Arthur Fecteau
2001

Bush Pilot and entrepreneur

Born in Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Arthur Fecteau started his career in 1930, at the Bois Gomin airfield in Québec City. For a few years, he and his brother Joseph tried to make a living in aviation, giving flying lessons and barnstorming the countryside. In 1936, Arthur left for Abitibi and settled in Senneterre. At the end of the railroad, he offered the passengers to continue their journey by airplane. Fecteau also started to give rides to fur traders looking for indians in the woods, thus saving long and tedious dog sledge expeditions. But competition among traders arose and one night, his Fairchild was set on fire! Not the kind to be intimidated, Fecteau repaired the airplane in two months. The beginning of WWII in 1939 forced Fecteau to slow down activities. The same year, his brother was reported missing during a flight in Labrador. Arthur left to go to work in the area, hoping silently to find the trace of Joseph (in 1940, hunters located the body in an abandoned camp).

In 1936, Arthur left for Abitibi and settled in Senneterre. At the end of the railroad, he offered the passengers to continue their journey by airplane.

After a brief course in Cartierville, Arthur returned to Senneterre in 1941, reorganizing his business and buying other airplanes. After the war, A. Fecteau Transport Aérien launched its conquest of a vast territory. Secondary bases were established in Matagami, Amos, Lake Caché, Chibougamau, Fort George [Chisasibi], Fort Rupert [Waskaganish]. Operations were varied and included supplying trading posts and indians reserves, aerial photography, medical evacuations, mail carrying, transport of prospectors, land-surveyors, woodmen, hunters, fishermen, etc. Capitalizing on the mining boom, A. Fecteau Transport Aérien became in the 50’s the biggest bush operator of the province of Québec, flying mostly de Havilland Beavers and Otters. In 1967, the company was sold to Québecair. Starting with 7 dollars in his pocket, Arthur Fecteau became, during more than two decades, the undisputed leader of bush aviation from Abitibi to James Bay.

Honors

1984: Prix Roger-Demers

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