RCAF, RCN and civilian aviators to be honoured by Hall of Fame

By John Chalmers, CAHS Membership Secretary

Aviators of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy and civilian operations will be honoured at the annual induction ceremonies of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 2016. Again the gala dinner event will be held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. June 9 is the date.

The Royal Canadian Naval Air Branch will receive the Belt of Orion Award for Excellence, given to an organization for outstanding contributions to aviation. The Branch was formed in 1945 after the Second World War as a result of wartime experience of Canadian air and naval forces as integral parts of the Royal Navy. With fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, navy pilots flew from both Royal Canadian Navy carriers and other ships. Innovations developed by the navy included operation of anti-submarine aircraft from small warships and a haul-down system for helicopter landings. The air arm of the RCN operated until unification of Canada’s armed services in 1968.
 HMCS Bonaventure

The HMCS Bonaventure was Canada’s third and last aircraft carrier, launched in 1945 and decommissioned in 1970. (Internet photo)

Four individuals who have spent lifetime careers in aviation will be inducted as Members of the Hall.

CarmichaelFrederick James Carmichael of Inuvik, Northwest Territories, continues to fly in northern Canada since earning his Private Pilot Licence in 1955. His accomplishments as an aviation entrepreneur, search and rescue pilot, and pioneer aboriginal commercial pilot have made him a legend. As well, he has been deeply involved in community life and native interests in the Northwest Territories. He has flown as a commercial pilot and started his own companies, Reindeer Air Service Ltd. and Antler Aviation. The airport at Aklavik, the town where he was born, has been named for him as the Aklavik/Freddie Carmichael airport. The recipient of many awards, Fred was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada in 2010.

FoxKathleen Carol Fox of Gatineau, Québec, was appointed as chair of Canada’s Transportation Safety Board in 2014. She has dedicated herself to Canadian aviation, contributing as a flying instructor, involvement with the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association and representing Canada in international competition, and professionally as an air traffic controller and senior manager with NAV CANADA. She has earned both Private and Commercial flying licences and has been authorized by Transport Canada as a Designated Flight Test Examiner. As a member of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and the Ninety-Nines, Kathy has received many accolades for her accomplishments. In 2004 she was inducted in the Québec Air and Space Hall of Fame.

LennoxWilliam Ross Lennox (1922-2013) began his career as a pilot trainee with the RCAF when he enlisted in 1942. After serving as a flying instructor with the air force, he was posted overseas late in the war, flying Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Afterwards, he began his career in civilian aviation as a flying instructor with the Flin Flon Flying Club, followed by many years of flying in northern Canada. Notable accomplishments included test flying all 41 Sikorsky Sea King helicopters built for the Royal Canadian Navy, and piloting the first unescorted helicopter flight across the Atlantic, from the United States to England. Ross served as Chief Pilot of Pratt & Whitney Canada, retiring from that position in 1982, but continued to fly commercially and for personal pleasure. Ross was a CAHS national member and a long-time member of the CAHS Ottawa chapter..

ShenstoneBeverley “Bev” Strahan Shenstone (1906-1979) was the first Canadian to graduate from a Canadian university with a master’s degree in aeronautics, from the University of Toronto in 1929. His first exposure to flying was as a member of the Provisional Pilot Officers Program of the RCAF while attending university. Bev then worked in Germany and England in the field of aeronautical design, and is known for his wing design of the Supermarine Spitfire flown in the Second World War. His experience ranged from gliders to supersonic airliners. He held many positions in the industry, retiring from the British Overseas Airways Corporation in 1966. Bev’s complete career is described in five articles by Wayne Saunders, published in the CAHS Journal, in 2011-13.

For information on tickets to the induction dinner and ceremonies in Ottawa on June 9, click here. The event is an fund-raising activity of the Hall of Fame and Canada’s premiere celebration of our aviation heritage. A charitable donation receipt is issued for half the cost of the ticket.

Above sketches of 2016 Hall of Fame inductees are by Robert Bailey, courtesy of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.