Kenneth M. Molson
2006

Pilot & engineer

Born in Montreal, Kenneth Molson learned to fly in 1936 at the Curtiss-Reid Flying School in Cartierville, earning his private license in 1936. He soloed on the Reid Rambler. Molson also studied at the Boeing School of Aeronautics in Oakland, California. During the summers of 1935-36, he worked as a mechanic for Dominion Skyways in Rouyn, a bush operator founded by his cousin Hartland Molson. Until 1959, he was with Avro Aircraft (previously National Steel Car Corp and Victory Aircraft), starting at production before transferring in engineering. He worked on projects such as the Avro Arrow and left at the level of Senior Standards Engineer. Recognized as the best (and most prolific) Canadian aviation historian, he wrote many periodical articles (more than 45 in the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal alone). He also wrote many books considered today as reference works, such as: Pioneering in Canadian Air Transport; The First 500 Canadian Civil Pilots; Curtiss HS Flying boats (with A.J. Shortt); Canadian Aircraft since 1909 (with H.A. Taylor); 125 years of Canadian Aeronautics – A chronology 1840-1965 (with G. Fuller and J.A. Griffin).

Recognized as the best (and most prolific) Canadian aviation historian, he wrote many periodical articles (more than 45 in the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal alone).

A critical and systematic mind, he introduced a scientific approach in the research field, something rather new among aviation writers of the day. He also personnally helped a good number of researchers with their works. Today, few books about Canadian aviation are published without at least one quote of a book by Molson. Key figure (with Ralph Manning) behind the creation in 1960 of the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa, he was the first curator and remained in position until 1967. Therefore, Molson was truly behind the basic philosophy and high standards that still prevail today and make the museum one of the most reputed aviation museums in the world. In 1974, Kenneth Molson won the prestigious American Aviation Historical Writers Award.

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