Don McVicar entered aviation at 18 as a radio-operator for a bush operator in northern Saskatchewan. His salary was 25$ a month. As pilots earned three times more, he decided to learn to fly, earning his private pilot’s licence in 1936. But jobs were rare and he worked as a radio-operator for Mackenzie Air Service, then in Cranbrook (BC) as a radio-range operator for the DOT, supplying weather reports to passing airplanes. In 1939, the first control tower in Canada was inaugurated in Saint-Hubert (Qc). Selected in the first competition, McVicar in 1940 earned Air Traffic Controller’s licence No. 9 at the training unit of Saint-Hubert, before being posted to Winnipeg control tower (then being erected). In 1941, McVicar joined the RAF Ferry Command as a civilian pilot, ferrying warplanes from Dorval to England. With Louis Bisson, he flew difficult missions in the Arctic that established the famous ‘Crimson Route’. For that, he earned in 1942 the King’s Commendation.
In 1939, the first control tower in Canada was inaugurated in Saint-Hubert (Qc). Selected in the first competition, McVicar in 1940 earned Air Traffic Controller’s licence No. 9 at the training unit of Saint-Hubert.
McVicar also carried out the first ever Polar Europe-Vancouver crossing, flying a Handley Page Hampden. For these actions, he was awarded in 1944 the OBE. After the war, McVicar was a bush pilot in northern Québec and Labrador, using a Stinson Reliant to carry natives to their hunting territories and in support of fur trading. In 1945, McVicar formed in Montréal World-Wide Aviation Consulting, a firm that found jobs to many veterans and ferried aircraft from North America to 39 countries. In the 50’s, his company World-Wide Airways played a key role in massive airlift operations for Hollinger Ungava Transport and the DEW LINE, using Canso, C-46, DC-4, Lancaster, etc. In the 60’s, World-Wide Airways flew livestock and food to US-embargoed Cuba, as well as chartered operations carrying European immigrants back to their countries of origin for visits, using Super-Constellations. Retired, he wrote 12 books, many of them telling the story of his exciting career.
1942 : King’s Commandation
1944 : Order of the British Empire