Inspired by the Trans Canada Airpagent a few years past, I took up the art at the age of 16 in Brandon, Manitoba in 1934.
The instruction, by Lionel Vines and Al Fraser, was on an Avro Avian biplane, like the one shown here. I flew solo after nearly
seven hours of dual instruction. After a little more experience we patrolled the power and telephone lines after winter storms
(in open cockpits) and dropped circulars advertising the Brandon Fair, sometimes flying out of farmer's fields.
At this time, a farmer built a small plane from plans in a flying magazine, with a converted Ford engine. It was so under-powered
that he couldn't get a sensible pilot to test fly it. But, hungry for flying time, I voluntered. We took a fence down on his
farm to get room for a takeoff, on very hot day, with little "lift". He was a big, heavy guy, and insisted that
he go along on the test flight. We managed a takeoff by running through both fields and flying under the power and telephone
wires. I had to fly eight miles before I got enough altitude to turn to return to his farm
He had it brought to Brandon hoping to sell it, but the instructor removed the wing and broke all of the ribs, so nobody could
risk another flight. But, happily, local pilot Reg French bought it and had club mechanic "Boots" Elliott rebuild
it to comply with air regulations and safety, and it flew well for many years.