Waypoint: Spanning the generations
By Rob Seaman
Many refer to this industry as a family – and it is, by and large, a small, very close and supportive group with common interests and goals. But for others, myself included, the term actually has a double meaning.
By Rob Seaman
Many refer to this industry as a family – and it is, by and large, a small, very close and supportive group with common interests and goals. But for others, myself included, the term actually has a double meaning. There are a surprising number of us who are multi-generation members of the bigger aviation family. Here are three profiles of industry leaders with special “family ties.”
Michael Bannock is best known for his successful aircraft ferrying business – Worldwide Aircraft Ferrying Ltd. – and for his pioneering work in fractional business aircraft ownership through his firm Jet-Share Canada Inc. Mike comes by his aviation passions through a larger-than-life model – his dad, Russ Bannock.
Russ is a Canadian aviation icon. He worked as a commercial pilot prior to joining the Air Force in the Second World War, service that resulted in a distinguished record 19-1/2 V-1 rockets downed and a DFC among many accolades before the war ended. After the Air Force, he worked for de Havilland Aircraft Canada and played a key role in the development of the Beaver and Otter series, eventually becoming director of military sales, and later, vice-president. In 1968, he formed his own consulting firm and was instrumental in the development of the Cessna Caravan.
Another prominent multi-generation family name is of course Cooper-Slipper. Chris Cooper-Slipper is well known across Canada as the VP of Field Aviation. Over the years, he has been involved in everything from sales of new Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft, through to sales of commercial aircraft such as the Dash 7 and 8 related to Field’s special missions upgrades. In his current role, Chris oversees marketing and promotions for the firm.
With a dad like his, “Cooper” really had no choice when it came to his career. Mike Cooper-Slipper left his native England in 1947 to join A.V. Roe Canada, first as an engine fitter and later as a test pilot for Lancaster B-25 and Sea Fury aircraft being modified for peacetime. Mike’s career in aviation began in 1938 as a fighter pilot for the RAF. Cooper-Slipper served the RAF with distinction in three separate theatres of war.
In 1950, he co-piloted the C-102 Jetliner on its celebrated flight to New York (carrying the first air mail in North America moved by commercial jet). He later moved up the street to Orenda Engines, where he worked on the development and testing of the Iroquois turbojet for the Avro Arrow. At de Havilland Aircraft of Canada, he sold aircraft and aided in the further development of Beaver, Otter, Twin Otter and Caribou aircraft. After DHC, Cooper-Slipper moved to Field Aviation to market the Beechcraft; was instrumental in Falcon’s early successes in the Canadian marketplace; and was involved in the development and refinement of water pickup and delivery systems for water bombers.
A review of distinguished dads would not be complete without mentioning the name Morrison. Jim Morrison is well known and respected for his achievements in both the business and commercial aviation communities. Currently the managing director of Partner Jet, Jim started his career in the cockpit and grew into management, working with the likes of Bradley Air Services, Air Creebec, Air Ontario, Skyservice, Execaire and Porter.
Jim’s dad – Angus Curran Morrison – served with the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps in the U.K., North Africa and Italy, and became a pilot before demobilization. He founded and operated his own firm, Atlas Aviation Ltd., in 1947 in Ottawa. In 1962, he became president of (ATAC), where he lobbied for more liberal government regulations of Canadian air transportation and aviation training by implementing the Instructor Refresher Course jointly developed by the Royal Canadian Flying Club Association and ATAC. He was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1989.
These are just three of the distinguished father/son success stories in Canadian aviation. There are many others, of course, in a variety of disciplines. Truth is, some come to this industry by chance, some by choice and some because – well, what else do we know? It’s in the family! But that’s what makes this a close-knit and wonderful business to be in. Thanks, dads!