Member Profiles

Erskine Leigh Capreol

Birthdate: September 17, 1898
Birth Place: Ottawa, Ontario
Year Inducted: 1981
Death Date: January 7, 1963

"His contributions in war and peace as a flying instructor, bush pilot, test pilot and aviation executive, coupled with his commitment to defeat all conditions of adversity, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Erskine Capreol began his aviation career as a military flight instructor. When he left the military he joined the newly formed de Havilland Aircraft of Canada to become chief test and demonstration pilot. During his six years with de Havilland, he conducted manufacturer's tests on all new aircraft and demonstrated them to potential customers. In addition, he made significant contributions to the development of new types of aircraft skis and pontoons. In 1935 he resigned from the company and became a test pilot for Noorduyn Aviation Ltd., Montreal. His experience was utilized in the initial testing of the first Norsemen bush plane. Later in his career, Capreol accepted the position of Manager at the Dorval Airport in Montreal.

William Keir Carr

Birthdate: March 17, 1923
Birth Place: Grand Bank, Newfoundland
Year inducted: 2001
Awards: CMM, DFC, OStJ, CD****, BA, BSc

"His achievements in both military and civil aviation, along with his proven leadership and organizational abilities, have been of outstanding benefit to Canada."

Carr joined the RCAF in 1941 and flew 143 photographic missions over Europe, Malta, North Africa and Sicily in Spitfire aircraft. During the post-war years he advanced rapidly in rank, serving as Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff from 1973 to 1975, following which he was appointed the first Commander of the Canadian Forces Air Command. He is known as the "Father of the Modern Air Force" for his work in consolidating military aviation in the aftermath of the unification of the forces. After retiring from the military in 1978, Lieutenant-General Carr joined Canadair Ltd., where he enjoyed a remarkable career in worldwide marketing of the then-new Challenger business aircraft.

Nicholas Byron Cavadias

Birthdate: February 8, 1929
Birth Place: Galgaun, India
Year Inducted: 1996

"His vision and dynamic leadership in the development of flight simulation through commitment to technological innovation, excellence and total team effort for nearly forty years has significantly enhanced civil and military aviation safety and economy world wide, and has been of outstanding benefit to Canada."

Byron Cavadias brought Canadian Aviation Electronics of Montreal, Quebec from a small, one-product, one-customer operation to a major global player in aviation and industry. Over a career spanning 38 years, Cavadias rose from Engineer to Senior Vice President of the Aerospace and Electronics Group of CAE Inc. His vision, drive and hands-on leadership built CAE into a world leader in the fields of commercial and military aircraft flight simulation, a high technology company exporting to the world. His personal knowledge of the product and his commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction have been key to CAE's success to the credit and benefit of Canada.

Alfred Beebe Caywood

Nickname: "Alf"
Birthdate: January 22, 1910
Birth Place: Oelrich, South Dakota, USA
Year Inducted: 1988
Death Date: May 23, 1991

"His foresight and high standards not only benefited the company he led, but indeed the entire aviation community. In his own words, he took the romance out of bush flying and turned it into a viable business, complete with balance sheet. He played an integral role in the development of Canada's atomic age. There is no doubt that he contributed greatly to Canadian aviation."

Alfred Caywood became interested in aviation as a prospector in remote areas. He initiated the practice of filing sketch maps of locations where prospectors and trappers had been left so they could be retrieved at a later date. He later expanded "bush service" by initiating the use of the DC3 in Canada's north. Caywood broke many records for mileage and tonnage in using this freight and passenger aircraft. Later in his career, he became a mainline captain with Canadian Pacific Airlines and flew on all of their routes in the Yukon, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories. In 1944, he joined Eldorado Mining and Refining to form their Air Division, and transported uranium out from Port Radium as part of the Manhattan Project. In this position he set up an air service to resupply the uranium mine, which was of vital importance to the Allied cause, at Port Radium on Great Bear Lake.

James Arthur Chamberlin

Birthdate: May 23, 1915
Birth Place: Kamloops, British Columbia
Death Date: March 8, 1981
Year Inducted: 2001
Awards: BSc, DIC

"His engineering genius, technical direction and leadership have been of significant benefit to Canada. Further, his contributions to the United States space programs have given much credit to his home country of Canada."

Chamberlin joined the engineering staff at Avro Aircraft at Malton, Ontario in 1946 where he became Chief Aerodynamicist on the C-102 Jetliner and the CF-100 Canuck interceptor aircraft. In the early 1950s he was appointed Chief of Technical Design, working on the Avro Arrow. Following cancellation of the Arrow program in 1959, he joined the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), working on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects. For this work Jim Chamberlin was awarded the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and the Exceptional Service Medal from NASA, and was described as "one of the most brilliant men ever to work at NASA".

Walter Frank Chmela

Birthdate: May 28, 1926
Birth Place: Vienna, Austria
Year Inducted: 2006

"His tireless devotion to the grass roots promotion and growth of soaring, his enthusiasm, inspiring leadership and years of service with Air Cadet Gliding Programs have been of great benefit to the sport of gliding and to Canadian aviation in general."

2006 Induction Video - Biography of Walter Frank Chmela

Nils Christensen

Birthdate: August 15, 1921
Birth Place: Berum, Norway
Year Inducted: 2012

Born in Berum, Norway, near Oslo, on August 15, 1921, Nils Christensen trained as a mechanic while in school. In 1939 he joined the Norwegian Merchant Navy, sailing on Norwegian and Allied ships during the Second World War. When Nils left the navy in 1942, he joined the Royal Norwegian Air Force and came to Canada, training in Toronto as an aircraft mechanic. In1943 he joined 333 Norwegian Squadron as a flight mechanic engineer for Mosquito aircraft at bases in Scotland. After training as an air gunner school in England and Ireland, he flew Catalinas with the squadron as a flight mechanic/air gunner on convoy duty and submarine patrols.

Following the War, Nils trained in England on aircraft engines, then instructed for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Leaving the air force in 1947, he flew as a flight engineer with a Norwegian company and also served as a station engineer for the airline at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, flying and maintaining Douglas DC-3 and DC-4 aircraft.

In 1951 Nils emigrated to Canada, and was employed by de Havilland Canada. His first job was converting Lancaster bombers to air sea rescue by upgrading engines. In 1952 he was hired by Sault Airways Limited in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. For the next four years, Nils worked there as Chief of Maintenance, servicing Norseman, Cessna, Piper, Stinson and Seabee aircraft used in bush flying operations. He earned his Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) license during that time.

In 1956 he moved to British Columbia to be Chief of Maintenance for the Victoria Flying Club. There he serviced club aircraft, as well as on Harvards and Beech 18s maintained by the club for the Royal Canadian Naval Air Reserve Squadron VC 922. On March 28, 1957, Nils became a Canadian citizen at ceremonies held in Victoria.

In 1959 Nils joined Forest Industries Flying Tankers as Director of Maintenance and Chief Flight Engineer on the Martin Mars water bombers. In 1965 he joined Fairey Aviation, doing overhauls and maintenance on Catalinas, Beechcraft, Harvards and DC-3s. He also worked at converting Cansos, Avengers, Mitchells and Junkers to water bombers. In 1967 Nils became manager of McKinnon Enterprises, rebuilding and converting 10 amphibian Grumman Goose aircraft to turbine power and upgrading Grumman Widgeons.

When McKinnon Enterprises closed in 1970, Nils started his own company, Viking Air Limited in a wartime air force hangar at the Victoria airport. His new focused on overhaul, maintenance and conversions, specializing in flying boats. That same year, he bought Victoria Flying Services and its 11 aircraft.

With Nils as president of Viking Air, the company obtained the parts manufacturing rights from de Havilland for Beaver, Otter and Turbo Beaver. In 2006 the company acquired Type Certificates for seven de Havilland heritage aircraft: the Chipmunk, Beaver, Otter, Caribou, Buffalo, Twin Otter and the Dash. Starting with three employees, Viking grew to 50 employees from 1970 to 1987, when Nils sold his 90% interest in the company and retired.

Nils remains an active member of the Pacific AME Association. His lifetime involvement with aviation continues with association in several organizations, including life membership in the Royal Air Force Association of Norway and the Royal Canadian Legion. For 40 years he has been a member of the Quarter Century in Aviation Club of Vancouver.

Nils still holds a current AME license, highly respected for his knowledge, expertise and support as a mentor in assisting others in becoming trained to serve in the industry. In 1997 he was awarded the Robert Hope Pursuit of Excellence Award from the Pacific AME Association. In 2003 he was one of the first three members inducted into the Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Hall of Fame, located at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. Nils met his wife, Sheila, in England in 1946, the daughter of W/C William Wolfenden, OBE, who served with the Royal Air Force during the First and Second World Wars. The couple married in Norway in 1947 and their home has been on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia since 1993.

2012 Induction Video - Biography of Nils Christensen

Larry Denman Clarke

Birthdate: June 12, 1925
Birth Place: London, England
Year Inducted: 1996
Awards: OC

"The opportunities he created for thousands of young Canadian engineers and technicians to contribute at home to the development of the world's space business testify to his vision, entrepreneurial capacity and tenacity as a businessman who, despite adversity, recognized and realized the potential of the space industry to the outstanding benefit of all Canadians."

Larry Clarke gave to Canada a space company, SPAR Aerospace. His courage, determination and a vision for Canada helped overturn the pessimism that pervaded our country following the crash of the Avro Arrow program, and demonstrated that Canadians could build a national industrial sector that would take their expertise to the world and secure our independence in satellite communications. SPAR's Canadarm is this country's most recognized technological achievement, and Clarke's legacy lies in the opportunities that he created for thousands of young Canadian engineers to contribute at home in the space business.

Raymond Collishaw

Nickname: "Collie"
Birthdate: November 22, 1893
Birth Place: Nanaimo, British Columbia
Year Inducted: 1974
Death Date: September 28, 1976

"No airman has served on more enemy fronts with greater distinction, and his indomitable spirit, despite adversity, gave such leadership to those under his command, as to have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

During WWI, Raymond Collishaw began flying long range bombing missions from France to Germany. As the war continued, he proved to be one of Canada's greatest fighter pilots. He is generally credited with having shot down 60 enemy machines during his flying in France. In 1939, he was promoted to the position of Air Commodore and given command of what would become known as the Desert Air Force. His group was outnumbered by the enemy, but by resorting to deception, improvisation, and determination, he maintained the offensive and his crews destroyed 1100 enemy aircraft.

Thomas C. Cooke

Birthdate: August 14, 1919
Birth Place: Goderich, Ontario
Year Inducted: 2004
Death Date: August 17, 2004
Awards: DFC, AFC

“His contributions during wartime, and his development of equipment and procedures to improve forest management and fire control, making Canada a leader in this field, have been of major benefit to aviation in Canada.”

During WW II, he was instructor with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, flew Canso amphibians, and during one patrol sank a U-boat off the coast of Iceland. For this feat he received the DFC. In 1946 he began a 37-year career with the Ontario Provincial Air Service, rising to serve as Director of the OPAS for 11 years. During this time he was instrumental in developing equipment and procedures, including a float-mounted carrier for transporting canoes and bulky materials on float planes, and an effective method for pick-up of water by skimming the surface of a lake and precisely dropping it onto forest fires, helping to make Canada a leader in forest management and fire control. He is a founding member of The Ontario Bushplane Heritage and Forest Fire Educational Centre (The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre) in Sault Ste. Marie.

T.P.M. (Mike) Cooper-Slipper

Birthdate: January 11, 1921
Birth Place: Kinver, Staffordshire, England
Year Inducted: 2003
Death Date: February 23, 2004
Awards: DFC

“His accomplishments in his military career, his exceptional courage and capabilities as a test pilot of both aircraft and engines, and his expertise in marketing, helped to establish Canada’s reputation as a leader in aviation.”

A decorated fighter pilot and test pilot during the Second World War, Mr. Cooper-Slipper continued test-flying aircraft after the war. His work on the Avro Jetliner helped push jet-powered flight into the mainstream of commercial travel. He also worked on the development of the innovative Iroquois engine, intended to power the Avro Arrow. He later worked in aircraft sales and developed new markets for Canadian-built aircraft all over the world.

John W. Crichton

Birthdate: 1946
Birth Place: Ottawa, Ontario
Year Inducted: 2011

John W. Crichton, born in Ottawa in 1946, has served as president and CEO of NAV CANADA since 1997. Previously he was president of the Air Transport Association of Canada from 1994-97 and was executive vice president of First Air, which he served starting in 1973. John was a major force in shaping Canada's northern air transportation industry to improve air freight and passenger service to northern communities. His leadership led to the modernization of Canada's civil Air Navigation System in the establishment of NAV CANADA in 1996, the world's first privatized Air Navigation System. NAV CANADA is the country's civil air navigation services provider, supplying air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation. John Crichton has been honoured many times for his work in Canada's aviation industry.

2011 Induction Video - Biography of John Crichton

Wilfred Austin Curtis

Birthdate: August 21, 1893
Birth Place: Havelock, Ontario
Year Inducted: 1984
Death Date: August 14, 1977
Awards: CB, CBE, OC, DSC, ED, CD

"His exceptional abilities in aircraft design and development together with his outstanding personal leadership qualities have all been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Wilfred Curtis began his aviation career as a successful fighter pilot in WWI, during which he shot down more than 13 enemy aircraft. In WWII he served with distinction as his rank and responsibility rose and he selected airfields in Canada for the BCATP in 1939. In 1947, he served as Chief of the Air Staff where he reorganized the RCAF after the war, guided the RCAF through the expansion of our participation in the Korean War and recommended policy for Canada's role in NATO.

© Copyright in the portrait drawings of the honoured members of the Aviation Hall of Fame, which were prepared by Mrs. I. Coucill are the property of Mrs. Coucill.