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Working to keep local aviation history relevant.

report By Everett McQuinn and Boyd Trites


Concurrent with the opening of the new Greater Moncton International Airport terminal in October 2002, CAHS Turnbull Chapter President Don McClure believed it was exactly the right time to create a museum inside the new facility to present and celebrate the rich aviation heritage and history of New Brunswick, and particularly Moncton. Appropriately, Moncton Airport CEO Rob Robichaud chose to honour this famous Canadian aviator for his vision and imagination by naming the resulting display the Don McClure Aviation Historical Gallery.

The large exhibit area opened in June 2003 on the upper observation floor with additional main concourse displays added in 2007 and 2009. The creation of the museum was unanimously supported by New Brunswick chapter members who donated and raised $45,000 from their own personal contributions, people interested in aviation history and its preservation in the community and several corporations.

New Brunswick civil, commercial and military aviation is highlighted: Eastern Canada Air Lines, the early small company created by Dick McCully, consisting of five General Aircraft Monospar ST-25 aircraft at Leger’s Corner, Moncton’s Municipal Airport; Carl Burke’s Maritime Central Airways of Charlottetown; Trans-Canada Air Lines in 1940 flying from the Moncton Airport at Lakeburn (Dieppe); the tremendous contribution of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan at No. 8 SFTS, Lakeburn; No. 4 Repair Depot, RCAF Station Scoudouc; No. 31 Dispersal Establishment, Moncton; and No. 5 Supply Depot, Moncton.

In the upper displays, visitors can view the tunic of the last living Battle of Britain pilot from New Brunswick, S/L John Hart, DFC, formerly of Sackville. Another case shows the tunic of Captain Bob Graham of Maritime Central Airways, with a model of DC-3 CF-BZH and other artifacts. A third case focuses on Trans-Canada Air Lines and the tunic of (the late) Captain Walter Fowler of Moncton, with DC-3 model CF-TET, plus other items of interest. A repeating 25-minute video illustrates the evolution of flying from the Silver Dart to the Boeing 767. Canada’s Aviation Hall of Famers from New Brunswick – including Walter Fowler, Rupert Turnbull, Al Lilly, Don McClure and Claude Taylor – are remembered on a special wall presentation. The main concourse exhibits explore the role of No. 8 SFTS and feature Anson and Harvard models by master builders Clarke and Norman Sheppard.

Saint John CAHS members and supporters also have created attractive displays in the Saint John Airport, M. Gerald Teed and Millidgeville North schools of the city. An educational outreach program in the Millidgeville North school introduces three classes of Grade 5 students to the theory of flight (Cliff Boyer, Ernie Jones and Boyd Trites), women in aviation (Gina Jordan), the history of aviation in Saint John and New Brunswick (historian Harold E. Wright) and early air mail flying in Canada (Pierre Vachon). As part of their school work in spring each year, students prepare either an aviation art or essay project. Three winners are selected from each of the four subject areas and receive prizes awarded at a pizza party. An annual field trip to the airport includes visits to the flying club and fire hall, and a model aircraft flying display by Cliff Boyer.

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