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D. MacLean Obituary

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Arnprior native was a pioneering helicopter pilot

 

 

THE OTTAWA CITIZEN APRIL 22, 2012

 

 

 

STORYPHOTOS ( 1 )

 

 

 

Donald MacLean

Donald W. G. MacLean

 

Born: Arnprior, Ont., June 18, 1932

 

Died: Oct. 21, 2011, in Kingston, Ont., of prostate cancer

 

Donald MacLean was one of the earliest helicopter pilots to fly on Canadian supply ships, servicing remote outposts on the North Atlantic.

 

Don joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as soon as he was of age, and did his basic training in Alberta, then learned to fly high-performance jets.

 

After leaving the air force, an opportunity arose to join a newly formed Air Transport Command unit of helicopters, supplying air defence bases in Canada and North America. The pilots, flying Sikorsky H-19 helicopters, were used to airlift materials required to build the Mid-Canada Line, an air defence warning line stretching from Labrador to British Columbia.

 

In the 1950s, using helicopters to fly off ships and to determine the thickness of ice in the North Atlantic Ocean was an innovation. It enabled vessels to create a passage through the ice and reach remote outposts that were previously inaccessible.

 

Don would fly out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, up the Labrador coast to Ungava Bay, and down into Hudson’s Bay, then into Arctic territory, where very few people had been before. In 1962, Don was asked by the Department of Transport to establish and command the helicopter base at Prince Rupert, B.C., which serviced the coast, from Ketchikan, Alaska, to the north end of Vancouver Island. They flew in all kinds of weather, far beyond the safe limit, into the Queen Charlotte Islands.

 

When there were emergencies — a lighthouse keeper who had to be rushed to a hospital in the midst of a terrible storm — Don would not send one of his other pilots. He would, instead, elect to go himself, often accompanied by his friend and chief engineer. Both were well aware of the dangers involved and that they might not return.

 

Soon it became apparent that a larger multi-engine helicopter with full amphibious capability would better service this rugged and remote coastline, and a Sikorsky S6IN was purchased.

 

After 37 years with the Department of Transport, Don finished his career as chief of Aircraft Registration and special Flight Standards in Ottawa.

 

In later years, he took up sailing, and commenced building a Reliance 44 sailboat in his backyard. Despite a serious accident when he fell and injured his spine, he made a full recovery. Completion of the boat was delayed, but eventually, as neighbours and friends watched in amazement, the huge boat was lifted by crane over the roof of the house and was en route to its new home at the Trident Yacht Club in Gananoque.

 

The Macleans moved to Kingston and spent summers at the yacht club, where Don was known as a formidable racing opponent.

 

Their winter home was in Florida, where, after a day of golf or flying model airplanes, Don could often be heard in the evening playing the keyboard, a skill acquired during his enforced idleness after the boat accident.

 

Don was very modest about his accomplishments, but, as a pioneer in the helicopter field, he blazed a trail that others could follow with much greater comfort and safety than he experienced.

 

He leaves his wife, Diana, and children Diana, Bonnie and Doug.

 

“Fair winds and Godspeed.”

 

 

DIANA FULLER,

 

His daughter

 

© Copyright © The Ottawa Citizen

 

 

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Arnprior+native+pioneering+helicopter+pilot/6499540/story.html#ixzz1snHSzZgD

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Wrong guy. Not Blackmac.

 

 

Arnprior native was a pioneering helicopter pilot

 

 

THE OTTAWA CITIZEN APRIL 22, 2012

 

 

 

STORYPHOTOS ( 1 )

 

 

 

Donald MacLean

Donald W. G. MacLean

 

Born: Arnprior, Ont., June 18, 1932

 

Died: Oct. 21, 2011, in Kingston, Ont., of prostate cancer

 

Donald MacLean was one of the earliest helicopter pilots to fly on Canadian supply ships, servicing remote outposts on the North Atlantic.

 

Don joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as soon as he was of age, and did his basic training in Alberta, then learned to fly high-performance jets.

 

After leaving the air force, an opportunity arose to join a newly formed Air Transport Command unit of helicopters, supplying air defence bases in Canada and North America. The pilots, flying Sikorsky H-19 helicopters, were used to airlift materials required to build the Mid-Canada Line, an air defence warning line stretching from Labrador to British Columbia.

 

In the 1950s, using helicopters to fly off ships and to determine the thickness of ice in the North Atlantic Ocean was an innovation. It enabled vessels to create a passage through the ice and reach remote outposts that were previously inaccessible.

 

Don would fly out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, up the Labrador coast to Ungava Bay, and down into Hudson's Bay, then into Arctic territory, where very few people had been before. In 1962, Don was asked by the Department of Transport to establish and command the helicopter base at Prince Rupert, B.C., which serviced the coast, from Ketchikan, Alaska, to the north end of Vancouver Island. They flew in all kinds of weather, far beyond the safe limit, into the Queen Charlotte Islands.

 

When there were emergencies — a lighthouse keeper who had to be rushed to a hospital in the midst of a terrible storm — Don would not send one of his other pilots. He would, instead, elect to go himself, often accompanied by his friend and chief engineer. Both were well aware of the dangers involved and that they might not return.

 

Soon it became apparent that a larger multi-engine helicopter with full amphibious capability would better service this rugged and remote coastline, and a Sikorsky S6IN was purchased.

 

After 37 years with the Department of Transport, Don finished his career as chief of Aircraft Registration and special Flight Standards in Ottawa.

 

In later years, he took up sailing, and commenced building a Reliance 44 sailboat in his backyard. Despite a serious accident when he fell and injured his spine, he made a full recovery. Completion of the boat was delayed, but eventually, as neighbours and friends watched in amazement, the huge boat was lifted by crane over the roof of the house and was en route to its new home at the Trident Yacht Club in Gananoque.

 

The Macleans moved to Kingston and spent summers at the yacht club, where Don was known as a formidable racing opponent.

 

Their winter home was in Florida, where, after a day of golf or flying model airplanes, Don could often be heard in the evening playing the keyboard, a skill acquired during his enforced idleness after the boat accident.

 

Don was very modest about his accomplishments, but, as a pioneer in the helicopter field, he blazed a trail that others could follow with much greater comfort and safety than he experienced.

 

He leaves his wife, Diana, and children Diana, Bonnie and Doug.

 

"Fair winds and Godspeed."

 

 

DIANA FULLER,

 

His daughter

 

© Copyright © The Ottawa Citizen

 

 

Read more: http://www.ottawacit...l#ixzz1snHSzZgD

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Moderators,

Please change the erroneous title of this post.

 

Mr MacLean sounds like he was quite a man, and a pioneer in our industry.

His longevity as a pilot during that early era is a great testament to his skills.

 

The same could be said for Blackmac. But his surname is not MacLean.

Thx. OT

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