Bella Bella Shearwater RCAF Commemoration

Attached is an invitation to all interested BC Aviators from BC aviation writer and historian Chis Weicht. Chris is a very experienced BC Coast pilot who has written a number of historical books about aviation in BC and Western Canada.

Bella Bella, located on the Central BC Coast, is a historical site that dates back to Captain Vancouver & Alexander MacKenzie in more recent times and the Heiltsuk Village at Waglisla dates back many centuries before the first European & Russian explorers.

During WWII Bella Bella/Shearwater was the site of an RCAF flying boat station for coastal patrols with a large flying boat installation that included hangars and a seaplane ramp to accommodate the wartime operations.

Until the mid 1980’s, when two airstrips were built on the adjacent Denny and Campbell Islands, all traffic on the BC coast was via seaplanes and flying boats. The installation of these two airports changed the way coastal operations were conducted and now IFR twin engine turboprops service not only the Bella Bella community, but all of the mid coast from Vancouver and Vancouver Island with the local communities serviced by floatplanes from the hubs at Bella Bella and nearby Bella Coola.

There are hotels & restaurants available at Waglisla, Shearwater & Bella Coola. There are excellent seaplane facilities. Land-planes have the two airports available to them. Routing for land-planes on the coast is via Vancouver Island through Alert Bay, Port McNeill, or Port Hardy. The interior route is through Anahim Lake and Bella Coola. It’s a great trip whatever route you take.

This is a tremendous opportunity to visit the mid coast and experience local hospitality and great fishing, while remembering our coastal aviation & native history.

Please fan this invitation out to your respective clubs and organizations.

Regards Tim

W.T. (Tim) Cole

Working for your Freedom to Fly since 1952
Treasurer & BC/YT Director
Canadian Owners & Pilots Association
604 299 0806
604 833 0226 c

Hello Tim,

This is to inform you as C.O.P.A. BC Director B.C. & Yukon of the celebration in commemoration of the airforce and aviation history of the former RCAF Station Bella Bella located at Shearwater on Denny Island.

On July 6, 2013 the ceremony which includes the unveiling of a 1/5 scale Supermarine Stranraer (RCAF #949) will be erected on a pylon which will allow it to act as a weathervane. Also a monument acknowledging the contribution of the RCAF in World War 2 , a cenotaph and a Mural 20 X 100 feet commemorates the RCAF and its relationship with the community.

Bella Bella has a long history of aviation. in 1920 ex-RAF pilot Harry Brown flew up the coast in his Curtiss JN-4 Canuck, he had a magneto failure (he only had one) just short of Bella Bella, American pilot Roy Jones made the next stop at the village in July 1922. In July 1923 RCAF pilot Earl Godfrey arrived from Jericho Beach (Vancouver) in a Curtiss HS-2L flying boat en-route to Prince Rupert.

The Shearwater airfield is close by as well as the Regional airport on neighbouring Campbell Island are both available for visiting aircraft. The Shearwater SeaBus is available to aircraft landing on the later airfield.

An invitation is extended to all COPA members and other interested aviators to attend the ceremony which will also include the raising of a totem by representatives from the Heiltsuk village on Campbell Island. Interested persons should register with Mr Craig Widston, ShearwaterMarine, Vancouver
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Chris Weicht

Event Date: 

2013-07-06 (All day)