"I started out as a mechanics flunky at Hudson Bay Air Transport at the age of 13 years. Worked weekends and holidays cleaning grease, fetching tools, testing spark plugs, etc.; in payment I got to ride the right seat of the Norseman they had at that time. Even got in a bit of dual.
In 1946 I went to work, again after school and holidays, for Johanneson Flying Service.
Konnie Johanneson was an early operator in Winnipeg. Flight training and minor charter work. He set up at Channing, Manitoba on Schist Lake, the water base for aircraft operating in and out of Flin Flon. Started with a Waco Custom (I think was the model) CF-BDJ on skis and added A Stinson 104, a Cessna 140 CF-ELJ, a Norseman CF-BZM, and two Cessna Cranes CF-EZA & CF-EZG.
'EZA was a T-50 Heavy wing and we used it on both skis and floats.
' EZG had the light wing version and was licensed for skis or wheels only.
' JFS hauled fish from Reindeer Lake and prospectors to sites in and around the Lynn Lake area when Sherrit-Gordon Mining Co. had made a big nickel strike there.
In 1948 I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and trained as a Communications Technician. I spent two years at that and then had to get a compassionate discharge and return to Flin Flon after my Father died suddenly at age 42.
I worked underground in the mines there while my Mom got reestablished.
In 1952 I re-joined the RCAF. Initial training on Harvards at Claresholm, Alberta, where my roommate was a Dutch trainee, Noel van der Haar. After 9 months I went to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for training on Beech C-45s and B-25s.
Then to the Air Navigation School at Winnipeg, Manitoba. There I flew trainee navigators and radar operators around western Canada.
In 1955 I was transferred to Rockcliffe Air Base at Ottawa, #408 (Photo) Squadron. There I checked out on the DHC-3 Otter on wheels, skis and floats; the DC-3 Dakota, and managed some time on the Cansos and Lancasters, but not enough to qualify.
Flight operations with 408 ranged all over Northern Canada as far as Alert,NWT; Thule, Greenland and I even did a trip to T-3, one of the floating arctic ice islands...
In August 1957 I moved to #101 Comm. Flight at the Canadian Navy base at Shearwater(Halifax) Nova Scotia. There it was Daks and Expeditors.
In Nov. '58 I left the Air Force. Spent all the summer of '59 flying an Otter for Superior Airways out of Thunder Bay Ontario. Mostly in the high arctic regions with bases in Cambridge Bay and Resolute Bay.
November '59 I joined Hudson Bay Air Transport in Flin Flon. With them I flew Beavers. Otters, Mallard & Cessna 185.
In 1968 they decided to get into corporate jets and I was promoted to a DH-125 CF-OPC, based in Winnipeg and Toronto.
After two years the bean counters decided jet flying was too rich for the Company and I was out of a job!
I filled in for awhile on a DC-3, flying from Hamilton, Ontario for Austin Airways. Mostly hauling goose hunters to and from the east coast of Hudson Bay: Cape Jones, Great Whale River, Fort George. CF-AAM and CF-AAB.
I then was hired by the then Department of Transport to work as an Aircraft Accident Investigator out of Toronto. Interesting, and several stories came out of that exercise that lasted 4 years.
Then one day HudBay called and offered me a job flying an IAI 1123.
I jumped at that and went to Tel Aviv to pick up a new one: C-GJCD. Man-Oh-Man, I could tell you about the problems we had with that beast!!!
Finally after losing an engine on a gross weight take-off at Laguardia I convinced them to upgrade to a new 1124. C-GMBH was a pilot's dream.
Along the way HudBay decided to move their head offices to New York City and we setup the flight department at Morristown, N.J. in 1983.
That went well until 1986 when they decided for various reasons to move the offices and flight operations to Sioux City, Iowa. Rather than move there I opted for an extremely generous severance and pension package and my family and I moved back to Canada.
I did some part-time, charter work out of Toronto on Citations and Westwinds, but finally decided to hang it all up in 1990, while I was still ahead of the game.
My logbooks show an uncooked 18,854 hours!"
Pat Donaghy wrote me in Sep.2012 with this on Norseman (the oldest still around) CF-BFT:
"Norseman CF-BFT, s/n 17, went into service in January 1939 with Hudson Bay Air Transport, a wholly-owned company of Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd. of Flin Flon, Manitoba.
Alex More was the first pilot hired and went on to become Superintendent & Chief Pilot of HBAT. Alex retired in April 1967 and passed away in June 1977."
Hudson Bay Air Transport(HBAT) was a wholly owned subsidiary of Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co. (HBM&S) of Flin Flon Manitoba. Their first aircraft was a Mk IV Norseman s/n 17, registered as CF-BFT, purchased new in February 1939.
As it was wartime and mineral exploration and development had high priority it was essential that the aircraft be salvaged and returned to service as soon as possible.
The salvage of the aircraft was a very unique operation. Since there were no trees big enough to construct an 'A' frame for hoisting, it was decided to sink the aircraft to the bottom of the river and skid it ashore!
"Many may never have heard of Hudson Bay Air Transport because it was a non-commercial company and flew ONLY for Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Company Ltd.
I came across ZS-ASN in Johannesburg in 2004.