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Bernie McCormack has sent us this memory which he calls "Hi speed to YYJ" -

The West coast route, YVR-YYJ-SEA, was known to those flying it as the Coast Run. It was quite unique in that on the days it was a crew's paring you could fly all day in the same weather be it beautiful, stormy or foggy and on a few days over the three or four years I flew it, we flew in out and through some pretty severe systems including a hurricane one night. We often were on maximum duty days and yet the flight legs were so short we had to do it often to acquire our pay hours. In the dark months of  winter it was dawn till dusk. There were no duty rigs that were later designed to remedy the situation. The crews had a unique bonding that led to a few "coast parties" at one of our homes in Vancouver and many stories and anecdotes that focussed on the weather, visibility just short of the Pat Bay airport (cloak hill!) and fast crossings Victoria to Vancouver.

One day in 1956 when I was flying with Pat Leslie he told me he was going to do a fairly high speed (DC-3?) trip to Vancouver from Pat Bay. Pat was a racer at heart,  we used to call him Ben Hur. He had raced sail boats/yachts successfully and now decided to break a record. I don't think any were ever recorded but it was all part of the folklore. After a fast crossing I requested and received clearance from VR tower for a close in left base to runway 25 and we turned in on final at about 600 feet, wheels down, flaps (just now) down and speed down as we crossed over the button and touched down quite smoothly right there, applied brakes immediately and turned left at the first intersection to the terminal building ramp. Probably 10 or more minutes under schedule which was listed as about 35 or 40 minutes.

Jump ahead now to the early '72 when I was captaining a DC-9 out of Winnipeg and was in flight dispatch in Vancouver. I was amongst old friends with whom I had started in my early days, Al Tooke, Denny Brandon and others. One of them suggested that because this was one of the first DC-9 flights to Victoria I was about to fly and because "you know the route so well you will probably break the speed record". I can remember saying I don't want to get involved with that thought, it is not a good idea. However the seed was planted. When we taxied away from the terminal building The First Officer asked me "the wind is favouring runway 12 (120 degrees M) do you want me to request 12 for takeoff?" -- OK. Short taxi to the runway, no traffic, "Air Canada cleared for takeoff".

We became airborne and requested a turn direct to Victoria. we turned about 60 degrees to the right, began crossing the Strait of Georgia in the climb at about  170K + (nautical miles per hour) and in no time it seems we were rapidly passing by Active Pass (also the marine ferry route) between Maine and Saturna Islands to Victoria, at cruise altitude and 350K. There was no 250K below 10,000 feet restriction in those days. Victoria terminal was surprised that we were entering their area so soon and cleared us for a visual approach to runway 27. We delayed the descent for a little longer than we normally would have in order to gain the speed benefit and then, "NOW", action time.

Smooth but swift reduction of engine power to idle (normal), speed brakes out, maintain altitude until the speed decayed to 300K, undercarriage (Wheels) down, a little longer and as speed dropped to 280K speed brakes retract, start the flaps down and now start the descent, promptly! We soon were approaching James Island, 90 degrees to the left of and just over 4 miles to the runway "In range check". We lower more flap, increase our rate of descent which was fairly steep, turn in on final approach to the runway, change over to tower frequency and they ask "are you planning to land?".--"Affirmative."

Roger you're cleared to land gear down (normal formality). Speed is where it should be, We're just about down to the glide path, cross the approach light towers in the apch/slot, good smooth landing, whew! we're here. We braked, reverse thrust, slow to taxi speed and turn clear of the runway. The cockpit door opened and the flight attendant asked "do you want the seat belt light on"!!! I have an opinion to voice here," do not be drawn into an aircraft speed contest unless it is in your own aircraft and you are the only one on board". How fast was the crossing air time? I don't know, I believe about 11 or 12 minutes.

Lesson learned! Bernie McCormack


After reading the comments by 'dblaflyer' regarding uniforms in NL # 1345Karen Skinner shares this memory -

I read happily the comments by one of the flt. attendants concerning those tri-colored uniforms introduced in 1969. She was absolutely correct & I remember all of the flight attendants in the picture with the exception of one. I remember Carla Denike who married Gord Paler (pilot) & Gail Wallace later, Gail Barton (deceased) Lise Mollevang. These people were Winnipeg based. Re the name tags...later introduced they eventually had colored portions depicting which base they were assigned. It sure was nice to see that old picture again. Good memories re those old sponge type uniforms...if  anyone spilled liquid on them ...they sucked it up like a sponge!


In NL # 1343, we had this photo asking for help in identities.

tmb evelyn desjardinsBrian has advised us that the left hand person was Jeff Reynolds, Purchasing & Supply, Dorval. 

(Anyone else help out here - eds)

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