Glowing Review of Polar Winds in Arctic!

Was so pleased to read a review of my latest book, Polar Winds, in Arctic, the Journal of the Arctic Institute of North America, by esteemed colleague Shirlee Smith Matheson:

“As a reviewer and avid reader and writer of aviation history, I take my hat off to Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail for her work in containing this massive history to 224 pages, including a glossary of abbreviations and acronyms, chapter notes, a selected bibliography, and detailed index. Numerous photographs (many in colour) enhance the stories. The appearance of the book is pleasing from cover to cover…. This book has earned its place in the collection of every reader who not only enjoys aviation history but also wishes to learn more about the history of our country and its people. Bravo!”

To read the full review, please click here!

Diversity in Aviation: Air Cadet 699 Squadron


I was invited to speak at a fundraising dinner for 699 Squadron last month in Edmonton, and I was so impressed. These air cadets are leading the charge in diversity – ahead of the RCAF and airlines at this point – and are some of the nicest, most engaged citizens I’ve come across. And they are in terrific shape and can shoot straight thanks to their biathlon training and competitions, so I told them to save me a space in their bunker should a zombie apocalypse strike. Even if it doesn’t, I’m happy to have met them and hope to spend more time in their company in the future!






IMG_3705 IMG_3708IMG_3694


Elinor Florence brings her WWII story to Edmonton


Polar Winds Sparks Memories for Pilot Dan Campbell

“I enjoyed Polar Winds very much – it brought back a lot of memories of various operations that I knew of, or was involved in, during my 30 years in the Air Force.

Most of my career was spent on Search and Rescue, initially with 123 Search and Rescue Flight at Sea Island, B.C. where I was posted after completing Pilot Training on the 5 March 1949.

There are two items in your book that I can show my friends and say I had an input. The first is the picture of the three Alberts [Grumman Albatrosses] on their steps on page 128. The photographer took the picture from an
H-21 that I was flying. We were attempting to duplicate a famous photograph taken during the war in the same location of three Cansos.

The second item is the mention on page 146 that an RCAF helicopter had flown Senator Kennedy to the base camp on Mount Kennedy. I was the pilot of that helicopter, CH113 10402. However, we had only gone into Whitehorse to refuel because Juneau Alaska, the closest airport to Trapper Lake, where we were recovering Para Rescue equipment that had been left there the previous fall, did not have JP 4.  We had refueled and were about to take off when the tower advised us that we had better wait because Senator Kennedy was trying to get permission from the Prime Minister to use our helicopter because the weather was below limits at the mountain for fixed wing aircraft. He did get permission and we ended up working for the National Geographic for the next week before we were able to return to Comox. Two months later we were tasked to return to Whitehorse and recover a Bell 47 helicopter that had been stranded at the 13000 level on Mount Kennedy. We completed that task on the 15 May 1965.

A rather flowery article in the local weekly covering some other operations I was involved in during my career can be seen in the May 6,2010 issue of Incidently the Norwegian Captain referred to in the Rumba incident in the article, along with his wife Sigrid, were surprise guests at our 60th wedding anniversay anniversary at which he gave a great speech from his perspective of the rescue of himself and his crew.

Once again thank you for your very informative book.

Dan Campbell”

Call for Proposals for Aviation History Convention in Hamilton June 2015



The Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) is holding its 2015 convention in Hamilton, Ontario, from 17-21 June, at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. The theme will be “Celebrating Canada’s Aviation Industry” with sessions exploring civilian and military topics.

This convention is open to all – university students, aerospace industry professionals, academics, professionals in aviation or heritage industries, and aviation enthusiasts of every kind. International presenters are also welcome. Our focus will be on history, but we welcome proposals addressing the current aerospace industry and those utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches. Presentations should be 30 minutes in length and may be formal academic papers or informal talks. Power point will be available.

As part of the CAHS 52nd Annual Convention, the conference will include a trip to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum for its annual Father’s Day weekend flying event plus other aviation-related events and activities. Held near the Hamilton International Airport and only a short distance from Canada’s primary aviation hub, Toronto Pearson International Airport, a variety of exciting local and regional (Toronto/Niagara Falls) activities promise to make your trip worthwhile.

If you are interested in participating in our conference, please send a short proposal and a short biography (one page each max.) to Richard Goette and Jim Bell at The deadline for submissions is 15 February 2015.

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting more conference information at, in our e-newsletter (you can sign up for it on the website), and on Twitter (CanAvHistSoc) and Facebook (Canadian Aviation Historical Society – National).


Please feel free to forward and post this message widely!




Dr. Richard Goette                                       Jim Bell

CAHS National Vice-President                 CAHS National Secretary

2015 Convention Co-Chair                                   2015 Convention Co-Chair

Free holiday download of For the Love of Flying (PDF)!

The holidays are here and I’m feeling extra merry, so I wanted to share a free download of my first book, For the Love of Flying for the next few days! Please click on this link  to be taken to the PDF and feel free to share the URL with your friends and family. (Please note: I had to make the images low-to-medium resolution for file size)

Happy Holidays!


Three authors talk stories and storytelling in Victoria Dec 4


Polar Winds Blow Westward

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be launching Polar Winds in several western locales. If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it out to one of the following!

November 20 @ 7pm in Calgary

What: An illustrated and engaging talk about the people and stories behind the book for the Canadian Aviation Historical Society chapter. It will be free and open to the public.

Where: Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Art Smith Aero Centre, 1916 McCall Landing N.E.


December 2 @ 7pm in Vancouver

Turbulent Tales: The Ups and Downs of Writing about Canadian Aviation

What: Award-winning journalist and author, Carol Shaben (Into the Abyss) joins Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail to launch her new book, Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North, in this engaging session. The authors will talk about their research and writing, and issues in the exploration of aviation past and present. They will then take questions and sign books. This event is free and open to the public and there will be free refreshments as well as drinks for purchase.

Where: Billy Bishop Legion in Kitsilano


December 4 @ 7pm in Victoria

What: Please join us for a special evening of readings and conversation feautring Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail (Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North), Lynne Bowen (Those Island People) and Christine Lowther (Born Out of This). Books will be available for purchase from Munro’s book store and personalized dedications (great for holiday gifts!). Register at or call 250-940-GVPL (4875) for more information. Presented in partnership with Dundurn Press, Harbour Publishing, and Caitlin Press.

Where: Oak Bay branch of the Victoria Public Library.  1442 Monterey Ave.  Victoria, BC


December 5 @ 7pm in Sidney

What: An illustrated and engaging talk about the people and stories behind the book, followed by refreshments. Books will be available for purchase and personalized dedications. Free and open to the public.

Where:  British Columbia Aviation Museum, 1910 Norseman Road, Sidney, BC


Taking Polar Winds Home

Earlier this month I was able to do launches in my hometown of Ottawa, and my alma mater McGill. It is always amazing to share my work and book parties with friends and family, and to reconnect with some of the people who encouraged me on this path.

Here are a few shots from those evenings! Thanks to Alexandra Leslie for being the photographer in Ottawa, and Alexandre Claude for snapping the lovely pics in Montreal.


It is always such a pleasure to personalize books – really one of the best parts of the job!


The Canada Aviation and Space Museum generously hosted us in the foyer and theatre. What a perfect location!


Perfect Books was on hand to sell our books. Thanks, Jim!


Me and my co-launcher, Crystal Sissons (author of bio on Elsie MacGill) took advantage of the great “props” to take a few photos.


My home base at McGill, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, hosted a multi-author launch for Polar Winds and two other new works of history (from McGill-Queen’s University Press) at the gorgeous Faculty Club.


One of the first professors to encourage me on the path of History – and one I’m still in touch with – Desmond Morton.


After corresponding for years, I finally got to meet my online friend Jean-Claude and his lovely wife Lucille.


Our short talks focused on the challenges and joys of the research process for our books. I love words, but pictures are pretty effective too!


Will Straw from MISC and Michael Darroch, one of my co-launchers. We all hung out at dinner afterwards, which is always half the fun!


The Wonders of LitFest and Words on the Park


LitFest: a fabulous evening of stories, friends, wine, and planes!



At the LitFest kick off event at Alberta Aviation Museum on October 17 with author Ted Barris.


Robert from Belgravia Books shows off titles from Edmonton author Gwen Molnar at Words in the Park.



Me and book table buddy, Karen Spafford-Fitz, at Words in the Park!


And the yummy treats (and adorable puppies) to make happy customers!


It was great seeing Bob McDonald, host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, again at LitFest’s Brunch of Writers. Hope he likes the book!








© 2011 Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. All Rights Reserved.