Member Profiles

Thomas Lamb

Birthdate: June 29, 1898
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Manitoba
Year Inducted: 2009
Death Date: December 29, 1969

"His bush-flying career, which led to the founding of Lamb Airways in 1935, contributed significantly to the exploration and development of northern Manitoba and the Eastern Arctic. His exceptional leadership and problem-solving skills in the face of adversity, coupled with his many mercy missions to aid First Nation people of these regions have been of major benefit to Canadian aviation and Canadians in general."

2009 Induction Video - Biography of Thomas Lamb

Reginald John Lane

Birthdate: January 4, 1920
Birthplace: Victoria, British Columbia
Year Inducted: 2000
Date Deceased: October 2, 2003
Awards: DSO, DFC, CD

"His 35 years of dedicated military service to his country, in a wide range of capacities, in war and in peace, have been of outstanding benefit to Canada."

Lane joined the RCAF in 1940 and became a distinguished wartime Pathfinder and bomber pilot with three tours of duty over Europe. He served as the commanding officer of RCAF Station Edmonton, commander of Air Transport Command and commander of Canada’s NATO assigned 1 Air Division in Europe, among other postings, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant General in 1974 after 35 years of military service. In 1943, Lane flew the first Canadian built Lancaster, KB700 – "The Ruhr Express", to England.

Willy Laserich

Birthdate: September 9, 1932
Birthplace: Neisse, Germany
Year Inducted: 2010
Date of Death: November 12, 2007
Awards: Honorary Life Membership in the Northern Air Transport Association

"Known throughout northern Canada, he was recognized as 'King of the Medevacs' in 50 years of flying life-saving missions, rescue operations, and transporting freight and passengers. The founder of Adlair Aviation, he was widely respected for both his uncanny skill as a pilot, for his knowledge of geography and weather, and for innovations in bringing air service to remote communities in the Central Arctic."

Willy Laserich immigrated from Germany in 1952, obtained his private pilot’s license through the Edmonton Flying Club and continued flying with a perfect safety record for the next 50 years. Starting in 1957 he flew in the Northwest Territories as a commercial and airline pilot for various companies. From 1983 until his death, he flew as chief pilot for his company, Adlair Aviation. Flying throughout the central Arctic, he eventually quit recording time in his logbook at 44,000 hours! Willy flew more than 3,000 medevac flights, more than 100 search and rescue operations and saw six babies born aboard his aircraft.

Although he would take calculated risks, he never sacrificed safety for daring, and campaigned for better air service and facilities for the well-being of northern people. In 1997 Willy was presented with Honourary Life Membership in the Northern Air Transport Association in recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution to the development of aviation North of 60. In Cambridge Bay, the Willy Laserich Memorial Corporate Citizen Award is named for him, known as a gentleman as well as a pilot.

An inspirational pilot, he recognized contributions by others, emphasizing that the most important people behind the pilots were engineers who deserved credit for success in flights.

2010 Induction Video - Biography of Willy Laserich

Thomas Albert Lawrence

Birthdate: June 11, 1895
Birth Place: Creemore, Ontario
Year Inducted: 1980
Death Date: February 19, 1992
Awards: CB, CD

"His organizational and leadership abilities, initially directed to the early development and use of aviation in Canada, and latterly to the effective employment of aviators and their equipment, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Thomas Lawrence joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1915 until he transferred to the RFC three years later. In 1920 he joined the Canadian Air Board and later did much of his commercial flying for the government of Canada. Some of his duties involved forestry timber cruising and fire locating patrols, air photography, mapping, and other civil government air operations. In 1927 Lawrence organized and commanded the Hudson Strait Expedition, a survey of the ice conditions in the development of an ocean port at Churchill, Manitoba. In 1944 he was put in charge of the Northwest Air Command in Edmonton, Alberta. He was responsible for coordinating with the USAF the movement of aircraft and supplies over the Northwest Staging Route in Canada.

Wilson George Leach

Birthdate: September 28, 1923
Birth Place: Chalk River, Ontario
Year Inducted: 1974
Death Date: February 12, 2015
Awards: CMM, CStJ, CD**, BA, MD

"The dedication of his skills to the science of space age medicine has resulted in outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Major-General Wilson G. Leach served in the RCAF during the war as a pilot instructor with the BCATP. On release, he obtained a degree in Medicine and at graduation, was posted to the RCAF Institute of Aviation Medicine to improve existing oxygen breathing equipment. This equipment was to protect aircrew inadvertently exposed to extremely high altitudes while flying the Avro Arrow. The assignment was maximum protection with minimum encumbrance, hence the partial pressure suit concept. The work involved exposing himself, his colleagues and later air crew at ground level and in a decompression chamber to extremely high altitudes to ensure the equipment was safe. While these altitudes were simulated, they were new to the RCAF, hostile, and potentially lethal. Before prototype equipment had been developed, the Arrow was cancelled; however this research resulted in greater safety for those flying high altitude aircraft. He was later posted to DND Headquarters, and in time held positions of increasing rank and responsibility until he had reached the rank of Major-General and served a tour as Surgeon General of the Canadian Forces Medical Services. He retired in 1980.

Robert Leckie

Birthdate: April 16, 1890
Birth Place: Glasgow, Scotland
Year Inducted: 1988
Death Date: March 31, 1975
Awards: CB, DSO, DSC, DFC, CD

"His dedication to the development of civil and military aviation together with his exceptional organizational skills and desire for perfection have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Robert Leckie joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915, after learning to fly at the Curtiss Aviation School, Toronto. He was later posted to RNAS Station Great Yarmouth where he flew HS-2L Curtiss flying boats for the duration of the war. Leckie had a reputation as an outstanding fighter pilot during WWI. He flew attacks on Zeppelins, anti-submarine patrols, and had the reputation for flying in the worst North Sea weather. In 1919, with the rank of Wing Commander, he began working for the Canadian Air Board as Director of Flying Operations where he laid the ground work for the future development of trans-Canada air mail and passenger services. In 1944, he was promoted to the position of Air Marshal and appointed Chief of the Air Staff. In this position he gave dedicated service and exhibited unmatched leadership qualities during the final year of the war and immediate post war years.

Zebulon Lewis Leigh

Nickname: "Lewie" Leigh
Birthdate: June 19, 1906
Birth Place: Macclesfield, England
Year Inducted: 1974
Death Date: December 22, 1996
Awards: OBE, CM, ED

"His continuing efforts to maintain the highest standards of airmanship for himself and those under his command, and his total dedication to purpose in every aeronautical arena, despite adversity, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Zebulon Leigh had a distinguished aviation career, both militarily and commercially. He used his skills to instruct students, fly numerous rescue missions, and on one occasion located a killer for the RCMP. During WWII, he was with Air Transport Command which linked all Canadian military establishments. While with the ATC they flew military mail across the Atlantic completing 688 crossings. Aircraft under his command also evacuated large numbers of casualties from the war zone after D-Day. He flew with the first transport aircraft into Normandy.

Alexander John Lilly

Nickname: "Al" Lilly
Birthdate: July 19, 1910
Birth Place: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Year Inducted: 1984
Death Date: November 21, 2008
Awards: OC

"The application of his superior skills in Test Flying, leading to vital improvements in many aircraft during war and peace, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

Alexander Lilly had an unblemished career of 35 years as an instructor, test pilot, transport pilot, and aviation executive. In 1932 he joined the RCMP and while on detachment at Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan he advocated the use of ski or float equipped aircraft to replace dog-teams and canoes. The RCMP later transferred Lilly to headquarters in Ottawa but since this would remove him from flying opportunities, he resigned and went to England to join Imperial Airways, the predecessor of British Overseas Airways Corporation. When WWII broke out, he returned to Canada and became Chief Flying Instructor with the BCATP and eventually joined Ferry Command in Montreal. In this position he flew several types aircraft including the Hudson, Ventura, Boston, B-52, C-47 Dakota, B-24 Liberator, Catalina, Boeing B-17, Lancaster, and Mosquito. On August 8, 1950, Lilly flew the first Canadian manufactured F-86 Sabre jet, and gained the distinction of being the first in Canada to break the sound barrier.

George Bayliss Lothian

Birthdate: November 20, 1909
Birth Place: Vancouver, British Columbia
Year Inducted: 1973
Death Date: February 13, 2000

"His inspired leadership in ocean flying despite adversity, the sharing of his exceptional aviation skills with others willing to learn, his unswerving demand for perfection in all who served under his command, bred a most superior grade of airman and resulted in outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

George Lothian was one of the first pilots for Trans-Canada Air Lines, established in 1937. Seconded to the Trans-Atlantic Ferry Service, he became the first Canadian pilot to complete 100 air crossings of the North Atlantic. Achievements with Air Canada included winning the trans-Atlantic speed record 3 times, training pilots, and participating in rapid decompression experiments. After retiring in 1968, he had achieved more than 21,000 hours as pilot-in-command of numerous aircraft types and more than 1,000 air crossings of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Joseph Henry Lucas

Birthdate: June 14, 1912
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario
Death Date: February 13, 1961
Year Inducted: 1991

"His drive and determination coupled with a brilliant business mind and a mechanical aptitude was a major benefit to Canadian aviation."

Joseph Lucas got his start at age 16 with National Air Transport where he became the youngest B&D engineer in Canada servicing aircraft in Inspector, Aircraft Division of the newly reactivated Aircraft Industries, Canada. Lucas later became President/General Manager of the firm and held this position until his death in 1961.

William Floyd Sheldon Luck

Birthdate: January 26, 1911
Birth Place: Kingston, Ontario
Death Date: May 9, 2004
Year Inducted: 1981

"For nearly five decades he has displayed resourcefulness with the highest order of professionalism in his devotion to the advancement of aviation, which together with his qualities of leadership, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."

During his aviation career, William Luck participated in barnstorming activities and pioneered the establishment of commercial scheduled services from the Yukon to Vancouver, B.C. In 1942, he joined Canadian Pacific Airlines as Chief Pilot. Few pilots in the world have flown in such diversified areas. He has been intimately involved as an aviation administrator and in all areas of flying activities including: bush pilot, charter operations, airline pilot and aerial fire fighting. After flying for over 51 years, Luck compiled over 26,000 hours as pilot-in-command on 57 different types of aircraft.

Horace Charles Luttman

Birthdate: May 18, 1908
Birthplace: Banbury, England
Year Inducted: 2009
Death Date: April 17, 2001

“His outstanding dedication, expertise and energies contributed to the founding of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and through the decades from its inception in the 1950’s to his retirement in 1973, he led in the creation of a strong, effective and internationally respected organization of aeronautical engineers and scientists, greatly benefiting aviation in Canada.”

2009 Induction Video - Biography of H. Charles Luttman

© 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.