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CAHS 2016 Convention

Story and photos by John Chalmers,

CAHS Membership Secretary

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While the CAHS 2016 convention was in session at the Viscount Gort Hotel on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, a Lancaster was flying at low level straight down Portage – in a mural on a nearby building.

The 2016 convention from June 1-5 was a resounding success, thanks to the hard work of chairperson Jim Bell, his fellow committee members, and excellent sponsorship of the annual event. Generous support of donated items for auction as well as a large number of aviation books available at bargain prices provided an added dimension to the program.

Starting with a meet and greet session on June 1 at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada, with entertainment by Al Simmons, the convention was underway with a fine start. Tours by volunteers at the museum took conventioneers through the museum to see both restored and conserved aircraft as well as reconstruction and restoration projects.

A full bus left at 0830 on June 2, heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway. First stop was at Southport Aerospace Centre for a presentation at the former base at Portage La Prairie, where 80% of air force pilots earn their wings. Following lunch, the bus continued on to the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM) at Brandon. Lunch, presentations, and a tour of the archives and museum were among the highlights. Some took flights in the museum’s Stinson, Cornell and Harvard.

Full day sessions were then held June 3 and 4 at the Viscount Gort Hotel in Winnipeg. The program concluded with the wrap-up banquet on June 4, with speaker Gary Hook on the topic of “Treetop in a Starfighter.” For those staying to Sunday, June 5, a presentation was done by Fred Petrie on “The C-46 Commando, from The Hump to Ice Pilots.” He was followed by Barry Prentice and Craig Skonberg speaking about “Helium and Airships 1868 to the Present.”

I got photos of most speakers, but missed four, as I had to catch a plane home on June 4. However, additional photos by Jim Bell and Bill Zuk are posted here, ensuring that all who presented topics in the convention and helped to make it a success are seen.

 National President Gary Williams

National president Gary Williams welcomed attendees, which began with a social event giving folks a chance to renew friendships and make new acquaintances.

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 Tours of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada were conducted by volunteers and here the conventioneers  are checking out a Bellanca Air Cruiser.

 Fairchild FC-2 “Razorback”

This Fairchild FC-2 “Razorback” dating from the 1920s, crashed in the Northwest Territories in 1932 and was recovered half a century later. It is now undergoing reconstruction at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.

Vickers Vedette flying boat

This Vickers Vedette flying boat, which has a special place in Canadian aviation, was built from scratch at the museum, a 22-year project. At far right is the only part of the original CF-MAG aircraft that was recovered.

restored de Havilland Fox Moth

This restored de Havilland Fox Moth is the latest aircraft to be put on display at the museum. For information on all the aircraft there, see the web site at

Peter Fedak, site manager of KF AerospaceIn the Hilly Brown Building at Southport, the first session on the bus tour was an overview of aviation activity at the airport, given by Peter Fedak, site manager of KF Aerospace, which is under contract for service to the air force. 
 John McNarry At CAPTM at the Brandon airport, museum association president John McNarry welcomed the bus riders. “One advantage of having aircraft that fly from a museum,” he said, “is that it helps to bring in visitors, and appeals to young people.”

 Ted Barris

Always a dynamic speaker, author Ted Barris spoke during the Brandon tour about the story in his book, Behind the Glory. The next day he recounted the Canadian contribution to The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, described in his book, The Great Escape: a Canadian story.


Fred Petrie

With reference to his father’s log books, Fred Petrie spoke about his father’s experience training as a pilot for the RCAF during the Second World War.

Stephen Hayter

Stephen Hayter, executive director of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, welcomed conventioneers to the impressive Harry D. Hayward archives at the Brandon base.

 the library and extensive archives of the museum

With proper storage facilities and climate control, the library and extensive archives of the museum are housed in a modernized H hut barracks building, which doubles as the type of housing facility so common for airmen.


Paul Hayes, left, and Howard Malone

Paul Hayes, left, and Howard Malone of the Toronto CAHS chapter with an Avro Anson at the Brandon museum, which is all about the Second World War and houses many aircraft in the familiar BCATP yellow livery.

Bristol Bollingbroke

At the CATPM, a Bristol Bolingbroke is shown being refuelled by an early 1940s Ford fuel tender. Another Bolingbroke of the museum is on display outside the Comfort Inn on the Trans-Canada Highway in Brandon.

Hugh Halliday is ready for a flight from the Brandon airport

Long-time CAHS member Hugh Halliday is ready for a flight from the Brandon airport in the museum’s Fairchild Cornell. In addition, the museum flies a Harvard, a Tiger Moth, a Stinson 105 Voyager and a Fleet Finch.

RCAF memorial at the CATPM

The RCAF memorial at the CATPM was unveiled in September 2014. It names 19,000 who fell during the Second World War while serving with the RCAF. Names are inscribed on 64 black granite panels in a 91-meter long memorial in the curved shape of an airfoil.

bronze statue depicts a wartime airman heading out to his aircraft as part of the RCAF Memorial

A larger than life bronze statue depicts a wartime airman heading out to his aircraft as part of the RCAF Memorial. The 1941 hangar/museum is in the background. For more info on the museum, see

Delegates had a full day of aviation history

Delegates had a full day of aviation history before boarding the bus to return to Winnipeg.


Jim Bell

Convention chairman Jim Bell, who also serves as CAHS national secretary, along with excellent support from fellow committee members and sponsors, staged another successful CAHS convention.
Robert NashRobert Nash, who spent many years with both the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, spoke of RCAF and RNZAF involvement in the Cold War, comparing the two air forces. 

 Carl Vincent

Carl Vincent spoke of “Winter and Other Trials” of RAF aircraft on loan to the RCAF from 1925-1939.

Carl Christie Carl Christie in his presentation informed attendees about the history of the “Air Force in Manitoba.”
 Carl Mills The presentation by Carl Mills dealt with the topic of “Canadian Airmen and Airwomen in the Korean War.”
 Warrant Officer Dylan LeeWarrant Officer Dylan Lee, currently serving with the RCAF, spoke of the air force’s use of “Canadian Drones in Afghanistan.”

Bill Zuk of the Manitoba chapter

Convention committee member Bill Zuk, of the Manitoba chapter, showed his enthusiasm for old movies at a well-attended optional evening session dealing with “Canadian Aviation History on Film.”

Cody Lincoln

Cody Lincoln, age 15 and a sergeant in 249 Beausejour Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, began Saturday’s sessions with a polished and well illustrated presentation on “Victory by Assembly Line,” about how Canada moved quickly from normal life to wartime production of aircraft, vehicles, munitions and other material such as parachutes, with women comprising a high percentage of the workforce.

 National treasurer Rachel Lea Heide

National treasurer Rachel Lea Heide began her treasurer’s report at the AGM with a “commercial message” for CAHS branded merchandise. Her presentation on “The Rise of Canadian Nationalism in the British Air Services, 1914-18,” illustrated how Canada moved towards the formation of its own air force.


Paul Hayes

A career pilot with the RCAF, Paul Hayes spoke of “Tactical Training of the German Air Force” during the days of the Cold War. His love of flying the F-86 Sabre was clearly evident.

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Ken Kohut of Winnipeg-based Magellan Aerospace, which began in 1930 as MacDonald Brothers manufacturing airplane floats, developed as a company producing Black Brant rockets. Magellan has developed payloads for NASA used on Space Shuttles and the International Space Station and now develops satellites.


Stéphane Guevremont

Stéphane Guevremont, Honorary Colonel of 419 Moose Squadron, presented an entertaining session about John “Moose” Fulton, the only Canadian to have a squadron named for its commander. Another session by Stéphane was on the topic of “404 Squadron Anti-Shipping Strikes.”

John Chalmers

I shot photos of nearly all presenters at the convention, but to get one of myself, I had to pause to shoot a selfie during my session on “The Search for Captain Roy Brown,” the First World War squadron commander and ace who built an airline after the war.

Some of the 2016 CAHS convention attendees

All attending the 2016 CAHS convention were attentive, well cared for and well fed thanks to excellent arrangements by the convention planners: Jim Bell, Leon Dubickyj, Pat English, Pam McKenzie, Bruce McLeod, Keith Olson, Alan Parkin, Fred Petrie, and Bill Zuk. With another successful convention concluded, plans now call for the 2017 convention to be held in London, Ontario.