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Member Profiles


William John Sanderson

Nickname: Jack
Birthdate: November 24, 1898
Birth Place: Lakewood, Ohio, USA
Death Date: January 22, 1984
Year Inducted: 1983

"As a pre-eminent aerobatic and test pilot and as a pioneer and leader in the Canadian light aircraft industry, he contributed substantially to the advancement of Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1983

William John (Jack) Sanderson was born in Lakewood, Ohio, U.S.A., on November 24, 1898, and was raised on a farm near London, Ontario. At the outbreak of World War I, he joined the 9th Battalion, Canadian Railway Troops and went overseas in 1916. In mid-1917 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, and was posted to France. As a pilot with No. 110 Squadron, he flew de Havilland DH-9A's in high altitude bombing raids against Germany. At the end of the war, he returned to his father's farm in Ontario. In 1928 the London Flying Club was formed, and following completion of an instructor's course, he was hired as the Club's flight instructor.

A chance meeting with Major R.H. Fleet, President of Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in Buffalo, New York, resulted in a change of plans. Sanderson was hired as the Canadian representative for the company and began demonstrating Fleet 2 aircraft in Canada in October 1929. Fleet Aircraft of Canada Limited was incorporated in March 1930, and aircraft manufacturing began that year. As General Manager and Test Pilot, Sanderson divided his time between managing the company, testing each new aircraft and flying the Fleet demonstrator at flying club meets throughout Ontario. He took a Fleet 7 to Ottawa in October 1930, for extensive testing by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), following which the company received an order for twenty aircraft.

Sanderson was recognized as one of the best aerobatic pilots in Canada, and he participated in the Trans-Canada Air Pageant in 1931 in a Fleet 7. He sustained the company during the next two years when orders for new aircraft were virtually nonexistent, by performing aerobatics at airshows, and overhauling aircraft. In 1934 he secured the rights for the Waco line of aircraft. After modification for Canadian operating conditions, a number were sold and operated across the country.

By late 1934, orders for new Fleet aircraft were again being placed, and in 1937, the Fort Erie plant was expanded. The company was reorganized as a Canadian-owned company under the name Fleet Aircraft Limited, with Sanderson as President and General Manager. He concentrated part of his efforts on the development of a twin-engine freighter for bush flying and on February 22, 1938, he flew the prototype of the Fleet 50 Freighter. During the late 1930's, under his direction, Fleet built more aircraft than any other Canadian firm.

Sanderson was appointed Director of the Commercial Air Transport and Manufacturers Association of Canada in November 1937. He met with British trade missions to discuss the establishment of a consortium of companies in Canada to manufacture British aircraft. These meetings led to the formation of Canadian Associated Aircraft Limited.

In October 1939, Sanderson was hired by the Defence Purchasing Board, and in April 1940, was appointed Director of Aircraft Supply, Department of Munitions and Supply. He was responsible for the ordering and production of the various aircraft required for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). His own company's major war production program included the manufacture of the Fleet Finch and Hampden bomber fuselages, the Fairchild PT-23 and PT-26, Cornell, and the outer wings for the Lancaster Mk 10.

He returned to Fleet Aircraft in October 1940, to oversee the manufacture of the Fleet Fort advanced trainer until 1942. He spent the remainder of the war years in the United States engaged in the development and production of plastic material for use in aircraft.

At war's end, Sanderson established Central Aircraft in Toronto, Ontario, operating as a component sub-contractor to de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, and Cessna distributor. In 1958, when a fire destroyed the property, he reorganized under the name Sanderson-Acfield Aircraft Limited, and continued as a Cessna sales agency.

At age 65, he completed a season of amphibious flying in Newfoundland. He moved to British Columbia in 1967, where he took instruction and became qualified to fly helicopters. He died in Victoria, British Columbia, on January 22, 1984.

William John (Jack) Sanderson was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1983 a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.

Jack Sanderson was interested in the development of pilot training programs at Flying Clubs across Canada. He felt that the Flying Clubs Associations should train their own instructors, air engineers and maintenance mechanics in order to provide a broader service to Canadian aviation.

John William Sandford

Birthdate: July 9, 1934
Birth Place: Pitney, Somerset, England
Year Inducted: 2013

"After starting his career in aviation with Avro Canada, John Sandford served in highest management positions with Stanley Aviation, Rockwell International, Fairchild-Republic, Gulfstream Aerospace and Rolls Royce. He is best known for launching the Dash 7 and the legendary Dash 8 aircraft while serving as president of de Havilland Canada." - Induction citation, 2013

Born in England on July 9, 1934, John Sandford began his career in aviation at 14, starting as an apprentice machinist with Westland Aircraft. In l953 he received Westland's Apprentice of the Year award and the opportunity to attend technical colleges. Two years later he was accepted at the Cranfield Institute of Technology and in 1957 John graduated with a Master of Science degree in Aircraft Design and Aerodynamics.

In early 1957, John married Shirley Bradshaw, was recruited by Avro Canada and settled in Toronto, where John began work with Avro as a professional engineer. Cancellation of the Avro Arrow program in 1959 left John among over 14,000 people looking for work. With five ex-Avro designers and engineers, they formed Avian Industries to design and produce an autogyro in Georgetown, Ontario.

John left after the first flight of the Avian Gyroplane and moved to Stanley Aviation in Denver, Colorado, Working from I960 to 1962 as Manager of Pre-Design. Rockwell International recruited him to work on the U.S. Space Program from 1962-73. He became manager of research and pre-design of advanced space launch systems and eventually became Shuttle Proposal Manager, leading the team that won the NASA Shuttle Contract.

In 1974, John returned to Toronto to run Rockwell's Canadian Admiral Corporation. From 1977-85 he was President and CEO of de Havilland Aircraft Canada Ltd. (DHC), seeing sales grow from $128 million in 1978 to $410 million in four years. He led the team that saw DHC become the primary supplier of turbo aircraft for the world's commuter airlines. This meant completing the introduction of the four-engine DHC Dash 7, followed by completion of the highly successful twin-engine Dash 8, certified on schedule in September 1984.

Sandford next became President and CEO of Fairchild-Republic Aircraft Corporation on Long Island, New York, from 1985 to l987. Then followed two years as senior Vice-President of Rohr Industries, an aircraft parts manufacturer in San Diego. He was then President and CEO of Gulfstream Aerospace Inc. in Savannah, Georgia, leading the company in successful design, production and marketing of Gulfstream corporate jets.

From 1990-92, John served as President and CEO of Rolls Royce U.S. Inc. in Reston, Virginia. In late 1992 he was seconded to the United Kingdom as Managing Director and CEO of Rolls Royce plc Aerospace Group, which had just recorded a $235 million loss. John was involved in restructuring and downsizing of operations, which became profitable in his second year.

In 1995-1997 John returned as President and CEO of Rolls Royce in North America. He oversaw growth of business in Canada, the United States and Mexico, plus sales and service of U.K. products to airlines and the military. In 1995 he oversaw the $525 million acquisition and integration of the U.S.-based Allison Engine Company into Rolls Royce.

Sandford is perhaps best known in Canada for his association with the DHC Dash 8, having taken it through development, certification and market launch. It was not an easy task. In an article describing political pitfalls in development of the Dash 8 John has written that, "Getting the Dash 8 programme launched, and keeping it alive, was a most complex political challenge." As President and CEO, he turned the company into a world competitor in the commercial market with the Dash 8. Under John's leadership, as an aircraft manufacturer, de Havilland Canada became a commercial and technological success.

In 1986, DHC was sold to Boeing, and then acquired by Bombardier Aerospace, which continued production of the Dash 8. The aircraft is a Canadian aviation industry success, with over 1,200 being built and continuing in production through its "stretched derivative," the Bombardier Q-Series aircraft.

John Sandford was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame at ceremonies held on May 30, 2013 at a ceremony held in Ottawa, Ontario.

Following retirement from Rolls Royce in Virginia in 1997, John and Shirley moved to La Jolla, California. Fifty-six years after coming to Canada, John Sandford continues his affiliation with the aviation industry as an aerospace consultant, and as a board member of MDS Technologies Inc. and Avior Inc., both based in Montreal.

Kenneth Foster Saunders

Birthdate: February 6, 1893
Birth Place: Victoria, British Columbia
Death Date: July 1, 1974
Year Inducted: 1997
Awards: D.F.C., A.F.C.

"His early presence in Canadian aviation and his ability to adapt the airplane to commercial tasks in the north set the scene for the years of bush flying that followed. In his later years, as the government's regulations administrator, he rounded out 42 years of extraordinary service to Canada." - Induction citation, 1997

Kenneth Foster Saunders, D.S.C., A.F.C., was born in Victoria, British Columbia, on February 6, 1893, and like so many others, found his education interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. His desire to join Britain's growing air service led him to the Wright Company's Flying School in Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A., where the required 350 minute flying course cost $1.00 per minute.

On October 15, 1915, Saunders received his Aviation Certificate No. 353, signed by Orville Wright, and sailed for England, all at his own expense. He completed the remainder of his service training at Eastchurch, England, graduating as Flight Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Air Service. He flew naval patrols, and used a Sopwith Pup in a series of experimental landings on an improvised carrier deck. He served with distinction and ended the war as a Captain with a Distinguished Service Cross (D.S.C.) and an Air Force Cross (A.F.C.).

In 1919 he was offered a two-year contract to promote the sale of British Avro 504 aircraft in Sweden. This barnstorming-type of operation gave him his first experience with ski-equipped aircraft. After returning to Victoria in 1922, he obtained his Commercial Pilot's Licence.

In August 1923, Saunders joined Fairchild Aerial Surveys of Canada Ltd., a new company being organized in conjunction with the Laurentide Pulp and Paper Company to assist in mapping Quebec's forests. The Fairchild organization in New York was developing better cameras and improving techniques for aerial mapping. Saunders began the photography experiments out of Grand'Mere, Quebec, with a Curtiss Seagull flying boat, but the addition of a Standard J-l on wheels and skis made the company the first to provide year-round bush services in Canada. The new company was the first to develop bush company being organized in conjunction with the Laurentide Pulp and Paper Company to assist in mapping Quebec's forests. The Fairchild organization in New York was developing better cameras and improving techniques for aerial mapping. Saunders began the photography experiments out of Grand'Mere, Quebec, with a Curtiss Seagull flying boat, but the addition of a Standard J-l on wheels and skis made the company the first to provide year-round bush services in Canada. The new company was the first to develop bush flying into a full-scale commercial operation in Canada.

Saunders' growing experience in aerial photography was sought by the U.S. Fairchild Company in building aircraft especially suited for photo mapping. He took part in the planning of the Fairchild FC (Fairchild cabin) series of monoplanes, tested the first FC-1, then took delivery of the first FC-2 on floats from the factory for Canadian operation. He demonstrated the seaplane version on flying into a full-scale commercial operation in Canada.

As the operation at Grand'Mere grew, it added charter flying to its activities. In 1927 Saunders flew a Curtiss HS-2L in the Quebec government-sponsored search flights for the missing French trans-Atlantic flyers Nungesser and Coli, without success. The biggest aviation news story of 1928 was the crossing of the Atlantic from east to west in April by a German aircrew flying a Junkers aircraft, the 'Bremen'. They were off course and landed on Greenly Island, in the Strait of Belle Isle, which separates Newfoundland from Labrador. Saunders flew newspapermen from Quebec to New York City, where a reception for the crew was held.

By the time the company joined Canadian Airways Ltd. in 1931, it was the largest bush operator in eastern Canada. Saunders' role included opening new routes along the entire lower St. Lawrence for passengers, mail and freight. Other routes served Great Whale, Senneterre, and Port Harrison (Inoucdjouac) on Hudson Bay.

In April 1936, Saunders, with 21 years of flying experience, joined the Government Air Regulations Branch as a Department of Transport (DOT) Inspector. After a short period at DOT headquarters in Ottawa, and six months in Vancouver, he was assigned to the Edmonton region. From this base, Saunders covered Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories by plane, boat and train. Later the district was reorganized to include Alberta, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. By 1939 he was Regional Superintendent of Air Regulations for the Edmonton district. He continued to fly the Department's aircraft until his retirement.

After 42 years in aviation, including 21 years of government service and 10,000 hours of flying, Saunders retired in 1958 to live in Victoria, where he died on July 1, 1974, at age 81.

Kenneth Foster Saunders was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1997 at a ceremony held in Calgary, Alberta.

In his role as Government Inspector, Ken Saunders had the reputation of a tough disciplinarian with a mixture of fatherly advice and humour. He always signed his correspondence in green ink and the stories of his tenure in office are legendary.

Rayne Dennis Schultz

Birthdate: December 17, 1922
Birth Place: Bashaw, Alberta
Death Date: November 11, 2011
Year Inducted: 1997
Awards: D.F.C.*, O.M.M., C.D.**, The McKee Trophy

"Over many years in cooperation with the military and civilian agencies associated with aviation, his vision, dedication and pursuit of excellence resulted in significant advancement in air operations generally and flight safety accident prevention programs in particular." - Induction citation, 1997

Rayne Dennis (Joe) Schultz, D.F.C.*, O.M.M., C.D.**, was born in Bashaw, Alberta, on December 17, 1922. In early 1941. at age 18, he realized his boyhood dream when he was accepted for pilot training by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). His initial flight training was on Tiger Moths at Sea Island, Vancouver, and he earned his wings on Avro Ansons at Macleod, Alberta. He was posted overseas in early 1942.

In England, he took flight engineer training before attending a Night Fighter (NF) Operational Training Unit (OTU) on Bristol Blenheims and Beaufighters. In late 1942. he joined No. 410 NF Squadron just as it was converting to the NF version of the DH Mosquito. He was to fly this versatile aircraft until the war ended.

During his first tour with No. 410 Squadron he flew defensive patrols over England and night intruder missions into enemy territory. On the night of December 10/11,  1943. he and his Radio Observer (RO) F/L V.A. Williams, destroyed three Dornier bombers over the North Sea in less than fifteen minutes. Each received an immediate Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.). By the end of their tour in June 1944, they had destroyed five enemy bombers. In December 1944, he rejoined No. 410 Squadron for a second tour in France and Holland. With his new RO, F/0 Jack Christie, three more enemy aircraft were destroyed over Germany, earning Schultz a Bar to his D.F.C.

Before returning to Canada in August 1945, he completed an advanced weapons course to prepare for transfer to the Pacific Theater. The war against Japan ended, and Schultz was transferred back to Canada. He spent the next several years performing test and ferry flying from St. Hubert, Quebec, Rockcliffe and Trenton, Ontario.

In 1948 the RCAF began to rebuild, with the de Havilland Vampire Jet heralding a new era. As an experienced fighter pilot, Schultz was selected for training at No. 1 Fighter OTU. This became the re-formed No. 410 Fighter Squadron in January 1949. A few months later Schultz and three others formed the first official RCAF jet aerobatics team, the Blue Devils.

In June 1950, he left No. 410 Squadron on an exchange posting with the Central Fighter Establishment in England. He returned to North Bay, Ontario, where the newly established No. 3 All Weather (AW) OTU was about to be equipped with the Canadian Avro-built CF-100 'Canuck'. His two-year tour there as the Chief Flying Instructor was followed by four years as Staff Officer, Operations, at Air Defence Command (ADC) Headquarters. One of his more important responsibilities in this capacity was as the ADC pilot representative on the Avro Arrow program.

When the CF-105 Avro Arrow was cancelled, Schultz was reassigned to Bagotville, Quebec, first as Squadron Commander of No. 413 AW Squadron, then as Chief Operations Officer and finally as Commander of No. 432 AW Squadron. In mid 1961, he was named to lead the air crew team to work with the United States Air Force (USAF) for training on the CF-101 Voodoo which was to re-equip the All Weather squadrons in place of the Arrow. This group re-formed as No. 425 AW Squadron at Namao, Alberta, and was responsible for converting the other AW Squadrons to the Voodoo. As soon as this task was completed, Schultz was sent to No. 4 Fighter Wing in Germany as Chief Operations Officer, to prepare for the arrival of the CF-104 Starfighter which was assigned to a nuclear strike role with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Both of these high profile and demanding programs received international recognition, bringing credit to the RCAF and Canada.

A transfer in 1966 to the Directorate of Flight Safety in Ottawa, as Chief Accident Investigator, ended his operational flying but he maintained full flying status until retirement. With promotion to Group Captain in 1977, he became Director, Flight Safety. Over the next ten years he developed and managed one of the most highly regarded flight safety programs. In recognition of this and previous exceptional service he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Military Merit (O.M.M.) in 1974.

Group Captain Schultz was convinced that an aggressive accident prevention program would save lives and enhance operational effectiveness. He used his extensive experience, integrity and determination to convince much of the aviation community that a major change in philosophy was needed. Accordingly, he reduced the threat of 'blame and punishment' and wherever possible, give privileged status to flight safety reports. Almost immediately, a significant increase in accident reports showed that there was a new trust in the system and an acceptance of the principle that complete and candid reports were a key factor in prevention. Even a simple step, such as replacing the harsh, derogatory word 'ERROR', had an immediate and positive effect on attitudes.

Schultz's efforts in the field of accident prevention were recognized internationally in 1977 by a special award from the International Flight Safety Foundation in 1977 and honorary membership in the USAF Aerospace Safety Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy for 1978 for his work in promoting flight safety. After more than thirty-six years of continuous service, he retired in 1977 as Group Captain and died in 2011.

Rayne Dennis (Joe) Schultz was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1997 at a ceremony held in Calgary, Alberta.

Joe Schultz made other tangible contributions to flight safety. These stemmed from his dynamic support of the development of such far-reaching programs as flight data recorders, crash position indicators, reduction of bird hazards to aircraft, and a means of reducing the vulnerability of helicopters to wire strikes.

Eugene Howard Schweitzer

Nickname: Gene
Birthdate: June 20, 1915
Birth Place: Kincardine, Ontario
Death Date: February 25, 2007
Year Inducted: 1996

"Through the transition from piston to turbine power and from bush flying to airlines,business and commuter aviation, he applied his knowledge of aircraft engines, corporate management and public relations to the benefit of air transportation across Canada and around the world" - Induction citation, 1996

Eugene Howard (Gene) Schweitzer was born on June 20th, 1915, in Kincardine, Ontario, where he was educated. He moved to Glendale, California, to study at the Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute. After graduating, he returned to Canada, earned his Aircraft Maintenance Engineer's Licence, and joined the fledgling Pratt & Whitney Aircraft of Canada Ltd. (P&WC) at Longueuil, Quebec, in July 1940. After becoming familiar with the company's engines and Hamilton Standard propellers, he was made responsible for field support across Canada.

World War II escalated quickly, and the need for aircraft for crew training and combat became critical. To speed up deliveries from North America, the Royal Air Force Ferry Command (RAFFC) was created to deliver the desperately needed airplanes overseas, at a time when trans-ocean flights were still newsworthy and pilots feared the often-stormy Atlantic.

Initially, ferry pilots returned to Canada by ship, but the pilot shortage demanded faster returns of the flight crews. In May 1941, under C.H. 'Punch' Dickins of Canadian Pacific Air Services, a two-way scheduled service on the North Atlantic route was started. Schweitzer became involved in the modification and flight testing of seven Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft at St.Hubert, Quebec. The Liberator became the first land plane used for trans-Atlantic year-round scheduled service.

Ferry Command depended heavily on his crew for engine maintenance and handling operating problems such as severe icing, and flying with extended use of high power settings. Schweitzer provided technical service and training for the introduction of PBY Canso aircraft on North Atlantic Patrol. Long hours were needed to maintain the rigorous delivery schedules. The technical staff, by their resourcefulness and diligence, contributed in large measure to the success of the ferry service.

At the end of WW II he became the Sales and Service Representative for P&WC serving major airlines, bush operators and regional carriers throughout Canada. With his experience and knowledge of the R-1830 engine, he advised airlines which had acquired surplus DC-3 aircraft on engine handling techniques, and greatly improved their success and safety record. He assured P&WC support for CPA when they acquired a fleet of DC-4's. As the airlines added DC-6 and Convair aircraft to their fleets in the 1950's and 1960's, Schweitzer's Operations Engineering and Services staff were key in the successful operation of the R-2800 engines.

Several new aircraft emerged soon after the war, all of them featuring P&WC engines. The Fairchild Husky and de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver were both equipped with the Wasp Junior R-985 engine. Schweitzer worked closely with DHC's engineers to adapt the engine to the Beaver which, because of its short take-off and landing (STOL) features, caused unique cooling problems. In 1950 de Havilland began production of the Otter aircraft, selecting the P&WC Wasp R-1340 engine based on the company's reputation for product support.

By the late 1950's, transition from piston to turbine power was proceeding rapidly, and the business sector was beginning to understand the utility of corporate aircraft. As owners faced new equipment, personnel and training needs, they demanded dedicated support from the manufacturers, and under Schweitzer's direction as P&WC Service Manager, their expectations were fully met. His responsibilities were for service and support for engines, propellers, Sikorsky helicopters and all technical services, including technical publications.

In 1966 Schweitzer was appointed Vice-President of Product Support. As the company's international business expanded with the design and production of the PT-6 and PW-100 turboprop engines, he established a complete and comprehensive turbine engine training centre. With the rapid growth of the commuter airline market, he was selected in 1980 to lead P&WC's Commuter Airline Group as Vice-President. He coordinated the company's response to the needs of commuter airlines around the world.

He retired as Vice-President, Commuter Operations in 1981, but continued to serve as an airlines consultant until his full retirement in 1982. He was a member of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute since 1954. In post retirement he has volunteered with Canadian Executive Services Overseas in Central America, and provided assistance to aircraft companies. He worked on various historical projects until his death on February 25, 2007 at Kincardine, Ontario.

Eugene Howard (Gene) Schweitzer was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996 at a ceremony held in Toronto, Ontario.

Gene Schweitzer’s career spanned over forty years at Pratt & Whitney Canada. He pioneered complete customer support for both commercial and military operators as new equipment and uses developed.

Herbert Walter Seagrim

Nickname: Herb
Birthdate: August 25, 1912
Birth Place: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Death Date: November 13, 1998
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: C.M., FCASI, FRAS

"His application of aviation expertise, despite adversity, was in great measure responsible for making Air Canada's safety record the envy of world airlines" - Induction citation, 1974

Herbert Walter 'Herb' Seagrim, C.M., was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 25, 1912, where he was educated. He learned to fly at the Winnipeg Flying Club in 1931, and the following year was employed there as a part-time mechanic. To increase his flying experience he worked extra jobs in exchange for air time, and barnstormed throughout the prairie provinces. In 1933 he earned an Air Engineer's Licence and joined Konnie Johannesson's Flying Service in Winnipeg as a mechanic and relief pilot. In partial payment for his services he accepted advanced instruction in aerobatics. The next year he was hired as a pilot by Wings Limited, operated by F. Roy Brown and Jack Moar at their Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, air base and until late 1937, flew bush aircraft throughout northern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

When Trans-Canada Airlines was formed in 1937, he and Lindy Rood joined the firm as pilots on the same day. All the newly hired pilots took extensive training in Lockheed 10A aircraft during which, for the first year before carrying passengers, all phases of flying were conducted 'under the hood', using instruments. This was practiced until instrument flight became second nature and visual reference to the ground a mere distraction.

Seagrim captained the inaugural westbound mail flight from Winnipeg to Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1938. With several other pilots he pioneered the Rocky Mountain route between Lethbridge, Alberta, and Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1942, in addition to operating his regularly scheduled TCA flights, he was engaged as a test pilot with the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company at their Vancouver overhaul plant.

In 1943, in recognition of his management abilities, coupled with his excellent piloting record, Seagrim was promoted to Chief Pilot of the Western Region. Based at Lethbridge, his job consisted mainly of flight instruction to meet the demands of the rapidly expanding airline. The following year he was returned to Winnipeg as Assistant Superintendent of Flight Operations, an assignment which included the duties of Chief Flying Instructor. That same year he was appointed Superintendent of Flight Operations, a title later changed to Director of Operations.

The airline had changed in seven years from a fledgling air service into a far-ranging, dependable national airline. To further improve the company's efficiency, and to maintain its superior safety record, Seagrim was assigned to write the basic flight and instructional procedures, many of which have remained in the manuals. As captain of a Canadair "North Star" aircraft in 1948, he flew the Vancouver, British Columbia, to Montreal, Quebec, route in six hours and fifty two minutes to establish a new speed record.

When TCA's headquarters were moved to Montreal in 1949, Seagrim was appointed General Manager of Operations in charge of flying, tele-communications, passenger service, maintenance, engineering and stations. His success in that position led to a promotion to Vice-President of Operations in 1956, and Senior Vice-President of Operations in 1962. During these years he was largely responsible for TCA's selection of Douglas DC-8 and DC-9 jet aircraft. He underwent line pilot training on both of these aircraft and flew the first DC-8 transcontinental flight for TCA in 1960, and the first DC-9 transcontinental flight in 1966. In 1965 the company name was changed to Air Canada.

The responsibility for all the line departments was given him that year when he was promoted to Executive Vice-President for the airline. In 1969 he became First Vice-President. He took early retirement in 1970. He died in Montreal on November 13, 1998.

Seagrim was made a Member of the Order of Canada (C.M.) in 1987 for his contributions to building and administering Air Canada. He was a Fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Herbert Walter (Herb) Seagrim was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.


Herb Seagrim was so determined to fly that he arranged a deal with the Winnipeg Flying Club to work a whole day as a mechanic’s helper in return for 15 minutes of flying time.

Murton Adams Seymour

Birthdate: July 6, 1892
Birth Place: St. Catherines, Ontario
Death Date: December 27, 1976
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: O.B.E., The McKee Trophy, CFCA Gold Medal

"His efforts in having the nation's private flying clubs designated as military pilot training schools during World War II has been of substantial benefit to Canadian aviation" - Induction citation, 1974

Murton Adams Seymour, O.B.E., B.A., K.C., was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, on July 6, 1892, and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, the following year. He attended the University of Toronto, where he received his B.A. with Honours in Political Science in 1915, and Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He returned to Vancouver and as a student of law he articled with the firm of Gwillim, Crisp and McKay in that city.

With several other aviation enthusiasts he purchased a Curtiss Pusher aircraft and formed what became known as the Aero Club of British Columbia. He learned to fly at the race track in Vancouver, on land now occupied by the International Airport. In 1916 the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) commissioned him in the Special Reserve to attend the School of Aeronautics at Oxford University in England, from which he graduated as a pilot.

A posting to No. 41 Squadron, RFC, followed and he flew fighter aircraft from an advanced base in Belgium. After several months he was medically restricted to low level flying because of an intolerance to oxygen-limited air. He was posted to administration duties and finally ordered to Camp Borden, Ontario, in 1917, to assist in setting up RFC flying training squadrons. As a Captain he was given the responsibility of designing pilot training facilities at Fort Worth, Texas for the RFC winter training programs. In 1918 he was promoted to Major and named to the headquarters staff of the RFC, which later became the Royal Air Force (RAF), in Canada. At war's end he was placed in charge of demobilizing Canadian officers serving with the RAF in Canada.

Prior to leaving the service, Seymour was admitted to the Bars of both Ontario and British Columbia as Barrister and Solicitor. He then joined the firm of Ingersoll and Kingstone at St. Catharines, Ontario. He started his own law practice in 1933, and in 1934 he became a King's Counsel (K.C.)

The Flying Clubs of Canada came into existence in 1927-28 under a subsidy policy established by the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of National Defence. The objectives were to establish aerodromes throughout Canada, as at that time there were practically no airports, to create air consciousness among Canadians, and to create a reserve of partially trained pilots for defence of the country in the event of war. In 1928 Seymour incorporated the St. Catharines Flying Club, preparing its constitution and by-laws, and served as its first President until 1936. He was a founding member and Director of the Canadian Flying Clubs Association (CFCA), serving as President from 1939 to 1944.

Early in 1939, Seymour discussed the situation concerning the defence of the country with the Civil Aviation Branch, and the possibility of flying clubs undertaking the elementary flying training instruction of a number of provisional pilot officers for the RCAF. By the fall of 1939 an agreement was in place, and this formed the basis for the civil Elementary Flying Training Schools of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).

In recognition of his personal endeavours in negotiating an agreement between the flying clubs of Canada and the Department of National Defence for the training of military pilots during wartime, he was awarded the Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy for 1939 and the Gold Medal of the CFCA. In 1943 he was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for his contributions. In 1951 he was elected a Life Bencher of the Upper Canada Law Society, having been named a Bencher in 1936. He was appointed Honorary Counsel to the Royal Canadian Flying Clubs Association. Seymour died in St. Catharines on December 27, 1976.

Murton Adams Seymour was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.

Murton Seymour trained in 1915 in an OX-powered Curtiss pusher built about 1912. He gained his initial instruction by sitting on the leading edge of the lower wing and watching the actions of his instructor, William M. Stark, during demonstration flights. Then he practiced taxiing on the ground, with his instructor sitting on the wing beside him shouting his instructions. Stark placed a block under the foot throttle to control the amount of power generated by the engine. As Seymour became more proficient at taxiing, his foot throttle block was shaved down progressively, until finally he had enough power to make short hops at anywhere up to three or four feet off the ground. After that accomplishment, he was on his own.

Beverley Strahan Shenstone

Nickname: Bev
Birthdate: June 10, 1906
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario
Death Date: September 11, 1979
Year Inducted: 2016
Awards: B.Sc., M.Sc., FCASI, FAIAA

Following a master’s degree in aeronautics, Bev Shenstone had a stellar career in aircraft design. Known for creation of the Spitfire wing, his vast work in aviation continued post-war in Canada and England, in consultation and design of military and civil aircraft and in holding key positions with commercial airlines. Award Citation, 2016

Beverley Strahan Shenstone, commonly known as ‘Bev’, was the first Canadian to graduate from a Canadian university with a master’s degree in aeronautics.  He received the degree from the University of Toronto in 1929, having first obtained a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering while studying there from 1924 to 1928.

During the summer break in 1927, he obtained work with the British Air Ministry in London, England, exposed to the latest in aerodynamic theory.  While studying for his master’s degree, he completed a range of tests in wind tunnel aerodynamics which led to his innovative thesis on aspects of stability for the Vickers Vedette flying boat.

During his time in graduate studies, he joined the Provisional Pilot Officers Program with the Royal Canadian Air Force.   While undergoing flight training, he developed an understanding of flying characteristics of different aircraft that could cause difficulty for student pilots.  After completing his master’s degree, he moved to Dessau, Germany to gain experience in aircraft construction and design at the Junkers aircraft company.  In his spare time he earned an advanced glider pilot’s licence.

1931, he moved to England to further his experience.  His expertise in aerodynamic theory and mathematics led to a job with the Vickers Supermarine Company.  While there, Shenstone made what is considered his greatest design contribution, the elliptical wing for the prototype Spitfire, a feature that became the aircraft’s most identifying characteristic.  He argued for the unique shape, which would allow this new fighter to carry eight guns, and provide outstanding aerodynamic flying qualities.  When the Spitfire first flew in 1936, it was the fastest fighter in the world at a time when most aircraft of the Royal Air Force were biplanes.

1938, at age 32 and after working on designs of military aircraft, he took a position with the Directorate of Civil Research and Production with the British Air Ministry.  In 1940 he transferred to the newly-formed Ministry of Aircraft Production, then posted to serve with the British Air Commission in Washington, working to ensure design improvement of aircraft delivered to the RAF.

He was hired by the Canadian Department of Munitions and supply to work on aircraft development.  Sent by Trans-Canada Airlines to California, he worked on specifications for a new transport aircraft that became the Canadair North Star, and later was involved convincing the RCAF to adopt it as a military transport aircraft.  Late in 1944 he became technical advisor at the Canadair plant in Montreal.

1946 he moved to Toronto to serve as the assistant to the president  and general manager of A.V.Roe Canada Ltd.  There he was involved in technical management aspects of the new Avro Jetliner and CF-100 jet fighter.  In April 1948 he was hired in the recently-formed British European Airways (BEA), returning to England in charge of BEA’s engineering development.  He was responsible for airworthiness, engineering and maintenance, and aircraft acquisition and development.

Notable achievements for BEA included introduction of the Vickers Viscount as the world’s first turboprop airliner in 1949, and introduction of helicopters for BEA use.   He was also involved with introduction of the company’s first jet services, starting in 1960 with Comet aircraft.  He saw the airline develop from the era of the DC-3s to a modern and profitable airline moving from piston power to turboprops to the jet age.  From the beginning, e was involved in the program to develop a supersonic passenger aircraft.  A Supersonic Transport Advisory Committee was formed in 1956 to make recommendations, and Shenstone represented BEA on the technical sub-committee.

1965 he moved from BEA to become technical director for British Overseas Airways Corporation.  He retired from there in December 1966 after association with projects that included the airline’s future involvement with t supersonic Concorde.   He received many honours recognizing his achievements.  In 1982 the U of T posthumously named him to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Hall of Distinction, recognizing his contributions to the design of the Spitfire and the North Star.  He was named an Honorary Fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), and also as a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

He retired to Cyprus in 1966 where he remained until his death on November 9, 1979.

‘Bev’ Strahan Shenstone was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Ottawa, Ontario in 2016.

John Gavin Showler

Nickname: Jack
Birthdate: June 15, 1912
Birth Place: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Death Date: August 28, 1989
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: A.F.C., C.D.*, The McKee Trophy

"His role in aerially mapping this nation's Arctic frontier has been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1974

John Gavin (Jack) Showler, A.F.C., C.D.*, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on June 15, 1912. He attended the University of Manitoba until 1935, when he joined the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company at Flin Flon, Manitoba, as a chemist. In 1936 he began taking flying instruction at the Regina Flying Club in Saskatchewan, but was severely injured in an aircraft accident at Flin Flon, Manitoba. He resumed his pilot's course with the Winnipeg Flying Club in 1939, and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1940.

After training at Thunder Bay, Camp Borden and Trenton, in Ontario, Showler received his wings and a promotion to Pilot Officer. Until 1942 he instructed at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and Trenton, where he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. His exceptional skills were recognized by an assignment to tour all RCAF flying schools in Canada during 1943 to re-categorize flying instructors. A posting followed to No. 164 Heavy Transport Squadron, RCAF, at Moncton, New Brunswick, where he completed a transport captain's course in 1944. Promoted to Squadron Leader, he was named Detachment Commander of the squadron at Goose Bay, Labrador, on air operations to Greenland and Iceland, and was awarded the Air Force Cross (A.F.C.).

When the Canadian government launched a 3,000 mile (4,800 km) military trek through the western Arctic in 1946, code-named Operation Muskox, which involved the Canadian Army and the RCAF, Showler was promoted to Wing Commander and chosen Commander of the Air Element. The objective of this exercise during the winter and spring of 1946 was to test the possibilities of moving men and motorized equipment across the Canadian Arctic. lie then served as Commanding Officer of the RCAF Station at Fort St. John, British Columbia, until 1948. He graduated from the Air University of the United States Air Force at Montgomery, Alabama, in 1950, and was transferred to RCAF Headquarters at Ottawa, Ontario. Showier was assigned to the RCAF Station at Goose Bay, Labrador, in 1952 as Chief Administrative Officer.

Two years later, he was appointed Commanding Officer of No. 408 Photo Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ontario. The main task of the squadron was the SHORAN (Short Range Aid to Navigation) survey and photography of Canada. SHORAN is basically an electronic distance-measuring device, consisting of both airborne and ground radar equipment. Through its use, unknown positions can be mapped accurately. The SHORAN operation was unique in that completely self-contained stations, each weighing 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg), were airlifted to pre-selected sites, all of which Showler chose by on-the-spot checking. Each station contained three technicians from the squadron, their shelter, housekeeping equipment, fuel, navigation and radio equipment, generators and a 60-foot (18 m) antenna. Precise planning was required to ensure that the thousands of items of equipment could be pre-positioned by sea or aircraft. During the 1957 program, more than 100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) of technical gear and more than 250 personnel were airlifted to Thule, Greenland, and Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island.

Showler's personal drive and ability to accurately assess the capabilities of his men and equipment were largely responsible for the success of the 1957 Arctic SHORAN program and the completion of the Geodetic Survey of the whole of Canada, a survey program begun in 1949. For this achievement, he was awarded the Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy for 1957.

Showler retired from the service in 1961 after a four year tenure as Director of Transport and Rescue Operations at Ottawa. He established a tourist business at Portland, Ontario, which he operated for several years. In 1973 he retired permanently to Brentwood Bay, British Columbia where he died on August 28, 1989.

John Gavin (Jack) Showler was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held at Edmonton, Alberta.

Geodetic survey is the basis of all other forms of survey. It provides a grid of known points from which measurements may be taken. Be 1949 the coast of the Arctic islands and the Arctic coast of the mainland were sketched in, but there were large areas on the mainland and the interior of the islands that could not be mapped, even with the aerial photographs available, because of the lack of geodetic reference points. The SHORAN program provided this information.

Thomas William Siers

Nickname: Tommy
Birthdate: May 13, 1896
Birth Place: Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England
Death Date: May 20, 1979
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: The McKee Trophy

"His consummate skills with aircraft, painstakingly developed during almost four decades in the crudest of geographic arenas and applied with invention and determination, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation" - Induction citation, 1974

Thomas William (Tommy) Siers was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England, on May 13,1896. He came to Canada in 1913 to live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1917 he enlisted in the Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment of the Canadian Army, and served in England and France until war's end in 1918. After returning to Canada, he completed several technical school courses.

He began his career servicing aircraft engines and equipment with the Canadian Air Force in 1920, where he earned his Air Engineer Certificate. He went to work for the Canadian Air Board at Winnipeg and northern Manitoba, maintaining their flying boats. Two years later he joined Laurentide Air Services Limited as an air engineer, leaving the same year to work for Huff-Daland Aero Corporation in Ogdensburg, New York, on aircraft assembly and motors. In 1924 he joined the Ontario Provincial Air Service (OPAS) at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

In 1928 Siers joined Western Canada Airways at Winnipeg as Chief Mechanic. The following year he was promoted to Superintendent of Maintenance, in charge of overhauling and servicing engines, aircraft and related equipment. During his early years with the company, commercial air transportation in Canada emerged to become a vital factor in the country's growth. However, most commercial aircraft in use in Canada were not designed specifically to meet the requirements of the Canadian climate, and had to be modified to overcome problems that arose.

While working for Western Canada Airways, Siers became known for his expertise in modifying parts of aircraft to adapt them to northern flying. His pioneering work on the development of the Worth principle of oil dilution for aircraft engines was, perhaps, the most valuable of his contributions to the aircraft industry and to the exploration of the Arctic by aircraft. Once the oil dilution system was perfected, pilots were able to thin the engine oil with gasoline to make cold weather starting easier.

In the fall of 1929, when the MacAlpine expedition of eight people was reported missing somewhere in the Arctic, a search party using several aircraft was organized. Siers was placed in charge of the mechanics responsible for maintaining these aircraft during the extensive search period. Members of the search teams were dogged by bad weather, breakdowns, and problems caused by seasonal change when landings were not safe using either skis or floats. Often they required rescuing themselves, and suffered from the extremely cold temperatures.

During this search, Siers' resourcefulness became legendary. He repaired punctured floats, broken skis and ski struts, often creating new parts from materials carried in the aircraft or found locally. When Fokker G-CASQ broke through the sea ice at Bathhurst Inlet on the Arctic Ocean, it sank nose first, until the leading edge of the wing touched the ice. It was essential that this machine be removed from the salt water as quickly as possible and in as good condition as possible, for the only way to get it back to Winnipeg was by flying it there. Working without protection from the extreme cold, Siers and his crew salvaged 'SQ completely overhauled the engine and had it operational ten days later.

When Canadian Airways Limited absorbed Western Canada Airways in 1936, Siers remained with the new firm and had a diverse array of commercial aircraft under his supervision. He received the Trans-Canada (McKee) Trophy for the year 1940, in recognition of his adaptation of the Worth oil-dilution system to cold weather flying in Canada. The following year he was loaned to the Department of Munitions and Supply for one year to supervise aircraft overhaul. It was largely due to his efforts that an advanced course was offered at the University of Manitoba to improve the efficiency of air engineers.

In 1942, when Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPA) acquired Canadian Airways, Siers took on additional responsibilities with his appointment as General Supervisor of Repair Plants for CPA at Montreal. He was transferred to Vancouver and appointed Assistant to the Director of Maintenance and Engineering. He retired in 1961, and died in Vancouver on May 20, 1979.

Thomas William (Tommy) Siers was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.

Tommy Siers has been recognized for other outstanding contributions to aircraft operations, including improvements to skis, ski pedestals, ski harness, cabin heaters, and methods of heating engines in extremely cold weather.

Arthur George Sims

Nickname: Tim
Birthdate: January 22, 1907
Birth Place: London, England
Death Date: January 26, 1982
Year Inducted: 1974

"The application of his exceptional skills as an aero-engine expert and his laudatory service as a wartime Ferry Command pilot, despite adversity, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation," - Induction citation, 1974

Arthur George (Tim) Sims was born in London, England, on January 22, 1907. He was educated at University College School before coming to Canada in 1927. He spent the next four years working for Canadian Wright Limited and its associated company, British Aeroplane Engines Limited at Montreal, Quebec, in the assembly, overhaul and testing of their engines. He later became technical representative, visiting operators across Canada.

Because of his extensive knowledge of low-temperature engine operation, he was loaned to Commercial Airways of Edmonton for the inaugural airmail flight from Fort McMurray, Alberta, to Aklavik on the Arctic Ocean, in 1929. He flew as mechanic with W.R. 'Wop' May in a Wright-powered Bellanca  on this 1,600 mile (2,575 km) trip down the Mackenzie River.

During this period Sims earned his Air Engineer's A & C Certificate, and qualified for a Commercial Pilot's Certificate in Montreal. He also completed a Royal Canadian Air Force navigation and night flying course at Camp Borden, Ontario. In 1931 he joined the Trans-Canada Air Pageant which toured Canada as a showcase for the latest in Canadian civil and military aircraft. Sims' role in the tour was as an expert on the highly respected Wright aircraft engine.

In 1932 he flew for Northern Skyways at Rouyn, Quebec, as a bush pilot, and earned the Air Engineer's D Certificate. The following year he was co-founder, with C.R. Troup, of Dominion Skyways, operating in northern Ontario, Quebec and Labrador. During 1936-37, while he was Chief Pilot and Manager of Newfoundland Skyways, an associated company, he organized and carried out the transportation of geologists and prospectors seeking gold in the interior of Labrador. No gold was found there, but large iron ore deposits were discovered on the Labrador-Quebec border at Knob Lake (now called Schefferville).

Until 1938 lie Hew the Canadian Shield area of eastern Canada on freighting and passenger contracts to mining operations. This seven-year, accident-free bush operation testified to the aerial competence of Sims and his crews. During this period, he completed an instrument-flying course at the Boeing School of Aeronautics at Burbank, California. He was hired as Vice-President for Aero Engines of Canada Limited at Montreal because of his extensive knowledge of aircraft engines. At the same time he flew as test pilot for Canadian Vickers Limited.

The Government of Canada seconded Sims in 1940 to the Department of Munitions and Supply at Ottawa as Director of Engine and Propeller Overhaul. He was appointed to the National Research Council Aero Engine Committee. During this period, he also test-flew military designated aircraft.

From 1942 until war's end in 1945 he flew military aircraft across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to the United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, India and West Africa, for the Royal Air Force Ferry Command.

Sims then obtained his Transport Pilot's Licence and Instrument Rating. During 1946-47, he flew a Bristol Freighter on a 40,000 mile (64,000 km) demonstration flight throughout North and South America, followed by charter freight operations in Venezuela and Labrador.

From 1948 to 1964, he worked as sales representative for Canadair Limited at Montreal. For the first two years he led the North Star aircraft sales teams to the United Kingdom, South Africa and Italy. He was then appointed Service Manager and given responsibility of support programs for the Canadair-built F-86 Sabre and T-33 jet aircraft in Canada, United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Greece, Turkey and Colombia. He was appointed Director of the Air Industries and Transport Association.

Sims was promoted to Director of Military Aircraft Sales for Canadair in 1955, providing liaison with the RCAF, RAF, British Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. He held this position until he retired in 1964. He died at Clearwater, Florida, on January 26, 1982.

Arthur George (Tim) Sims was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.

“Tim” Sims enjoyed aviation history and writing about aviation. During his retirement, he devoted much time to both. As well, he served on the National Aviation Museum Committee.

Daniel Sitnam

Nickname: Danny
Birthdate: May 23, 1956
Birth Place: London, England
Year Inducted: 2017
Awards: The Robert S. Day Trophy (BCAC), BCAC Lifetime Achievement Award

As a helicopter pilot and entrepreneur, Danny Sitnam has built Helijet International Inc., to become the world’s largest scheduled helicopter passenger service, also offering rotary and fixed wing aircraft for charter and medical service. Danny is known for leadership, professionalism and his interest in offering growth opportunity for his employees.

Born in London, England on May 23, 1956, to parents Elmo and Rosanna, Danny Sitnam was the third of his parents’ four children. In 1957, the family moved to Brazil when Danny’s father, a civil/aeronautical systems engineer working for Lockheed, was posted to a special project in South America. After the family moved to Canada in 1963, Danny was working as a cook in a North Vancouver restaurant when offered a flight that changed his career path.

He had trained as a machinist, but a free flight in a helicopter had a profound influence on his life. Later, he responded to a newspaper advertisement soliciting six investors for a small three-seater piston-engined Hiller 12E helicopter. Investors would be taught to fly it. Danny invested, learned to fly it at Mayo Helicopters in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, and earned his commercial licence in May 1977. He landed his first job as a pilot within days and a week later ferried a Hiller 12E to Mayo, Yukon, where he went to work for Mayo Helicopters.
While flying light and medium size helicopters in the Yukon, Alberta and northern British Columbia, Danny developed the idea of a scheduled helicopter service between Vancouver and Victoria. Backed by partners and investors, the company founded by Sitman and Alistair MacLennan began as Helijet Airways in 1986 with a single Bell 412 helicopter and a staff of 14. Based at Vancouver International Airport, and now called Helijet International Inc. and branded as Helijet, the company is the world’s largest scheduled passenger helicopter airline.
As of 2017, Helijet operates 16 helicopters, two fixed wing aircraft, has 160 employees and transports more than 80,000 passengers per year. As President and CEO of Helijet and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pacific Heliport Services Ltd., Danny still maintains his Commercial Helicopter Licence. Pacific Heliport Services operates and manages heliports in Victoria, Vancouver and Nanaimo.  It offers landing, parking and fueling service as well as passenger lounge services in those locations.
In addition to some 300 weekly scheduled flights to Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo, Sitnam’s company operates from bases in Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert and Sandspit, Haida Gwaii, carrying passengers on the British Columbia coast for business and pleasure in year-round charter service.
Helmet also offers charter flights and is the largest air medical service provider in British Columbia. Since 1998, Helijet has been contracted to provide helicopter transport for the British Columbia Ambulance Service using Sikorsky S-76 helicopters. They are on standby twenty-four hours daily and are configured to accommodate two stretcher patients and four medical attendants. In addition to helicopters operated by the company, its turbojet Learjet 31A and Hawker 800A are available for air medical and corporate charters from the Richmond base. Those aircraft can accommodate up to two stretcher patients and three medical attendants.

Helmet’s twelve-seat Sikorsky S-76 helicopters flying from Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo are certified to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR), while seaplanes competing for the service are certified only for visual flight rules (VFR) on those flights. Thus, odd as it may seem, poor weather is good for Helijet business with its helicopters able to offer IFR service when competitive air service is grounded. Even when alternative passenger ferry service is suspended during rough seas, Helijet service continues.

Both Helijet and its founder have been recognized with awards. In 1994, less than 10 years after its formation, Helijet was awarded the Community Service Award from the Helicopter Association International. Danny himself received the Robert S. Day Trophy in 2000 from the British Columbia Aviation Council (BCAC) in recognition of outstanding contribution and leadership for the promotion and development of aviation in British Columbia. In 2015 the BCAC gave its Environmental Award in Aviation to Helijet in recognition of “environmental initiative, program or accomplishment in one or more areas of protection, rejuvenation, conservation and awareness.” In 2016, Danny received the BCAC Lifetime Achievement Award
The wide respect held for Danny Sitnam and his company is reflected in a statement from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. The President and CEO, Iain Black, has stated, “As a British Columbia success story, Danny and his firm, Helijet International, are names that have become synonymous with entrepreneurial success, aviation reliability, professionalism and the sort of customer service commitment that has driven this 30-year old firm from day one and its very first flight. By any measure, it is a national and international leader, thanks to Danny’s enthusiasm and creativity.”
Helijet’s support of community, charitable and aviation interests and its high value on training and support of personnel in the aviation industry was seen in establishment of a new bursary program in 2016. The company established the Helijet International Bursary Award to be administered through the British Columbia Aviation Council. The five-year program will award $3,500 each year to mid-career candidates completing helicopter IFR training and to support AME Certification Training in assisting individuals to upgrade skills for both service and safety of benefit to passengers.

Besides the support of charitable and non-profit organizations, Danny Sitnam is known for contributions to the aviation industry through his leadership in providing support for new employees and a work environment that enables them to develop their skills and flourish in their fields. He has provided employment opportunities that provide for training, and the chance to take on responsibility for their positions. Helijet emphasizes its core values of safety, customer service, mutual respect, trust and professionalism. Sitnam is highly regarded by both present and past employees, and for promoting and providing opportunities for women entering the aviation industry

One former female pilot who left after several years to pursue other opportunities has stated that, “I felt as though I was leaving behind a family at Helijet. I walked into Danny’s office with tears in my eyes to thank him for all the support and opportunities over the years. Even though I was leaving, he still offered open arms and support for my new endeavours. I am one of many who got their start at Helijet and believe each one of us has developed a special bond with him, so genuinely approachable and caring as Danny has been over the years.”

Ken Glaze, the retired vice-president of Safety and Business Development for Helijet International Inc., has written that, “Danny has always led by example, extending the greatest respect to everyone, jumping in to perform or assist with any task that needed doing; consistently holding people and families on par with the company’s interests. Danny has inspired and maintained the faith and confidence of his board of directors, shareholders, management and employees.”

Danny Sitnam is well respected in the aviation community, by the Vancouver Board of Trade, and his leadership in helicopter operations is recognized world-wide. He and his wife, Laura, reside in West Vancouver and are the parents of daughter Corra-Rose and son Owen.

John Charles Sloan

Nickname: J.C.
Birthdate: April 11, 1924
Birth Place: Rockburn, Quebec
Death Date: December 26, 1983
Year Inducted: 1974
Awards: C.D.*

"His record can be matched only by those airmen of high endeavor and professional calling, who have devoted their lives and skills to the benefit of the free world, despite adversity, and whose contributions have substantially benefited Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1974

John Charles (J.C.) Sloan, C.D.*, was born in Rockburn, Quebec, on April 11, 1924. He was educated there and at Ormstown, Quebec, from where he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1942. His outstanding abilities as a pilot earned him a promotion to Flying Officer and a posting to instructional duties. Hoping to see active service, he transferred to the Royal Navy (RN) early in 1945 and joined what was to become Canada's first naval fighter squadron. In September 1945, he transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), and was promoted to Lieutenant in the permanent forces.

For two years Sloan served with No. 803 Squadron as an operational pilot from both shore bases and afloat until he was assigned to additional flight training with the Royal Navy in England. His outstanding flying abilities and grasp of modern operational flying concepts were recognized, and he was appointed to the staff of the Canadian Directorate of Naval Aircraft. In 1949 his completion of an instrument flying course at Centralia, Ontario, was followed by appointment to the Empire Test Pilot's course in England.

In 1951 the United States Navy (USN) requested Sloan's services as a test pilot and liaison officer. For the next three years he experimented with the most sophisticated and fastest jet fighters known, at the USN Test Centre at Patuxent River, Maryland, U.S.A. He later carried out duties as executive officer of an all-weather, single-seat, night fighter squadron with the USN Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. In 1952, while preparing to conduct tactical test evaluations of night refueling techniques with test leader, Alan B. Shepard, who later became an astronaut, his jet aircraft caught fire just ten miles (16 km) out and at 3,500 feet (1,070 m) above sea level. He ejected at low level over the water and was able to swim ashore. After completing that tour of duty he returned to Canadian service in 1954 and was assigned duties as Communications Officer aboard a destroyer in Korean waters.

His next assignment, in 1955, was Air Staff Officer, Atlantic Command, at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in which he played an important part in formulating training and operational plans for submission to RCN Headquarters. During this period he was seriously injured when the engine of a fighter aircraft he was piloting failed on take-off. After a year's hospitalization and recuperation, he was back flying and in command of VX-10 Experimental Squadron, a post he held until 1959, when lie again went to sea as Executive Officer of a frigate in North Atlantic waters. His squadron's performance during that period was officially commended by the Board of the Royal Canadian Navy and the United States Chief of Naval Operations.

In 1961 Sloan was promoted to the post of Naval Air Staff Officer in Ottawa, Ontario. His evaluations of command requirements and his initiative in tackling the formulation of new defense weapons and their deployment, resulted in another appointment in 1964, as Special Weapons Coordinator at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. There he prepared studies concerning the relative effectiveness of various weapons in both air and sea environments. He worked directly with several government departments and travelled extensively to effect liaison with U.S. and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) governments and military agencies.

Sloan retired from the RCN in 1968 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, after twenty five years of military flying. For a time he became a demonstration pilot and aviation consultant. He died on December 26, 1983.

John Charles (J.C.) Sloan was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 at a ceremony held at Edmonton, Alberta.

J.C. Sloan’s flying experience includes command time on 48 aircraft types, from single to four-engine aircraft and helicopters. He had more than 300 carrier landings to his credit, 80 of them at night. When he retired from the service, he commanded a most sophisticated and still-secret air experimental squadron.

Elvie Lawrence Smith

Birthdate: January 8, 1926
Birth Place: Eatonia, Saskatchewan
Death Date: August 4, 1999
Year Inducted: 1993
Awards: C.M. LL.D.(Hon), D.Sc.(Hon), D.Eng.*(Hon), The McCurdy Award, The C.D. Howe Award, The Gold Medal (Poland), The Tom Sawyer Award (USA), Aerospace Engineering Leadership Award (SAE), Thomas W. Eadie Medal (the Royal Society of Canada).

"His vision, dedication and leadership in the design, development, and manufacture of gas turbine engines, from both the technical and managerial aspects, has been of lasting benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1993

Elvie Lawrence Smith, C.M., B.Sc., M.Sc., D.Eng. (Hon), LL.D. (Hon), D.Sc. (Hon), was born in Eatonia, Saskatchewan, on January 8,  1926. He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (with Great Distinction) in 1947. He earned his Master of Science degree at Purdue University in Indiana. While at Purdue he pursued his other interest, flying, and qualified for his Private Pilot's Licence.

Smith spent five years at the National Research Council (NRC) as Research Engineer in its engine laboratory. He worked on projects dealing with gas turbine anti-icing and thrust boosting, as well as research on after-burning. He was the principal engineer involved in the development of a unique system where the after-burner fuel was sprayed directly into the turbine blades to reduce their temperature, and then burned in the after-burner downstream of the turbine. During his last two years with the NRC, he was seconded to the Flight Research Section where he was the Project Manager carrying out the testing of these after-burners on a Gloster Meteor and a Canadair F-86 Sabre.

He joined Pratt & Whitney Aircraft of Canada (P&WC) in January 1957, as an Analytical Engineer and a key member of a team assembled to initiate the design, development and manufacture of gas turbine engines. Initially, he examined engines in the 1,500 to 2,000 shaft horse-power (shp) category and then the team began work on the development of an engine for the new, light Canadair CL-41 Jet Trainer, the Tutor. The JT-12 engine, although rejected for the CL-41, was further developed by Pratt & Whitney at Hartford, U.S.A., and proved successful.

In 1958 Smith toured a number of airframe companies with other members of the P&WC team, promoting a small turbine engine. At Beech Aircraft it was learned that a cabin class aircraft had just flown and that Beech was interested in gas turbine engines. The team returned to Montreal and redesigned the engine from its initial rating of 350 shp rating to 450 shp to meet Beech's requirements. That engine was the PT6, and today it is the most successful and highest-production gas turbine engine in commercial aviation history. The latest models produce nearly 2,000 shp.

By 1961, Smith was responsible for all gas turbine development and activity at P&WC. In 1962, as Engineering Manager, his responsibility covered all engineering activities. In 1966 he was named Vice-President, Engineering, and in 1970, Vice-President, Operations. During the next eight years he oversaw the growth of engineering and manufacturing activity, and the continued development of a number of P&WC gas turbine engines. These engines set world standards for design excellence and dependability in all types of environments. In 1978 he was appointed P&WC's Executive Vice-President, Operations, and in March 1980, President and Chief Executive Officer. Smith's interest in engineering education and research promoted cooperation between P&WC and advanced educational institutions. He also increased the company's budget for Research and Development.

During the following years, markets were enlarged and production reached 3,300 gas turbine engines per year, making P&WC the world's largest producer of small aircraft gas turbine engines. These engines are now used in more than 150 countries and power more than 140 types of aircraft. In 1984 Smith was made Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He retired from active management in 1987, but remained Chairman of the Board until 1994.

He was awarded several Honorary Doctorates in recognition of his leadership in the field of engineering. These included: Doctor of Laws (Concordia, 1983), Doctor of Engineering (Carleton, 1984), Doctor of Engineering (Purdue, 1987), and Doctor of Science (Saskatchewan, 1997).

Smith was a Fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) from which he received the McCurdy and C.D. Howe Awards in 1973 and 1983 respectively. Other awards for his work include: the Thomas W. Eadie Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Gold Medal of the Polish Peoples Republic, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers R. Tom Sawyer Award (all awarded in 1985). In 1992 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (C.M.). In 1994 he was awarded the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aerospace Engineering Leadership Award.

Elvie Lawrence Smith died at St. Lambert, Quebec on August 4, 1999.

Elvie Lawrence Smith was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1993 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.


Elvie Smith maintained his love for flying. He held a multi-engine IFR rating, a float endorsement as well as glider instructor rating. He was the fourth Canadian to hold the ‘Gold C’ badge in gliding. He regularly flew aerobatic routines in a Yak 55M.

Franklin Ernest William Smith

Nickname: Frank
Birthdate: April 22, 1913
Birth Place: Calgary, Alberta
Death Date: March 26, 1996
Year Inducted: 1998
Awards: D.F.C., A.F.C., The Ken Wright Trophy, Air Canada Award of Merit

"His pioneering efforts with IFR flying with the RCAF, his service to Air Canada and to the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association combined with his abilities to preserve aviation history in written form have all been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1998

Franklin Ernest William (Frank) Smith, D.F.C., A.F.C., was born in Calgary, Alberta, on April 22, 1913. His family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1922. He entered the University of British Columbia in 1929 to take advantage of the Provisional Pilot Officer course with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) that was offered to selected undergraduates in Applied Science. He trained on the Cirrus Moth in the summer of 1931 at Camp Borden, Ontario. However, the course was discontinued in 1932 and he was not involved with aviation again until World War II.

Smith joined the RCAF in August of 1940 and graduated with a Pilot Officer commission in May of 1941, through the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). He became an instructor following training at Patricia Bay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In 1942 he was posted to No. 12 Communications Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, as the full time instructor of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) in the RCAF, being himself trained by Z.L. Leigh and Marlow Kennedy. Smith subsequently trained most of the original pilots for No. 164 and No. 165 Transport Squadrons.

In 1943 Smith was named Commander of No. 165 Squadron's detachment in Edmonton, Alberta. This detachment supplied the RCAF units along the North West Staging Route and elsewhere in the north. The Staging Route roughly followed the route of the Alaska Highway, and was used primarily to ferry warplanes to Alaska and Russia in defence of the North in the early 1940's. Smith organized a daily scheduled service from Edmonton to Whitehorse and operated supply charters to the Staging Posts, including Aishihik and Snag in the Yukon, and down the Mackenzie River to Fort Simpson and Norman Wells, Northwest Territories.

This unit flew IFR and developed a good reputation for all-weather operations. At that time, there were no route or approach charts for those northern areas. Smith drew up his own, which he had photoprinted for his pilots. As they were the best and most accurate of any in the area, the detachment was soon selling them to other pilots working in the north. This business prospered until the first Canada Air Pilot charts were published by the Ministry of Transport in 1944. He was awarded the Air Force Cross (A.F.C.) and promoted to Squadron Leader for his leadership and organization, and for the hazardous airdrops he made to mountain troops training on the north flank of Mount Edith Cavell near Jasper, Alberta.

Late in 1944, Smith became Flight Commander of No. 436 Operational Transport Squadron in India and Burma. This Squadron was based first at the Kangia strip in the Imphal Valley, India, then at Akyab, and finally Ramree Island - the wettest place on the Arakan Coast, on the Bay of Bengal. He was the only IFR qualified pilot in the squadron and convinced the Commanding Officer that it was much safer to fly using instruments through the monsoon clouds than to fly the valleys visually. This enabled the unit to fly 1,000 hours a month more than any other squadron in the Combat Cargo Task Force, and without the heavy losses the others were experiencing. It was through his inspiration that a weather reporting aircraft, code named 'Watchbird', flown by himself and the Commanding Officer, would guide the squadron's aircraft through the heavy weather and promote confidence in instrument flight. During this tour of duty, Smith was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C.).

Smith returned to Canada in September 1945, and resigned from the RCAF. He then joined Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA) in 1946 at Winnipeg, Manitoba, and after his initial training, was assigned to Vancouver. He accumulated nearly 19,000 hours in the service of TCA, which was renamed Air Canada (AC) in 1965.

He retired from AC in 1973 at age 60, and flew for Air Jamaica until mid-1976, accumulating another 2,200 hours. While with Air Jamaica he assisted management and published their flight operations periodical.

Throughout his career, Smith was active in the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association (CALPA), holding executive offices continually from 1950 to 1963. For three years he edited and published the Association's quarterly magazine, The Pilot. In 1976 he was awarded CALPA's Ken Wright Trophy for outstanding leadership and professionalism, and was made a Life Member of that organization in 1978. He organized and became the founding president of CALPA for Retired Air Line Pilots in 1976.

He was active in a number of other organizations, including the British Columbia Aviation Council, the Quarter Century in Aviation Club, the Vancouver Air Force Officer's Association and the Burma Star Association. In September 1977, he was awarded the Air Canada Award of Merit for his outstanding contributions to aviation and to that airline. He died at Delta, British Columbia, on March 26, 1996.

Franklin Ernest William Smith was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996 at a ceremony held in Montreal, Quebec.

Recommended reading:
“The First Thirty Years - a History of CALPA” - F.E.W. Smith (1970)

Smith was an accomplished writer. An early work, titled “A Lexicon for Airline Pilots”, sought to define and outline a pilot’s profession. He wrote “The First Thirty Years - a History of CALPA” published in 1970. He was a regular contributor to Canadian aviation publications. he was also a well known public speaker, and in 1977 was retained by Air Canada to help publicize their 40th Anniversary, and in that capacity appeared in major cities across Canada.

Rogers Smith

Nickname: Rog
Birthdate: April 13, 1936
Birth Place: Dawson Creek, B.C.
Year Inducted: 2017
Awards: M.Sc., FRAS, Distinguished NASA Leadership Medal

Flying first with the Royal Canadian Air Force, then with the National Research Council and NASA, Rogers Smith was established as a top test pilot. As both an engineer and a test pilot, he has reached the pinnacle of his profession, highly regarded internationally for his innovations, experience and competence.

Born in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, on April 13, 1936, the only child of parents Douglas and Anna, Rogers Smith moved with his parents to Toronto in 1942 when his father enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Rogers’ father was posted to England as a weapons loader and Rogers grew up in Toronto. He graduated in 1955 from Harbord Collegiate Institute, a school with a tradition of academic excellence since 1892.

Enrolling in the Regular Officer Training Program of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Rogers studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Toronto. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science degree with honours in 1959 and began pilot training at RCAF Station Centralia, Ontario.  Later summers of pilot training were completed at RCAF Trenton and finally at Gimli, Manitoba. On leave from the air force with a scholarship, Rogers completed his M.Sc. degree with honours at the U of T in aeronautical engineering in 1961. Returning to flying, he completed a course on F-86 Sabres at Chatham, New Brunswick, and was posted to 1 (F) Wing at Marville, France, where he flew Sabres with 441 Squadron until it was disbanded in 1963.

In 1964 Rogers left the RCAF to take a position as a test pilot with the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa. While working with the National Aeronautical Establishment (NAE) of the NRC, Rogers was involved with the development and testing of helicopter stability and other research projects.

Following three years with the NRC, he was offered a position in the United States with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  As his mother was an American citizen at the time of his birth, Rogers was able to have dual Canadian-American citizenship.

After a year with NASA at the Langley Research Center in Virginia, in 1968 he moved to the Cornell Aeronautical Labs (later called Calspan) in Buffalo, New York. There for 12 years he worked on various projects, mainly in handling characteristics and flight control research using variable stability aircraft, as well as demonstrating and lecturing on the subjects at test pilot schools. Eventually Rogers specialized in projects to develop specifications through in-flight simulation for the General Dynamics F-16 and McDonnell Douglas F-18 jet aircraft. In 1973 he returned to NRC/NAE to fill in as chief pilot for a year before returning to Calspan. While there he co-developed an analytical technique known as the Neal-Smith Criterion to evaluate flight qualities of fighter aircraft; it is a system still in use.

In 1970, Rogers joined the Niagara Falls unit of the Air National Guard (ANG). He flew T-33s, McDonnell F-101 Voodoos, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms and F-16s. In 1982 he transferred to the NASA Dryden facility at Edwards, California and commuted on weekends from there to Niagara Falls to fly with the ANG. In 1994 after 24 years with the ANG, including two as a Squadron Commander and his last year as Group Commander of the Unit, he retired from the Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel.

At NASA Dryden, civil and military projects were continuously underway. These included electronic “fly-by-wire” control systems, advanced engine technology, weather-related safety, aircraft control and development programs for Access-to-Space Vehicles. In addition, Rogers flew other specialized NASA research aircraft including the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark, the fly-by-wire Vought F-8 Crusader, and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, capable of Mach 3+ speeds and used for high-altitude reconnaissance flights during the Cold War. It was the fastest aircraft in the world. In trips to Sweden he consulted on SAAB Gripen fighter aircraft development and in January 1993 became Chief Test Pilot at NASA Dryden, heading a team of 13 research crews.

As well, he was a project pilot for the multi-national X-31 program. The X-31 was a small delta-wing jet aircraft that first flew in 1990 in a joint U.S.-German program to explore the benefits of Thrust Vectoring for fighter aircraft. Only two were ever built, with flights and testing ending in 1995.

In 1997, selected for the Russian/American Flight Research Exchange Program, Smith had the opportunity to fly seven flights in four different Russian aircraft in Russia. One special experience for him was flying the MiG-25 to 81,000 feet. In 1998, and for his final two years at NASA Dryden, he was Acting Director for Flight Operations, where he led the Avionics, Operations Engineering, Quality Inspection, Aircraft Maintenance and Modifications and other fields. Throughout his career, Rogers has served as both an engineer and a pilot, still continuing his own test flying duties. In 1999, he participated in the Independent Review Team on the multi-nation Joint Strike Fighter Program. When retiring from NASA, Rogers had logged 10,000 hours, with 8,000 of them in jet aircraft. With 6,000 hours as a test pilot, he is one of the western world’s most experienced and respected engineering test pilots.

Lured out of retirement in 2001, Smith joined the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) as a consultant and spent the next three years in Germany. He last served there as Vice President and Director of Flight Test and Testing at the EADS Military Flight Test Center. It was during a key period of development of the prototype and production stages of the EuroFighter. Since returning home to the United States. “Rog” as he is known, has continued as a consultant in the aviation industry. As such, he maintains a current FAA licence as manager and test pilot for a program of development and testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the United States Air Force.

Throughout his career, Rogers has been active in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP), serving positions on the executive board, including president in 1996. In 1998 he was awarded the Distinguished NASA Leadership Medal. In 2003 he was honoured with SETP’s James H. Doolittle Award for outstanding management or engineering achievement in aerospace technology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Edward Schneider, a colleague and former test pilot who flew with Rogers for eighteen years, has stated that, “Rogers Smith has clearly demonstrated during a superb career, a series of achievements as a fighter pilot, test pilot, flight instructor, engineer and manager, which I will classify as both vast and superlative. He has commanded a fighter squadron, successfully performed hundreds of successful flight tests, taught a generation of test pilots, written over thirty technical papers, and invented flight test techniques... one of Canada’s and the world’s finest test pilots.”

Rogers still flies as required to qualify for his current UAV test pilot work, using a Cessna 182 Turbo and still maintains his dual citizenship. He has lived in Mammoth Lakes, California with his wife, Judith, since 1997. Rogers Smith is the father of five grown children – Lauren, Lisa, Mark, Trevor and Meghan – and grandfather to six.

Ernest Walter Stedman

Birthdate: July 23, 1888
Birth Place: Malling, Kent, England
Death Date: March 27, 1957
Year Inducted: 1982
Awards: C.B., O.B.E., The Julian C. Smith Medal, Legion of Merit (USA)

"His work as a pioneer in the fields of aeronautical engineering and research contributed significantly to the laying of a sound foundation for Canadian aviation and has been of outstanding benefit to the Nation." - Induction citation, 1982

Ernest Walter Stedman, C.B,, O.B.E., was born in Mailing, Kent, England, on July 23, 1888. He attended boarding school in Kent, followed by four years of practical training at H.M. Dockyard Sheerness Apprentice School. He was accepted at the Royal College of Science, London, as a Whitworth Scholar, and completed his formal education in 1911.

For the next two years Stedman was employed as a draftsman on marine engines and taught evening classes in engineering subjects at Hartley University. As a result of a general interest in aviation and a visit to the National Physical Laboratories at Teddington where he saw experimental work being done in a wind tunnel, he applied for a position. He was hired as a Junior Scientific Assistant in 1913 and spent a year engaged in pioneer work in aerodynamics.

With the advent of World War I, he began work in the Design Branch of the Air Department of the Admiralty, attached to the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). His engineering abilities were soon recognized and he held a number of appointments related to aircraft design during the war. In 1918 he transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and assumed command of an Aircraft Repair Depot in France. Later, he worked on applied design in the Air Ministry, where he remained until 1919. For his dedication and contributions to the technical development of the aeroplane, Lieutenant-Colonel Stedman was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E., Military).

He immigrated to Canada in 1920 and was appointed to the Technical Branch of Canada's Air Board for the control of aeronautics. In 1922 he established the Aircraft Inspection Department at Camp Borden, Ontario which was responsible for the airworthiness of all aircraft in Canada. He transferred to the Canadian Air Force in May 1922, where he, as Wing Commander, provided direction to the research and development of better and safer aircraft and the regulations which govern their design. He prepared a critical report for the RAF that compared aircraft and engines of various countries. It recognized the need to develop an advantageous speed differential for British aircraft, recommendations which had far reaching effects. The Supermarine Company developed racers which won the seaplane race for the Schneider Cup. The new, streamlined design for this aircraft was the basis for the development of the Spitfire.

With the reorganization of Canada's Department of National Defence in 1927, an Aeronautical Engineering Division headed by Stedman was formed to serve the RCAF, the Civil Air Operations Branch, and the Controller of Civil Aviation. For thirteen years in this capacity he contributed to the advancement of aeronautical research and aircraft maintenance.

From 1939 Stedman was actively involved in the rapid expansion of the RCAF to meet its operational wartime commitments, as well as the varied technical requirements of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). He rose through the Officer ranks and was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal in 1940. He is credited with the foresight to recommend the purchase of helicopters for search and rescue, radar aids for pilots and the entry of Canada into the field of jet propulsion. He was at the centre of every major technical development in which the RCAF was involved, including the development of Canada's first jet engine by Orenda, a subsidiary of Avro Canada Ltd.

His contributions to Canadian aviation have been recognized by numerous honours. In 1939 he received the Julian C. Smith Memorial Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada; in 1944 he was appointed a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.), and in 1945 he received the Legion of Merit of the United States in the Degree of Commander. 

Following his retirement from the service in 1946, Stedman was appointed Assistant Professor in the Engineering Department of Carleton College, Ottawa. His well-rounded career has been thoroughly described in his memoirs, "From Boxkite to Jet", which were completed shortly before his death in Ottawa on March 27, 1957.

Ernest Walter Stedman was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1982 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.

Recommended reading:
"From Boxkite to Jet. Memoirs of Air Vice-Marshall Ernest W. Stedman" - Ernest W. Stedman (1963)

In 1919 E.W. Stedman came to Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, as the engineer in charge of the Handley-Page bomber that was competing for the Daily Mail prize of $10,000 for the first non-stop Trans-Atlantic flight - a prize which was won by Alcock and Brown in a Vickers Vimy bomber on June 14, 1919.

Alexander MacKay Sutherland

Nickname: Mickey
Birthdate: December 30, 1910
Birth Place: Edmonton, Alberta
Death Date: February 28, 1993
Year Inducted: 1991

"His adventurous spirit, innovative mind and ability to function under the most severe conditions while opening the Canadian north were of benefit to Canadian aviation." - Induction citation, 1991

Alexander Mackay 'Mickey' Sutherland was born in Edmonton, Alberta, on December 30, 1910, and educated there. In the fall of 1927 he joined the Edmonton and Northern Alberta Aero Club and received flight instruction from W.R. 'Wop' May and M. 'Moss' Burbidge. He obtained his Private Pilot's Licence in December of 1929 and his Air Engineer's Licence in 1931.

He was employed by Spence McDonough Air Transport as an Air Engineer in the summer of 1931, operating from their base at Fort McMurray, Alberta, into the Northwest Territories, northern Manitoba and Ontario. He participated in many flights north, as far as Coppermine on the Arctic Ocean, and Great Bear Lake, delivering prospectors and supplies.

During one of these trips in 1933, Sutherland and pilot Bill Spence were landing their Fairchild CF-AAO at a camp on the Camsell River in a heavy overcast. They spotted the so-called run-way marked on both sides with spruce boughs, but in the whiteness they could not see snow piled in 3 - 4 foot (1 m) drifts. On impact, the undercarriage broke off and the propeller was badly damaged. They managed to jack up the aircraft, and with great ingenuity, Sutherland rebuilt the undercarriage, and repaired the propeller by sawing six inches off one tip to make it match the damaged one, all in -50°F (-46°C) weather.

Early in 1934 Sutherland joined Canadian Airways Limited in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he worked as air mechanic for pilot Z. Lewis Leigh (Hall of Fame 1974), operating out of their Fort McMurray base and north as far as Great Bear Lake. Together they made particularly difficult trips to Windy Lake in the Northwest Territories with prospectors, followed by many loads of supplies. They were then sent to Great Bear Lake to operate their aircraft on skis until they could fly out on floats in June. On one occasion, Sutherland made a difficult change-over from skis to floats on a stony beach.

Sutherland teamed up with many well-known bush pilots who operated out of Fort McMurray, including 'Wop' May, Archie McMullen, C.H. 'Punch' Dickins and Rudy Huess. While on one flight with May, he noticed movement in one of the upper cylinders of the engine. An emergency landing was made and Sutherland carried out a cylinder change, including studs, which allowed them to return to base.

Canadian Airways' Chief Pilot Walter Gilbert asked him to move to their Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, base, as Chief Mechanic. On one occasion in 1936, in what was planned to be the last trip before freeze-up, Sutherland was in a float-equipped Fairchild with pilot Bill Windrum when they ran into a blinding snowstorm on their way to Goldfields, Saskatchewan. They landed on a lake near Lake Athabasca, but when they awoke in the morning, they found about six inches (15 cm) of slush on the surface of the lake, the heavy snowfall continuing, and the temperature dropping rapidly to -30°F (-33°C). The floats were beginning to freeze into the ice on shore. They managed to free the floats, and took off from the ice as quickly as possible.

On another occasion the oleo-leg to fuselage fitting on a Lockheed Vega was seriously damaged by a snow-covered rock during a ski equipped take-off from Lac la Ronge. He managed to make a good repair using a welding outfit and some metal straps that were flown in from the base.

Sutherland's bush-flying career ended in the fall of 1937 when he began a long career with Trans-Canada Airlines. He was involved in establishing sub-bases and line stations, and assisted in the design of hangars and shops. He became Director of Maintenance and Overhaul, and from 1940 to 1945, he assisted in the maintenance and overhaul of aircraft and components for Air Training Command.

In February 1953, Sutherland joined Slick Airways, a freight airline, in Burbank, California, as Director of Engineering and Maintenance. He was hired by Douglas Aircraft where his responsibility was to help design the DC-9 for low maintenance requirements. He traveled around the world in connection with the DC-9 and DC-10. He retired from Douglas Aircraft in 1975, after forty eight years in aviation. He died on February 28, 1993.

Alexander Mackay 'Mickey' Sutherland was inducted as a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991 at a ceremony held in Edmonton, Alberta.


Air Engineers in the north were famous for their ingenuity in repairing broken aircraft. Sometimes repairs were made from materials found on shore or at a prospector’s camp. Occasionally materials would be found among the supplies being flown to a customer, as on the trip when Sutherland used a mining company’s forge and some steel runners to repair a badly damaged landing gear.