Robert (Bob) Hewitt
“Mover and shaker” in aviation

By Gord McNulty, CAHS Vice President

bob hewitt photo

Bob Hewitt loved to share his aviation memories and knowledge of the Harvard at CHAA fly-ins and special events in Tillsonburg. Photo by Pat Hanna.

The aviation community lost a strong advocate and visionary on December 30 when Robert (Bob) Hewitt passed away peacefully at his home in Woodstock, ON. Bob, 85, was widely respected as a co-founder of both the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association ( and the Jet Aircraft Museum ( He will be remembered for his commitment and generosity in laying the foundation for two organizations are much appreciated by aviation fans.

Pat Hanna, Past President of the CHAA, described Bob as a tireless advocate for the CHAA for the past 35 years. “Bob was a mover and shaker, a man of integrity and a very good pilot,” he said. Bob’s legacy lives on in many ways. His son, Dave, soloed on the family Harvard in 1990, became a member of the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, and flew the “Canadian Queen” Beech Expeditor in the 2019 Canadian International Air Show.

Bob flew the Harvard and the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star as an RCAF pilot. After retiring from the service, he was a partner in establishing the Woodstock Flying Club ( in 1968. The Harvard story originated when Bob and his friend, the late Norm Beckham, acquired one of the trainers that had been stored in a barn in nearby Norwich. They were soon each flying a Harvard from Woodstock’s small grass strip and were joined by Len Fallowfield, who then purchased a Harvard.

“The Woodstock Boys” were soon making an impression at air shows and fly-ins in Ontario and the United States. As maintenance and operating costs rose, Bob envisaged an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the Harvard. The CHAA was officially established in 1985, with Bob as the first president. The CHAA grew from the start and relocated from Woodstock to larger hangar facilities at its current home in Tillsonburg.

Bob also recognized the importance of preserving RCAF jet trainers at risk of being scrapped. His leadership inspired creation of the Jet Aircraft Museum, established to acquire, display and fly vintage Canadian military jets. Based in London, ON, JAM was launched in 2007 when an opportunity arose to acquire six CT-133s at CFB Mountainview that had been struck off strength. Bob served as the first president of JAM.

Bob often shared stories about the Harvard, the T-bird, and enjoyed the friendship of the aviation fraternity. He was a modest man, despite his many accomplishments, and will be missed by all. A funeral was held at the Church of the Epiphany in Woodstock on January 3.

 bob hewitt speaking at opening

Bob Hewitt spoke at the grand opening of the Jet Aircraft Museum in London on Sept. 12, 2009. (Gord McNulty photo)