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Leading Edge: Reaching new heights

One of the best parts of my role as editor of Canada’s national aviation magazines is getting to know the many great people who influence this incredible industry. Hearing their stories and learning more about their many achievements is truly inspiring and it helps fuel my own passion for future content development.


July 15, 2015
By Matt Nicholls

The annual Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame (CAHF) dinner in late spring is a case and point. The 42nd annual gala held on June 4 at the Skyservice Toronto hangar was a veritable who’s who of the Canadian aviation and aerospace worlds. Talk about an inspirational event! The room was buzzing with industry leaders from both the fixed and rotary-wing sides of the coin, and the stories shared were truly special.

This year’s inductees have certainly made their marks. The multiple ovations and accolades for Arthur Roy Brown, DSC, James Stuart “Jim” McBride, George Edward Miller, and Owen Bartley “O.B.” Philp were well-deserved, as their achievements helped lay the foundation for others to achieve, prosper and grow. The same can be said for the exploits of the innovative Aerovelo Inc. team, represented on the podium by Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson (pictured here). Aerovelo received the Belt of Orion Award for Excellence for its work in flying a human powered ornithopter and helicopter to new heights.

In listening carefully to the stories of each recipient, what struck me most was not necessarily their final career achievements, but the decision-making processes they made along the way. Each displayed an unabashed fearlessness to forge new paths where none existed before. They are all trailblazers, not afraid to try new things and follow their instincts in the hopes of garnering success.

Brown’s story is fascinating. A pilot in the First World War, he is best recognized for his decisive involvement in the action on April 21, 1918, which led to the death of Manfred von Richthofen – the dreaded “Red Baron.”  

Philp was a revered and decorated air force leader and the driving force as a founder of the acclaimed Snowbirds. His wartime service included operational flying in both Europe and Burma.

The entrepreneur of the group is certainly McBride, who built successful franchises for the marketing of Piper aircraft and Hughes helicopters across Canada. He also owned a charter business supporting Manitoba Hydro in its many major hydro projects in northern Manitoba, and then developed profitable air transport businesses, including turning around Winnipeg-based carrier Transair.

Colonel George Miller, CD, had a diverse aviation career including 35 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Armed Forces – including leading the Snowbirds – and a civilian aviation career running air shows in Ottawa, helping develop the Langley Regional Airport and more. All four inductees displayed copious amounts of leadership, fortitude, courage and a diverse skill base that helped redefine the Canadian aviation landscape.

The July/August issue of Wings magazine pays homage to aviation influencers in their own right – our Top 20 under 40 winners. Though early in their careers, they display many of the same the qualities as the CAHF inductees. Dedicated, determined, assertive and innovative, all are changing the face of Canadian aviation for the better – and many have left an indelible mark.

From honouring the icons of the past to highlighting the future superstars of tomorrow, there is plenty to be passionate about in the world of Canadian aviation. 

Editor’s note: Wings would like to thank Seneca College for its support of  the Top 20 Under 40 program.


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