Jean-Émile Bisson
2004

Pilot

Following along the lines of his older brother Louis, Jean-Émile Bisson entered aviation in 1937. He soloed at the age of 17, after only three and a half hours of flying instruction. On February 21, 1938, he received his private pilot licence. Then, with less than 15 flying hours and barely speaking any English, Bisson achieved a 4000 km flight between Ottawa and Whitehorse, in a frail Fleet Finch biplane. In Yukon, Bisson was to become a pilot for the northern missions of Bishop Jean-Louis Coudert. En route for Chapleau, young Jean-Émile had to switch from wheels to floats… and learn by himself to fly a seaplane. During World War II, Jean-Émile Bisson made radio-aid survey flights along the Alaska Highway. He also served as instructor in Dorval and ferried bombers to Europe and Africa in the RAF Ferry Command. Postwar, Jean-Émile worked in South America, first for Alberto Dodero, owner of Argentina’s largest shipping fleet, then as private pilot for Evita Peron, the famous wife of the Argentinian President. He became chief pilot at “Linea Aeropostal Venezolana”, flying Constellations over a period of four years between Caracas, Havana and New York, and also to Lima in Peru.

As an air safety specialist, he visited most of the ICAO member countries, travelling to all parts of the world.

In 1952, he joined the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), being posted to Beirut and Tunis. As an air safety specialist, he visited most of the ICAO member countries, travelling to all parts of the world. For instance, during a brief stay in his native Hull in July 1960, Bisson indicated to journalists that he was scheduled to fly the next month to Saudi Arabia, do a Middle-East tour, go on to Pakistan, and most likely spend Christmas… in Vietnam! In the late 1960’s, Jean-Émile Bisson was detached to serve as aeronautical consultant in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Leaving ICAO in 1968, he joined Canadair for which he worked for sixteen years in marketing, especially in Europe and Northern Africa on the CL-215 Water Bomber program.

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