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His 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.
About the Author
Howard White was born in 1945 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He was raised in a series of camps and settlements on the BC coast and never got over it. He is still to be found stuck barnacle-like to the shore at Pender Harbour, BC. He started Raincoast Chronicles and Harbour Publishing in the early 1970s and his own books include A Hard Man to Beat (bio), The Men There Were Then (poems), Spilsbury's Coast (bio), The Accidental Airline (bio), Patrick and the Backhoe (childrens'), Writing in the Rain (anthology) and The Sunshine Coast (travel). He was awarded the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History in 1989. In 2000, he completed a ten-year project, The Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He has been awarded the Order of BC, the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History, the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award and a Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of Victoria. In 2007, White was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has twice been runner-up in the Whisky Slough Putty Man Triathlon. Jim Spilsbury (1905-2003) was born in Findern, Derbyshire but came to the BC coast in his infancy and remained there all his life. He began manufacturing small radios in the 1920s and in 1941 founded Spilsbury and Hepburn Ltd, later Spilsbury and Tindall Ltd., one of Canada's best known radio-telephone manufacturers. In 1943, Spilsbury founded Queen Charlotte Airlines which merged with Pacific Western Airlines in 1955. He also authored several books including Spilsbury's Album, and The Accidental Airline.