance on Catalinas, Beechcraft, Harvards and DC-3s. He also worked at applying his ingenuity and skill in converting Cansos, Avengers, Mitchells and Junkers to water bombers. Two years later he became manager of McKinnon Enterprises, rebuilding and converting 10 amphibian Grumman Goose aircraft to turbine power and upgrading Grumman Widgeons.

When McKinnon Enterprises closed, in 1970, Nils started his own company, Viking Air Limited, and located it in a wartime air force hangar at the Victoria airport. With partners Courtney Griffiths and Claude Butler, his new company acquired equipment from McKinnon Enterprises and focused on overhaul, maintenance and conversions of various aircraft, specializing in flying boats. That same year, Nils bought Victoria Flying Services and its 11 aircraft. In 1971, Viking Air donated a Viscount aircraft to the Canadian Forces Fire Service for training purposes.

With Nils as president of Viking Air, the company obtained the parts manufacturing rights from de Havilland for Beaver, Otter and Turbo Beaver. Starting with three employees, Viking grew to 50 employees from 1970 to 1987, when Nils left the company and retired. In 2006 the company acquired Type Certificates for seven de Havilland heritage aircraft: Chipmunk, Beaver, Otter, Caribou, Buffalo, Twin Otter and Dash. Today Viking Air has 450 employees at its headquarters in Sidney, British Columbia and 200 employees in Calgary, Alberta.

Although he retired as president of Viking Air in 1987 and sold his 90% interest in the company, Nils remained engaged in the business as it embarked upon production of the Twin Otter. His expertise is still sought and he continues to provide assistance and advice in response to requests he receives from around the world. His lifetime involvement with aviation continues with association in several organizations, including life membership in the Royal Air Force Association of Norway and the Royal Canadian Legion. For 40 years he has been a member of the Quarter Century in Aviation Club of Vancouver.

In November 2011, as a former member of the Norwegian merchant marine, Nils was invited as guest of the Norwegian government to attend the rechristening of the merchant ship, the D/S Hestmanden, restored as a memorial ship. The ship was built by Norway in 1911 and provided service during the First and Second World Wars. The Hestmanden was rechristened by King Harald V, who then greeted personally the 240 merchant marine veterans who attended the ceremony held in Kristiansand, Norway. Nils first met the King, who was a Crown Prince at the time, at the "Little Norway" air force camp in Toronto, 70 years earlier.

Nils held current AME license, highly respected for his knowledge, expertise and support as a mentor in assisting others in becoming trained to serve in the industry. He founded a successful aviation manufacturer that continues to build aircraft. In 1997 he was awarded the Robert Hope Pursuit of Excellence Award from the Pacific AME Association. In 2003 he was one of the first three members inducted into the Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Hall of Fame. In June, 2012 Nils Christensen returned to Norway for a celebration of 100 years of Norwegian military aviation and 70 years of 333 Squadron of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, with which he had served in the Second World War. In July, 2012 he was awarded an Honourary Lifetime Membership in the British Columbia Aviation Museum Society.

Nils Christensen was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Montreal in 2012.

Nils met his wife, Sheila, in England in 1946 when he was attending Engine Instructors' School. She was the daughter of W/C William Wolfenden, OBE, who served with the Royal Air Force during the First and Second World Wars. Sheila learned Norwegian when she moved to Norway, a language in which she and Nils are still fluent. The couple married in Norway on May 31, 1947. They have two daughters, Randi and Marit, and one son, Erik, and lived today on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia from 1993 to 2016. Nils Christensen died at Abbotsford B.C. in August 2017.

Larry Denman Clarke

Birthdate: June 12, 1925
Birth Place: London, England
Death Date: October 22, 2015
Year Inducted: 1996
Awards: O.C., L.L.D.(Hon)*

"The opportunities he created for thousands of young Canadian engineers and technicians to contribute at home to the development of the world's space business testify to his vision, entrepreneurial capacity and tenacity as a businessman who, despite adversity, recognized and realized the potential of the space industry to the outstanding benefit of all Canadians." - Induction citation, 1996

Larry Denman Clarke, O.C., LL.D.(Hon), was born in London, England, on June 12, 1925. His family moved to Canada in 1927. During the second World War he served as an electronics technician with the Royal Canadian Navy. Following the war, he studied law at Osgoode Hall, Toronto, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1949.

When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Clarke left his legal practice to serve as lawyer and special advisor to the Canadian government's Department of Defence Production in Ottawa as it oversaw the military procurement operations as a member of the United Nations force in Korea.

When the Korean War ended in 1953, Clarke joined de Havilland Aircraft of Canada (DHC) as contracts administrator, and began his career in the aviation industry. He soon demonstrated his business acumen as an organizer, planner and negotiator. He served as President of a joint venture with CAE Electronics and Ferranti Packard Canada called DCF Systems, where he set up the contract with the Canadian government to install Bomarc missile bases. Later, as corporate secretary and Vice-President of Administration and Planning for DHC, he arranged for the company to manufacture the wings and tail for the Douglas DC-9. He also arranged the subsequent sale of the former Avro plant at Malton Airport in Toronto to Douglas Aircraft.

Clarke also assisted the small research and development group within DHC known as the Special Products and Applied Research Division (S.P.A.R.). The S.P.A.R. Division was started in 1953, the year Clarke joined DHC, to work on the missile program for the Canadian government. At this time he had been working with infrared technology and components primarily for defence applications. When the government scrapped the Avro Arrow in 1959, S.P.A.R. lost the related Sparrow missile development work, and was left practically product-less. Its team of engineers began moving S.P.A.R. into non-military and space-related applications, developing the 'storable tubular extendible member' (STEM) from an abandoned National Research Council concept. This was the extendible antenna credited with launching S.P.A.R.'s abilities in space.

Canada's Alouette Scientific Satellite Program, conceived by Dr. John Chapman of the Defence Research Board, provided S.P.A.R.'s entry into the satellite business. For the Alouette 1, Canada's first, and the world's third, satellite, the research team at S.P.A.R. designed and built the satellite structure and provided the STEM'S, with RCA in Montreal providing the electronics. At this time, however, DHC decided to concentrate on its specialized line of short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft, and in 1967 decided to find a buyer for the S.P.A.R. Division.

Clarke had studied the business of S.P.A.R. since its inception and felt confident that it had the talent there to expand within the emerging space industry. Believing that unless Canada developed its own space business, it would become dependent on other countries for its space communications. He approached DHC with an offer to purchase S.P.A.R.

By the end of 1967 Clarke had assembled a team of investors and directors, raised the finances and launched his new company under the name of Spar Aerospace Products Limited. From this humble beginning, with few contracts and little cash flow, he built not only a company, but laid down the roots for an entire business sector in this country.

Clarke began a campaign to enhance Spar's profile in Ottawa, and within the plant he was a highly visible CEO, working long hours alongside the staff. He led the take-over and turnaround of York Gears, merged it with Spar and added space mechanisms to its line of jet engine and helicopter gear boxes.

In the mid 1970's, it became apparent that to become a prime contractor and leader in developing Canada's space manufacturing capability, Spar needed electronics expertise. He persuaded his board of directors to take a risk and purchase RCA Canada Ltd.'s Aerospace Division, and Northern Telecom's Space Division. The company was then renamed Spar Aerospace Limited. These acquisitions put Canada's satellite program firmly in Canadian hands and preserved high technology expertise in this country that otherwise would undoubtedly have been lost to the United States.

With its design and manufacturing capability successfully tested on subcontracts to American satellite builders, Spar won the Canadian contract to build the Anik D satellites, and became one of the few companies world-wide capable of supplying commercial communications satellites. This was reinforced by winning the contract for Brazil's first communications satellite, a contract that provided nearly 3,000 person-years of employment for Canadians.

Few people have the foresight to press ahead with such vigor as Clarke did in the face of huge odds. In the early 1970's, when Canada had no formal national space policy, Spar led a team of Canadian companies that conceived the world's first space robot. Spar was chosen by the National Research Council as its prime contractor for NASA'S shuttle Remote Manipulator System (RMS) which became known as the Canadarm, Canada's most recognizable technological achievement.

Today, Canada is among world leaders in satellite communications with the Spar-built Anik E satellites and the first Mobile Communications satellites, called Msat. These sophisticated and powerful systems provide video, voice and data services for television, cellular phones, computers and navigation over all of North America. With the launch of RADARSAT, Spar put Canada in the forefront as the first nation in space with a commercial microwave radar satellite for remote sensing and monitoring the world's environment and natural resources.

For his patriotic vision and drive, Clarke was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987 (O.C.). He served as Chancellor of York University in Toronto, and holds honorary degrees from Athabasca University in Alberta, Ecole Polytechnique in Quebec, Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, and York University. He has been the honorary Chairman of the Canadian Foundation for the International Space University, and the Chairman of the Advisory board of the same institution. He is also a member of the Corporate Higher Education Forum.

Clarke retired as CE of the Board of Spar Aerospace in 1989 and remained Chairman until the spring of 1993.

Larry Denman Clarke was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta. Larry Clarke died October 22, 2015 at West Vancouver, B.C.

The success of the Canadarm program led to Spar being chosen to head up a cross-Canada industrial team to provide Canada’s participation in the American Space Station program, developing the station’s Mobile Servicing Systems. Spin-off technologies from this will continue to benefit Canada’s economy in the fields of mining, forestry, environmental clean-up and nuclear energy.

Raymond Collishaw

Nickname: Collie
Birthdate: November 22, 1893
Birth Place: Nanaimo, British Columbia
Death Date: September 28, 1976
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: C.B., D.S.O.*, O.B.E.*, D.S.C., D.F.C., The Order of St. Anne, the Order of St. Stanislaus and The Order of St. Valdimir (Russia)

"No airman has served on more enemy fronts with greater distinction, and his indomitable spirit, despite adversity, gave such leadership to those under his command, as to have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1974

Raymond (Collie) Collishaw C.B., D.S.O.*, O.B.E.*, D.S.C., D.F.C., was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, on November 22, 1893, and received most of his schooling there. At age 15 he joined the Royal Canadian Navy's Fishery Protection Service. He served on several patrol ships operating along the British Columbia coast, and rose to First Officer. In 1915 he joined the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and, at his own expense, briefly attended the Curtiss Flying School at Toronto, Ontario. In January of  1916 he embarked for England.

On completion of fighter training Collishaw was posted to No. 3 (Naval) Wing, formed to fly long range bombing attacks on German industrial targets from bases in France. After five months of escorting RNAS bombers to enemy targets he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action. In 1917 he was posted to 3 (Naval) Squadron attached to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on the Somme. He scored his first confirmed aerial victories with this squadron but during the winter suffered severe frostbite and was sent to England to recover.

Collishaw returned to the Ypres front in France a month later and was posted to 10 (Naval) Squadron, a fighter unit, equipped with the Sopwith Triplane, and led the famous 'Black Flight' throughout the spring and summer of 1917. While serving with this squadron, he was credited with shooting down 27 German aircraft and was awarded both the Distinguished Service Cross (D.S.C.) and the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.). He was then granted leave to Canada.

He returned to duty in November 1917, as Flight Leader in the Seaplane Defence Squadron, based near Dunkirk, France. Its main duties were to provide the aerial protection of Royal Naval vessels off the French and Belgian coasts, carrying out fighter sweeps and escorting RNAS bombers. In December he took command of the squadron and during the next two months was able to add to his score of enemy machines destroyed.

Collishaw was made Commanding Officer of his old squadron, 3 (Naval). It eventually became 203 Squadron, RFC, and he was promoted to Major. When he led the squadron on patrols into enemy territory, his score of victories mounted steadily and more decorations followed: the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.) in July 1917, and a Bar to his D.S.O. in September 1918. The citation accompanying the latter award referred to his being credited with destroying 51 enemy machines as of August 1, 1918. Under his command, 203 Squadron was credited with shooting down some 125 enemy aircraft, with fewer than 30 of its own pilots being killed or taken prisoner of war. During his World War I flying career, he was Mentioned in Despatches on four occasions.

At war's end, he accepted a permanent commission in the RAF. During 1919 and early 1920's he commanded 47 Squadron which flew in south Russia in support of Denikin's White Russian Forces fighting the Bolsheviks. In late 1920 Collishaw was sent to Iraq to command 30 Squadron in further actions against the Bolsheviks in north Persia. Collishaw was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E., Military) and three Imperial Russian orders were added to his list of decorations: The Order of St. Anne, the Order of St. Stanislaus and The Order of St. Valdimir.

Three years later he returned to England and attended the RAF Staff College. More commands of squadrons and stations followed. In 1929, as Wing Commander, he was appointed senior RAF Officer aboard HMS Courageous, an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1932 he returned to England to take command of the RAF station at Bircham Newton. In 1935, as Group Captain, he took command of the RAF station at Upper Hayford.

As war with Germany became increasingly imminent, the RAF forces in the Middle East were strengthened. In 1939 a new operational formation known as the Egypt Group came into being. Collishaw was promoted to Air Commodore in 1940 commanding this group which ultimately became known as the Desert Air Force.

When Italy entered the war in 1940, Collishaw's group was badly outnumbered. He was able to maintain the offensive, and his crews destroyed some 1,100 Italian aircraft. He managed to fly operations in Hurricanes before being grounded. He was considered too valuable to lose and knew too much to be captured by the enemy. His inspirational leadership was recognized in March 1941, when he was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (C.B.).

In 1942 Collishaw was posted to Fighter Command Headquarters in England. He was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and given command of 14 Fighter Group in Scotland. He retired from the RAF in 1943, but until war's end served as liaison officer with the Civil Defence Organization.

Collishaw returned to Canada in 1945. In 1946 he was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E., Civil). He died in Vancouver, September 29, 1976.

Raymond (Collie) Collishaw was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.

During a three month period, May - July 1917, Major Ray Collishaw claimed 33 victories, and by war’s end, Collishaw was the highest scoring pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service, with 60 victories, the third highest total of all British Empire pilots.

Thomas C. Cooke

Birthdate: August 14, 1919
Birth Place: Goderich, Ontario
Death Date: August 17, 2004
Year Inducted: 2004
Awards: D.F.C., A.F.C.

"His contributions during wartime, and his development of equipment and procedures to improve forest management and fire control, making Canada a leader in this field, have been of major benefit to aviation in Canada." - Induction citation, 2004

Thomas Charles Cooke, D.F.C., A.F.C., was born in Goderich, Ontario on August 24, 1919. He attended schools in Clinton, Ontario and upon graduation was employed by the Royal Bank in Clinton and Niagara Falls.

In October of 1939 he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and eight months later was on active service. He was posted to Elementary Flight Training School (EFTS) at London, Ontario for flying training and later to Camp Borden's Service Flying Training School (SFTS).

In 1941 Sgt. Cooke became a flight instructor at SFTS Dauphin, Manitoba. The following year, F/0 Cooke was posted to No. 7 Bombing and Gunnery School (B&GS) at Paulson, Manitoba where he conducted advanced training of staff pilots to twin-engine rating, both daylight and night flying, using five different types of service aircraft.

He served for two years with No. 162 Bomber-Reconnaissance Squadron at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, flying Canso amphibians. In 1944 he was posted with No. 162 Squadron to Iceland on anti-submarine patrol.

On April 17, 1944, while on a routine patrol, F/0 Cooke and his crew, flying Canso 9767, spotted U-Boat #342 on the surface of the ocean. While under intense fire from the submarine, they pressed home an attack, dropping three 250 pound depth charges, sinking the boat. For this feat he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.).

Late in 1944, F/L Cooke returned to Canada, and in 1945, while still in the RCAF, he was asked to participate in a program set up by the Ontario Government for chemical spraying of budworm infested forests near Port Arthur, using specially equipped Cansos. This was the first time that this procedure had been used. For his role in this operation, and his service in the Ferry Command, Cooke was awarded the Air Force Cross (A.F.C.). He later served in western Canada, and became Commanding Officer of No. 170 Squadron, ferrying aircraft from Winnipeg to the West Coast.

F/L Cooke retired from the RCAF in 1945 after six years of service, and returned to his position at the Royal Bank in Clinton. Later that year, while still employed at the bank, Cooke worked for a short time for Leavens Brothers, which had a contract with Ontario Department of Lands and Forests to complete another budworm spraying project, again using Cansos.

In 1946 Cooke began permanent employment with the Ontario Provincial Air Service. During this time he was directly involved in a number of projects which contributed to the advancement of aircraft use in fire control. These included development of a radio altimeter to assist in glassy water landings, an aerial hand-held optical device for estimating the size of forest fires as well as the distance from a fire to roads or sources of water for fire pumps, a universal carrier for the de Havilland Beaver and Otter aircraft to carry two canoes or lumber or long steel, and special carriers for the Norseman on floats to carry tower steel of various shapes and sizes. He also worked on procedures for the safe and practical delivery by parachute of equipment to forest fire sites.

As early as 1952 Cooke experimented with water bombing using the Beaver aircraft. He designed a water pick-up system known as roll tanks which were mounted on the floats of Beavers and Otters. They had forward facing pipes or scoops below the water line which quickly filled the open-top tanks while the pilot taxied for a short distance, then took off, precisely dumping the whole load onto the fire by rolling the tanks sideways. This method was very effective in northern Ontario where there are many lakes, allowing the pilot to make continuous trips in a short period of time.

In July, 1957 Cooke made history by using, for the first time, this pick up and delivery method. Without other assistance he controlled a mile-wide fire front in the Sudbury District flying a tank-equipped Otter.

In 1965 the OPAS added the powerful Turbo Beaver to its fleet. While the open-top tanks were a vast improvement over earlier methods of fire fighting, they made on and off loading of cargo difficult, had limited carrying capacity and produced a lot of drag. Further development of aerial water bombing design led back to the carrying of water directly in the pontoons but with a much improved dumping mechanism. This system is now universally used.

These and other similar developments have made Canada the worldwide leader in forest management and forest fire detection and control, a position that it still holds.

Cooke was based in South Porcupine for 13 years and 4 years in Pembroke with the OPAS. In 1964 he was appointed Forest Protection Supervisor for the Chapleau District in Ontario.

In 1965, nineteen years after joining the OPAS, he was appointed the Director of the OPAS in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He retired in 1977, after 37 years of employment and over 13,000 hours of flying.

Cooke has been honoured for his achievements. He received the Queen's Jubilee Medal and the "Rusty" Blakey Award in 1994. He was a strong supporter of the preservation and presentation of the history of bush flying and forest fire control. He became one of the founding members of the Ontario Bushplane Heritage and Forest Fire Educational Centre at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He served as the second president of this organization which is known today as The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre where he remained very active until his death at age 84 on August 20, 2004 at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Thomas Charles Cooke was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Mississauga, Ontario in 2004.


The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre is located in the former OPAS hangars on the waterfront at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and is considered one of the major aircraft museums in Canada.

T.P.M. Cooper-Slipper

Nickname: Mike
Birthdate: January 11, 1921
Birth Place: Kinver, Staffordshire, England
Death Date: February 23, 2004
Year Inducted: 2003
Awards: D.F.C.

"His accomplishments in his military career, his exceptional courage and capabilities as a test pilot of both aircraft and engines, and his expertise in marketing, helped to establish Canada's reputation as a leader in aviation." - Induction citation, 2003

T.P.M. (Mike) Cooper-Slipper, D.F.C., was born in Kinver, Staffordshire, England on January 11, 1921. He joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1938 and completed his training as a fighter pilot in 1939. He was posted to No. 605 Squadron at Wick, northern Scotland. The Squadron was moved in May, 1940 to cover the evacuation of Dunkirk. He flew every one of the Squadron's sorties before it was withdrawn from action. He was promoted to Flying Officer and moved to Croydon at the height of the Battle of Britain. On September 15, 1940 he rammed a Dornier 17 bomber with his disabled Hurricane and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, at age 19 one of the youngest Battle of Britain pilots so honoured.

Following instructor's training, again finishing near the top of his class, Cooper-Slipper became Flight Commander of No. 74 Squadron in October, 1941, then was given command of No. 135 Fighter Squadron, which he took to Singapore. He flew two Hurricane sorties out of Palembang, Sumatra, but was captured by the Japanese. He escaped and made his way to Cairo, Egypt. In November, 1942 he was appointed Officer Commanding Special Performance Flight, Aboukir, and chief test pilot of No. 103 Maintenance Unit (MU). Here, he tested modified Spitfires, taking one to 44,100 ft (13,411 m), aimed at stopping photo reconnaissance by German aircraft.

In February, 1943 he was posted to the Middle East Communications Squadron and from May, 1944 to June, 1946 was test pilot for various MU's in the Middle East and England. He was promoted to Squadron Leader in July, 1944. Assigned to test repaired aircraft, he flew the full spectrum of aircraft from Tiger Moths to B-24 Liberators.

He resigned from the RAF in June, 1946, having served in three theatres of conflict. He had an enviable record of 14 enemy aircraft confirmed shot down, shared or damaged.

Cooper-Slipper emigrated to Canada in 1947, joining Avro Canada Ltd. He was appointed to work with Donald Rogers (Hall of Fame 1998), doing post-repair and production testing on the four-engine Lancasters, twin-engine Mitchell B-25's and Sea Furys being modified for peacetime service.

In 1949 Cooper-Slipper was assigned to development of the Avro Jetliner. In April, 1950 he crewed the first international jet transport flight, along with chief test-pilot Rogers and Bill Baker as engineer, from Toronto to New York. The flight, a two-hour trip in a conventional commercial aircraft, was completed in 59 minutes. He was captain on the return flight. Although the Avro Jetliner never went into production, the widespread interest in its design put the spotlight on Canada as a leader in the development of this new sector of the aviation industry.

In 1951 Cooper-Slipper was loaned to Orenda Engines, the gas turbine division of Avro, for engine development work. He subsequently test-flew the Canadair-built Orenda-powered F-86 Sabre and the Avro CF-100 'Canuck', the first jet fighter designed and built in Canada. The Orenda engine revolutionized the Sabre, providing 7,200 Ib. thrust, versus 5,400 Ib. thrust from the original J-47, a difference of 33% more power. The twin engine CF-100 became operational in April, 1953, and served ten years in NORAD and NATO squadrons, contributing significantly to Canada's role in international defence.

Orenda Engines separated from Avro in 1956 and Cooper-Slipper became their chief test pilot. Most notable was his work on the development of the Iroquois turbojet engine, intended to become the power plant for the CF-105 (Avro Arrow). Test flights had indicated that, with the right engine, the Arrow could become the world's fastest, most advanced interceptor aircraft.

The Iroquois, delivering over 19,350 Ib. of thrust during testing, was too large and powerful for most aircraft of the day, so when the time came to air-test it, the U.S. Air Force agreed to lend a Boeing B-47 bomber for a flying test-bed. In the fall of 1955, Cooper-Slipper and two other Avro-Orenda personnel took 10 weeks training at the USAF Strategic Air Command Training Base near Wichita, Kansas, emerging as a fully qualified B-47 crew, with Cooper-Slipper qualified as S.A.C. Commander, a notable achievement for a civilian test pilot.

The B-47 was modified by Canadair to carry the Iroquois as a seventh engine, mounted on the rear of the aircraft, and flight testing began. They flew the B-47/CL-52 from Canadair's Cartierville plant to Malton on April 15, 1957. The modified B-47 was a challenge to fly. At full throttle, the Iroquois engine was too powerful even for the B-47. Cooper-Slipper's crew had to develop a unique method of staggered engine thrust on the B-47's six engines when the Iroquois was running to prevent a severe asymmetric thrust condition. A total of 31 hours of in-flight testing was completed before the Avro Arrow program was cancelled.

During his employment at Avro and Orenda, Cooper-Slipper demonstrated an aptitude for selling aircraft as well as flying them. In 1961, he joined de Havilland Aircraft of Canada (DHC) as a Technical Sales Representative. DHC's design program was shaped in part by his market research. Of particular note was the research he did for the 19-passenger Twin Otter, which used floats, skis, or wheels, and could be operated in extreme conditions. Its turboprop engines gave it greater speed and larger passenger and freight capacity, making it useful to commercial airlines for feeder routes and air taxi service.

In 1964 Cooper-Slipper became Marketing Manager for Field Aviation. While his responsibilities at Field were market research and general marketing of airplanes, his most significant contribution was to their water bomber program. He photographed the water drops from the ground, providing information that was used to adjust the delivery system for maximum effectiveness in fire suppression. Field Aviation became a world leader in this market.

In 1969 he moved to a sales position at Bannock Aerospace, buying and selling used aircraft, mostly Beavers, Otters and Caribous, primarily to private consortiums.

Experience in market research, sales and working with consortiums were a distinct advantage when Cooper-Slipper was hired as Overseas Market Consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Industry, Trade and Commerce in 1971.

By the mid to late 1970's he led missions to the big air shows in Europe, concentrating more and more on identifying markets not just for Canadian-built aircraft, but aircraft parts and components. Cooper-Slipper's last project was the formation of a five-member Ontario based consortium to market aerospace products and services internationally. He retired in 1986 and died at age 83 in Victoria, BC on February 23, 2004.

Mike Cooper-Slipper was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 2003 at a ceremony held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Suggested reading:
"The Chosen Ones - Canadian Test Pilots in Action" - Sean Rossiter (2002)

When the Avro “Jetliner” was being developed there was widespread reluctance to consider jet aircraft for civilian transport. Many believed that flying such fast aircraft on commercial routes would be beyond the capabilities of the pilots and therefore dangerous, that tarmacs would be melted by the heat of the jet engines, and that jets would not be able to compete with conventional aircraft on short-haul commercial runs. On a test flight between London and Toronto, the “Jetliner” achieved speeds exceeding 500 mph (804 kph), a record for those days. Handling the aircraft posed no problem for its experienced pilots. When Cooper-Slipper took the “Jetliner” to Montreal’s Dorval Airport for a series of accelerate-stop tests, the airport manager had fire trucks follow the plane to put out the expected fires. There were no fires! The “Jetliner” had exploded those myths one after the other.

John W. Crichton

Birthdate: November 15, 1946
Birth Place: Ottawa, Ontario
Year Inducted: 2011
Awards: O.C., The Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award (USA), The C.D. Howe Award.

"A licensed pilot himself, John Crichton early in his career learned that his strength was in management. With a particular interest in expanding air service in northern Canada, he became involved in airline policy development leading to the establishment of NAV CANADA as the country's air navigation services provider, regarded as one of the best in the world." - Induction citation, 2011

John W. Crichton was born in Ottawa on November 15, 1946, one of six children in a family with three boys and three girls. He developed a passion for aviation from his father, who had served as an RCAF flying instructor in Canada during the Second World War and flew coastal patrol flights from Vancouver Island. John earned his private pilot's license in 1967.

He found that administration appealed to him, and was soon managing the Ottawa Flying Club while enrolled at Carleton University. during which time he earned a commercial pilot's license. He left university to fly for Bradley Air Services Limited, a small Ottawa-based carrier that provided charter services from the Carp Airport near Ottawa, and seasonally in the High Arctic.

In 1973, Bradley formed a new operation called First Air, hiring John Crichton to establish scheduled commercial routes and lead expansion of air service across the North. He developed regular air service from Iqaluit in the eastern Arctic, introduced jet service from Ottawa and expanded turboprop routes in northern Canada.

As Executive Vice President of First Air in the 1980s and early 1990s, John became well known in the industry, and he was regarded as a guiding force behind expansion of air service in northern Canada. He was the face of First Air in the north, visiting Arctic communities and working with customers to create new air services in northern Canada.                    

In 1994 John left First Air. to become president and CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC). There he was influential on government policy, advising Transport Canada during negotiations that led to the Canada-U.S. Open Skies agreement. The agreement provides for increased service for passengers and cargo between Canada and the United States and delivery to a third country with lowest prices.

As president of ATAC, Crichton spearheaded the privatization of Canada's air traffic control and navigation services when the Canadian government was experiencing difficulty managing this technical and capital-intensive field. He brought together the diverse interests of government, the commercial aviation industry, unions, general aviation and Canada's investment community in the creation of NAV CANADA.

In 1997 John became President and CEO of NAV CANADA and built the corporation into one recognized as one of the most modern and efficient Air Navigation Systems in the world. The corporation now has 4,900 employees at 130 staffed sites across Canada. It is the country's civil air navigation services provider, delivering air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

Innovations developed by the corporation include the northern radar program and air traffic management systems. An air traffic surveillance system called ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast) provides benefits for aircraft transiting airspace over Hudson Bay, expanding the capacity for this airspace.

ADS-B is a GPS-based system that is effective in remote locations, and can be installed at a fraction of the cost of radar. NAV CANADA began deploying the system over the vast Hudson Bay region, an area of 250,000 square nautical miles flown by international routes, but in that area there was no radar coverage. Implementation of ADS-B results in significant fuel cost savings to airlines by providing more flexible and fuel-efficient routes.

As President and CEO of NAV CANADA, John has presided over the establishment of one of the only fully private air navigation services in the world, which is at the same time subject to Transport Canada safety regulation. In 2010, NAV CANADA was honoured with the Eagle Award from the International Air Transport Association, representing the world's international airlines. The award is given to recognize the Best Air Navigation System Provider. NAV CANADA had previously received the Eagle Award in 2001.

Under John's leadership, NAV CANADA has built a global reputation for safety, efficiency and a wide-ranging program that has seen the company's technology sold on a commercial basis to other air navigation providers. In-house engineering and development talent - working closely with operational employees in the field - continues to develop NAV CANADA'S own proprietary systems. These include trans-oceanic air traffic control systems and an automated tower terminal electronic-flight-strip system and touch screen electronic technology. Such developments have been sold to other air navigation service providers on three continents - North America, Europe and Australia.

In 2006 NAV CANADA received the J.A.D. McCurdy Award from the Air Force Association of Canada for the company's "outstanding achievements in the field of civil aviation in Canada, in particular for the delivery of safe, efficient, and effective civil air navigation services across the country and in international airspace assigned to Canada."

In addition to industry recognition given to NAV CANADA, John Crichton himself has been honoured a number of times. In 2006, he was selected as Transportation Person of the Year by the Transportation Association of Canada, recognizing an industry leader for contribution to the air transportation industry. In 2008, he received the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award from the Washington, DC-based Air Traffic Control Association for lifelong achievement of an individual in aviation. In 2009 he was awarded the C.D. Howe Award from the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute for his lasting contributions to Canada's aviation industry.

Canadian senator and former NWT premier Dennis Patterson has written, "While John was Executive Vice President of First Air, he made enormous contributions to advancing air services and thereby enhancing the economic, social and political development of the North. While working in the north, he showed vision and boldness in pioneering new routes and technology which transformed the north."

John's achievements at NAV CANADA, were summed up in an article appearing in the National Post: "A once troubled government asset, the country's civil air traffic controller ... is now a shining example of how to create a global technology leader...NAV CANADA'S efforts have flights moving more efficiently than ever through the skies above the country."

John Crichton was inducted as a member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Hamilton Ontario in 2011 and in 2014 was awarded the Order of Canada.


John Crichton is regarded as a skilled and effective manager with a deep understanding of the airline industry and the ability to bring parties together for a common purpose. He and his wife Lynda were married in September 1970 and are the parents of four children - Michael, Mark, David and. Jennifer.

Wilfred Austin Curtis

Birthdate: August 21, 1893
Birth Place: Havelock, Ontario
Death Date: August 14, 1977
Year Inducted: 1984
Awards: C.B., C.B.E., O.C., D.S.C.*, E.D., C.D., LL.D.(Hon)*, D.Mil.Sc.(Hon).

"His life-long commitment to the Royal Canadian Air Force and to flying in Canada, coupled with unusual personal gifts of leadership, vision and persuasive ability, have all been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1984

Wilfred Austin Curtis, C.B., C.B.E., O.C., D.S.C.*, E.D., C.D., LL.D. (Hon), D.Mil.Sc. (Hon), was born in Havelock, Ontario, on August 21, 1893. He was educated in Toronto and in 1915 joined the infantry of the Canadian Army. He requested transfer and returned from overseas to take flying lessons at the Curtiss Aviation School in Toronto at his own expense. He graduated August 11, 1916, and returned overseas, joining the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) as a fighter pilot.

In 1917 Curtis was promoted to Captain and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (D.S.C.) for his skill and courage. In 1918 he was awarded a Bar to the D.S.C. He proved his worth as a highly successful fighter pilot by shooting down 13 enemy aircraft, confirmed, and 3 probables. He transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in April of 1918, but relinquished his commission because of ill health in June of 1919.

On his return to Canada Curtis maintained his interest in military as well as civil aviation. During the late 1920's and early 1930's, he served as an officer in the Toronto Scottish Regiment Reserve. For some time there were no non-permanent military aviation positions available. However, when the opportunity presented itself in 1933, he became involved in the formation of No. 110 (Army Go-operation) Squadron. He became Officer Commanding in 1935 and initiated experimental air operations in mid-northern Ontario. In 1939 he founded and organized the Canadian National Air Show at Toronto.

Wing Commander Curtis was called to active duty in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on September 1, 1939, and served with distinction in many capacities throughout World War II. In 1939 he was assigned to select air field locations in Canada for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). He was named Commander, Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 1943 for his outstanding work in promoting working relationships between the RCAF and RAF in the development of the BCATP.

He was, for a period/Deputy Commander of the RCAF overseas, headquartered in London, England. As a member of the RCAF Air Council, and as the Canadian member of the joint Canada-U.S. Air Council, he displayed his knowledge of air command and strategy. He received the Efficiency Decoration (E.D.) in 1945, and was named Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) in 1946.

In 1947 Curtis was appointed Chief of Air Staff, and at this time guided the RCAF through the difficult stages of reorganization which followed the war and through the expansion of Canada's participation in the Korean conflict and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He received French, American and Italian decorations in recognition of his contributions.

Air Marshal Curtis had a great interest in the development of the Canadian aircraft industry. During his term of office, he continually and successfully directed his efforts to secure money for experimental work on and production of a jet trainer and twin-engine fighters, the CF-100 and the CF-105, suitable for interception operations in the northern Canadian climate. Early in the Cold War, he convinced the federal cabinet that the RCAF should make a major contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This resulted in a force of twelve F-86 Sabre jet squadrons being dispatched to Europe. This contribution of 300 front line aircraft was part of the principal air defence force against the Soviet threat on that continent during the 1950's. He remained Chief of Air Staff until his retirement in January of 1953.

On his retirement from the RCAF, Curtis accepted the position of Vice-Chairman of Hawker Siddeley Canada, where he continued to have a substantial impact on the development of aviation in Canada. He was appointed to the Board of Directors ofA.V. Roe Canada Ltd. in June 1953, and served until the demise of the Arrow in February 1959.

He devoted time to other aviation interests. He was President, and later, Grand President of the RCAF Association, and was appointed the Honorary Wing Commander of 400 (City of Toronto) Squadron, the old 110 squadron he had commanded in the late 1930's. He was Chairman of the committee which formed York University and was elected its first Chancellor in 1960.

Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees (LL.D.) were conferred on him by Western University (1948) and York University (1968). He received an Honorary Doctor of Military Science degree from Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario, in 1963. In 1967 he was named Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.). Curtis died in Toronto, Ontario, on August 14, 1977.

Wilfred Austin Curtis was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1984 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.


Air Marshall Wilfred Austin Curtis was looked upon as the “Father of Canada’s Post War Air Force”. Through his drive, interpersonal skills, sense of humour, understanding of aviation and effective leadership, the RCAF became a well-knit, effective and efficient fighting force.