CAHS Journal Celebrates Twin Otters!

From editor Terry Higgins (also of

“Journal 49-4 features six articles on the de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, and its ‘reborn’ Viking Air Series 400 Twin Otter, in celebration of the type’s 40th year of  Canadian military service. The CF/RCAF centric articles are balanced with a short piece on the type’s origins, another on the floats designed exclusively for this aircraft, and an overview of the Series 400’s development.

And what’s a celebration without colour! Canadian photographers and photo collectors alike have contributed images to grace both the centre-spread and back cover, including a striking panorama of nearly 40 Twin Otters all parked in one spot (taken from another Twin Otter!).” DMC: I would add to that the gorgeous painting by Helene Girard, one of my favourite aviation artists!

New Brunswick’s Place in Aviation History

 Conference announcement!  

The 2012 Canadian Aviation Historical Society convention is taking place in Saint John, NB from September 5th to the 9th. This year’s theme is “First in the Air: New Brunswick’s Place in Canadian Aviation.”

Conference Presentations will take place at the New Brunswick Museum and the Saint John Free Public Library at Market Square. There will also be an Aviation Art Show at the NB Museum Gallery and a Poster Session at the Saint John Regional Library. Aviation-related activities will also take place in other related locations before and after the convention.


Featured Topics:

  • Aviation & the East Coast Seal Hunt
  • Saint John in Aviation History
  • The 80th Anniversary of the First East-to-West Trans-Atlantic Flight
  • New Brunswickers of Note
  • Moncton in the Second World War
  • N.B. Air Crashes & protection of heritage sites
  • NB´s Military History Museum’s Aviation Collection
  • Ted Cooper & Maritime Air Mail
  • Miller Brittain, DFC, War Artist
  • Civil Defence & Russian Bombers in Saint John & Halifax
  • Fundy Flying Club
  • Gina Jordan: Aviatrix Extraordinaire
  • Last Flight of the Edmundston Lancaster

Our banquet speaker will be Tom Appleton, Board Chair of the Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.


Special Activities:

  • Cenotaph dedication at the Wade-Myles Aviation Park located at the former Millidgeville Municipal Airport
  • Sunday memorial service on the site of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) Pennfield Ridge Air Station
  • The Saint John Airport, in association with Vintage Wings of Canada, will be commemorating the BCATP with static      displays and an air show. Featured as well will be the FSNB Bluebirds  Aero-Demonstration Team – as they practice in a virtual world.

While in Saint John you can take in some city walking and bus tours to enjoy our heritage architecture and experience “Stonehammer”, the only UNESCO designated Geo Park in North America. If the weather is favourable, you may be lucky enough to feel the vibrations of our fog horn from the site of the world’s first fog whistle.

Our hotel will be the Delta Brunswick located in bustling uptown within minutes of the convention sessions. The hotel is offering a rate of $100.00 per night for a standard room. This rate is also available for three days before and three days after our meeting. The hotel is accepting registrations now for the convention and there are upgraded rooms available at an additional cost. When you call (1-888-890-3222) simply mention you are with the CAHS to get the discounted rate. Our Hospitality Suite will be located in the hotel.

Registration information will be available shortly at but you can begin to plan your trip now by visiting the following websites for information:


We hope to see you there!

2012 CAHS Convention Team

Canada’s History Magazine Mention

It was really exciting (and flattering!) to see this write-up in the Feb-March 2012 issue of Canada’s History Magazine (formerly The Beaver). Thanks so much to the Canada’s History team, who have supported me and my projects, and consistently put out a high-quality publication about this country’s heritage.

Making Aviation History Sexy: The 2011 CAHS Conference

Aviation history – indeed history in general – is often seen as a little dull by the general public. While there are those who love lists of dates, facts, and might even have a footnote fetish like I do, most people do not. I think most of us do like humour, gripping stories, and special events that highlight the adventure and romance of of bygone eras.

Me with Alberta Aviation Museum exec director, Tom Hinderks, leaning on their 5/8 scale Hurricane

So this is what I focused on for the 2011 Canadian Aviation Historical Society Convention, and why I was excited to partner up with the Alberta Aviation Museum for their swing dance, bush pilot dinner, and AirFest.

CAHS Convention-goers checking out the aircraft at AirFest (Photo: Richard Goette)

Here’s some more photographic proof that aviation history can be a ripping good time (for more, please check out the photo gallery at!

Convention attendees joined forces with the Alberta Aviation Museum’s volunteers for a bush pilot dinner – no cold beans in a can for us, though…. (photo: John Chalmers)

Who doesn’t like playing dress-up?! (Photo: John Chalmers)

…or shooting down the enemy from the mid-upper turret of a Lancaster movie mock-up on loan from Bomber Command Museum?

…or getting to shoot the breeze with visitors to AirFest (and getting to eat delicious treats from Enjoy Cupcakes, set up next to us!)?

Aviation, Writing and the Best Bud Light Ever: Conference Season 2010

While many were working on their yards and tans the past few weeks, I’ve been making the rounds of conferences. Which, in weather-changeable Alberta, is probably a safer bet.

The Creative Nonfiction Collective conference back in April started off the 2010 season. Held at the gorgeous Banff Centre, I let myself be inspired by the immensely talented writers around me and delighted in the deer grazing in the courtyards.

A couple of weeks later the Writers Guild of Alberta’s mini-conference and Literary Awards gala was just up the street at the Delta hotel. I sat at the back of the room both days – you know, where the troublemakers end up – and talked chicken fried steak with author David Poulsen, globalization with Gordon Laird, and diamonds with my new geologist friend, Michelle Tappert (who just wrote a book with her husband, brave girl!).

Other than the chance to hang out with other writers, the main thrill for me was hearing Will Ferguson’s keynote address. Not many people can have me crying with laughter at 9 a.m. But he’s also the only person who’s made Canada’s political history palatable to me (Bastards & Boneheads). Amazing!

By June 1st I was all the way over in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec for the 16th Annual Air Force Historical Workshop. When I first heard about this event, I thanked my lucky stars. After all, the theme was “De-Icing Required: The Canadian Air Force in the Arctic” and my next nonfiction project just happens to be a history of aviation north of 60. Kind of eerie, actually…

The ‘cool’ topic sure helped keep my mind off the fact it was humid, 30 degrees celsius, and I was staying in a ‘vintage’ dorm room at John Abbott College. Even so, I was the envy of the other non-military attendees (who had swanky lodgings at the Chateau Vaudreuil) because I had brought my own personal rotating fan. Thanks, mum!

By the second day of intent listening and notetaking, I was antsy and decided to skip on the dinner out. After a jog I ate cold leftover pizza (which my friend and RCAF historian Carl Christie protected in gallant style as you can see above) and drank an icy Bud Light. Normally I’m a bit of a beer snob, but at that moment I was in heaven. This Bud’s for ME!

By morningI was recharged and ready for the next conference, also held at the John Abbott campus. The Canadian Aviation Historical Society’s Montreal chapter hosted this year’s event and scheduled it to coincide with the Air Force one. Lovely! I got to reconnect with members from across Canada and meet some new folks.

And it’s a good thing I paid such close attention at all these conferences because it looks like I’ll be co-organizing the CAHS one in Edmonton next year! I certainly picked up some valuable tips:
  • make sure people can get coffee first thing in the morning
  • make sure there are plenty of cookies at the coffee breaks (I could never seem to get to them in time!)
  • and make sure there’s plenty of time for people to shoot the breeze while sipping an adult beverage (or two)
You know, the important stuff!

Writing Fever

Forgive me father, for I have sinned, it has been 10 days since my last blog entry…
Ah, but I have so much to show for it: Today is my editor’s official ‘draft is due’ deadline for the Laurentian book, and miracle of miracles, I’m just about ready to send off the final chapters! Of course there will still be editing, rewrites, formatting, and so on, but the manuscript is largely finished, the publisher has all the photos and captions in his possession, and he is confident enough in our May launch date that he has done the mock-ups for the cover and is going to list the book in his spring catalogue (it will be paperback, $30.95 CDN, approximately 225 pages, and have hundreds of photos!).
Can you tell how excited I am? Staring at my double-spaced prose in Word it’s easy to forget that this is not just an extended paper, but that it will actually be a professionally-designed and printed book. Yippee!!
Adding to my excitement is the fact that my article, “Flying away from it all,” appeared in the February/March issue of The Beaver: Canada’s History Magazine. I definitely did a little happy dance when my copy came in the mail (and when the money appeared in my account) and it is just way cool to have an article in the same publication as one of my history heroines, Charlotte Gray! (p.s. un gros merci au directeur artistique, Michel Groleau, pour la belle mise en page!)

Here’s the first page of my three-page article in the Beaver, which is available now on Canadian newsstands (unless you’re in the Gloucester, Ont. area, in which case I think my mum and mother-in-law have bought up most of the copies!).

My next article project is a profile of John Bogie, president of Laurentian for several decades, and all-around aviation pioneer. This piece is for the Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, and I have a week to write it, which shouldn’t be an issue because I have all the materials at my fingertips from the past year and a half of research, interviews, and photo gathering. Even so, I’ll have to be careful not to indulge my cabin/spring fever too much.

I did make a break for it last week and attended my first ever poetry slam session in Rock Springs. As the newspaper write-up describes it, a poetry slam is “known as the Olympics of performance poetry.” Basically, a few judges are picked from among those present and judge participants’ poetry and performances. Participants must bring three original poems (for a possible three rounds of competition) and are eliminated each round based on their scores. Then there are cash prizes at the end for top finishers!

I didn’t bring anything to read, but I enjoyed myself immensely, made some new artsy acquaintances, and was seriously inspired. So much so that I wrote a couple of rough drafts that night, and another the following morning. Now I just have to polish them up in time (and psych myself up) for the next one…

My friend, Luke, won the prize for “most intense audience member” – no surprise there! Luke is the creator of The Fiddler, a bi-weekly publication that features local businesses and fun stuff like comics, games, etc. He has a background in acting and design. If you want to see how nuts he is, check out “The Farthest Outhouse” on

© 2011 Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. All Rights Reserved.