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  NetLetter #1323 | July 15, 2015  
  The ACFN NetLetter

The NetLetter

For Air Canada Retirees

B747-100 - YVR
Air Canada 747-100 (FIN 305) in YVR (Photo by Tom Grant)
  Hello ,  
  Welcome to the NetLetter, an Aviation based newsletter for Air Canada, TCA, CPAir, Canadian Airlines and all other Canadian based airlines that once graced the Canadian skies.

The NetLetter was created in 1995 by Vesta Stevenson (RIP) and Terry Baker and is normally published every two weeks (we're late sometimes). If you are interested in Canadian Aviation History, and vintage aviation photos, especially as it relates to Trans-Canada Air Lines and Air Canada then we're sure you'll enjoy this free newsletter. 

Women in Aviation

tmb ellen churchIt was in 1930 that Boeing Airlines (later to become United Airlines) hired the first cabin attendant in commercial aviation.

The idea was born in the mind of a Boeing official who was on a rough flight from San Francisco to Reno N.V. The pilot and co-pilot were busy trying to keep the wings level, so the official took over the job of handing out coffee and sandwiches to anyone still able to swallow.

Why not, thought the official, hire stewards to perform this chore?

He passed his suggestion on to Boeing's top brass. But the brass were busy pondering another suggestion - this one from a young San Francisco named Ellen Church. She proposed that the airline hire nurses as flight attendants, because of the air sickness problem. Officials with Boeing Air Transport, the predecessor of United Airlines, went for her pitch, and agreed to hire eight women, conditionally, for a three-month experiment.

On this day, May 15, in 1930, Church and seven others began their first day of work as the country’s first flight attendants. Four flew from San Francisco to Cheyenne, Wyoming., and the other four flew from Cheyenne to Chicago.


ACFN/NetLetter News

We're pleased to introduce a new feature this month called "Wayne's Wings". Wayne Albertson, newest member of the "NetLetter Team", will be providing a new section in each issue regarding aircraft in the ACFamily Fleet of aircraft (all the previous airlines that have molded themselves into the present Air Canada).We plan to expand on this feature within the ACFN website by adding an aircraft specific section where we can display photos and stories from our readers.

As Wayne said to me recently, "Every time I board an aircraft, I take note of the FIN number. This sometimes brings back memories of previous flights or experiences with these specific aircraft".

To me, some obvious FIN numbers or registrations stick in my mind, 604 (Gimli Glider), 501 and 503 (L1011's) and CF-TCC.

For those subscribers asking about the Obituaries area, this is being rebuilt on the new ACFN website, but is still available at

Alan Rust
NetLetter Administrator



Reader Submitted Photos

Robert Arnold has sent us these photos -
While I was going through a box of photos from my TCA collection, I came across these four images  that show the interior of a North Star.

Judging from the timetables tucked in the seat-acks, they appear to read, February 1957.

tmb north star interior 1 tmb north star interior 2
tmb north star interior 3 tmb north star interior 4
(Would anyone know the Captain in one of the photos? – eds)

tmb saskatoon airport smoky day

Betty Draper sent us this photo of the smoke at Saskatoon airport recently due to the forest fires in June 2015.
(This is not an indication that the company operates in a fog at this location – eds)


Wayne's Wings

wayne albertson articlesBoeing 747-100 "The Classic"

Entered Air Canada service with the delivery of Fin 301 in February 1971. Deliveries of Fins 302 to 306 continued through May 1974 (see 305 above in header). These giants were the class of the industry and replaced the DC-8 on growing markets from Toronto to London and Paris. Domestically they were used on the busy Toronto - Vancouver route.

Fins 301 and 302 were sold to Guinness Peat Aviation by 1985 and continued in service under various registrations until 1999. tmb 1971 first b747 100Fin 302 was operated briefly by Wardair Canada from October 1986 until June 1990.  Fins 303 to 305 remained in service in the Air Canada fleet until retired 1998. Unfortunately, it seems that all five have been broken up and none remain in storage.

My favourite personal experience with this fleet was flying on Fin 303 from Toronto to Las Vegas. The aircraft was (at the time) configured for sun destination charters with 497 economy seats. I was seated on the bottom deck at the front of the aircraft when it was suddenly hit by lightning just at the beginning of the descent into Las Vegas. There was a Big Bang and then a fireball sped through the cabin. Everyone on board caught a glimpse of the “Bright Lights” before we even got to the Big City. Ironically, it happened so quickly that there was no time to be frightened. I flew on Fin 303 a few more times before it was retired and always felt a particular bond with this aircraft. 
Sources: Air Canada OnAir and To view a “Classic” landing in Toronto please click here


TCA/AC People Gallery

TCA/AC People Gallery

tmb rick holiday

Frank Pedder sent us this photo of Rick Holiday in 1988 at YUL.


tmb toronto 1938
Toronto 1938

Back in the early TCA days, before passenger service began, we were flying air express together with mail. In 1938 at Toronto and Ottawa and in 1939 at Winnipeg airport.
tmb ottawa 1938
Ottawa 1938

tmb winnipeg 1939
Winnipeg 1939

Conclusion of the story by Frank Sayer entitled "Incredible inaugurations" we started in NetLetter nr 1322
extracted from “Between Ourselves” magazine issued June 1942

The Newfoundland beginning was no exception. One of the pre-inaugural flights in the spring of 1942 had among its passengers: Bill English; Ron George; Walter Fowler; Casey Van der Linden; Don MacLaren and myself. This plane flew along the south coast of Newfoundland in an effort to reach St. John's by way of Burin Peninsula and Argentia.

It didn't. Reason? Weather. As a compromise we settled for the night at Gander and ventured through the next morning. It was now Saturday, April 4, and we expected to return home on Monday on board another plane from Moncton.

As a matter of fact, we next saw our loved ones on April 10. Reason? Weather. Not until then could the pilot again get to the Torbay airport. as St. John's was then in the inky blackness of its first permanent black out. The party during its long exile had the hardening experience of stumbling over curbstones and bumping into pedestrians until they had learned to see in the dark. Of our further adventures discretion forbids mention, but it should do no harm to recall to the Quixotic instincts of one of our number, the soul of Winnipeg chivalry who on one occasion walked home in the black out, about seven miles.

But the real heartbreak came when Bill English laboured to contact pilot and plane at Moncton by telephone. The circuit  was routed via Montreal and also via censor. Three times our pooled intelligence attempted to penetrate the watchfulness of that hidden ear. We began. "when can the plane- ."
"You can't say that" interrupted the ear.
"Well, the airport - "
"No! It is not permitted." spluttered the ear. Desperately "the weather -." 
"No! No! No!" Click went the line, and after that all we could do was stand and hopefully wait for salvation.

Today, of course. everything is different. Aerial navigation aids have reduced those old first hit and miss first flights to mere memories. But what memories.

Robert Pelley has sent us this information -

As you may know, this is the situation for the history of Gander. In 1935 it was only trees and bog. It existed as military airport until 1945 and then was used for civilian purposes until 1959.

In 1959 a new town was built; the present-day terminal was constructed and the old military airport torn down so that nothing exists. I have a website which tries to collect and display data on “old” Gander: Click here for Bob's Gander History web site. 

Over the years, former staff from TCA or other organisations have given me enough info to be able to do a first article on TCA in Gander from the initial flights in 1942 to the first Viscounts. But I suspect there is a lot more info out there that merits being included. This could be timetables, lists of employees or any other Gander info, line diagrams, anecdotes, photos of any nature from operations to company parties.

My article on TCA can be seen at TCAAIRCANADA.PDF

If you could inform your readers about the website with hope of obtaining information which would make it more complete and pertinent, your help would be immensely appreciated!

Robert Pelley, former Gander resident


Star Alliance News

Avianca Brazil will join the Star Alliance network July 22, 2015.

Lufthansa’s flight attendant union UFO has agreed to postpone any further strike action until mid-July after receiving concessions on pay and pensions from the German carrier.


Alan's Space

Alan Rust

Impressive Jets Landing in Formation

(Submitted by: Laszlo Bastyovanszky)

This is the Spanish Acrobatic Team Patrulla Aguila performing this exceptional landing formation.
Spanish Formation Landing


CPAir, Canadi>n People Gallery

CPAir/Canadian People Galler


1992 Jan 26 - Service between Toronto and Lima was suspended after 38 years of service.

From the special bulletin "Info Canadi>n"magazine issue September 1st 1988.

tmb cpa charitable crew 1988
The Charitable Donations campaign made the 1987 Christmas Tea a reality for senior citizens in Richmond. Among those helping out were, Jim MacPherson, captain instructor check pilot, DC10; Bob Weatherly,VP flight operations; Don Mason, second officer, DC10 and Lisa Mason, flight attendant.

Issue dated November 1991
tmb cpa softball 1991
More than 450 enthusiasts and party animals from Canadian and most other major North American carriers participated in the 1991 Canadian Airlines Softball Tournament In Honolulu. The top company squad was the Vancouver Canadians, which finished third.

That team included, standing from left, Rod Hemming, Rick Sedola, Terry Rose, Ron Erkamps, Tod Haverstock, Brad O'Handley, Steve Kelly, Keith Tucker. Kneeling from left, Jamie Kelly, Rosemary Hogg, Sam Lindsay, Tracy Sedola.

The winning club was (again) Continental Honolulu, while the runner-up was an Air Canada team supplemented by Canadian's Bob Fraser, Tesia Nowak, and Joanie McDougall of Vancouver and Janice Cunningham of Toronto. In 1992 the tournaments were to be held April 6-9 in Tampa and November 2-5 in Honolulu.


Readers Feedback

tmb yyz ramp rat 2Roger Slauenwhlte refers to one of the four photos we found on the Ramp Rats and published in NetLetter nr 1321 without any identifications.

Roger told us the issue of the "Horizons" magazine issued 1975 had this photo. We located it in in NetLetter nr 1201 April 2012. The participants, looking unruffled by the ACRA Flying Club fly-in at Toronto at the first annual Rally & Poker Derby are:

Standing from the left: Captain P. L. Windh, Jerry Milek, Reed Aiken, Ron Paterson, George Warriner, Jim Beloshesky and Don Morrison. Front row, from the left: Lars Jensen, Roger Slauenwhlte, Bob Rathwell and Don Washington. 

Ken Pickford sends these comments -

Re the Robert Arnold photos of Viscount #612, CF-TGT, at Winnipeg in NetLetter issue #1318, he mentions that "the fleet number is still located on the radome".

Actually, that wasn't a radome then as most TCA Viscounts didn't have weather radar when delivered. You'll note the entire nose structure on that aircraft is metal. If memory correct, the last dozen or so Viscounts delivered after some point in 1958 and into 1959 had weather radar installed at the factory. All the earlier Viscounts were then modified to add it, including the fibreglass/composite radome which slightly changed the nose contour of the Viscounts (it was a little more pointed than the original all-metal structure). Someone more familiar with TCA Viscount operations will know more about the timing of those modifications than me.

We, at the NetLetter, passed Ken's comments on to Robert Arnold who responded -

After having a closer look, Ken is absolutely right. Thank you for pointing this out. I note he mentions July 1958 when they started installing the radomes.This is a big help as up to now, I have not had much luck on nailing down a time frame when TCA started the installation and when they completed the changeover. Some clarity would certainly help in this area of my research. Way to go Ken for having such a keen eye.


Odds and Ends

Phil Pawsey sent us this information on Percy B. Waddy (VE9PBW SK) who has sadly passed away. There will still be a few us who remembered Percy when he was with TCA.

MAARC, Inc. members will be very saddened to learn of Percy's passing. We first met Percy over 25 years ago when he enrolled in one of the Amateur Radio courses we were conducting. He related that one of his sons had taken over the farm and his wife, Jean, advised him that he should now engage in a hobby that would be interesting and challenging.

After completing the course and obtaining his Certificate he was very enthusiastic about his new found pursuit and we exchanged visits at our respective homes. His enthusiasm made helping him erect an antenna system and coaching him in on-air operating a great pleasure.

Percy served with distinction during WW2, attaining the rank of Squadron Leader and Flight Commander of RAF Squadron 203, flying B24 Liberator Bombers in the Indian Ocean theatre. A few years ago based on tactical photos taken during an action over the Adaman Sea that he had flown on, Percy commissioned the well known artist, Lars Larsen, to paint a composite of the bombing of Japanese supply ships by his squadron. Percy kindly gave us a signed print copy of the painting which we much treasure.
(We will conclude this story in NetLetter nr 1324 - eds)


Terry's Trivia and Travel Tips

Terry BakerNattanya Andersen sends this information -

The Toronto-based Four Seasons hotel group last year revealed that its guests would have new means of travelling from one of its properties to another, by announcing that the company would launch the hotel industry’s first fully branded private jet in 2015.

One trip ...a 24-day, around-the-world journey that will visit enduringly popular attractions such as the Taj Mahal and the beaches of Bora Bora. The cost:: from $132,000 (£88,000) per person.

A retrofitted Boeing 757 featuring interiors by the hotel group’s designers, the Four Seasons Jet – as it is perhaps a touch unimaginatively named – accommodates just 52 passengers rather than the 233 this category of aircraft usually carries.

(If you want to get in on this trip click here – eds)

Four Seasons Jet



Don Brady sends this memory –

We did not have digital radar in the TRACON 25 years ago when I was an air traffic controller. With our analog radar, spring and fall waterfowl migrations of ducks, geese, and cranes always created a cluster of raw radar returns on the scope. It was one of those days when the scope was almost white with more raw radar returns coming from flocks of birds than from transponder-equipped or non-transponder-equipped aircraft returns (of which there were and still are MANY in Alaska!). It is always a long flight to Alaska, and the captain was chatty, with a sense of humor. Delta checks on with the standard information arriving the airport. ... DAL 123: "XXX approach, this is DAL 123 descending out of 8,000 with information Bravo. Direct the VOR." ... Approach (me): "DAL123, XXX approach. Traffic 12 o'clock, five miles opposite direction, altitude unknown. Multiple targets, most likely waterfowl." ... DAL: "Approach, how do you know that? Do they have a transponder?" ... Approach: "DAL 123, no sir, but they are squawking!" -- Dan Brady

Terry Baker, Alan Rust, Wayne Albertson
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