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Edmonton’s Aviation History: More Than a Century of Adventure (An Alberta Aviation Museum Online Lecture Series)

Wednesday, August 31st

Join Alberta Aviation Museum curator Ryan Lee on a twelve-chapter journey through the history of aviation, from a uniquely Edmonton perspective. Starting with the early days of exhibition flights, through pioneering barnstormers, bush pilots, and business tycoons, this monthly online public lecture series will explore how Edmonton became known as “the most air-minded city in Canada.”

Upcoming Online Lectures:
Free for Museum Members, $7.50 for non-members

Lecture 7 – Edmontonians Abroad in WWII
July 27, 2022
7:00 – 8:00 pm

With too many pilots and too little work in civil aviation, many Canadians flock to Britain’s Royal Air Force. When the Second World War breaks out, the former mayor’s son, H.P. Blatchford defends against a fierce German assault. He’s joined by a new crop of aviators from back home, and as the war goes on, Edmontonians serve with distinction overseas, especially in No. 418 Squadron RCAF.

Registrations end at 4:00pm on the day of the lecture.

Lecture 8 – Edmontonians at home in WWII
August 31, 2022
7:00 – 8:00 pm

With the advent of the war in Europe, a surge of activity transforms Edmonton’s airport virtually overnight. With the Edmonton Flying Club and Canadian Airways supporting the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan at No. 16 Elementary Flying Training School and No. 2 Air Observer School, to the arrival of the United States’ Air Transport Command ferrying lend-lease aircraft to the Soviet Union, and the massive maintenance depot at Aircraft Repair Ltd, Edmonton’s skies are constantly busy.

Registrations end at 4:00pm on the day of the lecture.

Lecture 9 – The Cold War
September 28, 2022
7:00 – 8:00 pm

The Second World War is done, but the world is not done with war. New military operations fill the hangars at the Municipal Airport, including the return of the “City of Edmonton” Squadron, the new Winter Experimental Establishment, and the expansion of Namao. Inspired by the previous generation, men and women from Edmonton join the front lines in Europe, while at home, commercial outfits like Tommy Fox’s Associated Airways can’t keep up with the demand to ferry supplies north to build the Distant Early Warning Line.

Registrations end at 4:00pm on the day of the lecture.

Lecture 10 – Northern Operations
October 26, 2022
7:00 – 8:00 pm

With the demise of Associated Airways comes the growth of Pacific Western, and Max Ward’s new company rapidly makes an impact. Smaller outfits find work hauling anything or anyone, brining X-Ray machines, heavy equipment, and settlers north, and Indigenous people, uranium, and fish south. Indigenous children fly for the first time in local bush planes, taken to Indian Residential Schools. Many don’t return home, and others are permanently scarred.

Registrations end at 4:00pm on the day of the lecture.

Lecture 11 – Major Airlines in Edmonton
November 30, 2022
7:00 – 8:00 pm

The Edmonton International Airport’s opening in 1960 marks the beginning of the end for Edmonton’s first airport, but the concentrated efforts of fiercely loyal aviation enthusiasts fight to keep it open. Pacific Western Airlines’ innovative Air Bus service to Calgary and sparks renewed interest in the downtown Airport, while at the International, Wardair’s Affiliation Charters revolutionize the way Edmonton vacations.

Registrations end at 4:00pm on the day of the lecture.

Lecture 12 – The Closure of the Muni
December 28, 2022
7:00 – 8:00 pm

After a fierce debate spanning more than 50 years, Edmonton’s Municipal Airport permanently closes. The diaspora takes local business and organizations to new airports, but many permanently close. Edmonton is not the only city to close a downtown airport. The International expands, familiar airlines disappear, and new ones take their place. Is Edmonton still the air-minded city it was once lauded as?

Registrations end at 4:00pm on the day of the lecture.


Wednesday, August 31st
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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