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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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McCall Aero Corporation

McCall’s biplaneAnother First World War flying hero was Captain Fred McCall of Calgary, who established McCall Aero Corporation in 1919, and was hired to carry out flying demonstrations at the Calgary Fair in July of that year. A spectacular event occurred on 5 July while McCall was carrying two young boys from the fair in his Jenny. While flying over the busy fairgrounds, the engine suddenly lost power, forcing him to land. Landing directly below was impossible, however, because at that very moment, a race was happening on the track below. The midway was also much too crowded to land on safely. McCall manoeuvered his biplane over the merry-go-round that was in operation at the time, stalled his machine, and dropped directly onto it. The biplane was badly damaged, but there were no injuries on the ground, or to the two boys who were passengers.

McCall was constantly working to expand the number of local fairs in which he was flying. For the summer of 1920, he did demonstrations in communities like Bassano, Brant, Brooks, Cereal, Drumheller, High River, Innisfail, Macleod, Medicine Hat, Munson, Olds, Okotoks, Rockyford, Stettler, and Taber. To generate more revenue, the pilots would fly to various towns and circle above to gather a crowd. If they saw a crowd gathering, they would land and ask if anyone would like to take a flight for a fee. If the pilots saw that no one was interested, they would fly on to the next town. But the novelty slowly began to wear off, and by 1920, McCall had lowered the fee from $20 to $15 per ride.

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