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Experimental Airmail

Western Canada AirwaysLate in 1928, the federal government announced that it wanted to experiment with the regular delivery of mail by air in western Canada. Western Canada Airways carried out the first run on 10 December, travelling from Winnipeg to Regina and Calgary. A second run flew from Winnipeg to Saskatoon and on to Edmonton. The return trip took mail from Edmonton back to Saskatoon and then to Regina, while the other flew from Calgary to Regina. A single aircraft then took all the mail from Regina back to Winnipeg. This experiment exposed a need for better ground facilities, improved communication with the ground and more accurate weather forecasts.

The Department of National Defence acted on these recommendations, upgrading landing facilities, installing light systems, building light and radio beacons, and establishing a weather station in Winnipeg.

In August 1930, both Red Deer and Lethbridge saw radio beacons built. These beacons included living quarters, storage buildings and septic tanks. The beacon included a light described as having 5,000,000 candlepower—more than bright enough to assist pilots flying at night to find their way.


An airmail envelope. Stamp on the envelope is a 7 cent Canadian stamp, also stamped on the envelope is a box saying "CPO Air Mail - First Official Airmail - Jetliner - Toronto to New York"
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