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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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George Elmer and
John Underwood

Alexander
Graham Bell

J. Earle Young
and Alf Lauder

William
Wallace Gibson

Didier Masson

Tom Blakely and Frank Ellis

Edward Reynolds

Katherine Stinson

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Pioneers

The early pioneering years of aviation in Alberta were marked by the efforts of individuals who sought the thrill of the new invention of flight, often building their own aircraft, and discovering on their own how to fly. The story of these early pioneers was amazing in the success they had and the way they were able to experiment with few injuries.

Among these early pioneers were the Underwood brothers who invented an unique aircraft that took to the sky without a motor. The two teenage enthusiasts, J. Earle Young and Alf Lauder were able to fly into the sky in their large kite that was pulled from behind a car. In 1911, William Wallace Gibson arrived in Alberta to test fly a successful aircraft made with many wings and the first aircraft engine ever produced in Canada.

Other important Canadian aviation pioneers included Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone, made many contributions to the early development of flight, and brought the first powered aircraft, the Silver Dart, to Canada.

Other pioneers arrived to give demonstrations of flight in the province when they flew kite-like biplanes. These pioneers included Dider Masson. Others like Tom Blakely and Frank Ellis experimented with their tiny Curtiss Golden Flyer outside Calgary.

Between 1916 and 1918, the American aviator, Katherine Stinson arrived in Alberta to demonstrate unforgettable stunts at summer fairs. She was available to deliver the first airmail between Calgary and Edmonton.

In 1919, Ted Reynolds built his own airplane and used a motor from a Model T Ford to fly it. He later played an important role in the history of flying in Alberta, restoring and flying the Curtiss JN 4 known as the "City of Edmonton".


A photograph of sister ships 1926 - 1941 US Mail DC3 and Los Angeles Western Air Express, Douglas World Cruiser. Presented to Captain James Bell for service rendered. Read More...

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Alberta's Aviation Heritage

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