We Are The West
Employee Alumni Web Site


PWA Home Aircraft Passages The Silver Bullet The Reef AC745 Archive YVR Party 2012 Hercules Interesting People of PWA Traces Transair Updates


This archive page has been added to handle older web articles from the home page that were posted pre-2013. Enjoy

Dec 2011 - A letter from one of the PW Pioneers.
My name is Ron Hilde. I was hired by Frank Coulter in 1962 as a VFR Sales Rep for PWA. The employment was Agent Representative and dispatcher office person for the Floatplane operations at Prince George under Jack Moul. This was extended to include the Prince George Hudson Hope Operations with an office at the YXS Airport. An other duties at that time include a three week stint as flight steward because no stewardess was available for three weeks. Two of the DC 3 Pilots were Art Ralphs and Hal Emerson. I would act as agent in Prince George then fly as Steward to Hudson Hope and the act as agent in Hudson Hope until the return flight later in the Day. All flights out of Prince George were coordinated to connect with CPA's  flights in and out of Prince George. This lasted until the C46 was brought into operations. The C46 would fly YVR YXS and take on passengers from PG. I was still VFR Representative for the float plane base as well. I have Photos and Videos of all our operations in Prince George and Hudson Hope. Do l qualify as Alumni??. In my collection of Photos I have a black Beech D 17 on the then docks in Prince George. The time frame for Bakers Beechcraft dose fit. My brother Bill worked as an aircraft engineer for PWA as engineer on float planes and then worked for CPA on their DC 3's that were based in PG in late 60's .I am presently retired and research aviation history for PG and the interior as a hobby. 

Feb 2011 - We are found in strange places. A strip by Vic Lee - 2012 Pardon My Planet carried this cartoon recently.

Thanks to J Harrowar

Oct 31, 2011 - A Rare Find
The webmaster was contacted by a gentleman named E. Derek Styles who sent a photo (below) of a rare aircraft.  The picture was taken in 1954 at Lakelse, BC (near Terrace).  Through a client G. Robinson - Managing Partner Aviation at Jones Brown Inc,  we now have the exact aircraft details:
Airframe Family: Beech 17 Staggerwing / C-43/GB Traveler
Latest Model: Beechcraft SD17S Staggerwing
Construction Number: 3186
Last Civil Registration:  CF-HSK
Latest Owner or Location:  David Harrington, Salmon Arm, BC

This type of aircraft was used to start Central BC Airways in 1946.  We do not know if this is that aircraft.
Also thanks to Capt. B. Thornton (retired), D. Kennedy and S. Russell for correctly identifying the airplane.

Oct 9, 2011
We had an inquiry from the
Canada Aviation and Space Museum / Musée de l'aviation et l'espace du Canada in Ottawa regard items that were part of the FA Stampeder Uniform.  Through the assistance of T. Champion and A. Bidlock we were able to confirm 1 of the 2 items.  The museum advised they do collect airline uniforms but under these terms:

"We certainly might be interested. I would have to handle any potential donation on a case-by- case basis.  For each potential donation we look at, among other things, the history of that object, its condition, and whether or not we already have it represented in the Museum's collection. Please encourage anyone who is interested in donating to the Museum to contact me.

You can email M. McCullough is you wish to make a donation.

Oct 6, 2011

Some great videos from the past - thanks to Heather and Corey

Industry Updates  -  Aug - Sep - Oct 2011

Air Canada announces a checked Baggage Fee on US Transborder flights
Boeing 787 receives permission to fly.

Passenger deplaned for baggy pants
Singapore Airlines new First Class
Westjet codes Shares with Emirates
ANA takes delivery of B787

Oct 2, 2011 - Our speedy B707 - PWV at Gatwick and a C640 in Edmonton and B727 in Vancouver
thanks DD

Sep 18, 2011: From humble beginnings to an International Air Carrier.

July 15, 2011

New Aircraft from the collection of D Dertien

May 30 , 2011
Many moons ago. As an employee of DIAMANG (Companhia de Diamantes de Angola) I had the opportunity of working (I was the chief tower operator) and even flying with PWA's crews in and out of DUNDO, Angola to places like Malawi, Cameroons, Ivory Coast and Lisbon. I will always keep very found memories of your crews and the wonderful work they have done during a time when the risks were almost immeasurable  and the improvisations were many and always difficult. If any of the old guys still remembers me I am sending my salute to all.
Louis Mendes-Fernandes (email)

Apr 4, 2011 - Nostalgia

The two flight attendants in this CV-640 flight crew picture taken in Campbell River have been identified as Marilyn Moore (left) and Jean Ringham (right), Carl Fowler {Station Manager} and Captain Val Hennell and F/O Frank Lote... We may find the name of the elderly fellow in an article someday. Thanks to F Lote and and D Dertien

Herc Reunion 2011 - A Great Success

Sep 24, 2010
An interesting link about one of our B727's - C-FPXD.  Who owned it and who owns it now.

Aircraft History
N1727T Trans International Airlines  1968-04-16   
N1727T Braniff  1972-10-22  Leased 
C-FPXD Pacific Western Airlines  1974-02-07   
C-FPXD Panarctic Oil  1976-02  Leased 
C-FPXD Echo Bay Mines  1984-08-19   
C-FPXD Royal Aviation  1999-04-01  Leased 
C-FPXD Corporation Air  199-00-09   
C-FPXD First Air  2004-02-02   
S9-PST Transafrik International  2006-04-01   

Sep 24, 2010
The fleet registration.  Also available in Aircraft for download.  With thanks to the authors

Sep 13, 2010  - Maybe they need experienced airline people also?
LONDON - Boeing 747 jumbo jets are being brought out of desert storage as surging bookings spur carriers including British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways and United Airlines, to return their biggest planes to active duty. British Airways will restore a second 747-400 to its winter timetable in October after recalling one in May for use on its London-New York route.  United brought a jumbo out of storage in California in June for deployment to Asia, London and Frankfurt. And Cathay Pacific has reinstated five freighters.  Wide-body planes accounted for about 25 percent of the 200 aircraft retrieved from storage in May and June as carriers sought to tap rising demand for long-haul trips and a leap in cargo shipments.
The number of 747s recalled in June exceeded those mothballed for the first time since January 2009, data compiled by aviation consultant Ascend Worldwide Ltd. shows.  "Everybody is getting very excited about passenger and cargo volumes coming back, but there's a great temptation to add too much capacity," said Chris Tarry, an independent airline analyst and strategy consultant in London who has followed the industry for almost three decades. "What may be rational fleet decisions for individual airlines can add up to a problem for the industry when taken together."
London-based British Airways and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific have both idled planes near Victorville on the southern edge of the  Mojave Desert in California. Arid locations are favoured for storage because the hot, dry conditions hamper corrosion. Of the 112 jumbos mothballed since the start of last year, 40 have yet to be recalled, according to figures from Ascend. Deutsche Lufthansa, Europe's second-biggest airline, is looking to reactive a single jumbo stored in Germany after returning about a dozen short-haul planes and smaller wide-bodies to service, spokesman Peter Schneckenleitner said. The carrier has yet to decide where to deploy the jetliner.

June 26, 2010 - Airline of the Year Awards
The airline business in some ways has become a bigger challenge than ever.  The space between profit and loss is so close that a few bad months can have unrecoverable consequences. The brave people in today's airline industry press onward to work with today's realities, security issues, crowded skies, deregulation and labour contracts. Despite these challenges, they still find the time to not only do a good job, but to excel.
The top 10 places in the 2010 Airline of the Year :

1. Asiana Airlines
2. Singapore Airlines
3. Qatar Airways
4. Cathay Pacific
5. Air New Zealand
6. Etihad Airways
7. Qantas Airways
8. Emirates
9. Thai Airways
10. Malaysia Airlines

... and there is more.  I would like to think that we contributed in some ways to this distinction.  It is well deserved. 
Air Canada has been ranked 'Best Airline North America' in a worldwide survey of more than 17 million air as announced in Hamburg, Germany at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. The survey was conducted by Skytrax between July 2009 and April 2010 using over 38 different aspects of passenger satisfaction to rank airline product and service standards. This annual survey is regarded in the air transportation industry as a primary benchmarking tool for passenger satisfaction levels of airlines throughout the world.


May 6, 2010
An interesting article about mergers including the PW ones from David Tait, travel writer.  David once worked at US Virgin Airways,
Wardair, Laker, Air Florida (pre-Virgin) and Air Canada.    Click Here  (thanks to Grant O)

March 29, 2010
DD submitted new Boeing AC pictures.  The B727 is taken at the Muni. I think if one of these landed in downtown Edmonton today, there might be quite a reaction from the local citizenry. Also DD sent a fleet of new B727 pictures now loaded into the aircraft gallery. Thanks

March 14, 2010
The website moved over this weekend to a new and more suitable hosting service. Links and pages are still being updated.   The aircraft photo gallery is rebuilt and is in new sections.  We really lack B767 photos. If you see any dead links, or have new contributions, please email the webmaster.

March 5, 2010
I would like to submit for all to enjoy a photo taken at sunrise on YVR ramp in the spring of 1978 just before the Convairs were retired. The photo was taken by Sejer Hansen who returned to his native Denmark years ago but took many photos around the airport, mostly of PWA aircraft so credit goes to him.I was with the company 1975 -2001 YVR ramp ,lost and found and reservations as well. I hope you like it, regards, Alan Giolma.

Jan 15, 2010
Haiti needs our help.  Please donate to the Canadian Red Cross  or a charity of your choice to support the victims of the earth quake disaster.  The 
Red Cross is an excellent charity with one of the highest percentage of donations going directly to where help is needed

Jan 12, 2010 - Online Aircraft Museum
A link sent by B Gibson   
For you aircraft buffs, this is a keeper.  Want to check out almost any airplane ever built in the World? Old, new, military, civilian? You will be amazed at what has been done in airplane design. The amount of info available is unbelievable.  

Where do you want to go:

Route Map Late '70s

Oct 1, 2009
From Chris E:  -  Hey guys just wanted say the new website looks great! Seeing some the old photos of the 737's sure does take me back to a world that at the time was a nicer place to live in. Now all we need are some more 767 pics.  Again fantastic job and kudos to all ex PWA employees that not only put their hard work into their jobs but their passion too. Pacific Western Airlines will always hold a special place in my heart and its folks like you guys that help keep it there. Thank you. Again from a loyal customer and fan. Chris sends this picture from one of the annual reports.


An update from E Gray on A/C 732. 
Don't know if this is of any value or not? I was reading through traces and found the article on A/C 732. I had the privilege of doing the last flight on 732 which was from YVR to Everett Washington ( Boeing Field ) to deliver it to it's new owners which I believe was an Irish company that was to lease or sell it to Nigeria Airways. Total hours after delivered was 27615.4 and 40266 landings Capt. Ed Gray F/O Keith Martinson and Harry Powell a PWA rep? PS the nose ski was removed and in the cargo bay.

July 8, 2009
A photo from D. Dertien of a DC-7 in Europe.  If anyone has the story on the role of the DC-7 in overseas operations, it would be interesting to add to this section.

March 21, 2009 - AC739
From Ian Broni   PC Pilots Ireland  www.pcpilotsireland.com
I just thought you might like to know that former Canadian 737-275 C-GAPW has found a new home in life - after having been scrapped it's nose section was sold off and ended up back in Canada before finally finding a new home in Shannon, Ireland, with Atlantic AirVenture as a Boeing 737NG simulator. Have a look athttp://www.atlanticairventure.com  and look under Simulators. I have attached two photo's taken within the last week after I went have flight in her new role - the first is myself (on the left) along with Terry McGee and we both run a flight simulation group based in Ireland with members worldwide - including Canada.

March 9, 2009
It has been 30 years since the PWA - TZ Merger (Jan - Feb 1979)
......  The Great West Connection..
......  Now Approaching: The Great West Connection (Starting up February 4th).
......  Up to 35% off Clan Gatherings on the Great West Connection (Economizer Fare).
......  The Great West Connection.
......  Join Us On the Great West Connection.
......  Connect the Dots on the Great West Connection.
                                                                                  Thanks for the tip N. Burton

Feb 9, 2009      
I was surprised and delighted to come across the Pacific Western Web site.  I flew as a Steward and Purser on PWA for a number of years (1970 to 1975).  I recall bouncing around on the Convair, the Electra, B737, B727 and the B707.  I have many wonderful memories (and stories) of those days.  I was so lucky to have flown with this airline and to have gotten to know so many wonderful folks who worked there.  I would gladly go back to those wonderful days.  Your site has brought back these memories for me.

Thank you and those who support this wonderful PWA site - keep up the good work.  
Richard A Price
Remarketing Director
Channel Development                          

Sep 16, 2008
Check out the the only flying Transair Aircraft.  

Here's a shot of Karen Gillespie and her DeHavilland Tiger Moth that was rebuilt by Transair in 1979 and spent the last 29 years in the Western Canada Aviation Museum. Karen acquired the airplane and is actively flying it from her own grass airstrip south of Saskatoon.  Karen worked for Transair/ Pacific Western/Canadian /Canadian Regional from  1978 to 1999 in Winnipeg and Saskatoon. The last pilot flying a Transair aircraft! FLY ON!

May 2008
Our pages were referenced in the Air Canada Netletter  twice and thank you for that.  We have updates on marine life on the reef, 
See the people section and get your name in now.  As of May 14, 2008, you will find 311 former employees with 9053 years of service.   See the section called 
Traces.    Topics for this section include people, events, and projects that took place during the life of Pacific Western Airlines that have left Traces in history.  We have topics on on America West Airlines, Quicket and A/C 732.  We need your contributions, please send them to the webmaster.  Peter Lema has provided us with Intro To Flight with a follow-up from Mel Crothers.  

Jan 1,  2008
Stu Russell sent some interesting information on the Lockheed L-188 Electra. PWA operated 4 of these in the 1970's.  These aircraft really proved their worth in Arctic Operations.  A variant of the Electra is flown by several Armed Forces as an offshore patrol aircraft.  Nordair used the Electra for ice patrol.  Here is a Wikipedia link that tells the whole story.      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_L-188_Electra  
These aircraft were registered to PWA
MSN 1127 - N7141C / NATIONAL AIRLINES / PWA CF-ZSR --- TAIL 181 - opt as a COMBI
MSN 1128 - N7142C / NATIONAL AIRLINES / PWA CF-ZST ---- TAIL 182 - opt as a COMBI
MSN 1035 - N5001K / WESTERN AIRLINES / PWA CF-PWG - TAIL 183 - opt as FULL PAX
MSN 1064 - N5003K / WESTERN AIRLINES / PWA CF-PWQ - TAIL 184 - opt as a TANKER (Check out this picture)
A/C 183 was very a comfortable passenger aircraft with a large U shaped lounge in the AFT. The nickname for the tanker A/C 184 was the Silver Bullet .

History of the Airline

Pacific Western Airlines was a pioneer in the aviation history and known for its ability to profitably operate short haul air routes.  The company had a proud culture of highly motivated young employees who saw great things in their futures.  The company raised profits and reserves and eventually formed Canadian Airlines in 1987.  It came to pass that Air Canada took over the entities that Pacific Western Airlines had created. 
Pacific Western Airlines was founded by Russ Baker, in Fort St. James, B.C., in 1946.

With a leased Beech bi-plane, Mr. Baker provided air service to remote mining camps and logging operations in the North, delivering men and materials to isolated destinations.

The Company was known as Central British Columbia Airways Ltd. and, from the beginning, had a reputation for on-time service, knowledge and ingenuity.

It was in 1949 that Central B.C. Airways was commissioned to do aerial surveys for the giant aluminum and power complexes at Kitimat and Kemano in the rugged mountainous backcountry of British Columbia. During the development of this project, Central B.C. Airways handled 95% of the air support, consisting mainly of heavy industrial freight and workers.

Between 1949 and 1952, the Company acquired seven other smaller flying services. With each acquisition, the Company expanded its base of operations, providing the much needed manpower and equipment necessary to maintain a rapidly expanding air service. These companies included Associated Air Taxi, Kamloops Air Service, Skeena Air Transport, Whitehorse Flying Services and Port Alberni Airways.

In 1953, the Company adopted the name Pacific Western Airlines, the beginning of another important era. Additional companies were acquired, such as Queen Charlotte Airlines in 1955, giving the Company a foothold in scheduled services, and Associated Airways in 1955, leading to a vital contract in the construction of the Distant Early Warning line in Canada’s north.

In 1958, Russ Baker died but the airline he founded with his Beech bi-plane in 1946 was thriving.

A year later, in 1959, Pacific Western was part of the largest single transfer of scheduled services in Canadian aviation history. In that year, Canadian Pacific Airlines released licensed routes from Edmonton to 18 points in Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. With this transfer, in addition to its existing routes, Pacific Western was licensed to provide scheduled air services over approximately 7,000 miles throughout Western and Northern Canada.

At this point in time, the Company acquired a reputation for innovation and aggressiveness by developing several unique services for freight customers and passengers alike.

The Calgary-Edmonton Airbus was inaugurated in 1963, with passengers carrying their luggage to the aircraft and depositing it on the ramp for loading. A ticket agent on board a 66-seat DC-4 would then collect the fare during the 55-minute flight.

When the Airbus first started, it was estimated that it would take ten years to move one million passengers. That goal was reached in less than eight years.

1964 marked the introduction of another unique service known as Inclusive Tour Charter programmes. This was another first for Canada, with excursion flights from Vancouver to Grand Cayman Islands. Later in the same year, Pacific Western pioneered group charters across the Atlantic, mainly to the United Kingdom.

In 1966, in anticipation of a regional air policy for Canada, Pacific Western began placing orders for jet and jet-prop equipment. The regional policy became a reality in 1968, and the Company was able to add many more ports of call to the already long list of destinations in Western Canada. Services at this point stretched from the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic Archipelago.

Boeing 707 equipment was added to the fleet in 1967, and Inclusive Tour programmes were introduced to Mexico and Hawaii in the winter, with several European destinations for the summer. The addition of a cargo model Boeing 707 meant that livestock and perishables could now be carried all over the world, and the name Pacific Western became synonymous with “World Air Cargo”. The Company aircraft visited more than 90 countries during this period of time.

Pacific Western operated a world wide Boeing 707 cargo and passenger charter program until the last aircraft was sold in 1979.

In 1967, Pacific Western became the first commercial operator of the Lockheed Hercules freighter. The Hercules were initially acquired to support Canada’s extensive search for energy and minerals in Northern Canada. Then, following the Spring ice break-up, the Hercules would rejoin the main cargo fleet in world-wide operations. Diverse cargoes included everything from 21,000 kilos of dimes to 20,000 kilos of Christmas cake, and a shipment of electronic equipment to the People’s Republic of China, the first commercial air shipment to that country.

In November 1968, the Company introduced “jet service” on its scheduled route system with the delivery of its first Boeing 737. Pacific Western was the first Canadian carrier to order the 737 aircraft. The “Stampeder Service” linking Alberta and B.C. began on December 17, 1968.

Another transfer of licensing authority from CP Airlines to Pacific Western provided the Company with routes throughout the Interior of B.C. in 1969, and the acquisition and control of B.C. Airlines in 1970 enabled the Company to supply expanded air service to routes in the B.C. Interior and on the coast.

With equipment such as the DC-4, DC-6, Convair 640, Lockheed Electra, Boeing 727 and Boeing 737, Pacific Western provided scheduled air service throughout B.C., Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

As the 1970’s progressed, the airline’s equipment varied and the Company began a fleet rationalization programme, concentrating on the 117-seat Boeing 737 as the backbone of the mainline fleet. By the late 1970’s, the Company operated an all-jet mainline fleet.

In 1974, the Alberta Government assumed ownership of Pacific Western Airlines to assure the development of the North and Western Canada, returning the airline to the private sector in 1983.

In 1978, the Company acquired the regional carrier Transair Ltd. of Winnipeg. In February 1979, in an agreement with the Canadian Transport Commission, Transair ceased all scheduled operations east of Winnipeg and Calgary/Edmonton via Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This linked the Pacific Western/Transair systems, completing the first step to eventual merger. On December 1, 1979, all operating licenses and routes were transferred to Pacific Western Airlines and Transair ceased as a regional carrier.

Like Pacific Western, Transair was comprised of several companies. Their history dated back to 1947 with the founding of Central Northern Airways. In 1956, a merger between Central Northern Airways and Arctic Wings created the name Transair. The most significant of various amalgamations during the years took place in 1969 when Transair and Midwest Airlines combined their operations to form a diversified regional carrier serving prairie Canada to Toronto and the Arctic.

By 1986 Pacific Western was the largest airline in Western Canada, carrying over 3 million passengers per year. In ’86, joint marketing agreements were signed with local service carriers – Calm Air of Thompson, Manitoba and Time Air of Lethbridge, Alberta, under the Pacific Western Spirit Program. Pacific Western employed nearly 3,000 people throughout Western Canada and Ontario.

Organizational changes in 1986 established a formal structural relationship between the holding Company, Pacific Western Airlines Corporation, and the airline operating company, Pacific Western Airlines Ltd.

On December 2, 1986, PWA Corporation announced its intention to purchase Canadian Pacific Air Lines for $300 million, effective February 1, 1987