February 26, 2009
Fifty years ago, I was one of a group of 8 flight cadets from the Netherlands who arrived in Canada to start their flying training in the Royal Canadian Air Force, together with Danish, Norwegian and Canadian cadets.
It started on RCAF station Centralia in the summer of 1959, time and location so well narrated by Ann-Mary MacDonald in her book “The Way the Crow Flies”. After language classes and ground school we started primary flying training on Chipmunk aircraft. The ones who successfully completed the syllabus moved on to basic flying training on Harvard aircraft in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Getting there by train in September was an unforgettable experience. The Harvard was heavier and much more difficult to fly. It was easy to get lost during navigation flights over the Saskatchewan prairies—reading the town’s name on a grain silo would sometimes help during the day, but no such help during night flying. New and exciting was formation flying and the introduction to dogfights. And Saskatchewan was COLD!
In the spring of 1960 we moved to Gimli, north of Winnipeg, to fly the T-33 jet. The T-33 added the excitement of speed and high altitude flying. I vividly remember climbing out of the T-33 cockpit, soaking wet, totally exhausted, after the first hours of close formation flying in a jet. It’s total concentration, often under high G conditions. My longest navigation trip was from Gimli to Montreal, flying back at night, using the primitive navigation aids of 50 years ago. Spectacular was watching the Golden Hawks aerobatic team and the brightly painted ‘Red Knight’ perfecting their manoeuvres over Gimli. Some remarkable precision flying was shown in a multi aircraft formation, 38 T-33s forming the word RCAF.
After graduation from #3 Advanced Flying School I returned to The Netherlands. I promised myself to one day return to Canada, the country I had fallen in love with. I did in 1982, together with my wife and two children. Flying is still my hobby.
Jan Juurlink, Gravenhurst ON
February 24, 2009
I am one of many lost boy of Sudan, I came to Canada in February 1999 from Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. I was having dream that I kept it to myself, I want to be a pilot. In winter of 2000 started aviation at Aero Academy in London, Onterio and that's the time I share dream with my brother, I was so happy thinking I get it all.But I stop because I can't afforted it, I'm still going to Edmonton Flying Club and hopping one day I will get my wing and fulfil my dream, thanks to Canada, this is experience I though I will never see in my life, I am now a proud Canadain, I love Canada all my heart.
Dieu Atem, Edmonton AB
February 24, 2009
This is a combat airdrop of food and water from a Canadian CC-130 Hercules to canadian ground troops in panjwai Afghanistan. The troops were running criticlly low of both food and water at this point.This load was dropped to the soldiers because every time a convoy tried to get into re-supply them it was hit by IED's or ambushed while on route. I took the picture from the back of the aircraft.
Ryan Maher, Winnipeg MA
February 24, 2009
I suggest you also include the history of helicopters in Canada, also quite significant. Of special interest to me as my father was first Canadian to solo in one. His name is Jean Paul Fournier. Was also flight leutenant on RN aircraft carriers in WW2, also first French Canadian to join RN. Was also head at ICAO for many years, DOT also, signed Howard Hughes' Canadian pilots license. Etc.
Denis Fournier, Santagio, Chile
February 24, 2009
I have for many years been involved with flying the youth of our community sharing the “wonder of flight” to them. Flying the above “Young Eagles” as part of my flight crew this day was a little different especially with Chelsea Purssey 10.
Chelsea was an alert/keen participant and eager to learn as much as she could during her demonstration flight. Her eagerness and that of many others spurred me on to take on the responsibilities of Oshawa's Young Eagles programme scheduled for Saturday June 13/rain date Sunday June 14/09.
Many of our pilot volunteers are experienced pilots only too happy to pass along 'that joy of flight' to the next generation of young pilots and aircraft/airshow boosters. We will take up approx. 200 - 300 Young Eagles this year and give them a free 'ground school' and 15 minute flight. To start off our ground school we teach the young aviators a bit a bit about 1. Avionics 2. Weather 3. Navigation 4. Rules of the air. In other words, how and why an airplane flys safely and things to look for in their pilot 'walk around' and safety check and also local landmarks they might recognize while in the air for this 15 minute or so demonstration flight.
Let me tell you that volunteering in my community (Oshawa) and in this manner now means the world to me and I in some part, wish to thank Chelsea Purssey for her appreciation of her flight experience with me. Again, also, let me take this opportunity to invite some of your Toronto CBC office at the CBC out to Oshawa on the 13th of June to invite some of your children experience the "joy of first flight". All children between 8 and 17 have this chance chance to last them a lifetime.
Bruce Wood, Oshawa ON
February 24, 2009
I started flying at age 19 shortly after being transferred by the RCMP from Edmonton to Ottawa in 1973. A short time later a second transfer to Toronto ended my flying ambitions as work, marriage and family displaced this dream. In 2003 as I was nearing my 50th birthday I decided to re-focus my energy and fulfill this life long ambition and after a year of training successfully completed my private pilot's licence exam on May 31st, 2004. Better still, my wife Hélène who is ten years younger than I, successfully completed her private pilot's exam two weeks after mine on the 12th of June, 2004 and scored one point higher than me! We purchased our Katana DA20-A1 in 2005 and have since logged over 600 hours in the air! Two years ago we flew from Ottawa to Moncton and then drove the Cabot Trail to Baddeck, NS to the place where the Silver Dart took that first flight 100 years ago. Flying is now an integral part of our lives and it will never be the same!
Lloyd Bunbury, Nepean, ON
February 23, 2009
In September 2002 at the age of 48 I decided to start taking flying lessons at the Ottawa Flying Club. In February 2004, just before taking my flight test, I decided to go on a flying adventure with the Club to California, 10 days there and back in Cessna 172's, a piper Arrow and a Beach Duchess. It was a breathtaking and unforgettable adventure. With an instructor, I took the controls of a 172 and couldn't believe my luck to fly through Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon.. I was ecstatic... Since that time I have gone on 2 more California trips and a trip to Florida and the Bahamas with the Ottawa Flying Club and the age of 54, I am Vice-President of the Club and had the privilege to invite Burt Ruttan (Spaceship 1) to our 80th Anniversary celebrations last year in Ottawa... eastern Canada's oldest Club and founder of the Ottawa International Airport.. My flying dreams have really come true!! www.ofc.ca The photo is one of a flying club Cessna 172 coming in for a landing at Farmington new Mexico after having flown from the Grand Canyon.
Marc Desjardins, Ottawa ON