Jacques Trempe: I don't remember the reason why I got interested
in planes. It must have been around 1953, when I was 12 years of age.
My friend and I started by writing to aircraft companies like Boeing,
Grumman etc. to ask for photographs. To our surprise, all the
companies sent tremendous photos of the airplanes they built. Then we
bought airplane magazines and were eagerly waiting each month for the
new ones to arrive. We also bought some books, like the classic Green
& Pollinger series.
In the good weather from May to October, I used to spend at least a
day a week at the airport. There was not a heavy traffic, but often
surprises, as many USAF planes made stops there. probably on account
of the DEW line in the North, (Distant Early Warning line of radar
sites.) Once the airport employees got used to me, I could go almost
anywhere on the airport and the control tower was usually a good spot
In June 1956, I got special permission from the Aero Club to begin my pilot course. I was only 15 and one had to be 16 to fly solo. So, I familiarised myself with the help of an instructor and logged a few hours before I was able to fly solo in July 1957 aboard a Cessna 140 registered CF-EJT.
At the time, all was very simple. The flying was learned by "flying" with instructors that, most often, spoke very few words. The theory was learned mostly by sitting in the Club lounge and listening to others. The planes had no radio. We had to look at the tower for a green light to takeoff. When approaching to land, a green light was a go and a red one was the signal to overshoot and clear the way. Sometimes the controller did not see us approach and no lights were to be seen. The rule was the to land anyway.
What would be today starting an enquiry by the NTSB was, at the time,
fixed by a good scolding between the parties involved. In retrospect,
I feel lucky to be still alive. Once, I took off on a very low left
wing fuel tank, so the engine quit at 200 feet after takeoff. The
instructor switched tank and the motor started again just before
crashing on a motel roof. I was reminded in the terms you can all
guess, not to skip my pre-flight test from then on. Another time,
just after landing, I saw a T-33 jet landing on my tail. I had to get
my airplane out of the runway very quickly so that meant going into
the grass covering a field of mud. It took 3 hours to get the
airplane out of there. But this time, the scolding was for the
controller and the jet pilot.
It was really great time, with great people to meet, and a sense of liberty that is forever gone in this more modern world.
"Like a bird, see our earth from above, control a fying machine, hear it's engine noise, be the master of this machine. A dream common to all ! From dream to reality, that's what I decided in February 1954 by beginning my pilot's training at the Saguenay Aeroclub in Shipshaw, QC. A really tremendous experience, lived and acquired.
Guy Allard, March 21, 1954, with Piper PA-16 CF-GNN
During my training, I piloted planes on skis, floats and wheels,
guided by an experienced, devoted and patient instructor named Pierre
Rivest. After obtaining my flying licence, I continued to take on
experience on other type of planes, heavier and more complex. Other
techniques were learned from other pilots who enjoyed communicating
their experience and know-how. I am grateful to two of them, out of
many others, Bert Olmsted and Leo Lejeune from Nordair in Roberval,
QC whom took on their free time to fly with me and also to many
mechanics that gave me valuable advice. Family needs becoming more
urgent, I had to stop flying in the mid-60's. A transfer to
Labrador for 7 years of work was the end of my flying career. But in
my heart and spirit, the taste for aviation is there forever!"