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May-Gorman Airplanes Ltd.

May – Gorman Airplanes LtdEarly in 1920, the May brothers decided to expand their operations and united with another First World War flying veteran, George Gorman, to create May-Gorman Airplanes Ltd. The goal of the company was to offer transportation into the north where the wilderness and difficult conditions made other types of travel slow and treacherous. The new company was the first to offer northern air transportation.

The northern excursions began with Wop May’s flight to Grande Prairie for the fair in late August 1920. This was a very risky flight as there was still a significant distance of unmapped wilderness between Edmonton and Grande Prairie where a downed pilot could be lost. To assist with the flight, Wop May took along Lieutenant Colonel G.W. McLeod, who was also one of the directors of the company. McLeod was an experienced surveyor and knew how to survive in the wilderness. The two took off from the airfield near Prince Albert on 19 August and made it to Whitecourt, where they stayed the night. The next day they made it to Grande Prairie for the fair.

May continued to fly at fairs and do demonstrations for six weeks in the area between Grande Prairie and Peace River until cold weather set in. May headed south with Pete Derbyshire but engine trouble near Whitecourt forced them down. After attempts to find help proved unsuccessful, they returned to their aircraft and worked on the engine. Using wire and tape they were able to get the engine going and flew to Sangudo.

The experience showed everyone how dangerous northern flight could be, and that many more precautions needed to be taken before setting off on such a flight.

 

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