A Fleeting Moment in Time
We met in the EAC parking lot starting about 2 hours before the 1:00
start time, in what became a joyous, tearful, and emotional tail gate
party. Friendships were renewed, logbooks were brought out, stories
were swapped. It became clear quickly that what was missing was a TV
documentary film crew that could record this event - similar to vets
returning to the beaches of Normandy.
It was that good.
An Old-Timers Super G Tailgate Party
of these people were on the "other side" in the dispute with the
Canadian authorities, and fought to keep this grand old airplane in
Canada. I think after this day, they all felt she had gone to a
very good home.
L-R Jay Fancott, Bob Bogash, David Robinson, Clint Ward
The three gentlemen with me here were all retired TCA pilots that had flown this very aircraft.
Photos: Larry Milberry
Robinson thoughtfully presented me with his TCA Super G Flight
Operations Manual, and a model of a TCA Super Connie that had sat on
his desk in Montreal for the past 50 years! It was very
Photo: Larry Milberry
More tears - they flowed like rain - as I embrace one of my best friends - retired Nordair pilot Paddy Szrajer.
Paddy is 89 - a much decorated RAF pilot in WW II - he drove down from Barry's Bay, Ontario.
Paddy, like all of the pilots there, were great Connie lovers.
The last time we had seen each other was at the MCA 50th Reunion in Charlottetown, PEI, in 1991.
and I have spent hundreds - if not thousands - of hours flying together
in the cockpits of DC-4, Connie, and 737 airplanes.
We both knew this might be the last time, on this side of the Great Divide.
Homer Campbell was the man in charge of Avionics at Nordair in Montreal. He hadn't changed a bit since 1968 - 1972 !
The last time I saw him was also at the MCA Reunion in 1991. (My wife Dot is an MCA (Maritime Central Airways) alumna.)
Clint Ward brought his Logbooks. Here, he's showing Larry Milberry the flights he made in TGE.
Not to be outdone, Dave Robinson shows Kevin Lacey the flights he made in TGE in his Logbook
CF-TGE is Ship 405 in the above Logs.
flown to by Robinson in TGE on these pages include Montreal, Toronto,
Bermuda, Barbados, Trinidad, Dusseldorf, Paris, Shannon, and Zurich
David Robinson's Super Connie Operating Manual and his TCA Super Connie Model
These will ultimately become part of the Super Connie
display and historical package.
Larry Milberry, from Toronto, is an aviation book publisher. He brought copies of one of his books covering Propliners -
Guess what airplane graces the cover???
CF-TGE landing at Prestwick, Scotland - Sept 1954 - Wilf White photo
A lot of autograph signings took place in that parking lot.
Photo: Ken Swartz
Air Canada sent senior tech man Jack
Deonaraine along as its historical rep. And Ron Rhodes attended -
he had helped Phillip Yull in the Regal Constellation Hotel restoration.
the tailgate party was over, and everyone had apparently arrived, we
were then led by Kevin Lacey, our EAC guide (who took the day off
from work to do this), into the hangar to see the Star of the Show. (Thank you Kev - for everything!)
We walk through the long halls, and the shops, into a big hangar bay.....And, suddenly, .... there she is!
Sitting quietly by herself in the large hangar - like days gone by.....
Soon to depart for Trinidad, Barbados, or maybe Gander and Paris
Doggone if she doesn't look like a big plastic model - and not a real live Super G.
Paddy...... alone in his thoughts and memories
Don Cameron - one of the last pilots to fly TGE with World Wide (then registered as CF-RNR)
Jim Dawes of Nordair Maintenance points out something on the Flight Engineer's Panel
Jim's wife Lorna also attended - she was a career TCA / Air Canada Flight Attendant.
TCA pilot Clint Ward also checks out the F/E panel, before getting down
to business - studying the front panels and bringing back memories of
days gone by.
Retired TCA Capt. Jay Fancott has that glint in his eye like he just finished a trip 15 minutes ago.
Dave Robinson and Jay get down to some real recollecting of that F/E
panel - those were the days when Flight Engineers were REAL Flight
Engineers, and not side-saddle pilots waiting for the Co-pilot to get
out of the way.
Dave studies those steam gages he spent so many hours staring at -- half a century ago.
Retired TCA / Air Canada Capt. David Robinson - a very spry 75.
Dave and Jay are good buddies who have been friends since attending RCAF flight training a long time ago.
both have similar careers - starting on TCA Canadair North Stars,
moving on to Constellations, Viscounts, Vanguards, DC-8s, DC-9s, 727s,
767s, and ending up on the Boeing 747-400.
You won't be able to
meet people like that much longer - "Old Timers" of the future will be
able to tell you stories about starting out in the "good old days" on
Boeing 737s, and retiring 45 years later, flying, er Boeing 737s......
two main mischief makers on this project - Bob Bogash, the Museum's
Volunteer Project Manager, and Kevin Lacey, EAC's designated Crew Chief
for the Connie - standing, very proudly, in front of their handiwork.
think I speak for many, when I say that every time I see this airplane,
I am struck dumb all over again, by her immense size and great beauty.
We're all used to big airplanes these days, and "sleek" jet
airplanes. The Lockheed Constellation's wonderful lines first
appeared on the drafting table paper of that great aviation
design artist - Kelly Johnson - in 1939. That's 70 years ago!
It's no exaggeration or over-statement to say that she's held her
beauty despite seven decades of younger competitors trying to elbow her
off the stage. And, as Don Cameron illustrates, she's no slouch
when it comes to size either.
Thursday, 23 July, 2009, was a day
when the human element emerged from the shadows, like the old ball
players coming out of the cornfield, and reunited with the hardware -
bringing to life the stories and the memories. Soon, these Old
Timers, who flew and maintained and lived with these magnificent
airplanes will be with us no more. We will all be the poorer for
their passing, but at least we, and they, could rekindle the old spark,
one more time.
A Fleeting Moment in Time......that will not come again.
-- or should I say but -- we will have left this incredibly
beautiful flying machine to future generations, to admire her beauty,
and ponder those unknown aviators, who have gone before. God Bless Them All.
Copyright 2009 Robert Bogash. All Rights Reserved.
Photos are copyright their respective photographers.
Continue on to Transport to Seattle
Larry Milberry's Propliner Book can be purchased by visiting canavbooks.com
Revised 9 Aug 2009