Hugh MacCallum's story spans the 60's, 70's, 80's 90's and into the 2000's. It is a story of wanting to be a pilot and fly the planes that served the great Canadian North. It is about the hard work and the waiting, the beautiful flying days and the days from hell when a slippery cargo of wet fish slid around the cramped confines of the cockpit as he desperately held it together in bad weather. Canadian aviation is about bad weather because the pilots that fly the North don't have a choice of whether to fly, its fly and get paid or take a hike. There is no room for the faint of heart or flying school wannabees that think being a bush pilot is a logical progression from graduation, it isn't. It takes a certain type of person to do the job. Often it is flying alone and the flight plans go to some of the most remote communities on the planet. In summer its hot, very hot and black fly are in complete control of one's discomfort, the more you sweat the more they bite and the bites are chunks. Winters are cold in the extreme, yes days can be bright and crisp and the flying can be beautiful but the cold brings formidable danger unless you are well prepared. Canada's remote northern communities are not for a visiting English grandmother expecting the comforts of civilization. There might be power, then again there might not, there might be water, then again a snap chill might have burst the village mains. Its about survival through supply. The Canadian bush pilot is the key to that supply.

So who wants to be a bush pilot and how do you go about it, what does it take? For Hugh it was a nudge from a female student at the University of New Brunswick who suggested that Hugh might be better at cross country if he got himself airbourne. Indeed, she being a weekend parachutist, she knew the fly boys and it would be a relatively easy introduction. So it was in 1962 after a summer student secondment on a Distant Early Warning Supply Ship operating in the Arctic, that Hugh caught the flying bug watching Bell 47s lift from the deck of the supply ship. In the Autumn of 1962 he bit the bullet and enrolled at Fredericton Aviation for a PPL ( Private Pilot's License). he trained on a Fleet Canuck 80 and like all the aircraft in the fleet they had no radios, it was all done by Control Tower lights, Green for go and Red for stop, literally; but for $450 dollars who was going to be picky? So one hour here, another there, Hugh quicky logged 37.5 hours and soloed in just 6.75 hours ( in those days it was normally 7-10 hours) and this included flight time on a wonderful new Cessna 172 "CF-NBH" November Bravo Hotel. On April 17th 1963, the Spring before Kennedy's assassination, Hugh got his wings and was issued PPL #QMP4241.

PPL #QMP4241

The subject of the website and a hungry young pilot's aspirations take hold.In Hugh's words......"IT ALL STARTED AT THE AGE OF 11 , after my family moved from the northwestern Ontario pulpmill town of Marathon back to Toronto,Ontario . One new friend , was interested in building model airplanes that could fly using a tiny engine powered by alcohol or gasoline . At the same time , I was told that the white lines high in the sky over Toronto were caused by a new type of passenger airplane called a JET were passenger airliners! So , I thank my Father (deceased 2001) for moving us to ‘Hogtown’. Dad was also instrumental in finding me summer work on DEWline supply ships operating out of Tuktoyaktuk,NWT for summers of 1961 and '62. He also gave me an Argus 35mm camera which produced pictures 1 , 2 (24 MAy 1962) & 3, 4 (July 1962) . The 4 months wages of $2,000 paid for continuing education at University of New Brunswick towards my dream of becoming an Herpetologist (reptiles & amphibians). Flying was not a part of the equation , until Miss H. Shaw another UNB student friend suggested I get airborne as cross country running not getting me anywhere fast! (her passion was parachuting !!! not for this kid ) ? University tuition,etc plus other expenses including flying as a passenger from Toronto/YYZ to Fredericton/YFC about $900/year . Flying began in October 1962 . That cost me $350 after the government $100 rebate (encouraging citizens to learn to fly — RCAF needed pilots. (hadn’t been told about the rebate until training almost complete). The flying instructor was Gordon Squire (ex RCAF Meteor or Vampire pilot), who had me flying SOLO in 6 3/4 hrs. The norm at present seems to be - a minimum of 15 hours paid instruction before any chance of going solo.This project of building a website came about because I live on a sailboat , little storage space — It was time to dispose of my aviation items . Thought the BCAviation Museum adjacent to CYYJ airport in Sidney,BC. would like it. In August 2013 , the Museum said Yes, but don’t have the space. However, we would like to scan your 50 year collection of aircraft photos. A big thank you to Doug Rollins (Museum Chief Librarian) and Herb Muller (Computer Scanner) for doing that & putting 405 photos on an USB stik. That stik I showed to interested people in Sidney; one of whom was Michael Hockney - an international professional photographer, who also as a wee young lad in England had an interest in aircraft. He said to me YOU HAVE TO GET THESE OUT ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB FOR ALL TO SEE ! That process and project started early May 2015. Michael is also a website designer . If it wasn’t for Michael’s push , nothing would have happened ."Hugh's aviation autobiography.

Hugh MacCallum in 1986 at CBRT&GW conference in YUL,Quebec

Hugh MacCallum at CYYJ, June 2015 (with permission of Victoria Flying Club)

Hugh Maccallum

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