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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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Air Shows Remain Popular

W. R. "Wop" May was in Grande Prairie At the end of the First World War, many returning pilots set up their own aviation companies, offering a wide range of services. They were prepared to carry mail, transport people from community to community, fly into the north to carry equipment and people, and carry out cargo. A significant number of pilots, however, continued to demonstrate at summer fairs, showing off their planes and flying skills while enthusiastic crowds cheered them on.

In the early years before the war, only the larger communities could host such demonstrations of flight, but after the war, pilots began to exhibit in communities all over Alberta. Captain Fred McCall flew in Bassano, Brant, Brooks, Cereal, Drumheller, High River, Innisfail, Macleod, Medicine Hat, Munson, Olds, Okotoks, Rockyford, Stettler, and Taber. Wop May flew north and performed in Grande Prairie and Peace River. Pilots offered rides to anyone, and there were many eager passengers until the economy turned downward in the 1930s. The air shows remained popular and many pilots took part in them until their aircraft were too old and the cost of repairing or maintaining their equipment became too great.

May Airplanes Ltd. accepted advertising and also found contracts to fly demonstrations at summer fairs in Red Deer, Camrose, Lloydminster, North Battleford, and Prince Albert. To increase the profile of flying in Alberta, the May’s aircraft, The City of Edmonton, made deliveries to various communities and performed stunts.

 

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Alberta's Aviation Heritage

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