June, 1959, Western Wings
by Warren Lindsay
Tour Mostly Over Western Canada
Western Canadian skies will be buzzing this summer with the sound of several hundred aircraft heading for Alaska. At least three groups, from as far south as Miami, plan a flying tour to the 49th state to help celebrate its entry into the union.
Airport operators from Lethbridge to Snag will have a wonderful opportunity to treat our southern neighbors to some real Canadian hospitality. And this is only a forerunner of things to come since half of the “skyway” from U.S. to Alaska is over Canadian territory.
The addition of the 49th state is sure to result in increased traffic through Canada. The reception received by the intrepid 49ers in June will do much to determine in future which airports are to be considered as pleasure stops and which will be necessary stops. If the tourists find top-line facilities at all service points (and why not?), they will carry home a good impression of Canadian airports. What better advertising is there?
Meet in Edmonton
The first group to be welcomed to Canada will be the National Flying Farmers. Their final rendezvous will be in Edmonton on June 13th. Here they will attend a banquet with the Alberta Flying Farmers (AFF) and finalize details for the northern leg such as maps, supplies, etc. The details of the Edmonton stop are being arranged by Varno Westersund, Stub Ross and William Seigle, officials of the AFF.
On June 16th, the Flying Farmers will arrive in Fairbanks for a two-day stop, then on to Hot Springs, Palmer and Valdez. Edmonton, the Gateway to the North, will again be invaded on June 16th by the Flying Physicians Association. A night will be spent there, then the flight will follow the Alaska highway to Fort Nelson. Their eventual goal will be Anchorage, but time will be available for side trips to points of particular interest.
Miami 49ers Will Establish Two Firsts
On June 24th, 25th and 26th, the Canadian airport operators at Edmonton, Ft. Nelson and Whitehorse will once more roll out the carpet for our southern neighbors. This time it will be the 49er Air Cruise, originating in Miami. The proposed trip of the 49ers will be the longest air cruise ever undertaken by a private group. It also will be the first time a special flight has been made to attend a statehood ceremony. Who said the book of aviation adventure closed with Lindberg and Earhart?
The goal of this group is the capital city of Juneau and the official dedication of the 49th state to other cities before the pioneering flyers head home. Many of the people making the trek to Alaska will be seeing Canada for the first time. It will not be a Sunday circuit. It will be a chance for them to become acquainted with the northland. We sincerely hope that memories of the Canadian portion of their cruise will rate among the most pleasant to these flying enthusiasts.
This article originally appeared in the June, 1959, edition of Western Wings magazine.