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Maverick of the Sky


Shirlee and Fred

From the perils of World War I aerial dogfights to the daring antics of his post-war barnstorming stunts, the adventures of Captain Freddie McCall, flying ace and maverick Calgarian, come to life in this presentation.

Come explore this ace pilot’s wartime accomplishments and post-war entrepreneurial spirit from author Shirlee Matheson Smith (who literally wrote the book on him!) and his son, Fred. Also find out about the process of constructing a full scale replica of the Curtiss JN-4 – now housed at the Glenbow Museum – that he and Wop May flew for barnstorming shows after the war.

Shirlee Smith Matheson is the author of numerous aviation books, including: Amazing Flights and Flyers; Flying the Frontiers, volumes I, II, III; Lost, True Stories of Canadian Aviation Tragedies; and Maverick in the Sky. She is a much-loved speaker in Western Canada where she brings to life stories of real Canadians – pilots and priests, explorers and engineers, bushmen and prospectors. For more information, please visit

Fred McCall is the son of Freddie McCall. Fred built a replica of the 1919 model of the Curtiss JN-4 his father once flew using original plans. It has become part of a special long-term exhibit at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. For more information, click here.