2008 NetLetter #1016 - March 31, 2008

#1016 - March 31, 2008
Vesta's Corner
Vesta Stevenson
Saint Exupery Mystery Solved?
In my surfing of the Internet I found this item of interest and will put this late author on my book list.
Let me know if you do also.
Has the final chapter been written in one of the great aviation mysteries?

A former Luftwaffe pilot says he shot down Antoine de Saint Exupery as the French  writer, considered by some to be the greatest aviation author, flew his P-38 off the coast of France in 1944. But Horst Rippert, now 88, who claimed 28 victories during the Second World War, says he never would have opened fire if he'd known his favorite author was at  the controls. "If I had known it was Saint-Exupery, I would never have shot him down,"
Rippert told the London Daily Telegraph. "He knew admirably how to describe the sky, the thoughts and feelings of pilots. His work inspired many of us to take up our vocation."

Apparently Rippert has kept the secret all these years and gave it up after being tracked down by Luc Vanrell, a diver who found the wreck of Saint Exupery's aircraft in 1998, and a war researcher named Lino van Gartzen. Saint Exupery was flying for the  Free French from Corsica and was on a reconnaissance flight when Rippert said he spotted the Lightning from above and it was easy prey for his Me-109. Many believed  the writer, who penned such classics as Pilote de Guerre (Flight to Arras), had committed suicide, but there has also been a persistent theory that he was shot down.

Postcard 1016World's biggest hockey stick, Duncan, B.C.Originally built for Vancouver 's Expo '86 was  moved to it's permanent home at Duncan's community centre in 1988.
At night this Canadian icon is illuminated by hundreds of light bulbs.  Length 205 feet weight 31 tons..
message reads.

Hi Vesta,  Just a quick note from the home of the Cowichan Valley Capitals to say how  much I appreciate The NetLetter.
Keep up the good work
Alastair Alves.

Another installment of the "Clipper" story from NetLetter nr 1014 - Early the next morning they took off from the Nile for Leopoldville. This was to be a  particularly long overland flight, and they wanted to leave plenty of daylight for the arrival. They would land on the Congo River at Leopoldville, and from there would strike out across the South Atlantic for South America.

The endless brown of the Sudan gave way to rolling green hills, and then rocky crests that stretched across their path. They flew over native villages, and great gatherings of wildlife. Herds of Wildebeest, hundreds of thousands strong, stampeded in panic as the Clipper roared overhead. The grassland soon turned to jungle, and they crossed several small rivers, which they tried to match to  their maps. Suddenly ahead they saw a large river, much bigger and wider than others they had crossed, and off to their right was a good-sized town.

The river had to be the mighty Congo, and the town was Bumba, the largest settlement on the river at that point. From their maps they saw that they could turn and follow the river downstream to Leopoldville. They had five hundred miles to fly.

Late in the afternoon they raised the Congolese capital of Leopoldville. Ford set the Boeing down gently onto the river, and immediately realized the strength of the current. He powered the ship into the mooring, and the crew finally stepped ashore. It was like stepping into a sauna. The heat was the most oppressive they had yet encountered; it descended on them like a cloak, sapping what energy they had left.

A pleasant surprise awaited them however, when two familiar faces greeted them at the  dock. A Pan American Airport Manager and a Radio Officer had been dispatched  to  meet them, and Ford was handed a cold beer. "That was one of the high points of the  whole trip," he said.

After a night ashore they went to the airplane the next morning prepared for the long over-water leg that would take them back to the western hemisphere. The terrible heat and humidity had not abated a bit when the hatches were finally secured and they swung the Clipper into the river channel for the takeoff. The airplane was loaded to the gunnels  with fuel, plus the drum of oil that had come aboard at Noumea. It was, to put it mildly, just a bit overloaded. They headed downstream into the wind, going with the six-knot current. Just beyond the limits of the town the river changed from a placid down stream  current into a cataract of rushing rapids; pillars of rocks broke the water into a tumbling maelstrom. Ford held the engines at takeoff power, and the crew held their breath while the airplane gathered speed on the glassy river. The heat and humidity, and their tremendous gross weight were all factors working against them as they struggled to get  the machine off the water before the cataracts. Ford rocked the hull with the elevators,  trying to get the Boeing up on the step. Just before they would enter the rapids and face certain destruction, the hull lifted free. The Pacific Clipper was flying, but just barely.

Their troubles were far from over, however. Just beyond the cataracts they entered the  steep gorges; it was as though they were flying into a canyon. With her wings bowed, the Clipper staggered, clawing for every inch of altitude.

(Another episode in another NetLetter - eds)

Star Alliance News
Star AllianceStar Alliance going under one roof in Toronto. US Airways is moving from Toronto Airport's Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 on March 29.

The carrier operates flights between Toronto and Philadelphia, Charlotte, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
With this move, US Airways will join other Star Alliance members, Air Canada, Lufthansa,  United Airlines, LOT, and Austrian Airlines, in one central location, making access to all Star carriers operating to/from Toronto easier

Air China and Shanghai Airlines joined the Star Alliance network December 12th, 2007 An application from Air India to join the alliance has been accepted.
Air Canada - our first 70 years

In NetLetter nr 1015 we noted that service charges were being applied for retirees effective January 1st 1988-  this decision was later rescinded by President Pierre Janniot in October 1987.
(For a while anyway! - eds)

From "Horizons" issued January 1986 -
On December 14th 1985, a B767 captained by E.Maslak departed Toronto as flight 964 and, upon arrival in St. Lucia became the inaugural flight and the first B767 to touch down in St. Lucia.
The balance of the crew were F/O C.Cassidy, Purser Robert Brunet, and flight attendants Bev Clark, Diane Brown, Alix McNeilly, Katherine Bosanac and  Connie McElory.

St LuciaA 15 foot Christmas tree was presented as a gift to the local children.

From "Horizons" issued December 1986.
During November 1986, Air Canada became the first carrier in Canada to offer advance boarding  passes, allowing passengers to receive their boarding passes before arrival at the airport.

January 1987 - Voyage two - "Around the world" trip. B747 fin 304 CF-TOD set off on a 23 day trip around  the world under the command of Capt. Don Stinton assisted by Capt. Jim Chivers.

Voyage 2We have this picture of the crew

April 30th 1987
- Rapidair celebrated 15 years of operation between YYZ-YUL-YYZ.since 1972.hh

TCA/AC Events & People Gallery

Pionairs AircraftPionair looking forward to receiving their new mode of transportation.

Musings from "Horizons"
40 Year ClubThe 40 year club October 1985 from the  issue October 1985 Pierre Jeanniot honoured the group in Montreal.
L to R - Bert Wilson, Larry Lavery,  Jeanniot , Ernie Sparkes, Gerald Kiely and Hoppy Hopkins.
Seated L to R - Bert gagnon, Bill Loke, Gus Garnahan and Stu Leslie.

LHR SalesThe London, England sales force in 1985.

From the issue dated November 1985.
Halloween NYCAt New York, the reservations office turned up in bizarre and colourful apparel for Halloween.

RetirementEleven Customer Sales & Service Agents from Dorval take retirement -

New PilotsNew pilots join the airline.

ApprenticesApprentices complete their program at YUL.

From the issue dated April 1986 -
London StaffLondon England reservations staff hold western style evenings for travel agents -

Found on the Internet
QANTAS is preparing to receive their first Airbus A380-800 c/n 14 VH-OOA which will be operated on the SYD-LAX-SYD route  scheduled for August.

The story elsewhere in this issue regarding the Pionair aircraft should have included the fact that this aircraft, a Convair CV-580 was delivered to Pionair Adventures based in  Brisbane, Australia.
(Perhaps our Pionairs are diversifying their assets? - eds)
Bytes and Pieces

Alan RustThis day in History...

Here's some stories that will help you celebrate "This day in History" Don't be fooled! This is serious stuff!

  1. In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
  2. In 1977 the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer's terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that gripped the British tabloids in subsequent decades.
  3. In 1934 many American newspapers, including The New York Times, printed a photograph of a man flying through the air by means of a device powered only by the breath from his lungs. Accompanying articles excitedly described this miraculous new invention. The man, identified as German pilot Erich Kocher, blew into a box on his chest. This activated rotors that created a powerful suction effect, lifting him aloft. Skis on his feet served as landing gear, and a tail fin allowed him to steer. What the American papers didn't realize was that the "lung-power motor" was a joke. The photo had first appeared in the April Fool's Day edition of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. It made its way to America thanks to Hearst's International News Photo agency which not only fell for the hoax but also distributed it to all its U.S. subscribers. In the original Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung article, the pilot's name was spelled "Erich Koycher," which was a pun on the German word "keuchen," meaning to puff or wheeze.

You can read more articles by following this link...


Alan Rust
(Happy April Fools Day!)

PS - some of you may remember that a year or so ago on April 1, I sent out a Newsletter to the ACFamily Network that had a device claiming you could get Internet Access through the toilet. I thought it was obviously a joke and most would think so too, but I received email for months after from people that wanted to know where they could get it... (never again). But the biggest joke that never was came when Air Canada filed for bankruptsy protection on April 1, 2003.

Canadi>n/CPAir/PWA, Wardair, etc. Events & People

Joe Moniz sends us these stories -
Subject: Winter memories Feb12/85
I have this photo in the old CP AIR news magazine that was copied from a photo in the  Star news paper. It shows four of us on the top of the wing of a 747 sweeping the snow off
SnowThe pic must have been taken from the Dep lounge at gate 51 of the old Terminal 1


Winter of 2007/2008 was pretty bad in the eastern Canada with huge dumps of snow which  necessitated home owners shoveling off their roofs - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Readers Feedback
Member FeedbackFrom: Bernie McCormack
Subject: Air Jamaica

Summer of 1969. A few of Air Jamaica's first flight Attendants and our DC8-61.

Air JamaicaThis aircraft flew KIN-MBJ-JFK then we all overnighted at a nearby hotel and then flew JFK-MBJ-KIN, turned around again and back to New York via MBJ, overnight and then back to Montego Bay and Kingston. Then there was a complete crew change. The replacement pilots traveled to the airport in one car and we took that car and dropped our crew off at their homes. A variety of schemes got the car back to its owner's home. Our wives could not have driven our children to school (Priority), shopped and run chores and so on without a car and they were far too costly to own two. (cars). Also theft was a potential hazard had we left them parked at the airport for two overnights. One of the chaps had a door completely removed from his car while there overnight. Our maintenance foreman said "if they find the thief send him to me. We'll hire him". (a good job of removal and a joke!) We then had four days off. This was done for just over a year by the original intake of Air Canada pilots and took a little juggling at vacation time. The pilots were Captains Frank Milburn, Ray McGregor, Bill Graham and Larry Brewin. First Officers Tim Trail, Bernie McCormack, and Dave Kandal. S/O's  Mike Hart, Bob Ferne and Garry Dodwell. The extra Captain gave us reserve protection. The DC8 chief pilot was Bert Palmer and he sub'd for all of us when required (Cpt, F/O or S/O).

At the same time there were two DC-9s and crews flying Kin-MBJ-MIA and back. ( the junior run).

Bernie McCormack (AJ's 1st F/O)  gram& This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

(From your Co-pilot - I do recall the time when a bunch of Air Jamaica female flight attendants trained at the base in YUL, it gave us pleasure to watch them cavorting in the snow between the cafeteria and the simulator building, during our coffee break, which, by popular demand, was  extended that morning.)

Bev May sends us this suggestion -
Subject: Boeing Clippers

May I suggest you have a look at the following website for some interesting information on the Boeing Clippers (Pan Am) that you are currently featuring. www.rbogash.com/B314.html


Bev. May  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Terry's Travel Tips

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London Heathrow Terminal 5's long-anticipated opening recently was marred by  numerous technical problems, including the failure late in the day of the facility's  much publicized high-tech baggage handling system. The £4.3 billion ($8.6 billion)  terminal, used solely by British Airways, has been touted as the antidote to customer  service problems at the busy airport, but its first day of operation was far from smooth.

BA cancelled 34 flights and suspended all bag check-in after 5 p.m., forcing  passengers to choose between boarding with only carry-on bags or rebooking flights.

The computer-controlled baggage system was problematic throughout the day, with  large groups of arriving passengers reportedly gathering around baggage carousels for as long as 2 hr. and a number of flights departing before checked baggage could be  loaded. Late in the day, the computer controlling the system shut down operations completely because conveyors were filled to capacity. "It is extremely disappointing that this should happen on the first day of our operations from Terminal 5," BA said.
"We always knew the first day would represent a unique challenge because of the size and complexity of the move into Terminal 5." It added that "teething problems have  included car parking provision, delays in staff security screening and staff familiarization  with the terminal."

The baggage system's shutdown came after 18 month of extensive testing on 10.5 mi. of conveyor belts, the largest such system in Europe. BA has said that the system would be able to handle 12,000 bags per hr. using "trolleys" that can carry bags as  fast as 23 mph UK Dept. for Transport said, "We expect British Airways and BAA to  work hard to resolve these issues and limit disruption to passengers."

We thought you might enjoy this cartoon.


Recently, The BC province has committed to return , by air, to the appropriate province those criminals who have been hiding out in BC. The scheme has been dubbed "CON AIR". We thought that this cartoon from a copy of "Horizons" issued March 1988 was in keeping with the news.