Thursday, January 21, 2010

::: Toronto's FIRST Airplane Crash ::.. 1911

99 years ago.

WHO IS at the controls?

J.A.D. (Douglas) McCURDY, the father of aviation in Canada! That's who!!

This McCurdy Aero Biplane crashed at the Donlands Farm in the Toronto GTA, at the hopeful International Aviation Meet of 1911.

The early days of aviation were fraught with all kinds of crashes like these… as the dynamics of powered aircraft flight, and of in-flight control (once these crates were actually aloft)… was barely understood.

Sometimes you walked away, as Douglas did here.

These pics were taken on the same day, before and after! They come to us via Jack Minor, the Silver Dart replica builder! Post-production by SPIR.

J.A.D. (Douglas) McCURDY who was schooled at St. Andrew's College in Aurora, Ontario, and was later a mechanical engineering graduate from the U of T in 1906, piloted the Silver Dart off the frozen Bras d'Or Lake in Nova Scotia in 1909, becoming the first Canadian to fly a powered aircraft in the Dominion of Canada.

McCurdy was also the first pilot to be issued a pilot's license in Canada, in 1910.

And in 1911, he became the first person to fly from Florida to Cuba.

In 1915, Douglas established the first aviation school in Canada, in partnership with the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, at Long Branch Aerodrome, and was its' first manager. Yes, folks the Long Branch Aerodrome was Canada's FIRST AIRPORT!

Today the historical airport is no more, and Ontario Power Generation's Lakeview Generating Station sits on the former airport site.

In WW II, Douglas was the Assistant Director General of Aircraft Production in Canada, for the Allied war effort here.

He died in 1961.

J.A.D. (Douglas) McCURDY was the first inductee into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame when it was created in 1973.

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