Member Profiles

Frederick Ronald Kearns

Birthdate: March 11, 1924
Birth Place: Quyon, Quebec
Year Inducted: 2008
Death Date: November 14, 1987

"His determination and dedication to the aerospace industry transformed Canadair into an internationally recognized and highly regarded manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft with great benefits for Canada's economy."

Fred Kearns began his career in aviation with the RCAF during the Second World War. Following the war, he joined Canadair Limited in 1949 eventually becoming President and CEO. Kearns has been described as a tremendous visionary, the person who provided most of the drive at Canadair.While President, he oversaw a number of key projects, including the CL-41 Tutor, the CL-215 Water Bomber, the CL-89 and 289 Short Range Reconnaissance Drones, and the CL-600 Challenger business jet.He established Canadair as a world class aircraft design and manufacturing firm.

2008 Induction Video - Biography of Frederick Ronald Kearns

Harry Marlowe Kennedy

Birthdate: August 27, 1904
Birth Place: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Year Inducted: 1979
Death Date: June 11, 1989
Awards: AFC, CD

"He gave full measure of his airmanship to all tasks set to him, as a first generation bush pilot, a wartime military aviator and a peacetime military commander, which resulted in outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Harry Kennedy was educated in Winnipeg, Manitoba and in 1925 joined the RCAF officer cadet program where he earned his pilot's rating and a Commission as a Flying Officer. In 1928 he worked as an aerial photographer for the Civil Government Air Operations and in 1932 flew airmail along the Winnipeg-Pembina route. Later that year he transferred to flying bush operations in the north, which involved flying numerous mercy missions. He rejoined the RCAF during WWII and in doing so helped found the RCAF's Transport Instrument and Night Flying School at Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick.

Leslie George Kerr

Birthdate: May 15, 1928
Birth Place: Langley, British Columbia
Year Inducted: 1999

"His visionary leadership in pioneering the development of aerial application technology has made Conair Aviation Ltd. the world’s largest operator of aircraft used for special aerial delivery systems constituting a major contribution to Canada’s aviation industry."

As the visionary founder of CONAIR Aviation Ltd., Les Kerr has had a significant influence on aerial delivery systems worldwide. Kerr helped to make CONAIR one of the world's largest operators of special purpose aircraft used for fire detection and suppression, oil slick dispersal and aerial application of fertilizers and insecticides. Over 50 CONAIR designed delivery systems are in operation around the world.

Wilbert George Melvin Knox

Nickname: "Mel" Knox
Birthdate: March 12, 1911
Birth Place: Howich, Ontario
Year Inducted: 1974
Death Date: November 13, 1996

"The application of his exceptional talents as a pilot and operational leader, despite adversity, were responsible in great measure for this nation's first commercial air link with Asia, which service has been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Wilbert Knox moved to Tuxford, Saskatchewan where he was educated. In 1929 he gained his pilot's license and eventually joined Prairie Airways as a commercial pilot, barnstorming throughout Saskatchewan and Manitoba. When Canadian Pacific Airlines designed its Asian route, Knox was one of nine pilots to proceed on the first overseas survey flight to Shanghai, China. The initial flight, in an unpressurized North Star aircraft, took 14 days and for the first time linked Canada with the Orient. Knox's senior skills were later used on the South Pacific Ocean routes to Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. Knox was later name chief overseas pilot in 1968 and in 1971 made the first flight without a navigator, instead relying on the inertial navigation system (INS). This system allowed accurate long-range, pilot navigation position fixing.

© 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.