George Beauchene was a colourful character and experienced pilot who contained a wealth of information on aircaft, bushflying and the life of a pilot. He embodied the definition of a true Canadian Bush Pilot. A member of the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, he was always willing to contribute advice, expertise or anecdote from his years of bushflying.
George Beauchene was born and raised in Northern Ontario where he spent his early years in his father's tourist camp and assisting his brother logging pulpwood. George served his country with the Canadian Armoured Tank Corps from 1942 to 1946. He was wounded in front line action in Europe and received honours and decorations.
Upon his return to Canada in 1946, George purchased a single engined J3 Cub complete with a spare engine. His brother claims that it took both engines just to keep it in the air. In 1948 George got his first flying job working for Norm Dalseg. In 1949 he earned his commercial flying licence and went to work for Spinwood Airways before starting with Rusty Myers the following year.
George joined the Ontario Provincial Air Service in 1952. It was the start of a career that would last for over 31 years. Aerial water bombing was developed during his career and George was involved from the beginning. George was known for pride in his work and was often specifed by name when a request was made for a water drops on a raging forest fire. George was one of the first in line to fly the land-based Grumman Tracker Chemical Bomber when they were introduced in 1972. He accumulated many hours in the "Cement Truck", as he called it. A step up to the turbine powered Twin Otter on wheels, skis and floats followed. George was on the first crew selected when IFR flying was introduced. George was a one man airshow with his water bombing demonstrations at the Canadian National Exhibition for many years. Never one to sit still, George flew two summer contracts for the Air Service, did some maintainence work and flying for Air Dale, and did some flights for Algoma Steel after retiring in 1983 . A strong family man, George would often make a low pass over his house prior to landing on the river to let his wife know that he was on his way home.
George passed away suddenly on March 9, 2000.