The CAHS is in the final stages of developing a new website.

We invite you to Click Here to visit now to view the new site and take advantage of the new features.

Once all relevant material from the old website has been transfered to the new website,
typing will automatically bring you to the new website.

Also visit the Newsflash page at to read about the latest developments.

Thanks for your patience, support, and interest!



Journal Update

Volume 56, Number 3 has exited print production and is now in queue at the mailing house where it will be mailed together with Volume 56, Number 4.

Volume 56, Number 4 is just about to go to final proofreading (most probably this weekend) and is slotted to enter print production at the end of next week. At the present time, we plan to have it mailed together with Journal 56 Number 3.

The digital versions of each of these will be emailed to all current online membership members within the same week that these two numbers are confirmed to be in the mail.

Three of the four issues for Volume 57 are also currently in the works.

Please visit the Journal page on the website for the latest information. Or check the Newsflash page for the latest postings across the entire site, including Journal updates. We anticipate having one or two more Journal-related updates online before the next newsletter.


23 February 2020 – National Aviation Day

Did you know that 23 February 2020 is National Aviation Day in Canada? This is a great opportunity to focus on all things aviation by commemorating the past, celebrating the present, and advancing the future of aviation in Canada.

Canada has over 110 years of aviation history accomplishments and contributions, spanning the Silver Dart, First and Second World War flying aces, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the Avro Arrow, and the North American Aerospace Defence Command participation, to modern-day Royal Canadian Air Force operations at home and abroad. Canada also has a significant aviation industry sector, which has included aerospace manufacturing; maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities; and the provision of pilot, technician, and air traffic control training. And Canada’s aviation endeavours have evolved to include the burgeoning domain of space, including the CANADARM, the RADARSAT satellite, and the Canadian Space Agency’s recent launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission in 2019.

The demand for aviation sector jobs is growing every day. Did you know that there is a global shortage of both commercial and military pilots? Globally, commercial airlines are expanding their routes and acquiring more aircraft. At the same time, over 40% of the current commercial pilots are facing mandatory retirement age over the next ten years, and over 50% of existing pilots will reach age 50 by 2024, which means this other half will be facing retirement by 2039. One industry forecast estimates that 804,000 new civilian pilots, 59,000 new helicopter pilots, 769,000 new maintenance technicians, and 914,000 new cabin crew will be needed globally over the next 20 years. US airlines alone predict they need to hire between 3000-4500 new pilots annually for the next ten years. If you are a youth looking for a career path, or if you are an adult looking for a career change, the aviation industry needs you. Check out this Transport Canada link for more information on commercial aviation sector jobs, and check out these links for more information on Royal Canadian Air Force job opportunities:,, and

So take the opportunity on 23 February to learn more about Canada’s aviation history or aviation jobs. We encourage you to surf the Internet and look up aviation-related historical facts, go to your local library and take out some fascinating aviation history books (check out some suggested titles at, watch some aviation movies, or visit your local museum and experience the lure of aviation artifacts in person. For example, check out the websites of the Canada Air and Space Museum in Ottawa, the Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary, and the Kitchener Public Library for their special events and admission rates for National Aviation Day weekend. Happy soaring!


Aviation Losses

Canada has recently lost two outstanding aviators in Ronald Peel and Daryl Smith.

Ron Peel, DFC, served with the RCAF during the Second World War as a navigator and bomb air aimer. Following his air force service he became the first Chief Navigator for Trans-Canada Airlines and continued with a long and successful career, retiring in 1989. Born in England on March 10, 1922, Ron died on February 10, 2020. He was inducted as a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991. His biography at the CAHF web site can be seen when you click here and scroll down to his name.

Daryl Smith, the founder of Pacific Coastal Airlines, known as a pilot and entrepreneur, is particularly know for his contributions to aviation in British Columbia. Born on July 29, 1939, Daryl died on February 1, 2020. He was was a recipient of the British Columbia Aviation Council (BCAC) Robert S. Day Trophy in 1998, and Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Read more about Daryl when you click here.


CAHS Convention 2020

We are pleased to welcome you to the first CAHS Convention held in beautiful Richmond (Vancouver), British Columbia. The convention schedule is still being finalised, but registration is now open. You can register using this form. Convention dates are Wednesday 27 May to Saturday 30 May, with optional events before and after.

The convention begins with a Meet and Greet on Wednesday evening. Reconnect with your friends and meet aviation enthusiasts from across Canada at this informal evening. Convention sessions start Thursday morning, and continue until Friday afternoon. The annual general meeting will follow the sessions on Friday afternoon. Our annual banquet will take place on Friday evening. We are planning tours of local aviation attractions on Saturday. Lunch will be held at the iconic Flying Beaver restaurant, where we will have a pleasant meal while watching floatplanes take off and land on the Fraser River. The tours will wind up by 4 pm, early enough to catch an evening flight for those who need to leave.

We are offering several optional tours. A sightseeing tour over Vancouver in a Harbour Air Beaver or Turbo Otter floatplane will be available (tour example). An overnight trip to Seattle is planned, to see attractions such as the Boeing factory, the Museum of Flight, and the Flying Heritage Museum. Another option is a day trip to Victoria to visit the British Columbia Aviation Museum and other aviation sites near the Victoria International Airport. These tours will be available at additional cost and may be cancelled if we don’t reach a minimum number of guests. The tours to Seattle and Victoria will take place before or after the convention. The floatplane tour will take place on Thursday, after the day’s sessions.

 travelodge logo

We have arranged a special rate at the Travelodge Vancouver Airport Hotel. The Travelodge is close to the Vancouver International Airport and several restaurants. There is a free airport shuttle every half hour. Your reservation includes access to high speed internet, an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, a 24 hour fitness room, and complimentary continental breakfast. Rooms with king beds or two queen beds are available. The room rate is guaranteed for two days before and after the convention for those who want to tour on their own.

To reserve your room, please call the hotel front desk at 604-278-5155 ext. 0, and provide our group code, GPCAH0001. The cut off date for reservations at the special rate is 27 April 2020. Room rates below do not include taxes.

One person - CAD 152.00 (king or queen)
Two people - CAD 152.00 (king or queen)
Three people - CAD 167.00 (two queens)
Four people - CAD 182.00 (two queens)
This rate is available two days before and after the convention for those who wish to stay longer.

Vancouver offers so much for the visitor to enjoy. Besides well known sites like Gastown, Granville Island, and Stanley Park, the city offers miles of walking trails, a variety of restaurants, and eclectic shops. From William Wallace Gibson and the first successful Canadian built aeroengine, to the first international mail flight in North America, between Vancouver and Seattle, to the modern history of the world’s first commercial electrically powered aircraft flight, British Columbia is teeming with aviation history. The convention is a great opportunity for you to renew friendships and make new ones with people who share your passion for aviation. We hope to see you there.


Unidentified Aircraft Jasper Alberta 1947

The photo above was posted on a railroad-related Facebook forum and the forum. It is said to be of an aircraft which crashed at Jasper, Alberta, in 1947. Can CAHS members help identify it?

The caption to this photo states:
"A plane crash Canadian National Railway yard. The plane was making a pass over the town to alert Pete Noullet and Bob Baxter Sr. of its arrival when a box shifted in the cockpit forcing the nose of the plane down."

Thanks in advance.

Michael McMurtrey

CAHS #5646
Carrollton, TX


Remembering Bill Wheeler

By John Chalmers
CAHS Membership Secretary

Bill Wheeler 300With the passing of William J. Wheeler, the Canadian Aviation Historical Society has lost one of its original members and one who made a great and lasting contribution to the CAHS. For 45 years from 1963 to 2008, Bill served as the original editor of the CAHS Journal, working as a volunteer in a job he regarded as a labour of love.

A talented artist, writer and editor, through his work for the CAHS, Bill came to know personally many important Canadian aviators through publishing their stories. Born November 19, 1931, Bill died at Markham Stouffville Hospital on January 21, 2020 at the age of 88.

In an article published in the Markham Economist & Sun in 2011, the year Bill was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame for his contribution in editing and publishing the Journal, CAHS vice-president Gord McNulty wrote, “Wheeler’s unassuming nature belies his many accomplishments as a teacher, artist, author and encyclopedic aviation historian. His home is a virtual art gallery of fine renditions of aircraft in flight and albums of illustrations he drew for high-profile clients.”

McNulty’s article also stated, “Wheeler worked as a freelance illustrator during the early 1960s for the de Havilland Canada aircraft company, the Toronto Star Weekly and various publishers. He also illustrated a boy’s book on First World War flying – Knights of the Air – for Macmillan Canada. A bestseller, it achieved about eight printings in at least two editions. Wheeler illustrated 60 books in whole or part, often collaborating with his wife, Pat, also an Ontario College of Art graduate, and a distinguished cartoonist.”

As an author, Bill published three other books about aviation: Images of Flight, Skippers of the Sky, and Flying Under Fire. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree and became head of the art department at West Hill Collegiate Institute in Toronto. He held that post for 28 years until retiring in 1994. A resident of Markham, Ontario, Bill was predeceased by his son, Donald, and is survived by Pat and sons Douglas and Christopher.

License plate 5The fifth member to join the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Bill was active in publicizing the CAHS and encouraging fellow enthusiasts to sign up as members. Proud of his association, Bill had his membership number produced on a custom Ontario licence plate.

Bill Wheeler leaves behind a lasting contribution to Canadian aviation history in a legacy of publishing the CAHS Journal, which he developed as Canada’s premiere aviation history magazine. He is remembered and honoured with the CAHS William J. Wheeler Volunteer Service Award. His biography in the web site of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame can be seen when you click here and then click on William J. Wheeler.

CAHS chapters or individual members who wish to remember Bill with a donation can do so with a contribution to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Markham Stouffville Hospital at


Grant for The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre

The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, has received a financial boost with a $20,772 grant to help with audio-visual equipment upgrades from the federal government’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. This is in top of $438,000 in grants given to the museum already under Ottawa’s FedNor program, designed to fund economic development in northern Ontario. In operation for 31 years, the museum concentrates on both local and remote bush plane history and artifacts, as well as the role of firefighting in the northern part of the province.


Air Classics March Issue

The Great War Flying Museum, based in Brampton, Ontario, is featured in a profusely illustrated cover story by Doug Fisher in the March issue of Air Classics. The feature is a fitting tribute to the museum, originally established in 1970 by three members of the Brampton Flying Club, in its 50th year of operation. The colourful history of the museum’s full-scale replica Fokker D. VII is highlighted in the article.

Air Classics March 2020 545


RCAF 2020 Ball Vert new


The RCAF will celebrate its 100th anniversary on 1 April 2024. Leading up to this significant milestone, the RCAF will hold a series of three balls – in 2020, 2022, and 2024.

The first ball will be held on Saturday 28 March 2020
Infinity Convention Centre in Ottawa (2901 Gibford Drive, near the airport)

Lt-General Meinzinger invites all RCAF personnel, their friends, and their family to attend this greatly anticipated event, which will recognize the contributions of Canada’s aviators from the time of their service in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War up to the creation of the RCAF in 1924.

Tickets for this event will be $115 per person (plus HST).
Ticket sales open 20 January 2020 and will close
16 March 2020 (or earlier pending availability).

Tickets will only be available via the Royal Canadian Air Force Association (RCAFA) website:

Cocktails 1800 hours, Dinner 1900 hours,
Dancing until 0030 hours

Black tie tuxedo, mess dress, suit and tie,
First World War/1920s period dress for men

Mess dress, formal gown, cocktail dress,
First World War/1920s period dress for women

The process to purchase tickets:

a. Visit the RCAF Ball 2020 webpage at
b. Click on link “Click here to sign up” – this will lead to the login page

c. Click on the New Visitor Registration link; follow instructions to create an account
d. Once account is created, click on the Online Store tab; then click on featured product RCAF Ball 2020 Tickets

RCAF 2020Ball Hz new


The RCAF 2020 Ball organizing committee is in the process of building door prize packages for its 500+ attendees, and we are looking for more goodies to include. Does any aviation author wish to donate a book(s)? Do some aviation artists have pieces of art they could donate? Would an aviation museum like to provide a free membership to their institution? Does anyone else have some eye-catching aviation memorabilia or other ideas that might make a great addition to a door prize package? If you have an idea for a donation, please contact Rachel Lea Heide (, and she will communicate your donation offer to the RCAF 2020 Ball Organizing Committee.


Celebration of Life for Bill Wheeler

By Gord McNulty, CAHS Vice President

Family and friends gathered at St. Andrew’s United Church in Markham, Ontario on February 6 to celebrate the life of Bill Wheeler. CAHS colleagues included Robert Bradford, CAHS Patron, who was given a ride to the service by Robert Galway; Roger Slauenwhite and I. Toronto Chapter President Sheldon Benner regretted he could not attend on account of illness but Sheldon, Larry Milberry, Paul Hayes and Tom Nettleton visited the funeral home on February 5.

Eulogies were led by Ted Spence, cousin of Bill’s wife, Pat. Ted visited Bill every day he was in the hospital until he passed away on January 21 and recalled many fond memories. Ted noted Bill brought his ever-present sketchbooks to the hospital and shared his many interests conversing with hospital staff. He remembered multi-talented Bill as a man of imposing stature who was an exceptional observer and storyteller. “He always remembered the names of everyone he met,” Ted recalled, noting Bill took great interest in the students he taught as Head of the Art Department at West Hill Collegiate Institute for 28 years. As Ted said, Bill had so many positive experiences to draw upon in reflecting on the long life he enjoyed and the perfect match he had with Pat.

Bill’s eldest son, Doug, recalled how his father developed a mellow personality over the years. He emphasized Bill’s interest in the environment and how he didn’t like to see anything go to waste. “He couldn’t get enough of the compost heap,” Doug said. Bill’s son, Chris, described Bill as an inspiration to his students.

The eulogists recalled how Bill appreciated nature, the great outdoors and camping in addition to his outstanding volunteer contributions as original editor of the CAHS Journal, community service on the local Architectural Conservancy advisory committee and more. He canoed both the Nahanni River in the Yukon and the Stikine River in northern B.C. Bill’s granddaughters, Elizabeth and Katelyn, also shared warm reflections at the service, officiated by Rev. Katherine Selby.

Everyone enjoyed a reception and sharing memories of Bill’s remarkable life and achievements in the church hall after the service.


Warrant Officer Gerald Bell 1909 - 1989:
Canada’s First Black Airman

gerald bellIn honour of Black History Month, it is worth reflecting on the career of Warrant Officer Gerald Bell as summarized by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

Gerald W.A. Bell’s career before WWII started as a special constable for the RCMP in Hamilton. Bell wanted the time the position allowed to prove himself as an athlete before becoming a doctor. He raced against Jesse Owens as a competitive sprinter; he was a trainer at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He won 63 of 67 bouts as an amateur boxer. Secretly he also took flying lessons.

When The Hamilton Spectator leaked the story of “the brown birdman”, Bell set aside medical aspirations to pursue what had become his passion -- flying. He enlisted in the newly reorganized RCAF joining the No 19 Bomber Squadron Auxiliary. With them Bell enjoyed further training on one of four brand new de Havilland Moth aircraft. His unit started active full-time service Sept 3, 1939 -- a week before Canada declared war on Germany.

During WWII Bell served with the 6th Bomber group in Yorkshire, England. He tested new aircraft, trained pilots and joined 424 Squadron as an air gunner on flying operations against the enemy. Following the war, Bell served at bases across Canada and with No. 3 Wing in Germany before retiring in 1961.

After 25 years of military service Bell began a 12-year career as a quality control officer at de Havilland and later at Spar Aerospace. In retirement Bell helped restore one of only two flying Avro Lancaster Bombers. That Lancaster, now housed permanently at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, reminds us of men like Warrant Officer Gerry Bell who served their country well in times of war and peace. Gerald Bell’s smoke trail still lingers in the skies, especially over his hometown Hamilton.

Photo: The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum