Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Czech Flt 523 Crash, 1967 (revisited)

We have been in receipt of of some very dramatic photos of the Czech crash at Gander in 1967. In one photo in particular, from viewing the debris field, it is amazing there were any survivors. The unsung heroes that never receiver any public acknowledgement were the Airport Rescue Team that were responsible for the success in the rescue of the 34 survivors. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Beatles at Gander Airport

We just received a phone call from a Mr. Eric McDow, a retired director of the American Federation of Musicians Lcl 571, with a question on Gander Airport’s history. He went on to say that this coming Sunday (Feb 9) is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. During a discussion with one of his comrades he made a comment that it was 50 years ago that the Beatles first touched down in North American at JFK. His comrade corrected him by saying the Beatles first touched down at Gander Airport when their PAA B707 landed for refuelling due to unfavourable winds on their way to JFK. This was the purpose of the phone call. Did the Beatles land at Gander on their way to New York? We were asked to confirm. The answer is ‘YES’. Not many people are aware of this event but they did indeed land at Gander Airport. He was then directed to listen to Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe in Gander for confirmation. The GAHS is quickly becoming a source of unusual tidbits of historical information.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Resettling of Gander Airport

Here is a topic for some thought/discussion. Was Gander the first community to be government resettled in Newfoundland? The airport town was occupied by civilians theoretically at the pleasure of Canada’s  Dept of Transport. They (DOT) more of less inherited the town as part of the airport transferal when Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. The town was a thorn in DOTs ability to manage the airport unrestricted. A new town where the citizens could be moved became their priority. With joint provincial and federal government agreement they assisted financially and technically in building a new residential area just a few kilometres away from the airport property. Schools, churches, a hospital, a shopping area along and federal  government’s  CMHC assisted housing, were erected in the new town we see today. After the population were relocated, the old town was dismantled and destroyed. The novelty of a new shopping area, new schools, and new homes was readily accepted by the population with some regrets. Even though it was just a short distance away, being uprooted and moved to a new location took a lot of adjustment. Especially when the place you were familiar with, no longer existed.