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Looking Back with Bob Hyslop

For the past month or so, I have been corresponding with one of our readers, Bob Hyslop, who shared with me some memories from the 1950s of the Air Force Base at Clinton, Ontario. Recently, Bob sent me a note about his own beginnings in flying since we had shared experiences in a J3 at the Flying Club in nearby Goderich

Bob Hyslop reminisces about the area around the Goderich airport; the home of Keith Hopkinson and a hotbed of aviation activity in the '50's. With Bob's permission, I have reprinted part of his story here for your enjoyment. - Jack Dueck

Flatter than soup on a platter, it attracted barnstormers and it's where I saw my first aircraft; a Pitcairn Autogyro. (This aircraft was featured in Sport Aviation with the picture of the logbook page of 1931, reading 'touring north of London').

At the end of WWII, the peacetime Air Force was reforming. I became a member and trained as an aircraft technician at Camp Borden. While there I frequently babysat for the chief instructor whose home was next to the barracks. On graduation he said, "I'm sending you to Centralia. It is to be the #1 flying training school and you will have many opportunities to fly." That I certainly did; however, pilot selection for training required two years college, so I went to London for a private ticket on the Aeronca 2A.

"A roommate, Cy Dunbar, caught the enthusiasm and decided to learn [to fly] in Goderich as its trainer was a Tiger Moth. The instructor, janitor, head-hauncho and assistant engineer was Bill Pepplar, later to become a long time manager/director of COPA."

I flew Cy to Goderich for a first lesson, in a J3, CF-DAW, owned by Larry Snider of Exeter, which he had rented for 6 dollars an hour. Gus Chisholm, who built the second Canadian homebuilt, signed off the maintenance for DAW.

It was a turbulent day for the first lesson in a Tiger Moth, and from my viewpoint atop the WWII hangar, it was a sight, not of comfort, as they passed close by the landing approach. The canopy was back with Cy's head over the side losing his breakfast, and with the diminutive Bill Pepplar dodging back and forth to see by the six-foot plus frame blocking his vision.

Lancaster bomber

Not the kind of start you might expect from one about to begin an outstanding career-in flight instructing, search and rescue, command instrument check pilot, airline captain, chief pilot Heritage Lancaster, and I believe, the pilot that flew the Lancaster to Goderich for its original Canadian Legion static display. It was the same Lanc' that was our 'duckboat', a safety aircraft out of Goosebay, when I ferried a CF100 to Europe in 1958. Cy was the skipper; he left right after the 4 a.m. briefing to be in position, but just as we departed he arrived back in the circuit with an engine out and an "I'm sorry I can't help you today, chaps."

So we continued to meet in this fashion, so common in the aviation world.

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