bluethunder Posted April 25, 2020 Report Share Posted April 25, 2020 4 hours ago, DGP said: Now on the subject of how Canadian got started...well this may be way off base but who was Don Plant and how did he fit in to the Heli business...I thought he was the one trying to buy up all the companies...or maybe he was Dobbin's competition... My first gig out of Canadore was with Lakeland Helicopters, originally owned by Bob Garah. Decent guy, died quite a few years back. I'm not sure how the stars aligned, but Bob got involved with both Don Plaunt (Ramsay Airways) and a fellow named Jim Boyd (Jameson Helicopters). Don's family had money, owning the Sudbury Wolves and a local radio station. Don was a criminal lawyer as well as a flaming Homosexual. His "MO" was to get young boys out of legal trouble and make them 'dock boys'. You can't make this sh*t up. Just to give a little credibility to my story, many years after I left (somewhere around early 2000's), Don picked up some strapping young lad hitchhiker and got into some trouble. They charged him with various offences and went through his history-to the point they flew to Calgary to see what I knew about him. Don never really liked me, I just wasn't his type apparently ;-). He always had followers, I hung with the the straight pilots and engineers in some barracks we built inside the Sudbury hangar. Jim Boyd had a hangar just south of North Bay (Astorville), Bob had a hangar in Tamagami, and Plaunt already had a floatplane place on Ramsay Lake in Sudbury. When I began, Lakeland had two 500C's, a 206B (Len McTaggart was chief pilot) and we were working on rebuilding a Jet III in the North Bay facility. I was doing my apprenticeship in Astorville with another classmate. They worked us like dogs, paying us little, 7 days a week. We counted the days until we had our hours in to write our exams, and I was earmarked to get back into Canadore (1983) for the commercial pilot program. Somewhere in that time Ranger Helicopters fell on some hard times and we raced to the Soo in the dead of night to get some helicopters out of there. Jim Boyd somehow weaselled his way in to Ranger via the receivers and eventually they became part of Lakeland. When I completed my pilot's license, I returned to Lakeland. I was the only guy they had at the time who could sign out the 500's. We grew from 4 helicopters to 23 in that next summer. I had a 500D out west doing survey with some big-*** gyro operated contraption that took up the whole back seat. We could not buy parts anymore. We were C.O.D. at every vender. I got tired of it in 84, gave two weeks notice to Plaunt and left. Later that year, Lakeland took over North Star and maybe one other. It was a train wreck. When I Left, I went to Calgary and worked construction. They opened a base in Calgary the year I left, and hired me periodically to help. It all came to an end one day. Too big too fast?? They had a lot of inexperienced guys like me trying to run a big operation. I think Plaunt's funds ended and Canadian absorbed the whole works. Gosh, I thin k of some of the old hands there. Doug Whiting, Ian Cunningham, Andre Vandre, Sylvain Seguin, Joe Crawford, Ray Schill just to name a few............sorry for the long response Potsey, but you asked! Plaunt was a pice of work who knew sh*t about helicopters. He knew how to manipulate money off his old man is my best guess. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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