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Leigh Brintnell recalls the early days of bush flying

The Story

Leigh Brintnell was one of the many bush pilots who began their careers during the First World War with the RAF. He earned his entry in the Aviation Hall of Fame by establishing new routes, aiding in the finding of the Eldorado Mine and founding his own airway and aircraft repair company. When CBC interviewer Art Hives asks him in 1963 to compare the reality of those early days with the romanticized vision of bush pilots, he gives us a good look at the day-to-day routine of piloting in the early decades.

Medium: Television
Program: Discovery
Broadcast Date: Sept. 15, 1963
Guest(s): Leigh Brintnell
Interviewer: Art Hives
Duration: 7:51

Did You know?

• Leigh Brintnell was born in Ontario in 1895, and died in 1971. He was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1946 for his role in aiding the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. He was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1976.

  • In 1929, when Brintnell was manager of Western Canada Airways, he was the first to circumnavigate Great Bear Lake. He piloted mining entrepreneurs Gilbert LaBine and Charles St. Paul, who staked claims on what would become the Eldorado Mine, famous for its uranium riches.


• Brintnell was the first to make the aerial crossing of the northern Rockies, flying non-stop from Aklavik in the Northwest Territories to Dawson, Yukon, a total of more than 1,250 kilometres.




Pioneers in the Sky: Bush Pilots of Canada more