High River: Alberta's First
Air Station

 Chris Weicht

The Air Station at High River was, in 1920, the first legitimate (i.e. non-barnstormer) aviation presence in Alberta. Staffed with Royal Flying Corps veterans of the Great War, this station became responsible for all forest fire protection of the Rocky Mountains; licensing Alberta pilots, aircraft and airfields; and later (as the Royal Canadian Air Force) flying surveys for the projected Air Mail route from Lethbridge to Vancouver.

The Second World War meant High River went from civilian aviation centre to BCATP hub. Soon it was the site of No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School and many a young pilot destined for overseas duty spent time in the cockpits of the school’s Tiger Moth "yellow peril" trainers.

Through archival photos and illustrations, as well as humorous stories, this presentation will outline this little-known history!

Chris Weicht has had a long and varied career in aviation both in Canada and the United States: he served in the RCAF at Jericho Beach and Comox; worked for Pacific Western Airlines on the DEW Line in the Northwest Territories; and flew for several firms in the Pacific Northwest. He has published eight books on aviation history including, most recently, Alberta Skies (2010). For more information, please see his website,