Page 73 - Bill MacRitchie and Early Flight
ISSUE : Issue 55
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1
We had several visiting aircraft particularly one spring when there had been a sealing disaster off Newfoundland.... Over the years and starting with Don MacPherson during the winter of 1931 club personnel were called upon to make many emergency flights to outlying areas during the winter months; to take doctors to patients or to bring patients in to local hospitals as in the early 30's outside roads were invariably bkx'ked by snow.... Numbered first among these flights was an 80 year old lady, Mrs. Margaret MacKen? zie, who was brought in from the tip of Boularderie Island and taken to the Glace Bay Hospital. Being the first flight of this nature and as MacPherson had a low powered aircraft one of the 85 H.P. Avians, he made a dry am to the area where he was to pick Mrs. MacKenzie up the day previous to the flight in order to be certain that he could get off the nearby snow field with his passenger. The flight was com? pleted early the next morning; however, Mrs. MacKenzie died in hos? pital a short time after being brought in. In the spring of 1933 Don MacPherson and Norman Dennison fig? ured in the rescue of three boys from Glace Bay who had drifted off shore on drift ice. They had been out on the ice all night and could not be located from the shore from boats which had attempted to go out to look for them. MacPherson located the boys and dropped some bags of food to them and circled over them until they were cer? tain the men in the boats had spotted them. He then headed for the airport only to mn out of gasoline as they approached the coast line and were just able to reach Old Black Diamond Race Track situated at New Aberdeen in the Glace Bay area.... Lindsay Rood was finally to replace MacPherson as club instmctor and made many flights of this nature and in particular for Dr. C. L. MacMillan of Baddeck.... Rood was followed by Ray Goodwin as in? stmctor in 1935, and remained until the fall of 1936 when he went to the Toronto Flying Club. It was during Goodwin's time that Beryl Markham landed her Percival Gull aircraft in the bog at Baleine, a short distance from Louisbourg, N. S. following her east to west trans-Atlantic flight and the aircraft was salvaged by the club.... In late 1936 the instmction job was taken over by myself with Don Skeene, Montreal, as club engineer. At this time the instmctor's sala? ry had risen to $30.00 per week.... In late 1937 I was replaced by Bob Smuck of Toronto, who later flew with Trans Canada Airlines, and the club went through two more en? gineers between the time Cockell left and the start of the war. Smuck stayed on for about a year and was replaced by Murray MacRae of Sydney Mines. Murray was still at the club when war broke out and he immediately took a refresher course at Camp Borden. The club trained Provisional Pilot Officers for the airforce until the first elementary flying training school was opened, and at that time sever? al club people went to No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School at Windsor Mills, Quebec, as flying and engineering staff.... In 1941 the club was closed down and the aircraft were taken over by the Government and used at training schools. The club was re-formed after the war.... However, hangar rentals, salaries, etc. were much higher, and there was commercial competi? tion, and after approximately three to four years' operations the club packed up again Lkyyd MacDonald NISSAN rn'hl Our 31st Year 124 KINGS ROAD SYDNEY RIVER Toll Free 1-800-565-9427 20 CAR SHOWROOM Bill MacRitchie Continues: lay--came in his uniform. He was, I think, an artilleryman first. And he went overseas, and then he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. So he was kind of a hero of mine, see. And could be that, be? cause my teacher was his girl friend, and eventually became his wife, that I had this--I still have this--feeling of, I want to get in the air. I wanted to fly, even if--the foolish days we used to jump off the gar? age with homemade wings and try and crack their legs or whatever--I didn't do that. It was my strong feeling for flying was there. It was very, very strong. (At 8 years old, had you seen an airplane yet?) Not yet. (I'm really interested in what got you excited about planes. I want you to think back and try to fig? ure it out.) All right, then, I'll go back then. At the end of the war--by this time, of course, Billy Bishop was the top of the world as a hero. Very controversial at the CO. Cape Breton Auto Radiator RADIATOR HOSES • REPAIRING • CLEANING • RECORING '-o r. ' COMPLETE CYLINDER HEAD SERVICE _ . 518 Grand auto * truck * industrial bydney Lake Road Complete Line of Gas Tanks 564-6362 • NOW DOING AUTOMOBILE AIR CONDITIONING ?? 1991 Pathfinder 4x4 NOW IN STOCK • Also Available in 4-Door • GEORGE MacNEIL MEATS Ltd. POINT ACONI ROAD ?? 736-8249 736-3518 Now! is the time to fill your freezer for the long Winter ahead! • BEEF • Cut and wrapped for your freezer Front Quarter $1.69 lb. Hind Quarter $2.39 lb. • Side of Beef $1.89 lb. Fresh Pork by the Side $1.39 lb. Fresh Lamb also available at reasonable prices. Avoid Disappointment - Come Early
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