Flying With White Eagle
pioneer homesteader & bush pilot
Ayliffe “Pat” Carey 1903 – 1999
in his own words – as told to Ben Nuttall-Smith
Ayliffe “Pat” Carey’s experiences – as homesteader, logger and bush pilot –provide an exceptional insight into pioneer life on Canada’s West Coast in the first decades of the twentieth century.
While logging his homestead island in BC’s Fraser Valley, Pat developed a passion for flying, overcoming countless barriers and setbacks, including crash landings, repairs and alterations to his aircraft. He speaks matter-of-factly, without heroics, about flying missions over mountains and glaciers, often in dangerous weather conditions and with dangerous cargo. He recalls details vividly – taking us with him on his amazing journeys.
146 pages and 28 pencil sketches
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Most of the passenger transport out of Vancouver involved flying the twin-engine Dragon Rapide. I had been with this aircraft for a couple weeks when I was switched to the Norseman, a single engine plane. My first trip in the Norseman was up to Port Alice and back. It happened to be a good day, so the flying was easy, so easy in fact that I allowed my mind to wander extensively. About ten miles out of Vancouver on my return, a broad grin spread across my face. I was about to have some fun. I tuned the radio to the company dispatch frequency, picked up the microphone and held it close my lips.
“Vancouver dispatch, Vancouver dispatch, this is Pat Carey returning on one engine.” I said, with a touch of urgency in my voice.
Vancouver dispatch fell for my joke hook, line, and sinker. They replied “What is your position? What’s your altitude? Can you make it down OK?”
I was having a good laugh and to make it even better, the radio reception was exceptionally good that day, for the lady who was the radio operator in Port Alice had heard the whole thing. She simply pressed her mike button and laughed. This alerted Vancouver dispatch that they had fallen for one of my little pranks. Of course the dispatcher gave me the cold shoulder for a short time after my return and that made me grin even more.
Here at last is the entire book in audio format as read by the author.
Available at https://rutherfordpress.ca/audio-books/
Flying With Fledglings – sample audio file
Pencil drawing by Ben Nuttall-Smith
The current manuscript contains 28 similar sketches
Ayliffe “Pat” Carey – Sechelt, circa 1998
photo Ben Nuttall-Smith