Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter Since 1995

Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter

Since 1995

Retired Captain Billee McConachie sent in the amusing story below -
Editors' Note:
We noticed Billee's very recognizable family name and and inquired if there may be a connection to Grant McConachie
"My Dad and Grant were cousins who remained close during their lives. As a young boy it was Grant’s amazing stories of his most eventful career from his early years of bush flying to his founding of Canadian Pacific Airlines that stimulated my interest in becoming a pilot, for which I remain eternally grateful.
No problem mentioning the family connection with Grant. Grant’s eldest son Bill (William) not to be confused with me, Billee, which is my Christian name, was a well known customer service agent with CPA/ CP air for many years. We lost Bill a couple of years back. He remains an icon with all his past CP colleagues.
Bill,  like RW (mentioned in the story),  had an amazing sense of humour. Bill and I would often run into each other in the YVR terminal and the greeting was always.... “How’s the other Bill”.
Fond memories for sure.
“Laughter is a wonderful antidote for all that is troublesome”

Billee's 'Chewing Gum' flight adventure

After 36+ years as an airline pilot (PWA, Canadian & AC) I, along with many of us, was witness to or part of a variety of events, some most entertaining and others not so much. We will leave the “others” for a future conversation.

This event took place in the mid 80’s during my time with PWA, flying mostly domestic routes on the B-737.

Our crew had assembled at the Ops Centre located on the south side of YVR and, with all being ready, we boarded the crew bus for a short ride to the main terminal. As we made our way through the terminal towards our departure gate our in-charge flight attendant noticed that I had something on the seat of my pants. After boarding the aircraft, on further examination, it was determined that I had sat in some chewing gum possibly on the crew bus, but the source was never actually established. Time was now of the essence as we all had our duties to perform in readying the aircraft for departure.

This day’s trip was scheduled Vancouver – Calgary - Edmonton (YVR-YYC-YXD) and return. It was a beautiful morning on the West Coast with a favourable weather forecast for the entire route. What could be better than a scenic route over the Rocky Mountains on a beautiful day.

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Editor Terry Baker sends us this memory -

During my early pre-teen years, a couple of my friends decided to collect car registration numbers and, armed with a notebook, pencil, sandwiches and a bottle of pop, we would cycle to the nearby main road, and start recording the numbers. Later, in my teens my family moved to the London area, I migrated to collecting London Transport bus serial numbers.

As I had moved to near London Heathrow airport, I switched to collecting aircraft registration numbers at Heathrow (LHR) and, occasionally at Northolt airport.  At my school, several of my friends and myself formed a club and, after school on several evenings, would cycle to Heathrow airport and start recording. My father was an official at that airport and could supply me with the registration of the aircraft due the next day. As a consequence, I become quite popular within our club. We would review these registrations and, if there was one we did not have recorded, we would cycle to the airport in the hopes of sighting the aircraft.

I was fortunate in visiting Amsterdam International airport on a KLM promo visit with my father and spotted a gem of an aircraft with registration PH-OTO. This was an Auster aircraft used for inflight promotions for advertising and the media, and would never visit Heathrow (LHR). I wanted to take a photo, but my father said to wait until we returned from a visit to the commissary department with a KLM representative who had organized the trip.

Sadly, for me, the plane was nowhere to be seen later, and my club friends would not believe that  I had seen this aircraft. I think that was the end of my collection years. I have no idea what happened to the volumes of car, bus or aircraft registrations.

Editors' Note:

Photo from the Alfred Damien Collection No. 10454. Auster J/1 Autocrat (PH-OTO c/n 1957) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Lockheed 1049E Super Constellation (PH-LKR c/n 1049C-4502) named "Electron".
Photograph from KLM, taken 1954
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