Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame to Honor Four Inductees and Belt of Orion Recipient

The Hall's 2011 inductees are: John W. Crichton, Donald T. Hamilton, Richard W. (Dick) Ryan, and William J. (Bill) Wheeler.


Wetaskiwin, Alberta, January 3, 2011 - Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame (CAHF) will induct four Canadians, and recognize a Belt of Orion recipient, at its 2011 annual gala dinner and ceremony at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton, Ontario on THURSDAY, May 26, 2011.

The Hall’s 2011 inductees are: John W. Crichton, the current president and CEO of NAV Canada, and previous president of the Air Transport Association of Canada, and First Air; Donald T. Hamilton, a bush pilot in northern Alberta who went on to purchase Air Spray Ltd., a company that fights fires in western and northern Canada; Richard W. (Dick) Ryan, a First World War pilot and vice-president of Canadian Pacific Airlines; and William J. (Bill) Wheeler, a founding member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) and editor of its Journal magazine. Québec’s Hollinger Ungava Transport Ltd. will receive the Belt of Orion award.

This year’s inductees’ achievements span the spectrum of Canada’s rich aviation history. They are recognized for playing integral roles in the development of their respective aviation fields, and contributing to Canada’s development through these roles. The Hall was established in 1973, and these four honorees will bring the total number of inductees to 204.

John W. Crichton (1946 - ) has served as president and CEO of NAV CANADA since 1997. Previously he was president of the Air Transport Association of Canada and executive vice-president of First Air. Crichton was a major force in shaping Canada's northern air transportation industry to improve airfreight and passenger services to northern communities. His leadership led to the modernization of Canada's civil air navigation system with the establishment of NAV CANADA in 1996, the world's first privatized air navigation system. NAV CANADA is the country's civil air navigation services provider, supplying air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation. John Crichton has been honored many times for his work in Canada's aviation industry.

Donald T. Hamilton (1924 - ) earned his pilot’s license in 1946 and bought his first airplane one year later. He began crop spraying and cloud seeding in the Moose Jaw area, before he moved on to bush flying in northern Alberta. He then worked in aerial surveying and northern flying for the Distant Early Warning Line. In 1957, he established Hamilton Aviation Ltd., performing aircraft maintenance and flying cargo in northern Alberta. Hamilton now owns Air Spray Ltd., whose aircraft are used to fight fires in western and northern Canada.

Richard W. (Dick) Ryan (1896-1992) flew as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force in the First World War. In 1928, Ryan helped establish the Moose Jaw Flying Club and served as the chief flying instructor, before going on to establish Prairie Airways Ltd. in 1934, which was later purchased by Canadian Pacific Airlines; Ryan would go on to serve as a vice-president of the airline. During the Second World War, he trained navigators for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) at the No. 3 Air Observer School in Regina.

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