One Hundred Years Ago: First Atlantic to Pacific Flight
On October 7, 1920, the first trans-Canada flight began at Canadian Air Board Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the current site of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 12 Wing Shearwater. Their destination was Vancouver, nearly 5,400 kilometres away.
On Wednesday, October 7, 1920, pilots of the regulatory branch and fledgling Canadian Air Force of the Canadian Air Board departed Dartmouth Air Station on the first flights from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Starting Tuesday, 6 October 2020, the Shearwater Aviation Museum (SAM) will post a series of brief daily snapshots on Facebook highlighting the flight as it made its way to Vancouver arriving 10 days later. The lack of infrastructure, meeting logistics requirements, aircraft and engine reliability issues were among the challenges overcome in this significant first trans-Canada flight. The lessons learned and the enthusiasm of the public clearly set the stage for substantial growth in every aspect of aviation throughout Canada enabling passengers, mail and cargo to travel between places conveniently and more quickly than had ever been imagined.
This important, but little-known, chapter of Canada’s aviation history was planned, organized and executed by the Canadian Air Board, a short-lived (1919-1922) department of the Dominion government. It was the Air Board that played the key role in the development of Canadian aviation, both civil and military, in the aftermath of the First World War.
The idea of a trans-Canada flight was seized upon by the Air Board in order to demonstrate the utility of aviation to the Canadian public and, perhaps more importantly, to Canadian politicians. Not incidentally, it was also an account of guts and determination as a small group of aviators battled the elements and blazed a trail across the country.
Responsibility for the flight was divided between the Air Board’s Flying Operations Branch flying seaplanes and flying boats and the Canadian Air Force, flying landplanes. Originally planned to take 48 hours using relays of aircraft across the country, the flight took 10½ days. Given the state of aviation at the time, and the perils involved with flying open-cockpit aircraft in Canada in October, this was not an unreasonable amount of time.
It was during a driving rain storm at 11:25 am on October 17, 1920 that the flight finally reached Minoru Park in Richmond and was met by R. H. Gale, the Mayor of Vancouver. While the trans-Canada flight officially terminated at Minoru Park, four of the members of the team continued on to Victoria where they presented letters that had been carried on the flight to the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Please remember these dauntless aviators. They were the pioneers who demonstrated the truth of the comment of former Governor-General Vincent Massey who stated that “The aircraft came to Canada as a godsend. It probably has meant more to us than it has to any other country."
Our thanks to Jack McGee, past BC Aviation Council Executive Member, for providing these store materials.
Youth Webinar "Earning Your Strips In Aviation/Aerospace" Today (Monday), 1:00pm Pacific
The 5th installment of our popular aviation youth orientated webinar series is today at 1:00pm Pacific. Register here. “Earning Your Stripes in Aviation/Aerospace.” Ryan Van Haren is a great, experienced friend of aviation/aerospace. He is an air traffic controller and leads the B.C. General Aviation Association. All previous webinars are available at BCAviationCouncil.org .
The BC Aviation Council Youth Committee is also producing the Blue Skies & Beyond newsletter and running a mentorship program. Exciting work supporting the next generation during these challenging times!
RBC Podcast On Why the Airline Industry is Bracing for More Turbulence | The 10-Minute Take
Featuring Walter Spracklin, Transportation and Industrials Analyst at RBC Capital Markets
If you felt your travel plans were disappointing this summer, spare a thought for the airline industry. Border restrictions, travel advisories, mandatory self-quarantine… policies that are critical for public health have been devastating to carriers, which are hemorrhaging millions of dollars each day. When will travel get back to normal? How does the propensity to travel differ across classifications? And how are carriers convincing customers that it’s safe to fly again? Walter Spracklin, Transportation and Industrials Analyst at RBC Capital Markets, shares what the airline industry needs to recover from the COVID crisis.
Silver Wings 2020 and Airports, Aviation, Aerospace Conference 2021
Silver Wings Industry and Scholarship Awards Celebration will be postponed until 2021 and/or the scholarship portion will go virtual later this year.
Our Airports, Aviation, Aerospace Spring Conference for May 16-18, 2021 at the Laurel Point Inn in Victoria may be held in Fall 2021 due to COVID
Postponing these two events has had a substantial financial impact on the Council and undermines our ability to grow our heavily subscribed scholarship program.
BC Economic Development Association Resources
Richmond Economic Development Office Resources
Transport Canada's COVID-19 Measures, Updates and Guidance
Government of Canada Resources Gateway
BC's Restart Plan
Sourcing PPE - Rapid Response Platform Find suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment.
Small Business BC - Find a PPE Supplier
Canada COVID-19 Situational Awareness Dashboard
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Infographic
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Statistics This program is being rolled into the Employment Insurance program. Details not available until mid-October, best guess.
19 Wing Comox gets Canada’s first new fixed-wing rescue aircraft in 50 years
Without federal government, the outlook for air transport in British Columbia is bleak. Written by the Canadian Airport Council and BC Aviation Council. Appeared in at least Victoria's, Prince George, Kelowna, Trail and the Tourism Association of BC member newsletter. BCAC has been working very closely with TIABC as major recovery is needed in both Tourism and Aviation.
Months after fatal crash, the Snowbirds take flight in Kamloops
It could take 5 years for this B.C. airport to economically recover from COVID-19
Flyby over Victoria a salute to peacekeepers
Small plane crashes at remote airstrip in southwest B.C.
Victoria airport recognized as most efficient in its class
If you have topics you'd like addressed in future COVID webinars, contact us at Dave@BCAviationCouncil.org
If you like the proactive approach the BC Aviation Council is taking tackling COVID-19, support our efforts by becoming a student (free), recent graduate ($20/year), individual ($100/year) or corporate ($500/year) member. Many people and companies are. The Council only exists because of, and for, you.
All good things and be safe.