Toronto Aerospace Museum celebrates aviation pioneer George Neal's 90th birthday

November 13, 2008
georgepostercNov. 13, 2008, Toronto - The Toronto Aerospace Museum is honouring Canadian aviation pioneer George Neal with a 90th birthday party at its facility at Downsview Park in north Toronto on Saturday Nov. 22 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

At the birthday party, the Museum will unveil the latest addition to its collection, a 1936 de Havilland D.H. 87B Hornet Moth biplane, C-FEEJ ,and launch a fundraising campaign in Mr. Neal‚s honour to complete the purchase of this rare aircraft.

"George Neal‚s career parallels the development of aviation in Toronto and Canada over the last 75 years," said Wayne Barrett, Chair of the Toronto Aerospace Museum. „We are pleased to honour him for his contribution to Canadian aviation and the aircraft he helped develop when employed at the historic de Havilland Canada aircraft factory which is now home for our museum."

Mr. Neal is one of Canada‚s most distinguished test pilots. In 1995, he was inducted into Canada‚s Aviation Hall of Fame, which recognized "his contribution to the testing, development and promotion of Canadian designed and built short take off and landing (STOL) aircraft has gained world-wide recognition and respect for the Canadian aviation industry and all Canadians."

The Royal Canadian Mint recognized Mr. Neal by engraving his cameo on the 1999 $20 silver coin that depicts a de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft.
At 89, Mr. Neal has been an active pilot for 71 years. On Nov. 1, 2008, he flew the Toronto Aerospace Museum‚s newly acquired Hornet Moth to Downsview.

To purchase birthday party tickets, send birthday greetings, or make a donation in Mr. Neal's honour, visit the Museum‚s web site: .

George Neal Profile
Born on November 21, 1919, Mr. Neal grew up a farm just east of the airport de Havilland Canada established in Downsview in 1929. A frequent visitor by bicycle and horse, in 1936 the company hired Mr. Neal as a mechanic to assemble wood and fabric aircraft imported from England.

Mr. Neal learned to fly at the Toronto Flying Club at Downsview in 1937. During the Second World War, he served as a civilian flying instructor at RCAF Air Observer Schools in Malton and Chatham.

In 1945, Mr. Neal rejoined de Havilland Canada as the comany launched development of its first original Canadian aircraft designs. In 1948, he was one of the first Canadians to be qualified on the RCAF's first jet fighter, the de Havilland Vampire.

On December 12, 1951 Mr. Neal made the first flight of the DHC-3 Otter bush plane, and on July 30, 1958, the first flight of the DHC-4 Caribou, de Havilland's first twin-engine design.

Mr. Neal's testing and demonstrations of these two aircraft and the famous DHC-2 Beaver bush plane allowed them to be successful around the world. He spent his entire test pilot career at de Havilland Canada, retiring in 1983 as Director of Flight Operations.

In 1992, de Havilland Canada was acquired by Bombardier Aerospace.

Since the early 1960s, Mr. Neal has restored several aircraft including a Sopwith Pup and Hawker Hind for the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa.  Until 1991, he was also the national museum‚s Chief Pilot.

Hornet Moth Fundraiser
The year 2009 marks the Canadian Centennial of Flight, which began on February 23, 1909 with the first powered aircraft flight in Canada by John McCurdy, flying the Silver Dart at Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

Since 1998, the Toronto Aerospace Museum has been building an education and cultural attraction at Downsview Park in the original aircraft factory buildings de Havilland Canada established in 1929.

Recently, the museum, embarked on a campaign to acquire important aircraft and aviation artifacts to ensure they are showcased for future generations in Canada. To achieve these goals, the museum is seeking donations in Mr. Neal‚s honour, via its web site

The rare D.H. 87B Hornet Moth recently acquired is one of only three believed to remain in North America. It is representative of the more than 250 „Moth‰ family aircraft sold in Canada in the 1930s.  The museum also recent acquired a rare pilot ejection seat from the famous Avro CF-105 Arrow, Canada‚s first supersonic aircraft.

The Toronto Aerospace Museum is an exciting educational, heritage and tourist attraction located at 65 Carl Hall Road in Downsview Park, Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 1997 the Museum displays a variety of aircraft and aerospace technology within Canada's oldest aircraft factory.

The Museum‚s mission is to create a facility and resources for the education of the local and aviation communities through the collection, preservation, restoration and exhibition of information, artifacts and technology associated with the aviation and aerospace history of the Greater Toronto Area.  For further information on events, activities and Museum hours, call 416-638-6078, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   or visit 

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