The Accidental Airline
"This is the raw stuff, the right stuff and the real stuff."
Shortlisted: Roderick Haig-Brown Regional BC Book Prize (1989)
Book DescriptionHis books with Howard White made a bestselling author out of Jim Spilsbury - the BC coast's legendary pioneer, painter, photographer, aviator, inventor and raconteur. Now all three volumes of the Spilsbury saga are available in trade paperback!
Jim Spilsbury bought an airplane in 1943, when wartime restrictions prevented the use of his boat to visit the upcoast camps and settlements where he repaired radios. From this innocent beginning grew Queen Charlotte Airlines, and when he sold the business to Pacific Western Airlines twelve years later, it was the third largest airline in Canada.
This is the history of the accidental airline and those incredible years of flying, growing, and scrambling. There's the trip from Vancouver to the Queen Charlottes and back that took eleven days and three airplanes; the Waco covered with lamp-black, inside and out; the fatally jinxed Stranraer; and the twelve-gallon ice cream sundae in the muskeg. There are tales of mercy flights, tragic crashes, and miraculous rescues and escapes, and many entertaining details of the luck, business skill, and hard work needed to keep an airline aloft.
Affectionately known as "Queer Collection of Aircraft" by the loggers, pregnant homesteaders and touring 1950's movie stars who rode its ungainly "Flying Boxcars" through rain and fog, QCA beat out the competition to reign for one glorious decade as the queen of the booming post-war coast. There's never been an airline quite like the QCA and there's never been a flying story quite like The Accidental Airline.