Saturday, October 26, 2013
Reading through the 30s ERA on our website, it take some time to get your head around just what was happening with aviation and the wonderment of the fore site that came into play. Lindberg flew across the Atlantic in 1927. The biggest passenger aircraft flying at the time was the Ford Trimotor. Yet in 1932 the British Government in agreement with Canada decided to build an airport in Newfoundland during the height of a world wide depression. In 1935, in the middle of the wilderness, with the only infrastructure being a narrow gauge railway, construction was commenced on an airport with the only workforce available being mostly unskilled workers. In 1938 these unskilled workers became carpenters, electricians, plumbers, heavy equipment operators and mechanics and had constructed four 5000 ft runways along with a three story administration/terminal building and one of the largest hangers in the world. Named the Newfoundland Airport, later to be renamed Gander by the military, was one the largest airports in the world to handle aircraft that weren't yet built. It led to the birth of trans atlantic commercial aviation. Stuart McLean summed it all up on his Vinyl Cafe show held recently at the Arts Centre in Gander, the contribution Gander Airport has made to the aviation world. To listen to his comments, follow this link.
Monday, October 21, 2013
As promised, we have posted Frank Tibbo's columns on John Murphy. Without a doubt John fits our description as an aviation pioneer for his contribution to north atlantic commercial air travel. We would also like to add John Murphy's name in joining Group Captain Foss, Dr. Samuel Martin, and USCG Commander Stew Graham as future Gander street names to be considered.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
As a follow up to the Gander Lake Venture of Tony Merkle, we thought everyone that has an interest in the GAHS should be of aware of the archaeological work being carried out in the Gander area dealing with aircraft crashes during WWII and some digs in and around the old airport town site. This work is been carried out by Lisa Daly, an aviation archaeologist currently completing her doctorate degree at Memorial University. Her work is available on her website and we here at GAHS recommend you take the time to view her efforts. We will be placing a link to Lisa's site on this page for future reference.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
We just posted links to video associated with the Sabena crash from news reels by Pathe Uk and a USCG documentary. When viewing these videos, take particular notice to one scene used in several of the videos, of a PBY landing on R32 with two very large hangers in the background. For those seeing these hangers for the very first time, these were the USAAF hangers located on the American side. Their location would be where the Airport Fire Hall and Terminal buildings are located today. Also pay particular attention as to how large these hangers where. It was an eye opener for me because I had forgotten how huge these buildings were. There must have been 8 or 9 of those hangers located on the American side. One of which was converted into a hockey stadium and used for years before relocating to the drill hall on Foss Ave. An Olympic size ice surface was no problem in these buildings.
Friday, October 11, 2013
We have been communicating with Tony Merkle, an ex-Ganderite, about an underwater exploration of Gander Lake. According to Tony, he has information that during WWII, a B17 and a B24 crashed and sank in Gander Lake. He is in the process of organizing such a venture to find and recover these relics. He is looking for as much information about all known crashes/locations plus also the possibility of the American military dumping other material into the lake at war's end. We ask anyone who can provide us with any information to please pass it along.The exploration will incorporate 3D Sonar imaging of the lake's bottom and use Nitrox equipped divers. This is an exciting and sophisticated venture that is worth keeping an eye on. Tony also says before work can commence appropriate permits must be given by the town and provincial government. We will be monitoring further developments and passing it along to all our readers.
Friday, October 4, 2013
We are more than pleased to announce the Gander International Airport Authority has joined our endeavour in preserving the history of the airport town and it's airport by pledging their support in becoming a corporate sponsor to the Gander Airport Historical Society. This history lives on with their consideration and sponsorship. We thank you.