During the war years of the 1939-45, as a youngster, I lived in the then rather isolated little northern Ontario town of White River, long before the local chamber of commerce realized that this was really the home of Winnie-the-Poo. In those days White River's chief claim to fame was as:

  • a CPR Divisional Headquarters
  • the coldest spot in Northern Ontario
  • a base for the Ontario Provincial Air Services (OPAS)

Thus it came to pass that my older brother ended up the proud possessor of part of this collection of pieces; to whit one of the wooden interplane struts. (I can still picture this black and yellow, beautifully-faired item). My brother who was much older than I, (a whole six years older and in long pants), decided that this aeronautical item must indeed possess some ability to provide flight, since it had erstwhile been part of a larger collection that flew!

Older brothers are much wiser than their younger siblings, and mine was no exception. No only did he recognize the true aeronautical importance of the item he had rescued, but he realized that someone other than himself should put the item to the test. And who should do the testing, but I, his younger brother. (shades of Hiram Maxim and his plucky servant). Thus it came to pass, that an appropriate time and location was chosen for the test flight. The time was Sunday morning when Mother was at church and Father, who worked for the CPR Telegraphs, was at work on the main floor below. I should state here that we lived on the second floor of the CPR Telegraph office at the CPR station at White River and also that all the floors were cement!

My brother thus informed me that I was to be the test pilot, and that the time was appropriate for testing. I was to climb onto the kitchen table, then stand even higher on a box, hold the beautiful yellow streamlined strut above my head in a horizontal mode to emulate the wings of an aircraft. Then I was to jump off the table and glide smoothly to a gentle landing on the concrete floor. I could not argue with my brother, who was twice my age at the time.

After climbing to the "drop-off point", I jumped off the table, full of hope and anticipation. However, instead of gliding serenely down, I landed with a pronounced thud on the hard cement, the strut then hit my head and I must have hurt my back as well. So much for the aerial experiment! However, some good must have come of this early adventure, as I developed a lifelong interest in aircraft; aviation became my profession and my hobby, I obtained my pilot's licence, and constructed and owned several aircraft over the years. 

Garry Fancy

Note: Jeff Wyborn started with OPAS in 1942 and crashed July 13, 1942 in Moth CF-OAE based at Oba Lake. Mr Wyborn resigned Oct 9, 1942 to enlist in the RCAF.

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