Québec recently held its sixth Québec Air and Space Hall of Fame
Induction Ceremony at the Jean-Louis Millette Auditorium, in the city
of Longueuil. The Honourary Chairman for the event was President and
CEO of the Quebec Air Transport Association (AQTA), John McKenna.
Also at the event the Robert-Piché airmanship was awarded to Mr. Gian Piero Ciambella for his spectacular forced landing on Parc Avenue in Montreal, performed September 10, 2006. The trophy is awarded to a person or a group of persons having accomplished a feat of outstanding airmanship in orbital or sub-orbital flight which resulted in the saving of lives and was carried out with that objective.
On September 10, 2006 while piloting a Cessna 172 with 2 passengers on board for a sight seeing tour over Montreal, Mr. Ciambella’s aircraft suffered an engine failure at 450m altitude over Parc Lafontaine. With no other alternative, he quickly realized he would have to perform a forced landing without power somewhere in the middle of the city. He skilfully glided the Cessna between trees, cars, and lampposts to a safe and successful landing on Park Avenue. This entire adventure was accomplished at the beginning of rush hour. The passengers, a 49 year old man and his 10 year old son, were grateful for the safe landing and stated that Mr. Ciambella was “a hero”.
QUEBEC AIR AND SPACE HALL OF FAME – 2008 INDUCTEES
Adrien (1925- ) Gaby (1928-96) Paul (1914-97) Valmont (1922-2000) Blanchette. Aviation pioneers on the St.Lawrence North Shore (Qc). Mechanics at Hollinger Ungava Transport and Northern Wings (Adrien, Gaby, Paul). Owner of the Cessna Restaurant and Airline Food Ltd (Valmont). They founded in 1958 Sept-Îles Air Service, a bush operator known for its exemplary maintenance service. Distributors of Shell products at Quebec City, Sept-Îles, Mont-Joli, Baie Comeau, Wabush airports and at Labrador City.
Gilbert [Gilles] Boulanger DFC (1922- ). Air gunner during WWII with No.425 Squadron. Founder in 1946 of Montmagny Air Services. Founding member of the Club de l’aéronef expérimental de Sherbrooke (CAES) and Club de vol à voile appalachien. Founding President of the well known air rally «Les Faucheurs de Marguerites». Co-founder of Dedalius Aviation, wing manufacturer for ultra-light airplanes. Author of the book «L’Alouette affolée».
Thomas Fecteau (1925- ). Bush pilot from 1948 to 1955 in Abitibi with A.Fecteau Transport Aérien. Airline pilot with Quebecair between 1955 and 1960. From 1961 until retirement in 1988, he held the position of chief pilot for the Quebec Provincial Government Air Service. As such, he actively contributed to the development of Canso and CL-215 water bombers. One of the most respected pilots of his generation.
Wilfrid Grenier (1904-1992). Forest engineer and aerial survey pioneer. In 1947, he founded in Quebec City the firm Photo Air Laurentide. Forerunner of the altimetry radar used in conjunction with an aerial camera. In 1960, he established the Groupe Hauts-Monts Inc., a company of international exposure. Today known as Groupe Alta, it is the biggest aerial survey company in Canada and one of the most important worldwide.
George C. Keefer DSO*, DFC*, CG* (1921-1985). WWII fighter ace among the top most decorated RCAF pilots. From 1947 to 1951, he worked at CAE. In 1951, he joined Canadair and became Vice-President. In 1968, he left Canadair to buy in Granby the Plastal company (today Avior, owned by Avcorp Industries), specializing in composite aircraft parts. Under his leadership, Plastal became a world leader in aeronautical composite technology.
Laurence J. Lesh (1892-1965). Born in Iowa, he successfully performed in 1907 at Montreal, at age 14, the first flights in Canada, with a self-made glider towed by a galloping horse. Few days later, he established a world record for a 24 minutes flight over the St-Lawrence River, towed for 10 kilometres by a boat. First in North America to introduce ailerons. A protégé of Octave Chanute.
Albert Mah DFC[US] AM[US] (1920-2005). Montrealer of Chinese origin. During WWII, he performed 420 transport missions “Over the Hump”, the dangerous Himalayas route between India and China. Postwar he flew for anti-communist Chinese organizations. He organized in 1954 two volunteer fighter squadrons in Taiwan. He acted as flight instructor in Cartierville at the Montreal Flying Club, flew for Wondel Aviation, trained NATO pilots in Gimli, was chief pilot in Northern Quebec, etc.
Ghislaine Richard (1943- ). Holds a Master’s degree from the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University. Contributed to the revision of the Aeronautical Act. Acted as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Civil Aviation Tribunal of Canada (1985-1996). First woman to serve as Canada’s Official Representative on the ICAO Council (1996-2001). First Vice-Chair of the newly-formed Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), from 2002 until her retirement in 2004.