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Canada - Our Role in Aviation

AVRO Avian

Twin Otter
Ken Borek Twin Otter

AVRO Arrow
AVRO Arrow

Canada is a country with close ties to aviation, a country with large distances, remote regions, and the exploration and development of our vast northern areas. There are aviation legends such as Wop May delivering the Diphtheria serum to Fort Vermillion, northern Alberta in mid-winter in an open cockpit AVRO Avian IVM.

There is the wartime production of the AVRO Lancaster in Malton, Ontario. There is the design and production of the DeHavilland Chipmunk, and the Beaver and Otter series, which revolutionized bush and remote country flying. The Twin Otter produced another Canadian aviation legend, when a Ken Borek crew, out of Calgary, flew to a base camp in Antarica, to medivac' a scientist who had become critically ill.

We also remember the infamous cancellation, (by the government of the day) of the advanced and incredible AVRO Arrow the CF-105, after five had flown.

In spite of this heritage, many aviation enthusiasts continue to feel a sense of isolation or lack of recognition, of our place in the global history of aviation. To be sure, we as Canadians stand tall in the development of aerial firsts, in our contribution to global aviation warfare, and in our innovation and development of personal aircraft.

As I recently browsed the website of the Canadian Aviation Museum, Uplands Airport, Ottawa, Canada, I was drawn to the pages that describe the exhibits with their photos.

The exhibits are arranged in time periods as in Pioneer Era, World War I, Inter-War, etc., right up to 1990 to 1999. Of about 136 pages on individual aircraft, some 130 had in some way been involved in the lives of Canadians. Many were designed and produced here, many types developed in other countries but then found their way to Canada during the British Commonwealth Training Program for production, and many others were used by the military, by bush pilots, or by Canadian business and government interests.in all the years since the Silver Dart launched from a lake in Nova Scotia in 1909.

In future newsletters we will re-visit some of these achievements and aircraft; to help us to remember and to re-appreciate our history and our role in the world's greatest conquest, called "flight."

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