2009 NetLetter #1093 - October 31st, 2009

#1093 - October 31st, 2009
Vesta's Jump Seat
Vesta StevensonWhy not allow the NetLetter be your platform, and opportunity, to relive your history while working for either TCA, AC, CPAir, CAIL, PWA, AirBC etal. and share your experiences with us!

Our first 70 years.
1973 - Jan 14th - Captain Bill Benson delivered the first L1011 fin 502 CF-TNB to Dorval.
TCA/AC People Gallery
Over the past months we have been publishing various photographs from earlier "Horizons", should any photos prompt a memory in seeing one of them, feel free to send us your comments and thoughts.

Musings from "Between Ourselves" magazine
Issue dated August 1943

The first flight of the Canadian Government Trans-Atlantic Air Service (CGTAS) roared eastward over the ocean on July 22 with its TCA crew. 12 hours and 26 minutes after taking the air with official passengers and a load of mail for the Canadian Armed Forces Overseas, it had settled to runways on the other side ... a new record for a non-stop trans-Atlantic flight from Montreal to Britain, bettering the old mark by 25 minutes. Record-breaking was not our aim and will not be, but the accomplished fact constituted an auspicious beginning for a service that will satisfy a great national

2600 pounds of mail and three passengers were carried on the first eastbound trip. The return flight, on July 24, brought back 3000 pounds from the Overseas Forces, destined for Canadian letter boxes, and also naval, military and air force personnel.

This is how the Forecast of all TCA flights was maintained in Central Control which was located in the National Building on Bay Street in Toronto.

Here Joyce Edwards updates the board. and a hive of activity in the teletype room.


With the increase of both flights and passengers, there was a requirement to install radio telephone.

Here we have pictures of two of the facilities. Windsor, Ontario and at Ottawa, Ontario


storkHere we have a photo of the girls at New York outside the Stork Club (no comment - eds) The girls, from the Reservations office are left to right Florence Murphy, Dorothy Brindley, Janet Mitchell and Dorothy West.

Eleven more attractive young ladies stepped behind airport counters at the conclusion of the Seventh Personnel Training School in Winnipeg on July 15.

seventhThe new agents smiling at us from above are, Left to Right; rear: Graeme Small (from Vancouver), Olive Tremouth (Regina); Aurline Tanner (Lethbridge); Audrey Hiram (Winnipeg); Esther Halstead (Toronto). Front: Jean Nelson (Cardston); Joan Reade (Winnipeg); Edith Sovereign (Montreal); Sheila Hope (Toronto) and Anita Burford (Toronto). Missing is Ada Bradley (Edmonton).

From the "Horizons" magazine
Issue dated March 1973

Stan Kemp, Chief Photolithographer, Dorval is shown being presented with his 25 year service pin and passes by Tony Hink, Manager, Airways Engineering. Stan is holding a desk set which was designed by and presented to him by the members of his section. With him are the other 25 year vets' in Airways Engineering.

airwaysFrom the left are: Pete Stefanik, Frank Raven, Tony Hink, Jack  Moxam, Stan Kemp and Lee Cooper.

targetThis photo taken at a major Company meeting in Niagara Falls twenty years ago i.e. 1953. There are no identifications, and the editors of Horizons requested some help in the attendees.

(If anyone has any names, we will he happy to pass them along - eds)

Alan's Space
Alan Rust
United Airlines retires its last 737
Capt. Bob Russo has flown for United since 1978, with nearly all of his years in the cockpit of a Boeing 737.

He loved flying the jet so much that he said he'd retire with the 737 if United ever removed the aircraft from its fleet.

Wednesday will be Russo's last day as a commercial aviation pilot.

Last 737When he lands the last leg of United Flight 737 Wednesday night at San Francisco International, his career and that of the world's best-selling commercial aircraft will draw to a close at United, the nation's No. 3 carrier.

"I never really thought I would be flying the last 737 flight," Russo says. "I intended on retiring with the aircraft, but I never really thought that I would be able to fly the last flight. It's a tremendous honor for me."

Russo says Wednesday's curtain call for the 737 at United will be both "exciting and bittersweet."

"I hate to see the airplane leave the fleet at United, but under the present economic conditions, there are a lot of decisions (like this) that have to be made to make us competitive in this industry," he says.

Read full story here

United Breaks Guitars - Song 2

While we're on the subject of United... here is the second (of three) videos being made by the group Son of Maxwell with David Carroll

It seems like United lost his baggage recently as well too. At least he's getting a lot of publicity out of this.

United breaks guitars #2

Click on image for video
Canadi>n/CPAir/PWA, Wardair, etc. Events & People
Canadian AirwaysOver the past months we have been publishing various photographs from earlier in-house magazines, should any photos prompt a memory in seeing one of them, feel free to send us your comments and thoughts.

Perusing "Info Canadian" magazine
Issue July 18th 1991

A diplomatic mission
Canadian Airlines recently provided charter transportation to Canadian. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on his 11-day diplomatic visit to Hong Kong and Japan.

pmvisitAccompanying the P.M.. for the trip were, from left, Director Charters  Bryce Paton, first officer Don Gerke, captain Larry Laidman, Captain Terry Lambourne. Flight attendants William Lee, Magdi Erian. and Maria Lamas. Mrs. Mila Mulroney, the Prime Minister, Flight attendant George Stonier, CSD Tony Wade-Cooper. Flight attendants Pat Clever, Jo-Ann Chanin, and Doris Loo, Air engineer Hank Surette. and Avionics supervisor Doug Smith.

Readers Feedback

Here we continue to story by Gordie Aitchison about Keflavik
which we started in NetLetter nr 1092

KeflavikKeflavik was built during the war by the Americans and was then popularly called "Meeks Field", believed named after the American Army General responsible for its construction. This was common American policy but I never could figure out what would happen if the same General built two airfields!!! The name was very  much regarded as foreign by the local Icelanders working there and much resented. Some US army personnel were still there but the field was run by a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation who hired staff in New York on yearly contracts. They were brought in on Lockheed's own DC4 every Friday and flown back to New York at the end of their contract.

Most of the airline-handling staff were recruited from American Airlines. Lockheed ran everything, the control tower, flight planning, passenger handling, the cafeteria, laundry, staff canteen, a small hotel called De Gink usually full of largely female staff, the police force and the small hospital on the airfield. Local Icelanders were recruited solely as ramp handlers, cleaners  or for other non-responsible jobs which again resulted in further feelings of resentment..

Quonset HutApart from hangars, nearly all the buildings were of Quonset construction (info and photo at left) but some of these could be quite large including the terminal building which included several connected to each other. One large building was being constructed within sight of the terminal and we  were told that it was to be a hotel, but on a visit many years later to handle an offline charter flight it turned out to be the terminal building.

We TCA staff had our own accommodation in two Quonset huts located side by side with a short connecting corridor at one end. This consisted if 4 small bedrooms, a small kitchen, washroom and large lounge. All these huts had rock walls built along each side up to a level of some 4 feet  leaving only the entrance free, a precaution intended to prevent them being blown away in the severe winter gales! The runways, taxiways and ramp area were of concrete but the rest of the field and the rest of the area for as far as the eye could see was decayed lava, the roads being bulldozed out of it and constantly maintained with grading machines.This gave the place a light-brown moon-like appearance (no other relieving colors) and on one occasion, one deplaning lady, having just caught sight for the first time of the grim-looking aspect, asked if I was stationed there and on hearing my affirmative answer immediately followed with "What did you do wrong?"

While TCA's North Stars had sufficient range to cross the Atlantic eastbound they were not capable of the return journey and virtually every westbound flight, be it from Prestwick, Shannon or London would be routed via Keflavik. While refueling and water top-up took place, all passengers would be deplaned. Charter flight passengers,
(and there were lots of charter flights in these days operating for the Federal or Ontario governments as migrants escaped the war-torn UK for a new life in Canada) were given a meal at the Company's expense in the cafeteria. Meantime, the flight crew would be taken by crew bus to the Lockheed flight planning office near the control tower.

Normally three flights would come through daily and because of delays (the North Stars were suffering many mechanical problems at that time) they were often spread throughout the 24 hours. During my months there, I had one day off and that only due to the field being fog-bound for that length of time. But all us got on like a house on fire and that helped to make my stay so enjoyable. DC4s of AOA
were other visitors and the occasional Constellation and Liberator of BOAC but Constellations and Stratocruisers could generally make the westbound crossing direct.

Initially, we had no transport and were dependent on shank's pony to get around or lifts from anyone passing but about the end of April, a Chevy station wagon was delivered which made life very much more convenient for us. It had one drawback. There appeared to be no seal around the bottom of the doors and on our monthly trip to the bank in  Reykjavik 30 miles away over a dusty graded road, we would be liberally covered in lava dust and a good dusting-off was required before we had the confidence to enter the bank!

My stay there had one big bonus inasmuch as I met all the crews regularly and indeed management at all levels.The increased operation across the Atlantic which started with the North Stars a year before required in many changes and consultations everywhere and managers of every department were regularly crossing the ocean (signal communication in these days was very poor) and there was only one route home - via Keflavik. So I had the chance to meet with company officials, up to president level, with whom I would never have otherwise made contact in a larger station. Bill Russell passed through Prestwick a couple of months after I had returned there
on his way to Shannon where he was taking up the post of manager. He was now accompanied by his wife and daughter but he still looked far from being well and indeed he died there within the year. I never came across Gus Campbell again but did hear that he had left TCA and joined CPA and that he had done well there. George Anthony
became a Licensed Engineer and when I met him again almost 30 years later he was managing a project involving removing corrosion from and resealing DC9 fuel tanks.

Al Gallacher moved to Canada, married there and became an airline captain but returned to the UK in the mid-70s and set up an air-taxi out fit at Dundee before eventually retiring to his native Ayrshire coast. Now you really know why I was in Keflavik in 1948 and I would be curious to see the snippet from "Between Ourselves", which started this off. Hope I haven't prattled on too much. Keep up the good work. The three of you do a fantastic job with the NetLetter.
I enjoy it immensely and I am sure loads of others do also.
Cheers Gordie.
Terry's Trivia & Travel Tips
Terry BakerTerry is away on a Cruise and will be back in a few weeks.