Bill Wheeler's Vintage Bushplanes - Photo Essay
Toronto Centennial Celebrations 1934 Air Show

The Lindbergh of Canada - The Errol Boyd Story

Legendary flyer Errol Boyd took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, on October 9th, 1930, and flew into Canadian, and aviation, history. Toasted by royalty and political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, he was the first Canadian to fly across the North Atlantic, and the first pilot of any nationality to make the flight outside of the summer season.

Author Ross Smyth has gone back in time to trace the life of this Canadian hero, from his childhood in Toronto, to his imprisonment in Holland during the First World War, through to his many record-setting flights, and beyond, to his final days as an aging pioneer aviator. Smyth’s book resurrects Boyd’s heroics, and revisits the fame of one of the most important aviators of the Golden Age of Flight. Errol Boys was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame on June 15, 2017.   [ More info … ]

Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939

If we start aviation with the American Wright Brothers in 1903, it was a mere 11 years until the beginning of the war. Canada’s first acquired aircraft was flown in 1909 and looked like the Wright Flyer.i It’s amazing that there were so many advances in aviation as the war continued. But just as the advances came online, the war ended, and Canadian aviation took a back seat. The Canadians, like many others, stifled the development of their air forces, both air force and naval aviation. The period between the wars was highly regarded as retrenchment rather than progress in the advancement of airpower for the Nation. Only the civilian counterpart implementation of aircraft into the aviation commerce assisted the Canadian Air Force modernization.  [ More info … ]

Images of Aviation – Pan Am

Pan American World Airways could be considered a corporate Cinderella – a rags-to-riches-and-back-again phenomenon. From its founding in 1927 and its relatively obscure inauguration as a mail carrier on a 90-rnile mail run from Florida’s Key West to Cuba, Pan Am’s route system grew to span the globe. The company that would eventually become famous for its blue-and-white-world logo grew into a conglomerate of hotels, airlines, business jets., real estate, a helicopter service, and even a guided missiles range division. But financial problems plagued Pan Am in its last two decades, and in 1991, Pan American World Airways ceased flying after 64 years of service.   [ More info … ]

R100 Visit to Toronto in 1930

On August 11th, 1930, Torontonians stared up at the skies and saw a new model of airship hovering over the city. Airline designers hoped that this new airship ~ the British built R 100 ~ would herald a new age in commercial flight across the Atlantic.

Design of the HM Airship R100 began in rural Yorkshire in 1925. The project was plagued by difficulties. Construction took place on a remote, rundown airfield. Because construction took place in a rural area, skilled labour was hard to find. The construction shed had a leaking roof, and was unheated, so ice formed on the metal in the winter, and even in warmer seasons, condensation and dampness made for corrosion of the airship’s metal frame.  Get the full story here

The Golden Age of Seaplane Racing

The greatest legacy of the Schneider Trophy races was their influence on aircraft design and engines, especially on subsequent military aircraft. The Rolls-Royce R engine was ultimately developed into the mighty Griffon. One engineer felt 10 years of development was compressed into two with the R engine. Those innovations were incorporated into a new V-12 engine, ultimately known as the Merlin, of which almost 150,000 were produced for a huge range of military and civil aircraft. The Schneider Trophy experience gained by R.J. Mitchell and Supermarine engineers gave the company what it needed to develop fighters best exemplified by the Spitfire. Perhaps the finest expression of the historical impact of the Schneider Trophy races is the Rolls-Royce Battle of Britain Memorial Window, now located at the company’s visitor centre in Derby.  Get the full story here

Harbour Grace Airfield

The flight of WWI Aviator Erroll Boyd of Toronto from Harbour Grace Airfield in Newfoundland to the UK made him the “Lindberg of Canada”. Erroll was the first Canadian to fly a single engine airplane across the Atlantic in October. Quite a feat in the 1930s. Harbour Grace has an important place in aviation history and is still operating as an airfield.  [ More info … ]

Forgotten Cub Aircraft – A Brief History

As a native Hamiltonian, I was surprised to learn that Hamilton, Ontario once had an aircraft manufacturing plant and a flying school affiliated with Piper Aircraft Corporation.

My first airplane flight was in a Piper PA-11 float plane. While researching this aircraft, I was able to contact the pilot’s widow.

She informed me that her husband and his brother went to Hamilton in 1947 to learn to fly and buy a J-3C Cub.

I tried to research information on the Cub Aircraft operation and found that precious little existed and what I did find was both sporadic and inaccurate. I decided to embark on a research project that would “write the wrong”.

In this article, I will provide a brief history of Hamilton’s Cub Aircraft that is based on my research to date. The information is gathered from newspaper articles published in the Hamilton Spectator, aviation publications, first person recollections and from a 1969 Ontario Royal Commission. My continuing research will include a comprehensive document on all 150 Cub Aircraft, that were manufactured from October 1945 until its demise in February 1949.
  [ Read More … ]

Hamilton Municipal Airport 1929 - 1951 - Photo Essay