Jack Logan’s eyes lit up when he saw the Canadian Museum of Flight SE5a biplane warming up at the Langley Regional Airport.
Logan, a former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) combat pilot who flew during D-Day, said the 7/8 scale replica of the famous First World War British fighter reminded him a little of the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane he trained on at the outbreak of the Second World War.
“It’s something to see an ‘oldie’ like that,” Logan commented.
It was all part of Logan’s 100th birthday celebration at the Canadian Museum of Flight in the Langley airport, where the Tsawwassen resident is well-regarded by the volunteers who look after the classic planes.
Logan, a volunteer at the museum himself, was quick to downplay his contribution.
“I’ve been coming and doing the odd little thing” he remarked.
His birthday celebration on Sunday, June 6, on the 77th anniversary of the allied invasion of Europe, was actually three days ahead of his 100th birthday.
“I never expected to get to that [age],” Logan laughed.
COVID precautions were in force, and Logan and invited guests kept their masks on until they were outside and well separated.
Logan was in his early twenties when he flew the long-range Sunderland flying boats as an RCAF skipper with 422 Squadron, Coastal Command, based in Northern Ireland, hunting for German submarines and protecting North Atlantic convoys as they neared the United Kingdom.
It was dangerous work, and one Sunderland in the squadron was shot down with the loss of all 12 on board.
When D-Day arrived, 422 was among the allied planes that saturated the skies west of the invasion area, running searches every 30 minutes.
After the war, Logan became a pilot for Trans Canada Airways (TCA) , later renamed Air Canada, starting with propeller-driven planes like the DC-3 and transitioning to jets with the Douglas DC-8, accumulating 22,000 hours on top of the 3,000 he recorded with the RCAF.
He met his wife Betty, who was a flight attendant at the time, while he was flying for TCA.
They have three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
His last flight as a pilot with Air Canada was in 1981, a Boeing 747 flight out of Vancouver.
Logan loved flying, but once he finished as an Air Canada pilot, he was done. He never bought a plane of his own and got into the habit of sleeping in.
“I’m definitely not a morning person,” he observed.
“I had too much of that during my flying career.”
On the final pass over the museum at Langley airport, pilot, SE5a pilot Al French gave a pilot’s salute to Logan, gently waggling the biplane wings.
After French was back on the ground, Logan thanked him for the fly-by.
“My pleasure, my honour,” French replied.
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