40 years? Where has the time gone?


Woodstock happened 40 years ago.  I was a young hippie in Vancouver and heard that it was happening but didn’t have the balls to hop a ride to New York State.

Lots of postings all over the net in commemoration of the anniversary and here’s my take.  The Crosby Stills and Nash song “Long Time Gone” was used at the start of the movie showing the tranquil site before it became a sea of mud and humanity.  Always loved this song and the images.

1969. Man walked on the moon and the Summer of Love was in full bloom.  The future looked bright.

Today in aviation history – August 16, 1947

aviation history

Canadian Aviation Museum

First flight of the de Havilland DHC-2 “Beaver” at Downsview Airport in Toronto.

One of the most important and recognizable aircraft ever built, hundreds of Beavers are still in the air even though production ceased in 1967.

The picture above shows CF-FHB, the very first Beaver now housed at the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa. I took it last year during my visit.

Here she is as CF-FHB-X (for experimental) on one of the first test flights.


The building behind now houses an indoor soccer pitch and is located next door to the Canadian Air & Space Museum.

Beavers passing

A picture I took last year in Vancouver of 2 working Beavers near Vancouver airport.  There’s nothing like the sound of those big Pratt & Whitney Wasp Jr. radial engines. 

Today in aviation history – August 7, 1919


Curtiss JN-4

Capt. Ernest C. Hoy, DFC, of Vancouver took off from Minoru Park on Lulu Island and flew to Calgary. Said in one sentence, it sounds unimpressive. These days a trip like that takes about an hour and a quarter. For Captain Hoy it took 16 hours and 42 minutes. His flight was the first ever made across the Canadian Rockies. This was also the first airmail delivery across the Rockies—from Richmond to Golden, Calgary and Lethbridge.

Capt. Hoy flew a Curtiss JN-4, commonly called the “Jenny”.

Wings & Wheels – Meet the Aircraft – Part 4

Wings & Wheels

Lockheed 10A Electra CF-TCC

Lockheed 10A “Electra” registration CF-TCC.

From their website:

On September 1, 1937, Trans Canada Airlines (the forerunner of Air Canada) operated its first scheduled passenger flight – a fifty minute trip from Vancouver to Seattle.
The route had been acquired from Canadian Airways Ltd. along with two ten seat Lockheed 10A "Electra" aircraft. Shortly after, TCA bought three other LI0As, all brand new, direct from Lockheed’s plant, at a purchase price of  $73,000 each. They were dubbed the "three sisters" and bore the registration letters of CF-TCA, CF-TCB and CF-TCC.
After flying for a couple of years for TCA, CF-TCC was sold in 1939 to the Canadian Government, who turned it over to the RCAF as part of the war effort. Then it was sold again, and went from owner to owner during some forty years. One day in 1975, a retired Air Canada employee recognized it at a Texas Air Show when he saw the faded shadow of the registration letters, CF-TCC,  through the paint work.
Air Canada kept track of the aircraft and finally re-purchased it in 1983. The plane was flown to the Airline’s Winnipeg maintenance base where it was rejuvenated and refurbished. Pratt & Whitney Canada arranged for the complete overhaul of its two engines and for furnishing accessories and spares.
In 1986 Air Canada flew the aircraft on a fifty stop "sentimental journey" across Canada with CF-TCC arriving in Vancouver in time for Expo "86.  It was on display there at the Air Canada pavilion complete with sound effects as the engines cranked over.
Today, CF-TCC participates in diverse promotional activities, including conducting flights to raise funds for charitable organizations. It has flown across Canada in the last few years raising money for "Dreams Take Flight".
The aircraft weights 4724 kilos (10,500lbs) with a full payload including fuel. It has a cruising speed of 256 KPH (160 mph) and a cruising altitude of 4,800 meters (16,000 ft).


Lockheed 10A Electra CF-TCC

A beautiful memory of times gone by.  Great to see her return to Wings & Wheels.

The slide into mediocrity

aviation, Flying Is Fun

air travel sucks Although I’m usually lucky enough to get business class when I travel to Europe, domestic travel is always in cattle class.  In order to help dull the pain, I pay a fair amount of money every year to for a "Maple Leaf Club" card with Air Canada.  This allows me to use the lounge and executive class check in facilities.  It’s been a good deal but I’m starting to think about whether it’s worth renewing next year.

I got to the airport in Toronto this morning with plenty of time to check in, go to the lounge and then wander down to the gate.  Or so I thought.  There were about 30 people in line waiting for one harried Air Canada agent.  I finally got through and heading off to go through security.  It was hell but that’s not Air Canada’s fault.

Got into the lounge without problem and immediately noticed a few things:

  1. Coffee machine out of order
  2. Real glass glasses had been replaced with plastic.  Not only is this wasteful but it sure sends an incredibly cheap message to your best customers.
  3. The entire lounge was messy.  Lots of staff standing around, just no one doing anything.  Where are the supervisors?
  4. The men’s room (usually a treat when compared to the standard terminal facilities) was out of toilet paper and messy.  Hello?  Doesn’t anyone check these things on a regular basis?

The flight was fine.  Flight deck was unusually chatty which is always a good thing.  Watched Caddyshack and had a good laugh and saw some incredibly high thunderheads which were stirred up by Hurricane Ike.  Left rainy Toronto and landed in sunny Vancouver.

Air Canada, you’re letting the beancounters ruin what was once a proud, great airline.  You’re sacrificing decades of goodwill to save a few bucks.  I know times are tough but you need to think these things through.  And don’t even get me started on your Jazz affiliate pulling all the life vests off their airplanes.  Somehow the phrase "penny wise and pound foolish" is stuck in my mind and won’t go away.