COMMERCE IN THE CLOUDS
FORMERLY LIEUTENANT INDEPENDENT AIR FORCE
J. VERNON McKENZIE
THE year 1919 was a slack one for commercial aviation in Canada, chiefly owing to the fact that pioneers in the industry were restricted practically to one type of machine—the Curtiss N. 4, a very fine training machine, but not built for speed, cargo, or passenger-carrying. In 1920 Canadians will have a chance to witness the performances of several score—perhaps severa! hundred—British-made machines, operating in every province, some Government-owned, but large numbers privately-owned.
If there is any Canadian who still hankers for the sensation of a ride in the air, he—or she—may easily have this desire satisfied, for 1920 will see more than a score of Canadian cities in which passenger-carrying companies will be operating. Apart from “joy-riding,” the ramifications of aerial activities will extend to include such things as: Commercial*photography; police work; town planning and surveying; timber and water power surveys; forest fire patrol: commercial transport of passengers and goods; and exploration.
There are but few privately-owned aeroplanes in Canada at the present time, but before the summer ends there are likely to be several pioneers in this field. When using the words “privately-owned” it is not meant to include machines belonging to individuals or companies engaged in utilizing their “buses” for commercial purposes.
At least one Canadian university student keeps an aeroplane instead of a car—and, since there are scores of undergraduates of Canadian universities who saw service in the R.N.A.S., R.F.C., or the R.A.F., doubtless many more would have their own private machines were it not for the question of expense. A. K. Colley, a student at the University of Toronto, has a Curtiss “parked” in a hangar on the outskirts of Toronto. As this machine is a two-seater, he is able to invite any of his friends amongst the co-eds, to “come for a flip in the old 'bus’,” and give them a more thrilling time than the rivals for their favors, who have to be content with earth-crawling vehicles, like Packards, Locomobiles and Rolls-Royces.
And to think it was barely ten years ago that we thought we were “some sport” if we could take the Fair Freshette, or Staid Senior, down to the theatre in a taxi, instead of driving sedately down behind some livery hack!
Montreal Millionaire Wants Pleasure Machine
ÇEVERAL wealthy Canadian business men have al^ ready made inquiries regarding the cost and usefulness of aeroplanes, seaplanes and flying-boats, and a number have intimated that they would like to purchase a “bus” solely as a pleasure vehicle. A well-known Montreal businessman, head of one of the largest departmental stores in the city, ‘ is negotiating for the purchase of a flying-boat. With such a “craft” as he intends to buy he will be able to spend his weekends at his summer home in the Laurentians, and spend but little more than an hour each way on the trip to and from his office. In fact, with the expenditure of but little more than the time now taken by suburban commuters to reach their homes in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, it will be possible to fly home each evening and come down to business bright and early each morning. In his inquiry, Mr.---says:
“I want a flying-boat for pleasure purposes. It must have plenty of room to carry three passengers, and have a cruising range of from 200 to 300 miles,”
“Can you supply this?” I asked the secretary of the aviation company to whom the inquiry had been directed.
“We sure can,” he replied.
“And it’s not the only inquiry by a long shot. Read this letter forwarded to us by the Aero Club of Canada.”
Bishop-Barker Aeroplanes, Limited, Toronto.
Mr. W. L. Clause, of the Pittsburg Plate Glass Co., is anxious to rent for the month of July a hydro-aeroplane for use on the Muskoka Lakes; the concern from whom he rents the machine is to supply mechanic and pilot. It is for the purpose of giving it a trial at his summer place.
Yours very truly,
(Sgd.) E. GRAHAM JOY,
* Permanent Sec’y,
Aero Club of Canada.
Readers of MacLean’s will remember the article in the February 1 issue, “Flaherty of Belcher’s Island.” Thfe very day that issue of MacLean’s went on the news-stands the following communication was received by a large aeroplane concern :
“Will you undertake to operate two Avro machines, fitted with 110 LeRhone engines, to carry three passengers to Belcher’s Island, via Moose Factory and Fort George, to leave Cochrane not later than March 1, to carry all petrol and necessary supplies for the trip, for $5,000? The passengers are to remain on the Island for ten days, and hot longer than two weeks, and you are to bring the passengers back to Cochrane within qne month from the time of starting, otherwise contract is to provide for a penalty.
“If you make a photographic survey of our property on Belcher’s Island, a separate contract therefor will be made.
BELCHER’S ISLAND IRON MINES, Limited.
The company to whom this latter was addressed was extremely interested in the possibilities of the venture, but regarded it as too hazardous an undertaking for a small seaplane machine. Also, such a trip would need more thorough preliminary preparation than was possible in the time which would elapse before the start was to be made—barely ohe month.
A mining company in British Columbia is planning to purchase two Bristol Tourer Seaplanes, to engage in exploration work and a survey of their properties near
Fort George. The Mounted Police are estimating on the feasibility of using two or more aeroplanes or seaplanes in their work in the Northwest. A prominent New York mining-engineer plans to do exploration work for minerals both in B. C. and Northern Ontario. A very enterprising aerial transportation company in Winnipeg has already “booked” between fifteen and twenty passages to Minneapolis and other nearby cities, one contract calling for the conveyance of a party of six to Minneapolis. Pleasure trips to Kenora, Lake Winnipeg, and other Canadian sumr mer resorts have also been arranged. Large numbers of commercial organizations—particularly the pulp and paper companies—have already bought ’planes, for survey work as well as forest fire patrol.
At the extreme ends of the Dominion endeavors are under way to place passenger and mail carrying on a practical, time-saving basis. Captain Hoy, D.F.C., has established an aerial service in B. C., by which he plans to carry both passengers and mail from Victoria to the mainland. Captain Stevens, of the Eastern Canada Air Lines Co., Truro, N. S., associated with the Aircraft Manufacturing Co., of Montreal, is perfecting a regular service which will link up Prince Edward Island with the rest of the Maritime Provinces. ,
What’s the Canadian Government doing?
Quietly, but thoroughly and efficiently, the. Government has plans under way which, if the necessary finances are forthcoming, will put Canada in the forefront of civil aviation, and prevent this Dominion from becoming, in. the slightest sense of the word, an “air annex” of thé United States. Business men from the other side of the line have exploited many of our natural resources, and taken a leading part in financing some of our largest industries, but there seems to be no reason why we should hand over our air to American exploiters and capitalists.
Col. “Bob” Leckie is Canada’s Flying Director
A CAN ADIAN Air Board has been appointed, with Col.
“Bob” Leckie, D.S.O., D.S.C., D.F.C., as superintendent of Flying Operations, and the amount of useful work which will be done in practical aeronautics in Canada during the next few years depends a great deal upon how' much the G.F.O. is allowed; to spend. As this copy of MacLean’s is being read, the Dominion’s legislators will be pondering this problem of federal aerial finance. So, if you’re thinking of writings your member as you read this, and you have confidence in Canada’s aerial future, remind him to support the appropriation asked far. the work of Air Board. . ' Perhaps you don’t think Canada—that is to say, the Government owns any aircraft. Here is a list of opr possessions in this line, thanks principally to Great Britain’s generosity:
D. H. 9A.............. 12
D. H. 4................ 12
S. E. 5..............•.. 12
Flying Boat, F3........ 8
Flying Boat, H16....... 2
Fairey Seaplane....... 1
Kite Balloon........... 4
Not a bad list, that, for à starter! In addition, there will be the associated mechan-, ical transport and Beasoneau hangars.
The Air Board is planning aerial progress from the ground up, and acting on the very sound assumption that before real work in the air can be done proper ground work must first be accomplished. No spectacular flights are contemplated this year under Government auspices, but it is planned to co-operate in every way possible with existing Government departments.
The Air Board early in the present year announced that municipalities which desired to participate in aerial activities, and to possess air stations, might receive the co-operation of Ottawa engineers in layingout civic aerodromes. All landing grounds must be licensed by the Air
What Canadian municipality "would you expect to be the first to respond? Toronto? Montreal? Vancouver?
Wrong every time; the first to apply for an inspection of its civic aerodrome site was the bustling town of Perth,
Ontario. Perth expects to be on the air route from Ottawa to Toronto, and Thursday,
February 12, was a big day in its civic history.’" On that day the’Perth civic fathers discussed with the Air Board’s expert^engineer the location of its aerodrome.
Forest Fires Can be Detected Within 40-Mile Range /">OL. LECKIE hopes that Government machines will be used during the present year in forest fire-patrols, in fishery-patrols, and in extensive survey work. Last year the Government loaned two flying-boats to the St. Maurice Fire Protective Association, of Quebec, and these machines did very useful pioneer work. In a paper read recently before the convention of the Pulp and Paper Association in Montreal it was stated that “forest fires ■could be distinguished by aircraft at forty miles distance, and that it was possible to transport in the machines already at hand a Johnson fire-pump and fifteen hundred feet of one and one-half inch hose.”
In regard to survey work, J. B. Harkins, federal park commissioner, says:
“Practically everyone who has to do with forestry is convinced that eventually aircraft shall be extensively and efficaciously used in such work. Expectations in that connection concern two broad lines; the rapid and accurate collection of information in regard to forests, extent and variety, topography and fire protection. Everyone is familiar with the wonderful detail and accuracy of the war maps prepared from aircraft photographs. Accurate maps with a fair degree of detail are absolutely necessary for the intelligent handling of Canada’s forests. Such can be prepared by the laborious land survey methods, but the aeroplane appears to offer facilities for securing perfectly satisfactory maps at considerably less cost and in less time.”
The amount of survey work which will be accomplished by federal flyers this year—and in the more distant future—will depend on theGovernment’s financial appropriations.
Certain difficulties have been encountered in making aerial surveying a satisfactorily exact science, and this is one of the chief problems with which the Air Board experts intend to cope during the summer of 1920. Trouble has been experienced photographing towns and cities from the air, owing to the limitations of the present types of cameras on the market. The aircamera takes a succession of pictures, and these are afterwards fitted together in a mosaic, which—theoretically—should make one large, complete photograph; but, if the height of the recording machine varies from picture to picture, the mosaic will not gibe. Such technical difficulties as these are now being
coped with by scientists with an expert knowledge of the subject.
Two Months and a Half Trip Could be Made in One Day
HE Certification Branch of Air Board will see that flying in Canada is as safe as ingenuity and experience can devise. Every pilot in Canada who wants to fly must go through a practical and ‘■theoretical examination, and satisfy the Air Board of his attainments. Qualified R.N.A.S., R.F.C., and R.A.F. pilots will be granted these certificates on request. The owner, or flyer, of a machine who wishes to carry passengers for hire will be subjected to a stiffer examination than one who merely wishes to fly around for pleasure. Copies of these regulations may be had on application to the Air Board. There are
pages and pages of regulations designed to make Lieut..Col.
Dying Säle. who has
Not only must aeroplanes, seaplanes and flyOperations ing-boats be certified as airworthy, pilots certicated, but aerodromes must be licensed. AÍthe ready many applications have been received by the Air Board for Private and Commercial Pilot’s Certificates, and licenses for machines and aerodromes.
The Certificates Branch of the Air Board is headed by a very well-known Canadian pilot, Col. J. S. Scott, M.C.,
A.F.C., who after service in France was in command of No. 43 Wing, R.A.F., at Leaside, and No. 44 Wing, R.A.F., at Camp Borden, and under whom many of our Canadian pilots received their earliest lessons in flying, and were taught the many other things a successful pilot must know.
The examiners in the Certificates Branch are Major Basil D. Hobbs, D.S.O., D.S.C., and Bar (Seaplanes) and Captain John R. S. Devlin, D.S.C. (Aeroplanes).
A liaison officer has recently been appointed to act between the Air Board and the Air Ministry in London,
This position has been accepted by Major D. R. Mc-
Laren,D.S.O.,M.C.,D.F.C.,Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre, who is now on his way to England to take up his duties. rln discussing Canada's aerial pro gram with MacLean's Magazine rep resentative, Col. Leckie referred to one instance where the aeroplane would be an immense time-saver. The cIounted Police are making in quiries as to the possibility of mak ing the journey from Athabaska Landing to Coronation Gulf by air craft. When this suggestion was dis cussed with Col. Leckie, he said: "The trip from the Landing to Coronation Gulf is about 900 miles. The usual route now is down the Athabaska River to Lake Athabas ka, then down Slave River, to Great Slave Lake; down the Mackenzie River to the sea, and thence to Cor onation Gulf. It now takes two months and a half, roughly, for the `Mounties' to make the trip one way. With a seaplane or flying-boat the
trip should not take longer than one day.” Just think of this for saving time!
But it has not yet been decided to undertake the venture, though it is expected to be a development of the not distant future. It may not be many years before the Mounted Police will be chasing criminals of wandering Eskimo or Indian tribes in a seaplane or a Handley-Page. It certainly should “put the wind up” arly offenders to see one of these giant air-birds invade the Arctic regions in pursuit of their quarry.
Though Perth is the first municipality to take official action, the majority of live communities are planning civic aerodromes. At least preliminary action has been taken by Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, Port Arthur, Fort William, St. Thomas, Londorr, St. Catharines, Toronto. Whitby, Perth, Ottawa, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Truro, and St. John. Several cities, including North Bay, New Liskeard and Cochrane, are planning sea-plane landings. Other cities and towns may be showing equa interest in affairs aerial, but they should not feel slighted if not mentioned in the above list, as developments come so thick and fast.
Taking a bird’s-eye view ofTsome of'the chief aerial commercial activities in Canada this spring shows what remarkable progress is being made. Commencing in the West we find:
— Pacific Aerial Services is in operation, Captain Stephens in charge, with six machines. Captain Hay is is also inaugurating a passenger and mail service between Victoria and the main land.
CALGARY—The McCall Aerial Corporation was amongst the most active in Canada last year, flying probably close to 100,000 miles. The head of the organization is Captain F. R. McCall, D.S.O., M.C., etc., who shot down about forty Hun machines; associated with him is Captain Claxton, D.S.O. and bar.
EDMONTONLieut.O'Gorman has three machines ¡exhibition flights and passenger-carrving.
MEDICINE HAT A new company is arranging to operate here.
SASKATOON ILS. McClelland has four Curtiss machines and is ordering an AVTO or two. The Kang Wa Chinese Flying School has three Curtiss machines. Chinese youths are taught to fly for $100 and sent back to China to engage in commercial aviation when graduated. MOOSE JAW—Western Aeroplane Co.; last year headed by Capt. Kirby.
Continued on Page 60
Continued, from page15
YORKTON, WAPELLA, and CRAIK —One or more machines at each town.
REGINA—Western Flyers, Ltd., with one machine; Aerial Service Co. Ltd., with three machines.
WINNIPEG—There was but one commercial aeroplane in operation in Winnipeg last year, but already fourteen have been purchased for business use during 1920. The Winnipeg Aereo and Amusements, Ltd., has six Avros and two Bristols. They will engage in pleasure jaunts and also exploration to Rice Lake.
PORT ARTHUR, FORT WILLIAM, SAULT STE. MARIE—Action has been taken to operate with one or more Avros at each city. At the Soo, Mr. Marshall, of McLaughlin Motor Sales, intends to buy a seaplane.
ELK LAKE, ONT.—There will be three or more ’planes here, to be used for mining exploration work chiefly.
TORONTO — Bishop-Barker Aeroplanes, Ltd. This company, headed by Canada’s two most famous air V.C.’f sold twenty-four machines during January, 1920.’ Avros and Bristol machir s are kept in stock, or ordered from Engla d. There are many privately-owned machi1 es, which have been or will be used for; ommercial purposes. F. G. Ericson, who
headed the American syndicate which bought the Government war machines, is assembling and selling Curtiss machines.
BRANTFORD—Allied Aeroplane Co., two machines; Captain White, one machine
OTTAWA—E. J. Draper, Reo Motor Sales, one machine; Percy Shaver, two machines, chiefly used for passengercarrying and exhibition flights; Lieut. Janney, one machine. There are also several others in Ottawa, used for commercial purposes.
MONTREAL—Aircraft Manufacturing Co., of London, England, has an office established in Montreal. C. J. Davidson is operating a Curtiss. A number of wealthy business men are now planning an extensive commercial air venture.
SHERBROOKE—Captain H. F. McCrae will operate one Avro and one seaplane.
QUEBEC—J. M. Landry is engaged in passenger-carrying. Lt. Georges S. Vezines has two Curtiss machines and— would you believe it?—a Moräne Parasol, one of the earliest types of monoplanes. Vezines is now engaged with Price Bros., in commercial pulp and paper surveying.
TRURO, N. S.—Captain Stevens last year ran the Devere Aviation School, but this year is engaged in joining P.E.I. with the mainland. He is operating under the name of Aerial Transport Co.
I ST. JOHN, N.B.—One machine, engaged in passenger-carrying and exhibition work.
HALIFAX—Senator Dennis is father! ing a scheme for active aerial work here, j In this connection it is interesting to j note that Major H. H. Kitchener, a nephew j of Lord Kitchener, is operating two machines commercially in Bermuda, and draws his supplies from Canada.
Commercial photography will be carried \ out by almost all the companies operating j in Canada for revenue. Extensive pictorial surveys of Ontario, British Columbia,
; Alberta and Saskatchewan have already : been made. For example, the Bishopi Barker aviators have taken air photographs of fifty-five Ontario towns, and thqee can be procured from the local I stationers and news-dealers in each town.
¡ Another commercial work undertaken is that of taking air photographs of particular plants, or industries, for which a flat j rate charge is made. Many industries find these pictures useful for advertising j literature. They have the advantage of comparative novelty. The photograph at the head of this article shows one such industrial air photo taken at Sarnia, ! Ontario.
What General Sykes Thinks of Canada’s Future
IF Canada had been properly supplied with the right type of machine during the past few weeks succor could have been given to the isolated residents of the
Magdalen Islands, who were unable to receive their usual food supplies owing to the fact that the severe winter prevented boats breaking through the ice, en route to the islands. The question of succor by aeroplane or seaplane was considered by the Government, but the venture was deemed too dangerous with present equipment. If the needs of the islanders had become sufficiently desperate, no doubt the venture would have been attempted, however.
What is Canada's air future?
The opinion of Major-General Sir F. H. Sykes, G.B.E., K.C.B., C.M.G., directorgeneral of Civil Aeronautics and Aerial Transport for Great Britain, said recently:
“Canada can, and undoubtedly will, benefit in all forthcoming developments connected with the seaplane, aeroplane, and lighter-than-air craft. The country lends itself admirably to the possibilities of commercial aviation—and of her pilots it is
unnecessary to speak.....The typical
Canadian temperament proved itself admirably adapted to successful war-flying.
“With the development of civil aerial transport, and as new towns spring up in Canada, there will be the advantage that aerodromes can be planned in their very centre instead of perforce having to be located outside, as is the case in existing cities in older and more settled countries.
“With such possibilities, personnel and material available I am confident that Canada has a very great future in the air.”