Birthdate: June 29, 1898
Birth Place: Grand Rapids, Manitoba
Death Date: December 31, 1969
Year Inducted: 2009
Awards: LL.D. (Hon)
"His bush-flying career, which led to the founding of Lamb Airways in 1935, contributed significantly to the exploration and development of northern Manitoba and the Eastern Arctic. His exceptional leadership and problem-solving skills in the face of adversity, coupled with his many mercy missions to aid the First Nations people of these regions, have been of major benefit to Canadian aviation and Canadians in general." - Induction citation, 2009
Tom Lamb, LL.D.(Hon.), was born on June 29, 1898 at Grand Rapids, Manitoba, the second of eleven children. In July, 1900 the family moved to remote Moose Lake, "where his father established a fur trading business. They built a log cabin and store near a Cree reservation to trade "with the local trappers.
Young Tom Lamb grew up with Cree children as companions and learned to speak their language fluently. He learned from the elders about their culture, including survival techniques; building birch bark canoes; boiling spruce gum into pitch; making fishing nets and spears. He would call upon these skills years later to survive in the North.
There were no schools in this isolated region; attracting teachers to the area was very difficult. As the Lamb brothers grew older, they were needed to help in their father's fishing camps. By the end of third grade, young Tom's school days were over. But his life-learning was just beginning.
Before he was 10, he was accompanying his father on his fish haul operations with horse-drawn sleighs, learning about survival in extremely cold temperatures. Some trips lasted more than a week. He was sent on trading missions by dogsled with strict instructions on how to trade. On these trips, he learned that the horses and dogs always had to be cared for first.
By the age of 11, his father had trained him as a teamster on his fish-hauls, and sent him out as team leader. These long hauls were 'hell on earth', as he described them: sleet storms and blizzards; high snowdrifts to be carved out; gruelling portages; repairing smashed sleighs; and the constant risk of crashing through thinning ice. Indians who "worked for his father looked out for the young teamster on these trips. Young Tom was handling his father's boats by age 17. He took on jobs as boat builder, carpenter, sawmill operator and as engineer on other freighting boats.
Having mastered many skills and overcome obstacles that would have stopped most men, he was ready to set out on his own. He married Jean Armstrong in 1924. They built their home at Moose Lake and they raised three daughters and six sons, each of whom participated in the various companies he established.
After buying out his father's fur business and trading post in 1926, he set up a saw mill and planer, and built houses and a school for the natives on the Moose Lake Reserve.
By. the late 1920's Lamb became alarmed at the population decline of beaver and muskrat, the main fur animals, due to low water levels and over-trapping. He conceived a muskrat restoration plan, and in 1931 he leased 54,000 acres of swampy land near Moose Lake. Where only forty muskrat houses had existed, after five years of intensive effort, nearly 5,000 were counted. Thus Lamb pioneered methods of conservation and development for the North's fur industry.
He expanded his commercial fishing operations. For many years, he hauled thousands of tons of frozen whitefish from remote lakes to The Pas and Cormorant Lake railroad siding, with up to 12 teams of horses. He introduced caterpillar tractors in 1930, but the northern winters still imposed costly delays.
In 1931, during one of these fish-hauls, his tractor got stuck in the slush about 20 miles from the railway siding. A bush pilot, seeing the trouble Lamb was in, landed. Lamb hired him to fly his fish to Cormorant siding, the first time that fresh fish was hauled by airplane in Northern Manitoba.
Lamb was so impressed with the efficiency of this that he decided to buy his own airplane. He bought a Stinson, CF-AUS, in Winnipeg in 1935, and hired a pilot and engineer. Lamb Airways was formally incorporated that year. The following year, he built barges and a tug boat, the Skippy-L, for summer freighting, and established Lamb Transport, a much-needed service in the area.
As word got out that Lamb had an airplane for hire at The Pas, his pilot was kept very busy hauling fresh fish and doing general charter work, flying missions for both government and private customers, the RCMP, and medevacs that saved many lives.
Lamb decided to fly his own plane. He got his commercial licence in 1937 and became an adept pilot, at home on skis or floats. He could get his plane in and out of the most difficult spaces, in the worst weather; he could find the tiniest Inuit village in the trackless barrens.
Lamb expanded his fleet of aircraft, and bought his first Norseman in 1946, all equipped with floats and skis. The Norseman allowed Lamb to conduct flights further into the Arctic. Winter was a challenge, navigating across the whiteness of the barren lands, looking for the small dark spot of a camp or village. The Norseman was used in 1952 in support of the Canadian Geological Survey in the Northwest Territories.
In the 1950's, Lamb was chartered by the Federal Government to take doctors, along with food and supplies, to Inuit camps along the Kazan and Thelon Rivers. These Inuit were starving, and needed medical attention.
By the early 1950's, several of his sons had their pilot licences and were also trained as airplane mechanics. Lamb passed on to them his hard-won experience in the airmanship they needed to fly in arduous weather and terrain.
By the mid 1950's, all six sons, Greg, Donald, Dennis, Jack, Doug and Conrad were flying for Lamb Airways. One amazed client recalled, “Every one of those boys can do everything that's needed to be done up here in the North. They fly planes like they were born with wings. They run freight boats and sawmills, build roads and sleighs and boats, repair tractors and plane engines. Tom Lamb brought up his boys to tackle any job, no matter how tough it is. He expected nothing less of his boys than he expected of himself.”
Often, one could witness Tom Lamb and his sons taking off one after the other on varied missions. Since 1935, the company's logo was "Do not ask us where we fly, tell us where you want to go." Scheduled and charter operations were conducted in Northern Manitoba, throughout the Central Arctic, and to Baffin Island, Sable Island, Greenland, the Yukon and Alaska.
Lamb's airline operation was involved in every major construction project in Northern Manitoba and the Central Arctic. It flew geologists for the first surveys in 1949 which discovered large nickel deposits at Thompson, Manitoba, about 400 km NE of The Pas. During the mid 1950's, the development of International Nickel's mine, building the railroad and highways and construction of Manitoba hydro generating stations and power lines kept Lamb Airways busy. All of these demanded and received reliable air service. In 1965 Lamb changed the company name to Lambair.
In 1953 Lamb, with his enthusiasm for conquering new frontiers, proved yet another point: that cattle ranching could be carried out successfully above the 53rd parallel. Ever the entrepreneur, lie realized a long-time dream when he cleared the brush, broke the land and raised more than 500 head of purebred Hereford cattle on his 5000 acre 7 Bar L ranch on the shores of Moose Lake.
On May 22, 1969 Lamb was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba, 'in recognition of distinguished public service'. He had earned this distinction as a pioneering frontiersman. As a far-sighted businessman, he was unequaled by any other bush-raised Canadian.
Tom Lamb died on December 31st, 1969, in Honolulu at the age of 71. His sons carried on with Lambair until 1981, when it ceased operations, and the Lamb Store was sold in 1997 after 97 years of continuous service.
Thomas Lamb was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame at ceremonies held in Wetaskiwin, Alberta on May 30, 2009.
“The Last Great Frontiersman” - Leland Stowe (1982)
Birthdate: January 4, 1920
Birth Place: Victoria, British Columbia
Death Date: October 2, 2003
Year Inducted: 2000
Awards: D.S.O., D.F.C.*, C.D.*
"His 35 years of dedicated military service to his country, in a wide range of capacities, in war and in peace, have been of outstanding benefit to Canada." - Induction citation, 2000
Reginald John Lane, DSO, DFC*, CD**, was born in Victoria, British Columbia on January 4, 1920. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in October, 1940 and completed his pilot training on Tiger Moth and Harvard aircraft. Upon receiving his Wings on June 18, 1941 he was sent overseas.
He was posted to No. 10 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Abingdon, Berkshire for bomber pilot training, which he completed in September of 1941 with a total of 187 flying hours. The following month he was posted to No. 35 Squadron, Royal Air Force (RAF), Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire. His first operation was on November 7, 1941, to Berlin, as second pilot on the Halifax Mark I. Lane completed his first operation as Captain on the Halifax Mark II in March of 1942 and by July 31 had completed his first tour of 30 operations. Included were the thousand-aircraft-raid on Cologne, Germany in May 1942, two daylight attacks on Brest and two low level attacks on the German battleship ‘Tirpitz’, anchored in a Norwegian fjord. Lane was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.) in September of 1942.
In August, 1942 Lane volunteered to stay on operations and, with the rank of Squadron Leader, moved with No. 35 Squadron to Gravely, Hants when No. 8 Group, Pathfinder Force, was formed in Bomber Command. He completed his second tour of operations in April of 1943 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.).
He returned to Canada in July, 1943 for a public relations tour and to fly to England the first Canadian-built Lancaster, KB 700, named "The Ruhr Express". On completion of that flight, he joined the Pathfinder Force Navigation Training Unit at Wyton, Cambridgeshire as a check pilot.
No. 405 Squadron (RCAF) joined No. 8 Pathfinder Group on January 1, 1943 as the heavy bomber squadron from No. 6 (RCAF) Group. In October, 1943 Lane joined 405 Squadron as a Flight Commander with the rank of Wing Commander. He assumed command of the squadron from John Fauquier (Hall of Fame Member, 1974) in January 1944. It was during this time that the Pathfinders developed the Master Bomber technique in which one aircraft circuited the target throughout each raid directing other aircraft where to drop their bombs. Lane acted in this capacity on a number of operations. He completed his third tour of operations on July 18, 1944 and was transferred to No. 6 (RCAF) Group Headquarters in Yorkshire in the position of Air I, responsible for planning the operational tactics for No. 6 Group, in conjunction with other bomber groups.
Lane was promoted to Group Captain in May, 1944 and was awarded a Bar to his D.F.C. In May, 1945 he was selected to assist in planning the RCAF, RAF and Royal Australian Air Force bomber offensive against Japan. With the end of the war, he was given command of RCAF Station Odiham, Hants, and then command of 120 (T) Wing, which was responsible for air transport to Europe until June 1946. On January 1, 1946 he was Mentioned in Despatches.
After debarkation leave, Lane attended RCAF Staff College in Toronto, Ontario, and in March, 1947 was transferred to the Directorate of Organization and Establishments at RCAF HQ in Ottawa. A year later he was transferred to the Directorate of Operational Requirements. In 1949 he was promoted to Group Captain and was the Senior Air Officer accompanying the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester B. Pearson, to the first Columbo Conference in Columbo, Ceylon in January of 1950. Mr. Pearson made protocol visits to many countries and, as a result, the flight became the first around the world flight for the RCAF.
In the summer of 1950, Lane was made Commanding Officer of RCAF Station Edmonton, located at the Municipal Airport before the base at Namao was completed. Two years later he was transferred back to Ottawa as Assistant for Logistics Planning. The RCAF was expanding as a result of NATO commitments and new equipment was being procured, including the Avro Arrow.
In 1956 he returned to RCAF HQ as Director Air Plans and Programmes. A promotion to Air Commodore followed in August of 1958 when he was appointed Chief of Plans and Intelligence. During this time, the North American Air Defence (NORAD) agreement was brought into force. The agreement included the RCAF manning United States Air Force radar stations in Canada in exchange for F-101 fighter aircraft. Lane was responsible for planning the air transport system to be used when the Canadair CL-44D Yukon transport aircraft came into service late in 1959. From 1961 to the end of 1965, he held the position of Air Officer Commanding Air Transport Command. During this period several United Nations tasks were undertaken by the Government of Canada, and Air Transport Command played a vital role in positioning and supporting these overseas operations.
After leaving Air Transport Command, Lane was transferred to No. 1 Air Division HQ at Metz, France and in August of 1966 was promoted to Air Vice Marshal as Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Air Division. During this period the CF-104 came into service in a nuclear strike and reconnaissance role. When all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces were forced to leave France by April of 1967, he was responsible for moving No. 1 Air Division HQ and No. 1 (F) Wing Marville to Lahr, Germany.
On the completion of his tour as Commander of No. 1 Air Division in the summer of 1969, Lane returned to Canada as Deputy Commander, Mobile Command HQ in St. Hubert, Quebec. At this time tactical fighter aircraft and helicopters were under the operational control of Mobile Command.
In the summer of 1972, Lane was promoted to Lieutenant General and made Deputy Commander in Chief, NORAD, at Colorado Springs, Colorado. On completion of his tour at NORAD HQ, he was made an Officer of the Legion of Merit (USA). In December 1974, after 35 years of service, Lane retired. During his time at NORAD, he worked with Systems Development Corporation (SDC) of Santa Monica, California which prepared various computer programs for NORAD exercises. As a result, he was asked to become a consultant to SDC in Ottawa. This task was completed by the summer of 1976 and General Lane moved his family to Victoria to retire.
Lane was a past president for the Airforce Officer's Association of Vancouver Island and was National Chairman of the Federation of Military and United Services Institute of Canada for twelve years. He participated in the Consultative Group on Disarmament and Arms Control for the Department of External Affairs from 1983 to 1991. Lane served as a Director of the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security from 1989 to 1992. In 1992 he was appointed Honorary Colonel No. 442 (T & R) Squadron, Comox, BC for a three-year term and was an Honorary Life President of the Aircrew Association. He died on October 2, 2003 in Victoria, B.C.
Reginald John Lane was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000 at a ceremony held in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.
Birthdate: December 10, 1944
Birth Place: Vancouver , B.C.
Year Inducted: 2019
An aviation engineer and pilot, Barry Lapointe is the founder of KF Aerospace. For half a century he has developed his company to provide charter and cargo service, aircraft maintenance, and training of Canadian military pilots. His philanthropic support of aviation and civic organizations has been instrumental in their success.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 10, 1944, to parents Paul and Lucille, Barry Paul Lapointe was the younger brother of his only sibling, Henry. Barry has been a passionate aviation enthusiast all his life and has pursued it since graduating from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering program in 1966. During his studies at BCIT, he demonstrated leadership capabilities by serving as class president.
Prior to graduation, he had earned his Private Pilot Licence, and at age 21 in 1965 he earned his Commercial Pilot Licence. Barry’s first maintenance position after graduating from BCIT was with Harrison Airways in Vancouver. By 1968 he was the Chief Engineer for Air West Airlines, which later became Air BC. In 1969, Barry left Air West for the Okanagan Valley and worked for a short time with Morris Aviation Ltd. in Vernon, British Columbia.
On March 25, 1970, in Kelowna, British Columbia, he founded Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd., known today as KF Aerospace. The company had a small beginning. Working from his truck, Barry serviced clients by providing maintenance for light aircraft. In 1971, Barry’s close friend, Jim Rogers from Calgary, joined KF Aerospace; business grew rapidly and Jim stayed with KF until leaving in the late 1990s to start his own aviation company. In 1974, Barry established Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter (KFAC) to provide charter service for courier and freight companies.
In 1976, Barry received a call to do a last-minute cargo run for Purolator Courier. He took off at night in his twin-engine Grand Commander (C-GKFF) to deliver 800 pounds of freight to the east coast. That flight proved to be the beginning of a venture that would see Kelowna Flightcraft operating nearly 20 aircraft delivering a million pounds of cargo daily to 12 bases across Canada for Purolator Courier and Canada Post from 1976 until 2015.
In 1995, KF Aerospace expanded into Hamilton, Ontario opening a new five million dollar, 50,000 square foot hangar to maintain the growing KF fleet supporting Purolator and Canada Post.
In 2001, KF purchased the Convair Type Certificate, thereby ensuring ongoing support for the worldwide fleet of Convair twin engine aircraft. KF also engineered and produced a stretched version of the Convair 580, which was given a 14-foot extension of the fuselage and named the Convair 5800. Six such aircraft were built in the Kelowna facility and are deployed in commercial service. KFAC continues to operate the Convair 580s and Convair 5800s for Purolator's night service within British Columbia. Additionally, KF entered into a joint venture with Convair to design and build a tanker version of the Convair 580 which continues in regular firefighting service within Canada and the United States.
Under Barry’s leadership, as a Department of National Defence (DND) recognized Design Approval Organization, KF Engineering has become a world-renowned aerospace enterprise, having designed hundreds of Supplemental Type Certificates and repair approvals. Other maintenance programs include ongoing support of the DND fixed wing search and rescue program using Buffalo and Twin Otter aircraft. KF has had the contract since 2009 to conduct maintenance checks and incorporate modifications to ensure that the fleet remains reliable for its important life-saving duties. KF Aerospace will maintain these aging aircraft until the end of their service life in 2020 and 2021.
In 2005 the company was the lead in a consortium that successfully won the bid to supply fixed wing and helicopter training for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Nearly 80% of the pilots who earn their wings each year pass through the doors of the KF Aerospace training facility in Southport, Manitoba.
Barry Lapointe’s interests have gone well beyond building his company. In 1986 he was part of the Odyssey 86 team of 11 people who flew a 1944 Douglas Dakota DC-3 around the world to celebrate both the 50th anniversary of the DC-3 and the World’s Fair on Transportation and Communication being held in Vancouver. The aircraft visited 55 cities in 28 countries, accumulating over 280 hours of trouble-free flying over a two-month period. He is currently involved with a complete restoration to flying condition of a Second World War 1941 Hawker Tempest Mk 2 fighter aircraft, of which there are only eight left in the world, none currently flying.
Barry Lapointe has developed KF Aerospace from a one-man venture into an organization which today employs over 1,000 people with a payroll in excess of $70 million annually. He has also given back over $32.2 million to employees through his “Barry Bucks” incentive program. He has been a strong supporter of the aviation and aerospace industry, a member of the Air Transport Association of Canada since 1987, serving on the Board of Directors from 1991 to 2013, and on the Executive Committee of the Board for 10 years.
In 1999 Barry coordinated a program for Grade 11 and 12 students to experience a prospective career in aviation. “Responding to shortages in aircraft maintenance technicians, Barry led Kelowna Flightcraft’s efforts to welcome British Columbia Institute of Technology students to KF Aerospace for onsite education and training,” says Deborah Buszard, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and principal of the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia. “In conjunction with BCIT, KF received Transport Canada’s approval for the Aircraft Structural Repair Technician’s Course, reported as the first privately owned company in British Columbia to do so. The popular program continues to be operated today by Okanagan College, with KF often offering jobs to the entire class even prior to graduation.”
In 2015 Barry donated $500,000 to Okanagan College as part of a $33 million expansion and renovation of the trades training facility on the Kelowna campus. As well, Barry’s company has donated Boeing 727-200 aircraft to University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, to Fanshawe College’s School of Aviation Technology in Ontario and to Canadore College in Ontario to facilitate learning in their Structures AME programs.
Barry Lapointe’s community involvement is extensive. He served as a Director on the board of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for three years. He was the major donor to the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus for the building of a Fitness and Wellness Centre that opened in 2013. His $3.5 million gift helped fund most of the $4.1 million cost of the facility. From 2005 to 2011, Barry served as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of British Columbia.
In 2000 he received The Pacific Coast Entrepreneur of the Year award. In 2003 he established the KF Charitable Foundation. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated to a variety of community charities and causes across Canada including the United Way, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Kids’ Cancer Care Foundation at Kelowna General Hospital and to Girls Fly Too, an organization to support women in aviation. Barry was also on the Board of Directors of Partnerships BC, responsible for public/private partnerships to develop BC infrastructure for education, transportation, health and recreation.
The recipient of more than a dozen awards, Barry Lapointe received an Honorary Doctor of Technology from his alma mater, the BCIT in 1999. He was recognized as an Honorary Life Member by the Air Transport Association of Canada in 2000 and made a member of Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Association Hall of Fame, Pacific Region, in 2005. In 2013 he received the British Columbia Aviation Council Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2015 was invested as a Member of the Order of British Columbia.
Since earning his first licence as a pilot, Barry has logged over 17,000 hours, and in 2016 added a private helicopter licence to his credentials. After founding his company 49 years ago, he continues actively as CEO and Chairman of KF Aerospace. A father of four children – Todd, Lindsay, Tracey and Spencer – and grandfather of two girls, Barry Paul Lapointe and his partner, Sandy Dawson, live in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Birthdate: September 9, 1932
Birth Place: Neisse, Silesia, Germany
Death Date: November 12, 2007
Year Inducted: 2010
Awards: Honorary Life Member - Northern Air Transport Association
"Known throughout northern Canada, he was recognized as 'King of the Medevacs' in 50 years of flying life-saving missions, rescue operations, and transporting freight and passengers. The founder of Adlair Aviation, he was widely respected for both his uncanny skill as a pilot, for his knowledge of geography and weather, and for innovations in bringing air service to remote communities in the Central Arctic." - Induction citation, 2010
Willy Laserich was born on September 9. 1932 in the town of Neisse, Silesia, then part of Germany and now part of Poland. He was one of 12 children, six sons and six daughters born to his parents, Paul and Elisabeth. At 19, with some training as a machinist and knowing only a little English, he emigrated to Canada by himself.
In 1957 Willy obtained his private pilot's license at the Edmonton Flying Club and flew for the next 50 years with an unblemished safety record. While still in Edmonton he met British-born Margaret Bunce and married her on April 24, 1958. Two days later they moved to Hay River, beginning a lifetime in the North.
Willy first "worked as a diesel mechanic and flew his own Stinson, and later a Norseman, hauling fish for companies in the Northwest Territories from 1957 to 1964. Later, based in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, for most of his career, a few years before his last flight he quit entering time in his log book at 44,000 hours! He flew with Pacific Western Airlines from Fort Rae, Yellowknife and Cambridge Bay and as a pilot and base manager with Northward Aviation Ltd. at Cambridge Bay. With Pelly Bay Co-op from 1971-74 as a DC-4 pilot, he provided air service to remote communities.
In 1973 Willy started his own companies, Altair Leasing and Adlair Aviation Ltd., flying freight and passengers in his capacity as chief pilot and operations manager. At one time, Adlair hauled up to 60,000 pounds of Arctic char per year from northern sites to Cambridge Bay for distribution throughout North America.
Willy and Margaret saw their two sons, Paul and Rene, earn a pilot's license while in their teens. Daughter Joanne worked as the company's base manager at Cambridge Bay and was succeeded in that position recently by her own daughter, Jesce. Completing the family, an Inuit girl, Bessie, was adopted by Willy and Margaret. Today, Paul managed Adlair Aviation until his death on November 19, 2011. Rene, like his father, serves as a pilot and operations manager.
During his career, Willy flew more than 3,000 medevac flights, was involved in more than 100 search and rescue operations, and saw six babies born aboard his aircraft while he was in the air. For many years his aircraft provided the only link for some communities in the Central Arctic. He piloted a variety of aircraft, including the Stinson 108-3, Fairchild 82, Bellanca Skyrocket, Avro Anson, Noordyn Norseman, Cessna 180, Beaver, Single Otter, Beech 18, Dornier 28, Douglas DC-4 and DC-6, Twin Otter, and Beech King Air 90 and 100. He was the first to bring a Lear Jet into the Arctic.
With vast experience and knowledge of geography and weather, Willy flew medevacs and other rescue missions when no one else would. His skill earned him the moniker, "King of the Medevacs." In one month alone he flew a record 32 medevac nights.
Writer Margo Pfeiff, in Up Here magazine, wrote that "Based in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut for most of his career, Laserich clocked the equivalent of 800 trips around the globe - in some of the most brutal weather on Earth. He hauled his planes out of axle-deep mud and survived winter nights on the tundra after emergency landings. Laserich rescued lost trappers, injured hunters and downed pilots. He hauled musk-ox and whale meat to community feasts, carried corpses to funerals and prisoners to jail. But it's for medical evacuations that Laserich became a household name in the Arctic."
Willy is remembered by pilots and nurses who flew with him as a safety-conscious pilot providing life-saving services to isolated northern communities. His talents as a pilot, his vast experience and his knowledge of Arctic geography and weather contributed to his uncanny skill in flying rescue operations.
In 1997 Willy was presented with Honourary Life Membership in the Northern Air Transport Association in recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution to the development of aviation North of 60. He also earned the respect of northerners as a gentleman who was courteous, competent and committed to his work. While knowing the importance of pilots, he recognized the contribution by others, emphasizing that the most important people behind the work of the pilots were the engineers who deserved credit for success in flights. In Cambridge Bay, the Willy Laserich Memorial Corporate Citizen Award is named for him.
But the ATC was not amused. In 1977, Laserich was hit with 250 charges for providing services without a license, even if flights were made in emergency or life-saving situations. Each charge carried a possible fine of $5,000 and up to a year in jail. A long and expensive trial followed. Finally, most charges were dropped and in 1982 Willy was fined a total of $250 and given the rest of his life to pay it! He never did. Someone else paid the penalty for him.
But the trial left Willy broke. He had to give up his Douglas DC-4 and DC-6 aircraft, two Twin Otters and a single Otter -when the bank called the loan on 48 hours notice. Undeterred, Willy and his family began to rebuild the company in 1983 with formation of Adlair Aviation (1983) Ltd. by sons Paul and Rene, operating from Cambridge Bay.
Today Adlair Aviation offers charter service throughout the north in addition to flying freight and passengers "while on call 24 hours a day." With a flight base in Cambridge Bay and administrative offices in Yellowknife, Adlair aircraft include a Lear Jet and three King Air turboprop aircraft equipped for medevac service, and a Twin Otter capable of landing on snow or tundra.
Ironically, Willy was flown in a medevac flight from Cambridge Bay in his own Lear Jet with his son Rene at the controls and his other son, Paul, at his side. On November 12, 2007, Willy died in an Edmonton hospital following complications after surgery for heart failure. He is survived by his wife Margaret, his son Rene & daughter Joanne of Cambridge Bay and daughter Bessie of Yellowknife.
Willy Laserich was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame on June 10, 2010 at a ceremony held in Vancouver, B.C..
Birthdate: June 11, 1895
Birth Place: Creemore, Ontario
Death Date: February 19, 1992
Year Inducted: 1980
Awards: C.B., C.D.*, Legion of Merit (USA)
"His organizational and leadership abilities, initially directed to the early development and use of aviation in Canada, and latterly to the effective employment of aviators and their equipment, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation - 1980
Thomas Albert Lawrence, C.B., C.D.*, was born in Creemore, Ontario, on June 11, 1895. He was educated at Cookstown Continuation School and Barrie Collegiate Institute in Ontario. After graduation in 1912, he worked for the Ford Motor Company at Windsor, Ontario, to earn his university tuition fees.
He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force on August 25, 1915, and served with the 4th Infantry Battalion in France from May 1916 until January 1918, when he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as a flight cadet. On completion of training in England he was brevetted as a pilot and posted to No. 24 Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force (RAF) in France, flying SE-5A aircraft.
Lawrence returned to Canada in July 1919, and in April 1920, joined the Canadian Air Board as an air engine fitter. In July of the same year he was reclassified as Air Pilot Navigator, receiving Commercial Air Pilot Certificate No. 101. His flying duties with the Air Board involved forestry timber cruising and fire patrols, aerial photography, mapping and other civil government air operations. He served in the Non-Permanent Canadian Air Force from May 22, 1922, until the birth of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on April 1, 1924, as a Flying Officer with Regimental No. C7.
During 1926 the Canadian government planned the development of an ocean port on Hudson Bay in response to the need for a new shipping route to Europe that would be shorter than the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence River. An important question needed to be answered: how many days of each season were safe for conventional freighters to move in and out of Hudson Bay through the Hudson Strait? The Hudson Strait Expedition of 1927-28 was authorized to find the answer.
In 1927 Lawrence, now a Squadron Leader, was selected to organize and command the air operations of the Canadian Government Expedition to the Hudson Strait over a period of sixteen months. This expedition was commissioned to make a visual and photographic survey of the ice conditions as related to marine navigation of the Strait from freeze-up to break-up and was associated with the project of developing an ocean port at Churchill, Manitoba. It also served to test aircraft as an aid to marine navigation, locate air bases and report on the feasibility of detached air operations in sub-Arctic conditions. Despite the obstacles presented by the generally hostile environment, inadequate navigation and communication equipment, and other operational facilities, the operation provided much-needed information.
Among air operations conducted by Squadron Leader Lawrence following the expedition, was a six week experimental air mail service between Ottawa, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, St. John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was completed in January and February 1929, in association with Dan McLean.
Lawrence was appointed RCAF Liaison Officer to the RAF Air Ministry in 1932 in London, England. On his return to Canada he was given command of a number of Squadrons, at Camp Borden and Trenton, Ontario, and later at Ottawa. In 1938 he was commanding No. 2 Army Cooperation Squadron, and when war in Europe seemed to be inevitable, led that squadron to an operational base at Halifax, preparing for submarine patrol off Halifax harbour.
During World War II Lawrence held a number of senior air force appointments, rising in rank to Air Vice-Marshal. From June 1942, he was Air Officer Commanding, No. 2 Training Command of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), with headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was then appointed to organize and command the North West Air Command at Edmonton, Alberta, in May 1944. In this role he was responsible for coordinating, with the United States Air Force, the movement of aircraft and supplies over the North West Staging Route in Canada, following the route of the Alaska Highway. As well, he provided liaison with the American forces on the Canol Pipeline Project between Whitehorse, Yukon, and Norman Wells, Northwest Territories.
In 1945, for his contributions to aviation, Lawrence was named a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B., Military). He was also awarded a King's Commendation for valuable services in the air. Later the same year he was awarded the Legion of Merit of the United States in the degree of Commander for his services to that country while with the RCAF in World War II.
Lawrence retired from the RCAF in April 1947. From 1950 to 1954 he served as Director of Civil Defence for Toronto and York County, Ontario. In 1956 he was appointed Manager, Maintenance and Operations of the Eastern Region of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, a position he held for two years. From 1958 to 1962 he served as the Ottawa representative for International Telephones and Telegraph of Canada. Lawrence considered himself fully retired in 1962. He died in Toronto on February 19,1992.
Thomas Albert Lawrence was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1980 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Birthdate: September 28, 1923
Birth Place: Chalk River, Ontario
Death Date: February 12, 2015
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: C.M.M., C.D.**, The McKee Trophy, C.St.J
"The dedication of his skills to the science of space medicine has resulted in outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1974
Wilson George Leach, C.M.M., C.D.**, B.A., M.D., was born on September 28, 1923, in Chalk River, Ontario, where he was educated. He held a variety of jobs until 1942 when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) with the hope of becoming a pilot. After pilot training in Quebec and Ontario he received his wings in 1943 and a commission the following year. He was assigned through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) to instructional duties at several Canadian Bases until war's end.
A desire to become a medical doctor resulted in enrollment at Pembroke Collegiate, Ontario, to complete Grade 13 examinations before accepting his military gratuities to assist him with higher education. In 1946 he was accepted at the University of Western Ontario in London, in the general science course, and two years later he qualified for the medical program.
An interest in research being conducted on wound healing techniques influenced his decision to return to the RCAF Reserve in 1949 as a Flying Officer, and for two summers Leach worked as a technical assistant on these animal experiments. In March 1952, he accepted a permanent commission in the RCAF. When he graduated with his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine degrees in May 1952, he had already been elected to the Honour Society of the medical school and received a gold key from the Hippocratic Society for his services to that Council.
He completed his junior internship at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, and remained for an additional year of post graduate studies in the biophysics department at the University of Western Ontario. Among his studies during that year were thermal conductivity of skin, and muscle physiology in a cold environment. In 1954 he was posted to the Institute of Aviation Medicine at Toronto, Ontario, where he spent the next twelve years, totally involved with aviation medicine, and was project officer in respiratory physiology.
With the advent of the Avro CF-105 Arrow fighter aircraft, a great deal of time was devoted to the development of partial-pressure breathing equipment to counteract the effects of loss of cabin pressure at extremely high altitudes. From these experiments, techniques and procedures were developed for the extensive trials conducted in the high altitude chamber on the effects of rapid decompression that might occur with the loss of cabin pressurization in transport aircraft such as the Yukon and DC-8. These experiments included trials with both service and civilian flying personnel.
In 1959 Leach received the Canadian Forces Decoration (C.D.) for service to the military. In 1960 he was awarded the Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy for his contributions to manned flight through medical research. He was promoted to Wing Commander in 1961, and appointed Officer Commanding, Flying Personnel Medical Establishment. He was promoted to Group Captain in 1966 and transferred to Canadian Forces Headquarters at Ottawa as the Director of Staffing and Training in the Surgeon General Branch. For the next three years he was actively involved in the career management of medical personnel for the Canadian Forces Medical Services.
A posting to the National Defence College, Kingston, Ontario, followed in 1969. On completion of this course, Leach was promoted to Brigadier General and named Deputy Surgeon General (Operations). He was also appointed Honorary Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 1969 he received a clasp to his C.D. In 1971, when the government decided that the Surgeon General Branch would have only one deputy, he was appointed Deputy Surgeon General.
In 1976 Leach was promoted to Major General and appointed Surgeon General of the Canadian Forces Medical Services. As Well, in 1976 he was promoted to Commander in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (C.St.J.). In 1978 he was awarded the Order of Military Merit with the rank of Commander (C.M.M.). In 1979 he received a second clasp to his C.D. MGen Leach retired from the Canadian Forces in 1980.
Wilson Leach died at home in Ottawa on February 12, 2015.
Wilson George Leach was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Birthdate: April 16, 1890
Birth Place: Glasgow, Scotland
Death Date: March 31, 1975
Year Inducted: 1988
Awards: C.B., D.S.O., D.S.C., D.F.C., C.D., Legion of Merit (USA), Legion of Honour (France), Order of the Crown (Belgium), Order of the White Lion (Czechoslovakia), Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland), King Haakon VII's Cross of Freedom (Norway).
"His dedication to the development of civil and military aviation together with his exceptional organizational skills and desire for perfection have been of outstanding benefit to Canada." - Induction citation, 1988
Robert Leckie, C.B., D.S.O., D.S.C., D.F.C., C.D., was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 16, 1890, and at the age of sixteen, immigrated to Toronto, Ontario. In 1915 he joined the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) after learning to fly at the Curtiss Aviation School in Toronto, at his own expense. On completion of his training he was commissioned and following further flight training in the United Kingdom, was posted to RNAS Station Great Yarmouth where he flew Curtiss HS-2L flying boats for the duration of the war.
For three years Leckie flew out of Great Yarmouth, attacking Zeppelins and flying anti-submarine patrols into the enemy stronghold of Helgoland (Heligoland), a small island in the North Sea off the coast of Germany. He had a reputation for being able to fly in the worst North Sea weather. His first Zeppelin kill, the L22, was made on May 14, 1917, a particularly dangerous operation from a slow flying boat. On August 5, 1918, during a Zeppelin raid, he was flying a de Havilland DH-4, and on this sortie shot down Zeppelin L70, which had on board the Commander of Germany's Zeppelin fleet, Peter Strasser.
Following an anti-submarine mission on February 20, 1918, Leckie carried out a daring rescue after sinking one of two German submarines involved in the attack. He saved the lives of the crew of a DH-4, a land plane which had to put down in the North Sea because of heavy enemy damage. Leckie, who was accompanying the DH-4 on this raid, decided to land alongside it, knowing he would be unable to take off in his Curtiss H-12 flying boat because of heavy seas. After picking up the two crew men, he taxied towards England until he ran out of fuel, then drifted for sixteen hours before they were taken in tow by a naval vessel. For these actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.), Distinguished Service Cross (D.S.C.), and Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.).
In 1919, with the rank of Wing Commander, Leckie was loaned to the Canadian government where he worked for the Canadian Air Board as Director of Flying Operations. In 1920 he organized and led the first trans-Canada flight starting from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in a Fairey Seaplane. His co-pilot on this trip was Basil Hobbs. From Halifax to Winnipeg, Manitoba, the airplanes used were flying boats. From Winnipeg, other pilots using wheeled aircraft were used to complete the flight to Vancouver. The flight took ten days with an actual flying time of 49 hours. This was the first time that mail had been carried from coast to coast by air.
When the Canadian government decided to organize the defence forces into a single division under the Canadian Army, Colonel Leckie returned to the Royal Air Force (RAF). After a tour with Coastal Command Headquarters, he took over the flying command of HMS Hermes, one of Britain's early aircraft carriers. He served in various other capacities, and in 1935 he was made Director of Training of the RAF. He was responsible for the training of many of the men who would soon fight in the Battle of Britain. In 1938 he was posted to Malta as Air Officer Commanding of the Mediterranean area with the rank of Air Commodore.
Leckie made a number of representations to the RAF to establish flying training schools in Canada. In 1940 he was seconded to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and given the responsibility of organizing the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). At its conclusion, the BCATP had trained 131,553 air crew from 11 countries, a great achievement for Canada. In 1942 Leckie transferred to the RCAF with the rank of Air Vice-Marshal. In 1944 he was promoted to Air Marshal and appointed Chief of Air Staff, a position to which he gave dedicated service and unexcelled leadership during the final year of the war and the immediate post-war years. He received the Canadian Forces Decoration (C.D.). He retired from the RCAF on September 1, 1947.
During his career he was named a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.). He was awarded the Commander of the Legion of Merit by the United States, Commander of the Legion of Honour by France, Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown by Belgium, Grand Commander of the Order of the White Lion by Czechoslovakia, Grand Commander of the Order of Polonia Restituta by Poland, and the King Haakon VII's Cross of Freedom by Norway. Following his retirement, he was appointed special consultant to the Air Cadet League of Canada (Belt of Orion 1989). He died at the age of 84, at Ottawa, Ontario, on March 31, 1975.
Robert Leckie was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Birthdate: June 19, 1906
Birth Place: Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
Death Date: December 22, 1996
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: O.B.E., C.M., E.D.,The McKee Trophy, Legion of Merit (USA)
"His continuing efforts to maintain the highest standards of airmanship for himself and those under his command, and his total dedication to purpose in every aeronautical arena, despite adversity, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1974
Zebulon Lewis (Lewie) Leigh, O.B.E., C.M., E.D., was born in Macclesfield, England, on June 19, 1906, and came to Lethbridge, Alberta, at the age of three. He learned to fly there and became a barn-storming pilot and instructor for Southern Alberta Airlines in 1928. A year later he formed his own flying school in Medicine Hat, Alberta. In 1931 he left to become Chief Pilot for Maritime and Newfoundland Airways at Sydney, Nova Scotia. His area of operations included the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland. When a Heinkel seaplane, catapulted from the German liner 'Bremen', was reported lost in the Bay of Fundy, Leigh located the wreck and rescued the surviving pilot, who later died of exposure.
Before accepting the job of Chief Pilot with Explorer's Air Transport of Sydney, Nova Scotia, in 1932, Leigh completed an instrument flying course with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) at Camp Borden, Ontario. His first assignment began with a flight from the Maritimes to Edmonton, Alberta, to commence northern operations. An instructor's job with the Brandon Flying Club in Manitoba followed until 1934, when he joined Canadian Airways Limited at Edmonton as pilot, with 'Punch' Dickins and Walter Gilbert. The Barren Lands and the Mackenzie River district of the Northwest Territories were his areas of operation. In December 1935, his piloting skills were used to locate John Harms, a wanted killer, and earned him a commendation from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Canadian Airways sent Leigh to the Boeing School of Aeronautics at Oakland, California, in January 1936, to complete instrument flight, navigation and airline operation courses. With these qualifications he operated Canadian Airways' instrument flight school, training pilots to airline standards. He was Canada's first instrument-rated airline pilot. In 1937 Trans-Canada Airlines hired him as one of their first pilots. On April 2, 1939, he flew the first official westbound TCA flight from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Leigh resigned in 1940 to join the RCAF. As a Flight Lieutenant he served on east coast maritime patrols until given command of 13 Operational Training Squadron at Patricia Bay, British Columbia. In June 1942, he was promoted to Wing Commander and posted to Air Force Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario, to help organize an RCAF Air Transport Command. These operations linked all Canadian military establishments, and included regular military mail service across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom, North Africa and Italy. During this time they completed 688 crossings. His success was recognized by his promotion to Group Captain.
After D-Day, June 6, 1944, when the Allies had established a foothold in Europe, aircraft under his command evacuated large numbers of casualties from the war zone. Leigh personally flew with the first transport aircraft into Normandy. In 1944 he was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services (O.B.E. Military). He was appointed Commanding Officer of No. 9 Transport Group the following year and in 1946 was awarded the Efficiency Decoration (E.D.).
When Field Marshal Montgomery of Alamein visited Canada in 1946, Leigh was named air commander of the tour. He then took over the RCAF base at Goose Bay, Labrador, where he completed a number of rescue missions. The Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy for 1946 was awarded to Leigh for outstanding contributions to Canada's air operations.
During the devastating Fraser River floods in the spring of 1948, Leigh was commander of No. 12 Group, RCAF Vancouver, which provided assistance. In September of that year, he became search-master of 'Operation Attache', which involved a 13-day search for an aircraft missing in northern Manitoba. For the rescue of the crew and the British and American Naval Attaches aboard, he was decorated with the United States Legion of Merit.
In 1950 Leigh completed the National Defence College course at Kingston, Ontario, and was posted to Ottawa as Director of Air Operations for the RCAF. In the following several years, he served as Commanding Officer of the Air Transport Command at Lachine, Quebec, senior planner of the Korean airlift from Canada to Japan, and finally as Commander of No. 2 Air Defense Group, Toronto, Ontario.
He retired in 1957. He then served as Director of Operations of the Canadian National Exhibition Air Show at Toronto until 1966. In 1989 Leigh was made a member of the Order of Canada (C.M.). He was one of the founders of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973, working on the proposals with Punch Dickins and Ray Munro. He kept excellent records of his work and travels. An extensive collection of over 600 of his photographs from the years 1919 to 1986 are held in Canada’s National Archives. He later wrote & published his memoirs, “And I Shall Fly” in 1989. He died at Grimsby, Ontario, on December 22, 1996 at age 90.
Zebulon Lewis (Lewie) Leigh was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
"And I Shall Fly" - Z. Lewis Leigh (1985)
Birthdate: March 27, 1905
Birth Place: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Death Date: November 1, 2013
Year Inducted: 2016
Service with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War began a lifetime in aviation for Ross Lennox. Post-war, he flew as a bush pilot, established records as a helicopter pilot, served as Chief Test Pilot with Pratt & Whitney Canada and continued with commercial flying after retirement. Award Citation, 2016
William Ross Lennox was born in Manitoba in 1913. He signed up with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. After flight training in the British Commonwealth Training Plan schools, he was posted as a flying instructor at the age of 21. He was sent to England where he flew DC-3s to pick up wounded soldiers in Germany, France, greece and Belgium for transport to medical attention in England. He returned to Canada in 1946.
Choosing to continue a career in flying, in 1946 his first job was as a flying instructor with the Flin Flon Flying Club. H was soon flying geologists, prospectors and miners from Flin Flon into the north. In 1948 Lennox began flying for Hudson Bay Air Transport (HBAT), at the controls of Noordyn Norseman, Grumman Mallard, Cessna Crane and he Havilland Beaver aircraft on floats. His flying for exploration work took him to northern Saskatchewan, the Barren Lands in the Northwest Territories, norther British Columbia and the the Yukon.
With the expansion in exploration work, HBAT felt that fixed wing aircraft were not alway adequate for new challenges, so in 1953 Lennox was sent to Okanagan Helicopters in Vancouver for training on helicopters. After training on Bell helicopters and Sikorsky models, he began flying helicopters for HBAT.
In 1958, with 6,300 hours in his log book, he joined Okanagan Helicopters to service post of the the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) in the Arctic and the Mid Canada Line. By February of 1963 he had logged 10,800 hours and joined United Aircraft of Canada (UAC), which became Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) in 1975. His first assignment was a project with the Royal Canadian Navy as a test pilot for Sikorsky Sea King helicopters.
In 1964, Okanagan Helicopters and British European Airways (BEA) formed a joint venture to service Royal Dutch Shell’s oil rigs some 250 kilometres offshore in the North Sea. At this point in time, no helicopter had ever made an unescorted trans-Atlantic flight. Lennox took up the challenge and together with his crew, using Sea King CF-OKY, left Montreal on May 14, 1965. The historic flight was completed on May 29 when it landed at Gatwick Airport in England.
As a test pilot with P&WC, Lennox was involved in pioneer testing on the PT6 turboprop aircraft engine, first run in 1960. He began testing the engine on Beech 18 aircraft and continued testing through variants of the PT6 producing from 500 to 1,950 horsepower. He played a lead role in testing of the PT100 turboprop engine introduced in 1984, producing 2,000 to 5,000 horsepower, and later, the JT15D turbofan engine introduced in 1967.
In 1969 and through the early 1970s, he was seconded for UAC by Sikorsky to work on government projects in northern Canada. He was the only Canadian pilot at the time to fly the Sikorsky E-64 Skycrane and worked in assessing ship-to-shore heavy lift helicopter systems for marine cargo deliveries. He also flew the Skycrane for tower installations on James Bay hydro power projects. He was named Chief Test Pilot and Head of Flight Operations for Pratt & Whitney Canada in 1977, a position he held until his retirement from the company in 1982.
He retired as a pilot, William Ross Lennox had logged over 23,400 accident-free hours in 63 different types of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters over a span of 50 years. He died on November 1, 2013 at the age of 90.
Ross Lennox was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Ottawa, Ontario in 2016.
Birthdate: July 19, 1910
Birth Place: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Death Date: November 21, 2008
Year Inducted: 1984
"The application of his superior skills in test flying, leading to vital improvements in many aircraft during war and peace, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1984
Alexander John (Al) Lilly was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, on July 19, 1910. He commenced flying lessons in the late 1920's and dropped out of university to pursue a career in aviation.
In 1932 he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and while posted to the detachment at Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, he advocated the use of ski or float equipped aircraft to replace dog-teams and canoes. He was successful in his advocacy, leading the RCMP and others to increase their use of the bush plane. Although he attempted to continue his flying training while at Meadow Lake by scheduling his holidays to take lessons, the shortage of Department of Transport inspectors to give him his test frustrated his efforts.
He welcomed a transfer to Moncton, New Brunswick, but the Moncton airport was inactive when he arrived, forcing him to drive 100 miles (160 km) to St. John for lessons. Because of frequent fog at St. John, he arranged to hire a de Havilland Moth in order to fly out of the Moncton Airport and Flying Club. This move led to the reopening of the Moncton Flying Club, which remains operational today. Lilly obtained his Commercial Pilot's Licence while in Moncton. The RCMP transferred him to headquarters in Ottawa, but since this removed him from flying opportunities, he resigned and went to England to join Imperial Airways, the predecessor of British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).
When World War II broke out, Lilly returned to the Moncton Airport as the Chief Flying Instructor at the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) station. After teaching instructors and new students for a year, he was persuaded to join Ferry Command in Montreal. He was the first on Ferry Command to deliver six Lockheed Hudson aircraft to Prestwick, Scotland. He was among the first to fly supplies in North Africa in a stripped down Consolidated B-24 Liberator. The route took him to West Palm Beach, Florida, across the South Atlantic from Brazil to Liberia, south to Accra and north from there to Cairo. The latter part of the trip was flown over thousands of miles of unmapped desert. Lilly was appointed Chief Test Pilot for Ferry Command, a job which required the flying of Lockheed Hudsons and Venturas, Douglas A-20 Bostons, North American B-25's, Douglas C-47 Dakotas, B-24 Liberators, Consolidated Catalinas, Boeing B-17's, Avro Lancasters and de Havilland Mosquitos.
In June of 1946 Lilly was hired by Canadair in Montreal, Quebec, as a test pilot. On September 14th he and co-pilot R.J. Baker (Hall of Fame 1994) flew a 'North Star' from Montreal to Vancouver to test its long distance performance. The North Star was modified from the Douglas-built C-54 transport, and it became known as the DC-4M. Their passengers included the Hon. C.D. Howe, founder of Trans-Canada Airlines. R. J. Baker was test pilot for TCA on loan to Canadair as part of the conversion design team on this aircraft. Lilly was test pilot on this aircraft for a year, demonstrating it in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, and Denmark. BOAC purchased twenty-two North Stars, renaming them Argonauts.
In 1950 Lilly was sent to North American Aviation's plant in California for familiarization flights on the F-86 Sabre fighter which Canadair was to build under licence. Canadair was successful in selling this aircraft to several countries in addition to sales of more than 300 within Canada. Lilly was responsible for the training and checking out of pilots on the F-86 in Columbia, South Africa and West Germany.
Lilly's final appointment at Canadair was Assistant to the President, and he continued to be in charge of test flying. He later worked as a consultant until he retired in 1976 and moved back to Moncton.
Lilly had an unblemished career of over 35 years as instructor, test pilot, transport pilot and aviation executive. As Chief Test Pilot for Ferry Command, his development of fuel control procedures and the correction of mechanical snags on many types of aircraft saved many lives. As Chief of Flight Operations and Test Pilot he was responsible for the successful testing of several thousand Canadair-produced aircraft. In 2005 he was invested with the Order of Canada recognizing his outstanding contributions to Canadian aviation.
Al Lilly died at Moncton, New Brunswick on November 21, 2008 at age 98.
Alexander John (Al) Lilly was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1984 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Birthdate: November 20, 1909
Birth Place: Vancouver, British Columbia
Death Date: February 13, 2000
Year Inducted: 1974
"His inspired leadership in ocean flying despite adversity, the sharing of his exceptional aviation skills with others willing to learn, his unswerving demand for perfection in all who served under his command, bred a most superior grade of airman and resulted in outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1974
George Bayliss Lothian was born on November 20, 1909, in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he attended school. He commenced flying at the Aero Club of British Columbia in 1929, then joined the staff at the newly-opened Vancouver airport for a year. Until 1936 he flew locally as a commercial pilot and instructor, and with Canadian Airways Limited as a flying-boat pilot and crew member on scheduled flights between Vancouver and Seattle, Washington.
When Trans-Canada Airlines was formed in 1937, Lothian was hired as one of their first pilots and became a member of a small group who flew the Rocky Mountain route between Lethbridge, Alberta, and Vancouver. In 1941 he was seconded from TCA to North Atlantic Ferry Command, delivering bombers from Montreal, Quebec, to the United Kingdom. A year later he transferred to the Trans-Atlantic Return Ferry Service, carrying priority passengers and cargo between Scotland and Canada aboard operational aircraft. He became the first pilot to complete one hundred air crossings of the North Atlantic.
Lothian's wide experiences in the piloting of Liberator bombers, which he flew on the North Atlantic route, led to his transfer to No. 10 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) at Gander, Newfoundland, to train coastal command pilots on these operational aircraft for service during the Battle of the Atlantic. When this difficult task was completed, he joined the Canadian government Trans-Atlantic Mail Service operated by TCA, carrying troop mail and high priority passengers overseas. He then became Check Pilot and finally Chief Pilot of this unit.
Because of his extensive air management experience, TCA assigned him to the position of Superintendent of Flying, system wide, in 1952, a position which was later named Director of Flight Standards. As a pilot on the North Atlantic route to Europe, he set the trans-Atlantic speed record on three different occasions between 1943 and 1968.
During the period from 1952 to 1968, Lothian made the first deliveries into Canada of five of TCA's largest aircraft, the Lockheed Super Constellation, Vickers Viscount and Vanguard, Douglas DC-8 and DC-9. (In 1965 TCA was renamed Air Canada.) Lothian was responsible for pilot introduction, training, and flight deck procedures on these aircraft as well as on the Bristol Freighter. He was active in the development of the use of flight simulators for the advancement of airline flight technique, training and checking.
A superior knowledge of sustained high-altitude flight resulted in his leadership of the Air Canada team during rapid decompression experiments at the School of Aviation Medicine at Downsview, Ontario. These tests had considerable influence on the setting of international standards for all air lines. He was named a member of the international flight-deck committees for the British and French-developed Concorde, Boeing 747 and the experimental Boeing swept-wing supersonic aircraft. He was named deputy chairman of the International Air Transport Committee for pilot standards and flight training.
George Bayliss Lothian died at White Rock, B.C. on February 13, 2000.
George Bayliss Lothian was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in l974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Birthdate: June 14, 1912
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario
Death Date: February 13, 1961
Year Inducted: 1991
"His drive and determination coupled with a brilliant business mind and a mechanical aptitude was a major benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1991
Joseph Henry Lucas was born in Toronto, Ontario, on June 14, 1912, and completed his matriculation at Riverdale Collegiate. He became interested in aviation and spent many hours at the Leaside airport where the Toronto Flying Club was operating. He enrolled in a newly formed aviation school in a downtown Toronto garage but the school was short lived. He finally got his start at age 16 with National Air Transport apprenticing under S.A. 'Bill' Rouse, working towards an Air Engineer's Licence. He quickly passed his A & C exams which covered routine servicing responsibilities, with authority to declare an aircraft or engine fit for flight. Then he proceeded to complete the requirements for the B & D Certificate allowing sign-out privileges for both airframe and engines after major overhaul. This achievement made him the youngest B & D engineer in Canada.
By this time National Air Transport had moved to Barker Field, named after Major W.G. Barker, V.C. Here Lucas met pilot Tom Higgins and spent most of 1932 accompanying him on 'bush' flights and servicing aircraft in Sudbury, Chapleau and Gogama. He then returned to work at the National Air Transport's hangar until it burned on November 12, 1935. After an interview in Montreal with H. Molson, he was hired for a position in charge of maintenance for Dominion Skyways at Senneterre, Quebec. His previous bush experience helped in his promotion to Maintenance Superintendent and a move to Rouyn, Quebec, by 1937.
In late 1937, when a report of an untouched food cache reached headquarters of the Quebec Forestry Department, pilot Ralph Spradbrow and Lucas were asked to conduct an aerial search for a group of missing surveyors. On New Year's Eve, shortly before dark, the party of fifteen men was spotted on an island 13 miles from the Ontario-Quebec border. They had missed the food cache due to deep snow and had subsisted on fourteen rabbits over a period of 39 days. Early on New Year's morning the airlift of the weakened, hungry men began. Flying a Noorduyn Norseman, Spradbrow first flew the weakest of the group to hospital while Lucas remained behind and prepared food for the others. Three more trips were made to complete the rescue.
For a brief time in 1938 Lucas joined de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd., which was beginning to manufacture Tiger Moths, but by the end of the year he returned to Dominion Skyways in Noranda, Quebec. At this time initial plans were being made for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) and the Dominion Skyways proposal for Air Observer Schools (AOS) was accepted. Lucas was placed in charge of all maintenance at No. 1 AOS in Toronto when it opened on May 27, 1940. In order to use No. 1 AOS as a model, W.R. 'Wop' May (Hall of Fame 1974) flew his senior staff to Toronto for training prior to opening No. 2 AOS in Edmonton. Lucas' responsibilities grew with the opening of each new school, for he was in charge of all Dominion Skyway's maintenance.
In 1942 Lucas moved to St. Jean, Quebec, and took on the additional job of assistant general manager until the end of the war when he was contacted by the War Assets Corporation and subsequently set up an office in Montreal where he became chief of demolition and inspector, Aircraft Division, for one year.
He joined Aircraft Industries of Canada Ltd. in 1946. Although sales of war surplus aircraft was the original intent of the company, overhaul services under Lucas soon drew the attention of operators. When a Douglas DC-3 went down during a search in 1947, Aircraft Industries Ltd. got the salvage contract. This led to other government contract work with Canso conversions. Lucas then became Vice-President/General Manager at St. Jean, Quebec, and the company grew rapidly. Overhaul orders for the North American Harvard, DC-3 and Canso PBY aircraft, along with seasonal calls for engine changes, radio installations and overhaul work necessitated an increase in staff and space.
In 1954 the Babb Company bought Aircraft Industries and made Lucas President/General Manager. He was also asked to head the first Airworthiness Council under Transport Minister George Hees. He held these positions until February 13, 1961, when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Joseph Henry Lucas was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame m 1991 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Birthdate: January 26, 1911
Birth Place: Kingston, Ontario
Death Date: May 9, 2004
Year Inducted: 1981
Awards: King's Commendation
"For nearly five decades he has displayed resourcefulness with the highest order of professionalism in his devotion to the advancement of aviation, which together with his qualities of leadership, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1981
William Floyd Sheldon Luck was born in Kingston, Ontario, on January 26, 1911. He attended school in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, and as a youth became interested in flying, against the wishes of his family. He persevered, won the confidence of his parents and commenced flying at Rutledge Air Services at Calgary. For the next forty seven years, Sheldon Luck was actively involved in and contributed to the development of aviation in Canada.
After receiving his Private Pilot's Licence in June of 1931, Luck participated in barnstorming activities and for four years was engaged in charter flying in Alberta and northern British Columbia for a number of companies. He flew fish out of northern Alberta and pioneered the establishment of commercial scheduled services from the Yukon to Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1936 he joined United Air Transport, which became Yukon Southern Air Transport. He was appointed Chief Pilot of Yukon Southern in March 1941, and retained that responsibility with Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPA) when it absorbed Yukon Southern in January 1942.
It was during the early portion of this period that he was engaged in a number of 'firsts'. Two of these included participation with Grant McConachie (Hall of Fame 1974) in August 1938, on the first official mail run from Vancouver, to Whitehorse, Yukon, through Fort St. John, British Columbia, and in November 1939, he pioneered the first weekly air service to Whitehorse via Fort St. John from Kamloops, British Columbia.
In 1942 Luck took a leave of absence from CPA to join the RCAF Transport Command where he served for the duration of World War II. Assigned to No. 231 Squadron, Royal Air Force, he was involved in ferrying aircraft across the Atlantic, which he accomplished 78 times, along with other airborne activities. He was the courier pilot for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his delegation to the Atlantic Conference in August 1941, when Churchill, United States' President Roosevelt, and Canada's Prime Minister Mackenzie King met aboard a cruiser off the coast of Quebec to discuss plans for post-World War II peace. In August 1942, Luck flew emergency supplies to El Alamein, Egypt, and between December 1944, and May 1945, he flew Coronado flying boats to and from Lagos, Nigeria. At the conclusion of his service with the RAF Transport Group, he was honoured with a King's Commendation for his valuable services to the war effort.
In October 1945, Luck returned to the domestic operation of CPA to resume the position he left in 1942. In 1946 he resigned to join Flota Aerea Mercante Argentina in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This returned him to overseas flying as a captain on Sandringham flying boats and Douglas DC-4's to the United Kingdom and New York, U.S.A. In 1948 he left Argentina to return to Canada. For five years he flew out of Vancouver, and operated over large areas of Canada and the United States. In 1953 he joined Maritime Central Airways based at Mont Joli, Quebec, and Moncton, New Brunswick, flying Bristol Freighters and DC-4's in the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 1958 he started a cattle ranch near Fort St. James, British Columbia, and supported the enterprise by flying charter flights throughout the Yukon and British Columbia. It was during this period that he became interested in the aerial suppression of forest fires and was appointed Chief Pilot of the Flying Firemen which accomplished outstanding results in forest fire detection and prevention. From 1970 to 1974 he was Chief Pilot and Operations Manager of TransProvincial Airlines, Instrument Flight Rule operations, located at Terrace and Prince George, British Columbia. In 1975 he flew water bombers for Conair at Abbotsford, British Columbia, and in 1977 he flew the same duties for Avalon Aviation out of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
During his career in aeronautics Luck has had an unusually wide experience of flying. He was intimately involved as an aviation administrator and in all phases of flying activities. He was a bush pilot and aerial fire fighter; he flew charter operations and as an airline pilot. After 51 years as an active pilot, he had flown over 26,000 hours as Pilot-in-Command of 57 types of aircraft. He died May 9, 2004 in Kamloops, B.C. at age 94.
William Floyd Sheldon Luck was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1981 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.
Birthdate: May 30, 1908
Birth Place: Banbury, England
Death Date: April 17, 2001
Year Inducted: 2009
Awards: FCASI, FRAS, AFAIAA, Canadian Centennial medal
"His outstanding dedication, expertise and energies contributed to the founding of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and through the decades from its inception in the 1950's to his retirement in 1973, he led in the creation of a strong, effective and internationally respected organization of aeronautical engineers and scientists, greatly benefiting aviation in Canada." - Induction citation, 2009
Charles Luttman, B.A., M.A., was born on May 30, 1908 in Banbury, England. He was educated at Marlborough College and graduated from Cambridge University in 1930 with a B.A. degree in Mechanical Science with an option in Aerodynamics.
He obtained a position with the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate of the British Ministry of Supply. He was posted to Vickers Aircraft Limited as Examiner, and then to Fairey Aviation Limited as Assistant Inspector.
He married Jean Morrison in 1934 at Oxford and they had one daughter, Rachel Mary. His family joined him later in 1938 when he was sent to North American Aviation in California to oversee the production of the Harvard Trainer for the Royal Air Force. While there, Luttman influenced the design of a new fighter aircraft, the Mustang. Toward the end of his stay there, the British Government ordered 400 Mustang fighters even though the aircraft was only at the conceptual stage.
He was transferred in 1940 to the Headquarters of the newly formed British Air Commission in Washington DC. He was appointed Assistant Chief Inspector, Aircraft, and supervisor of BAC inspectors stationed at the many US aircraft plants producing planes destined for the Royal Air Force.
He returned to England in late 1945. However, he did not find his work with the British Ministry of Supply very challenging. He had received his M.A. in Mechanical Sciences from Cambridge in 1947, and that same year decided to emigrate to Canada. He soon found employment with A.V. Roe (Canada) Ltd., first as Patents Officer and later as Contracts Administrator.
Shortly after arriving in Canada, he joined the Toronto Branch of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (IAS) of which he had been a member since his earlier years in the USA. In May of 1949, the Toronto group proposed the formation of an aeronautical section of the Engineering Institute of Canada.
Early in 1952, Luttman and lan Hamer, co-chairmen of the Toronto IAS Branch, were elected to a sub-committee charged with soliciting ideas from IAS and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) personnel in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. A Steering Committee was formed to explore the desirability of a Canadian organization, which Luttman championed. He contributed significantly to deliberations as well as to preparation of the survey questionnaire and to drafting the constitutional by-laws.
After the incorporation as the Canadian Aeronautical Institute (CAI) in 1954, the Steering Committee served as an Interim Council until elections were held. When the Councilors took office, one of their first tasks was to fill the post of Secretary. When Luttman applied for the position there was no hesitation to appoint him since his deep commitment to the Institute was well known.
One of Luttman's early assignments was to establish new Branches in other centres of aeronautical activity. When the Council decided that members with specific interests would be better served through Sections related to those interests, he again put his persuasive talents to use. When test pilots in Canada were considering the formation of their own society, he convinced them to form a Test Pilots Section of the Institute instead. Other Sections followed, but the one which had the greatest impact was the Astronautics Section formed in 1958. It attracted the attention of Philip Lapp, the President of the Canadian Astronautical Society, who suggested a merger with the Institute.
The merger took place in 1961 and this resulted in a substantial increase in members, affiliation with the International Astronautical Federation and adoption of the name Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI). Then, when the decision was made to attract students to the Institute, Luttman canvassed universities and colleges across Canada and soon a Student Section was established in every Branch location. These Sections enabled the Institute to assist in the professional development of thousands of Canadian technicians and engineers.
Although his job title was Secretary, he also performed the functions of Treasurer and Editor of the Institute's publications. In addition, he played a leading role in planning, organizing and running the Annual Meetings.
The preparations for the 1959 Annual Meeting to be held in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, brought a surprise to Luttman. While scouting for a place to erect the proposed CASI memorial commemorating the 1909 flight of the Silver Dart, he learned that a certain Lilo Muller was visiting the Bell home there. In his youth, he had studied French in Switzerland and became friendly with a young man by that name. Luttman now sought him out and learned that Muller had married a granddaughter of Alexander Graham Bell, and was an artist. Muller agreed to submit a design for the memorial, "which was approved by the CASI Council." The memorial was unveiled on the lawn of the Bell Museum in the presence of J.A.D. McCurdy.
Luttman maintained close and friendly contact with his peers at the various Institutes and Societies. This led to an invitation for CASI to participate in the Anglo-American Conferences from 1963 onward. The Institute also participated in joint meetings and student joint conferences. Luttman ensured that Canadians presented papers at all of these conferences.
Luttman's professionalism was recognized in 1972 when he was awarded membership in Sigma Gamma Tau, which is the US National Honor Society in Aerospace Engineering whose purpose is to recognize "distinguished scholarship or eminent professional attainment in Aerospace Engineering". He "was also awarded the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1976 for his accomplishments. He was named Fellow of CASI and the Royal Aeronautical Society, and Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Although attempts were made to nominate him for several CASI awards, he declined them because he believed that it was not appropriate for an organization to bestow awards on a member or a past-member of its salaried staff. In 1981 a number of Past-Presidents wished to nominate him for an Honorary Fellowship, which he again declined. However, he was pleased to allow his name to be associated with a scholarship award because he regarded it as being essentially a recognition for student achievement rather than for anything he may have done for the Institute.
Luttman was the first Secretary of CASI, but he was called 'the heart and soul', and 'the mind and hands' of the Institute. He shunned the 'forty-hour week' and often brought his work home. Not only was he dedicated and enthusiastic, but he was also thorough and meticulous. His management of the affairs of the Institute earned him the respect and esteem of the nineteen Presidents and Councillors he served. His experience, expertise and reliability of judgment were essential to each succeeding President.
He built the foundation of the Institute on his belief in the importance of sharing technical achievement, commitment to professional ethics and instinct for natural fellowship. That is the legacy for which he will be remembered. He died at Seal Chart, England on April 17, 2001.
Charles Luttman was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame at induction ceremonies in Wetaskiwin, Alberta on May 30, 2009.