Companies – Canada

See Canadian Stearmans for images of the aircraft marked with the camera symbol  1427829442_camera_ios7_ios_7 below.

AgAir Ltd., Dawson Creek, British Columbia

Now an aircraft charter, leasing and rental service run by Donald Lumsden. AgAir owned CF-KQB #59 after Hicks and Lawrence.

Airspray Ltd., Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Stanley George “Stan” Reynolds – Founder of Airspray Ltd.

Stanley George “Stan” Reynolds, 1923-2012, was born in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. He built the Wetaskiwin Airport in 1952 on his land west of his auto sales building. At the official opening he flew his 1940 Tiger Moth, putting on a display of aerobatics for the crowd of 7000. He kept the airstrip licensed and maintained until he transferred ownership to the City and County of Wetaskiwin in 1970.

Reynolds’ interests were wide-ranging and his enthusiasm for exploring new ventures knew no bounds. In 1953 he incorporated Air Spray Ltd. for application of fertilizers and pesticides using two Stearman biplanes. That same year he formed Central Aviation Ltd. which ran a flying school and a training program for air cadets.

“The provincially owned and operated Reynolds-Alberta Museum is named after the Reynolds Family in recognition of the cultural and historic significance of Stan Reynolds’ donations of vehicles, aircraft, agricultural equipment and industrial machines.”

Donald T. Hamilton – partner in Airspray Ltd. and owner since 1972

Don Hamilton, 1924-2011, was born in Havelock, Ontario. In 1969 he became a partner in Air Spray Ltd. and in 1972 purchased the company, which was established for suppression of forest fires. Don continued as CEO at the Edmonton office when Airspray operations moved to the Red Deer Regional Airport, site of the wartime British Commonwealth Air Training Plan base. The company’s aircraft are deployed from there for fire fighting to serve western and northern Canada.

The Airspray Stearmans

Chapter 4 of Linc Alexander’s Firebomber into Hell (2010) describes spending the month of June 1960 in New Brunswick spraying budworm with a Stearman for Air Spray Ltd. and fighting a large forest fire in British Columbia for the rest of the season. A photo by the author shows Air Spray Stearman CF-LOB #69, which is likely the aircraft that Alexander flew. At that time Airspray had three Stearmans, as Linkewich describes the other two arriving the day after him.

CF-IAD #68 – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958
CF-LOB #69 – Flew in New Brunswick possibly 1957, 1958, 1960 (Al Linkewich)
CF-JRK #xx – No information. Did not fly in New Brunswick.

Two Airspray Stearmans with others at Charlo airstrip, New Brunswick, 1957. These two Stearmans are likely CF-IAD #68 and CF-LOB #69. [FPL files]

Bradley Air Services, Carp, Ontario

Bradley Air Services Limited was founded by Canadian aviation pioneer Russell (Russ) Bradley and started operations as Bradley Air Services in 1946. It is still registered under that name, but now operates under the trademark name First Air, which is headquartered in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. First Air operates services to 34 communities in Nunavut, Nunavik, and the Northwest Territories. [Wikipedia] The airline has been owned by the Inuit tribe of northern Quebec through the Makivik Corporation since 1990.

For a more complete history, see HERE.

Bradley Stearman parked
Bradley Air Services Stearman, possibly taken by Joe Stone in 1954. [FPL Files]

Bradley Air Services probably owned five Stearmans:

#70 CF-HKZ – Listed in 1957 list as #70 under Bradley, but in 1958 as #80 under Skyway.
#71 CF-FBD – Flew in New Brunswick: 1957 (Bradley) and 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1970 (General Airspray).
#72 CF-DZC – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1960.
#73 CF-DQP – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1960, 1970.
#74 CF-IBA – Flew in New Brunswick 1957 (Bradley) and 1960 and 1970 (General Airspray)?

Central Aviation Ltd., Wetaskiwin, Alberta (Norman Rix)

Stan Reynolds formed Central Aviation Ltd., which ran a flying school and a training program for air cadets, in 1953. See information under Airspray Ltd. Visitors to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum at the Wetaskiwin Regional Airport can book a Biplane Ride in a Waco with Central Aviation.

This company under Norman Rix is reported to have owned CF-KQB #59 after Hicks and Lawrence and before Byron Reynolds.

Evergreen Air Services, Roxboro and Pierrefonds, Quebec / Upper Blackville, New Brunswick

George Lovett, Operations Manager of Wheeler Airlines, formed his own company, Evergreen Air Services, in Quebec, in Roxboro and Pierrefonds, and bought the last four TBMs from Wheeler Northland in 1970. Evergreen also had an office in Upper Blackville, New Brunswick, which is located southwest of Miramichi, halfway between Miramichi and Boiestown, in the neighbourhood of the Dunphy Airstrip. Presumably Lovett also purchased Wheeler’s remaining Stearmans.

Evergreen acquired the following Stearmans from Wheeler-Northland/Wheeler Airlines:

#2 C-FOMH -Flew in New Brunswick in 1968. Eventually sold t0 Peter Sleeman of Richmond, British Columbia.
#61 CF-EQS – Flew in New Brunswick 1953 and 1957 (Wheeler), 1966, 1967, and 1968 (Wheeler-Northland), 1972 and 1973 (Evergreen).
#63 CF-EQU – Flew in New Brunswick 1957 (Wheeler), 1966, 1967 and 1968 (Wheeler-Northland), 1972 and 1973 (Evergreen).

CF-EQS #61 EQT #62_Wheeler Stearman_FrederictonNB_11Aug1975-BMacLeod-don6c-anot
These two derelict Stearmans, CF-EQS #61 and CF-EQT #62, were photographed together at the Fredericton Airport, New Brunswick, on 11 August 1975 by Barrie MacLeod. CF-EQS was owned by Evergreen Air Services but we don’t know the ownership of CF-EQT. Was it also Evergreen?

Recorded work in Ontario

Sprayed in 1972 in southeastern Ontario using one Stearman equipped with Micronairs. [Howse and Sippell in Prebble 1975]

General Airspray, St. Thomas, Ontario

General Airspray began in 1962, when Roscoe Hodgins and his partner, Doug Worgan, bought out the spraying business of Leavens Brothers, a Toronto-based company later known as Leavens Aviation.

Roscoe and Worgan bought four Boeing Stearman Model 75 biplanes (see below) from Leavens Brothers, and focused mainly on forestry and agricultural spraying, operating from St. Thomas Municipal Airport, Ontario, until 1971. General Airspray acquired its first Ag-Cat in 1969, a second in 1975, then retired the last of its Stearmans the same year.

Worgan retired around 1985 and Roscoe bought a 100 per cent stake in the company, operating it with his son Paul’s help until Paul purchased the company in the early 2000s. [The above from this article.]

Obituary: Roscoe (Roc) Hodgins, co-founder of General Airspray

Peacefully in his 77th year. Roc operated General Airspray in Lucan and St. Thomas since 1962. Below are some of the 86 comments that accompanied this obituary.

Chuck & Terri Leavens says: Roc and his late partner Doug Worgan may not have been pioneers in the aerial spraying business but they certainly took it and elevated it to a higher level. Roc was respected throughout the industry for his forward thinking. We are proud to call him a friend from his earliest days in aviation.

Linda Wall of OMNR (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) says: I am so sorry to hear of Roc’s passing. Roc was one of the first “contractors” that I got to work with and he set the bar! He is and will remain one of my fondest memories from my career at MNR. The cold winter winds and the hot summer mornings on some remote airstrip in NW Ontario, regardless of the situation, when Roc was there, there was always good stories, and warm smiles.

Taylor Scarr (OMNR) says: I am sorry to hear about Roc’s passing. Roc is a legend in the spray business – a respected and well-liked gentleman. I would like to express to you my personal sympathy as well as express condolences on behalf of the Ministry of Natural Resources, with whom Roc worked for many years.

Willard Brennan (Forest Protection Limited, Miramichi, NB) says: It has been many years since I had the pleasure of working with Roc in NB. I remember him as a very professional operator and a very fine man to know.

Paul Zimmer (Zimmer Airspray) says: Roc truly was a pioneer in our industry and exemplified all that was good about it and the people that worked in it. Without the help of Roc and his partner Doug [Worgan] I am fairly certain I would not be in the aerial application industry today. When my father started his own business in 1975 with one Stearman purchased from General Airpsray, we had very little work and probably would not have survived. Roc and Doug provided us with much needed work on their forestry contracts which greatly helped ensure our survival until we could stand on our own feet. It was during those early years that I worked with Roc and came to admire and greatly respect him. He was a hard working family man of integrity and honesty. Getting the job done was always priority one, but never at the expense of quality or expediency. Even after his retirement from flying you could always find him close to the hangar helping out Paul. A true professional, a pleasure to work and socialize with, and a credit to our industry.

Robert Campbell (OMNR) says: To what Stephen Nicholson said, I would add that, over the last 30 years, when we (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resourcres and Canadian Forestry Service) wanted to conduct application technology research, we often turned to General Airspray because of the professionalism, knowledge, cooperative attitude and desire to develop ways to do the job better of Roc and Doug, and later Paul.

Bud Irving, Roc Hodgins, Doug Worgan and General Airspray AgCats, 1985
Bud Irving, Roc Hodgins and Doug Worgan (l to r) in front of a General Airspray AgCat in New Brunswick, 1985. [FPL Files]

The General Airspray Stearmans

#13 CF-UWL – Flew in New Brunswick 1967 and 1968 (General Airspray). Formerly belonged to Hicks and Lawrence of Ostander, Ontario.
#71 CF-FBD – Flew in New Brunswick 1957 (Bradley) and 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1970 (General Airspray).
#76 CF-VOB – Flew in New Brunswick 1967 and 1968 (General Airspray).
#77 CF-FRZ – Flew in New Brunswick 1957 and 1958? (Leavens Brothers) and 1966, 1967 and 1968 (General Airspray)

General Airspray Stearmans parked
General Airspray Stearmans parked, late 1950s. CF-FBD #71 is in the foreground and likely CF-FRZ #77 is in the background. [FPL Files]

Recorded work in Ontario

1969 – 3 Stearman sprayed fenitrothion on 21,000 acres June 6-18 1969 in the Burchell Lake area and 1 Stearman sprayed 5000 acres in the French Lake area of northwestern Ontario. All were contracted from General Airspray of St. Thomas, Ontario. [Table 4, Howse and Sippell, in Prebble 1975]

These were probably:
#71 CF-FBD
#76 CF-VOB
#77 CF-FRZ

1970 – Two Stearman sprayed fenitrothion on 11,000 acres June 13-26 1970 in three small areas in northwestern Ontario. Also two Stearman on floats June 13-15 in northeastern Ontario and one on floats in southeastern Ontario May 29 and June 7. All Stearman [probably the same aircraft as in 1969 above], were provided by General Airspray of St. Thomas, Ontario, and used boom and nozzle. [Howse and Sippell in Prebble 1975]

1971 – Small areas in northwestern Ontario were sprayed May 21 to June 19 by General Airspray  of St. Thomas, Ontario, using three Stearmans [probably as above], equipped with boom and nozzle. Also one Stearman June 13-19 in northeastern Ontario. [Howse and Sippell in Prebble 1975] A single Stearman aircraft on floats arrived in Chapleau on June 13/71 and spraying started that evening.

1972 – 4 Micronair Au3000 units installed on its Stearmans [probably as above], replacing the boom and nozzle system. [Howse and Sippel in Prebble 1975]

– Small areas in southeastern Ontario were sprayed May 26 to June 5, 1972, by General Airspray of St. Thomas, Ontario, using a Stearman equipped with Micronairs. [Howse and Sippell in Prebble 1975]

1973 – Small areas in northeastern Ontario were sprayed June 9-21 by a Stearman and an AgCat from by General Airspray of St. Thomas, Ontario … [Howse and Sippell in Prebble 1975]

Glenair Aerial Spraying, Bright, Ontario

No information. This company apparently owned two Stearmans:

#41 CF-UCB – Flew in New Brunswick in 1966, 1967 and 1968.
#42 CF-UCC – Flew in New Brunswick in 1966, 1967 and 1968.

Hicks and Lawrence Ltd., Saint Thomas and Tillsonburg, Ontario

Mervin A. L. Hicks (1915-2003) – The man who saved Tillsonburg Airport

Merv instructed pilots, from schools near St. Thomas and London. Lawrence Mitchell and Tom Lawrence were in Merv’s first class of student pilots. Tom Lawrence and Merv Hicks formed Hicks and Lawrence Ltd. Tom was to be in charge of the agricultural end of the business.

Merv operated the Tillsonburg Airport, from 1946 to 1962, and during those years the airport became known as the Hicks and Lawrence Airport. Later on he also operated the St. Thomas Airport. Hicks and Lawrence Ltd. was given approval in June 1965, to operate a commercial helicopter service from bases in Tillsonburg and St. Thomas. The firm had already won approval to use helicopters in tobacco spraying operations.

One of Canada’s most experienced aerial application firms, Hicks & Lawrence, opened another school for agricultural pilots in Saint Thomas, Ontario, in the fall of 1965. … This school, not to mention a second one that had also opened in Canada during the first half of the 1960s, seems to have closed fairly quickly. In both cases, the small number of pupils was to blame.

Hicks had two sons, Mervin (Duane) and Larry. The history of Discovery Air is disputed by Duane Hicks. See comment below.

[“The early days of aerial application”, Canadian Aerial Applicators Association (CAAA) New Horizons, July 2013:11.]

Discovery Air

Discovery Air acquired 50-per cent of Hicks and Lawrence in December of 2004, and then the final 50 per cent in August of 2005. Hicks & Lawrence Ltd. is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Discovery Air Inc. The company rebranded [this downloads a .pdf file] its airborne fire management business as Discovery Air Fire Services (DAFS).

Hicks and Lawrence at the time was primarily focused on the provision of aerial forest fire management services to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). The services they provide are to (1) source fires, basically aerial surveillance, and then (2) air space and aircraft management – working on fires that are found, and then based on different types of aircraft, working with water bombers to extinguish the fires. There are various other aspects as well, but that’s the core. They’ve provided those services to OMNR for the last 20 years, and they’re certainly a long-standing niche player.

Owner: Duane Hicks. Location.

Hicks and Lawrence owned six Stearmans:

#12 CF-UWK – Flew in New Brunswick 1967, 68
#13 CF-UWL – Flew in New Brunswick 1967, 68
#14 C-FUWM – Flew in New Brunswick 1967, 68
#59 CF-KQB – Flew in New Brunswick 1958, 1966, 1967, 1968
#60 CF-ULY – Flew in New Brunswick 1966, 1967, 1968
#60? CF-JOU – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958. Cited on 1957 list as #60 CF-JOV (typo, should be JOU).

The following were cited on the 1958 Wheeler Airlines list:

#58 CF-xxx (which one was this?)
#59 CF-xxx, KQB, based on the project number
#60 CF-JOU, the only one actually identified

Leavans Bros. Air Services Ltd., Essex, Ontario
Logo from Canadian Aviation Historical Society 2012.

Leavens Brothers was founded by the three Leavens brothers, Clare (born 1899), Arthur (born 1902) and Walter (born 1903) who grew up on the family farm near Belleville, Ontario. In 1927 Art bought a used Laird Swallow biplane and started barnstorming by offering 10-minute rides for three dollars. Thus Leavens Brothers Air Services Limited was begun, and the brothers soon acquired a Curtiss JN-4, the famous Curtiss “Jenny.”

In 1936 operations moved to Toronto. Part of Barker Field was rented and a hangar with small living quarters was built. Instructors were hired and a flying school was launched.

By 1938, the flying school was the biggest in Canada and acquired distributorship for Taylorcraft airplanes. By the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Leavens Brothers had flying schools Toronto, Windsor and Larder Lake, Ontario. During the war from 1940 until it closed in 1944, No. 4 Air Observer School was operated by Leavens Brothers at London, Ontario for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

Leavans Stearman parked
Leavans Brothers Stearman CF-FRY #75, probably by Joe Stone, in New Brunswick, 1954.

In 1947 Leavens Brothers purchased Barker Field outright. Pilot training and flight operations continued there until 1952 when the field was closed down. Leavens Bros. Air Services Limited then became Leavens Bros. Limited, then later Leavens Aviation Inc., by which time ownership was in the hands of a third generation. The company became a distributor for Aeronca Aircraft Corporation and for Republic Seabee amphibian aircraft. From 1945 to 1953 several types of aircraft were used for crop dusting as well as spraying for mosquito and caterpillar control in Quebec forests on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. In 1958 the crop dusting operation was sold, but for 25 years the company operated a 20-mile run from Leamington, Ontario, to Pelee Island in Lake Erie.

General Airspray traces its roots back to 1962, when the late Roscoe Hodgins and his partner, Doug Worgan, bought out the spraying business of Leavens Brothers.

After 84 years, Leavens Aviation made the difficult decision to cease operating on August 31, 2011. Up to then, Leavans Aviation was a well known and respected general aviation company.

See the history video HERE.

The Leavens Bros. Stearmans were:

#75 CF-FRY – Flew in New Brunswick 1954, 1957, 1958
#76 CF-FRW – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958
#77 CF-FRZ – Flew in New Brunswick 1957 and 1958? (Leavens Brothers) and 1966, 1967 and 1968 (General Airspray)
#78 CF-GAR – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958 and 1966 (General Airspray)

Midair Canada Ltd., Norwich, Ontario

No information. Its inclusion here is based on the record below.

Recorded work in Ontario

1973 – Midair Canada used one Stearman equipped with Micronairs at the Petawawa Forest Experimental Station. [Howse and Sippell in Prebble 1975]

Northcana Ltd., Toronto, Ontario

No information on the company. However, one Stearman, #54 CF-KQJ, is listed for Northcana in 1958, according to the Wheeler Airlines list. In this list, many of the aircraft have associated information, namely, Engine Hours Since O’haul [overhaul], Pilot and Pilot’s Lic. No. There is no such info for CF-KQJ.

Northcana is reported to have operated CF-DQP in Ontario in 1961 (DOT Accident Report, Serial No. 1433; see CF-DQP in the Canadian Stearmans page).

Skyway Air Services, Langley, British Columbia

Skyway letterhead_1960-1
The Skyway letterhead, from a letter dated 1960 in the Forest Protection Limited files. The address at left shows that Skyway had a branch office in Taber, Alberta.

Skyway Air Services and Art Seller

[The following history of Skyway and its founder Art Seller is from R.H. Estey (2004), Phytoprotection and the Canadian Museum of Flight.]

Arthur (Art) Seller, a pilot instructor in Vancouver, British Columbia, who had dreamed about having his own aircraft while a prisoner of war in Germany, bought a war-surplus de Havilland Tiger Moth two-seat trainer and founded the Royal City Flying Club at the Vancouver Airport in 1946. He later acquired a second Tiger Moth, one of which was used as a trainer while the other was modified for crop dusting. In 1947, Seller moved to Langley, which at that time had only a grass landing field – an emergency landing field for Trans Canada Airlines. Business was good and the company grew. In August of that year, the name of the company was changed to Skyway Air Services Ltd. In 1949, Seller acquired a third Tiger Moth; this one for spraying rather than dusting. When it was realized that the tigers were not large enough for profitable crop dusting, Seller acquired several Stearman aircraft, and modified them for crop spraying.

Late in the 1940s, the Province of New Brunswick was experiencing a severe attack of the spruce budworm … and was calling for help. Skyway sent a fleet of five Stearmans east each spring for several years, on a budworm contract [to Forest Protection Limited]. They usually returned to British Columbia before the end of June to be ready for the forest fire season.

Skyway’s first Stearman CF-FBU departing Langley BC for Budworm City May 1952. L to R- Art Seller owner Skyway Air Services wishing Pete Deck and “Long John” Anderson a safe journey. I was ready to go but too young, could not get my Commercial until I turned 18 on Sept 12, 1954. [Tom Wilson, email, Dec 12, 2013]

From British Columbia to New Brunswick – Tom Wilson, 1957

CF-HKZ + CF-JLS Skyway_28May1957_CartiervilleQC-TWilson
CF-HKZ and CF-JLS Skyway, 28 May 1957, Laurentide Aviation, Cartierville, Quebec. HKZ has a damaged starboard upper wing and the shoulder harness hanging over the side. [Tom Wilson, pers. comm.]

Stearmans do get away – May 28/57 Cartierville, Quebec. CF-HKZ is the one that got away, and CF-JLS was idling at the time. “Thanks to Wheeler Airlines they had all the spares that we needed, and we were on our way in 4 days after the accident” caused by the Stearman getting away on us. “Skyway group of 5 to Old Town, Maine. All 180+ Stearman were required to stop in Old Town for a DOT/FAA inspection before proceeding to Fredericton. We arrived there on the 3rd June.” [Tom Wilson, Dec 13, 2014, Forest Protection Limited Alumni]

“The photos were taken May 28th, 1957, in front of Laurentide Aviation, Cartierville, Quebec.  I don’t remember who in our group took them – cameras were far and few between in those days.  As I’m the last one left from the group, I have to rely on my own memories and my trusty logbook!”

“That particular year, we filled the hoppers full of fuel and wobbled it up to the centre section tank.  We all made sure the centre tank was full and that way we knew we had 2 hours and 10 mins max range.  Example:  We could go non stop from Lethbridge to Winnipeg, which was a 6 hour 30 min. leg, and looking at the end of the spray project on July 4th, we went Horne’s Gulch to Earlton [Ontario, just west of the Quebec border and north of Sudbury and North Bay] 8 hours non stop. It made it so much easier – one flight plan instead of several, one set of landing fees, etc.”

On our way to NB, stopover at LethbridgeAL_23May1957-Tom Wilson
Five Skyway Air Services Stearmans on their way to NB, stopover at Lethbridge, Alberta, 23 May 1957. This was provided by Tom Wilson, second from right.
Skyway Stearman - crew and pilot
A Skyway Stearman with crew and pilot, probably taken by local photographer Joe Stone in 1954. [FPL Files] Ed Batchelor (left) and Less Kerr (right), 26 years old. [Tom Wilson, 27 August 2015]

Skyway and the British Columbia Forest Service

[The following is from: Bell, Gord. 2011. History of Aviation in the BC Forest Service: A pictorial account for the BCFS Centennial. Part 2: Air Tanker Operations. 30 pp. pdf.]

Skyway Air Services Ltd. of Langley B.C. operated a number of Boeing Stearman and 5 Grumman TBM Avengers. The Avengers, surplus Royal Canadian Navy anti-submarine aircraft, had been purchased in the fall of 1957 and converted to spray configuration by Fairey Aviation of Victoria. Four of these aircraft took part in the annual spring spraying of spruce budworm in New Brunswick. On their return to B.C., in anticipation of their new role as fire bombers, Skyway had tank gating systems installed to allow for the dropping of water or other suppressants.

Due to the success of the operations in 1958, by the spring of 1959 operators had equipped up to 18 aircraft with firebombing tanking systems including 5 Beavers, 5 Avengers, 5 Stearman, 2 Junkers and 1 Husky.

Skyway’s Stearmans

“In 1953, Skyway had 3 Stearmans, 2 of which have been completely majored. Two more are on order from Mr. Tony Steinbock, Klamath Falls Air Service, Klamath Falls, Oregon. Delivery of these is promised not later than May 1. Steinbock furnishes not only the aircraft but also the spray equipment. All of the aircraft will have aluminum covered fuselage.” [“Memorandum of visit, April 4, 1953, with Mr. Art Seller of Skyway Air Services, Langley Prairie, B.C.” Forest Protection Limited files]

I have been able to find 10 Stearmans that belonged to Skyway. Several of them came to spray the budworm in New Brunswick, but some stayed in British Columbia to fight forest fires.

#19 CF-FBV – Flew in New Brunswick 1952
#20 /#83 CF-FBU – Flew in New Brunswick 1952 (as #20) and 1957 (as #83, based on the 1957 list)
#80 CF-HKZ – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958
#81 CF-DFC – Flew in New Brunswick 1968
#82 CF-DQL – Flew in New Brunswick 1952, 1957, 1958
#84 CF-JLS – Flew in New Brunswick 1957
#xx? CF-MSB – Did not fly in New Brunswick xx? CF-DQU – Did not fly in New Brunswick xx? CF-KPX – Did not fly in New Brunswick
#xx? CF-FWV – Did not fly in New Brunswick

Twinn Pest Control Aerial Ltd., Ottawa, Ontario

The presence of this company is based on an entry in the 1958 Wheeler list of Stearman: #50, no other details, Operator Twinn Pest Control. A subsequent list of operators for the 1958 season did not include this company, so their presence is in doubt.

In Ontario, the Twinn name has been synonymous with pest control since the 1940’s, when Roy Twinn established his business to serve the institutional, commercial and residential sectors. Since entering the profession in 1979, Jeff Twinn, President of Twinn Pest Control, has carried on the family tradition of providing result-oriented client service.

Walker Flying Service, 8556-64 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta

The presence of Walker Flying Service is based on one entry:

#3 CF-SIQ – Flew in New Brunswick 1968

Wheeler Airlines / Wheeler-Northland Airlines, St. Jovite, Quebec

Wheeler Airlines letterhead 1959
The Wheeler Airlines letterhead, from a letter dated 1959 in the Forest Protection Limited files.
The Skyway letterhead, from a letter dated 1960 in the Forest Protection Limited files.
The Wheeler Airlines (1960) Limited letterhead, from a letter dated 1961, from the Forest Protection Limited files.

Wheeler Airlines

Wheeler Airlines played a large part in the early history of Forest Protection Limited. Together with Skyway Air Services, Wheeler supplied the first TBMs to the spray program (1958 to 1967). A biography of founder Frederick H. “Tom” Wheeler can be found at The Québec Air and Space Hall of Fame site, and is reproduced here:

Tom Wheeler (1894-1991) at the age of 6 moved from New York State to Saint-Jovite in the Mt. Tremblant Provincial Park region of the Laurentian Mountains 80 miles northwest of Montreal. His family operated the famous Gray Rocks Inn on the shores of Lac Ouimet, which catered to the hunting and fishing crowd. Thinking of the plane for the transport of tourists on their domain, the Wheeler family chartered in 1921 an Avro 504K from the Canadian Aerial Services in Cartierville.

The following year, Tom Wheeler formed Gray Rocks Air Service. At the beginning, the company operated a small Curtiss JN-4 biplane. Throughout the years, the company got larger, adopting in 1946 the name of Wheeler Airlines. The fleet of Travel Air, Junkers, Fairchild, Norseman, Stearman and the other bush aircraft of the first years, grew more and more with the addition of DC-3s, DC-4s, C-46s and Cansos.

In the 1950’s, Wheeler Airlines had become one of the biggest bush operators in the country and was under the supervision of Managing Director Bob Rychlicki. The Chief Pilot of the Spray Division was George Lovatt. In 1953, Wheeler Airlines, as prime contractor, was put in charge of organizing the entire New Brunswick spruce budworm operation, which at the time used Stearmans as sprayers, over an American company [Central Aircraft]. Canadian operators had objected to the use of the more experienced Americans, claiming that they too had acquired enough experience to play a larger role.

Thinking of retirement, Tom Wheeler sold the heavy division of his fleet to Nordair in 1960, keeping the light transports for hunters and fishermen. The new name was Wheeler Airlines (1960) Limited. Finally, in 1967, Wheeler sold the rest of his air operations to Power Corporation. Retired, Wheeler continued to be interested in aviation, sitting on the Board of Directors of Canadian (Okanagan) Helicopters. Of a modest and private nature, Tom Wheeler was recognized as a perfect gentleman.

Marsh and Wheeler Stearmans
Wheeler and Marsh Stearmans in New Brunswick. [Forest Protection Limited files]

Wheeler-Northland Airways

Wheeler-Northland Airways Ltd. was formed after Tom Wheeler sold his interest to Power Corporation. Based in St. Jean, Quebec and at the Montréal International (Dorval) – Montréal-Trudeau Airport (formerly called Dorval Airport). Wheeler-Northland supplied TBMs and Stearmans to the spray program from 1968 to 1970. All TBMs [and presumably the Stearmans] were eventually sold to Evergreen Air Services in 1970.

The Wheeler Stearmans

#61 CF-EQS – Flew in New Brunswick 1953 and 1957 (Wheeler), 1966, 1967, and 1968 (Wheeler-Northland), 1972 and 1973 (Evergreen)
#62 CF-EQT – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958 (Wheeler), 1966, 1967, 1968 (Wheeler-Northland)
#63 CF-EQU – Flew in New Brunswick 1957 (Wheeler), 1966, 1967 and 1968 (Wheeler-Northland), 1972 and 1973 (Evergreen)
#64 CF-EQV – Flew in New Brunswick 1957 (Wheeler), 1966, 1967, 1968 (Wheeler-Northland)
#65 CF-EQW – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958 (Wheeler)
#66 CF-EQX – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958 (Wheeler)
#67 CF-EQY – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1958 (Wheeler), 1966, 1967, 1968 (Wheeler-Northland)
#72 CF-DZC – Flew in New Brunswick 1957, 1960 (Wheeler)
#73 CF-xxx – Flew in New Brunswick?

Wheeler Stearman #xx_RichardArless_NictauNB_27May-2Jun1953-14-anot
Starting a Wheeler Stearman, Nictau, New Brunswick, 1953. [Richard Arless, Forest Protection Limited files]

2 thoughts on “Companies – Canada

  1. I love the page of history but reading the discovery air portion is not real. I started da back in the day and I do not like reading the disrespect to my grandfather and dad. If truth was ever told it would still be h&l that was all Hicks. please fix that part and if you need history please contact me


    1. Yes, Duane, please send me the history of this company. I have included only what is published online, without critical comment. My personal email is somewhere on the site.


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