Many people have been involved in researching and writing this history of aviation in northern Saskatchewan. The work was begun by John Finch, a longtime aircraft engineer who spent much of his career in northern Saskatchewan. Over the years, John gathered a valuable collection of photographs, slides, film footage, and other materials. He possesses many recollections and experiences and made numerous contacts throughout the aviation industry.
I saw in John's wealth of information a valuable resource for northern schools. I asked John to record for Saskatchewan Education his recollections of northern aviation, interview others in the industry, and provide names of people who would have further information. Now spending his retirement years in Nipawin, John is still busy researching aviation subjects, mostly for museums.
For the next stage of the work, Phil DuFrene, a La Ronge researcher of local history who is himself a pilot, followed up on John's leads and explored the subject further. As well as conducting many interviews, Phil delved into the archives of the provincial newspapers, especially the Prince Albert Daily Herald, for early accounts of incidents and developments in aviation. Phil compiled an initial draft of his research.
The material was then reviewed by Clarence Fairbairn, a writer and editor with Wordstream Associates in Saskatoon, who has worked on other Saskatchewan historical subjects. Clarence helped bring order to the mass of material so far collected.
The final stage was undertaken by Saskatchewan Education's staff in La Ronge. An editorial committee, under my direction, took care of the thousand and one details required to bring the project to completion. Terri Franks checked many of the book's facts and figures and researched and wrote additional material to help bring the book up to the present day. Graham Guest conducted interviews and wrote material for the final chapters, adapted articles he had previously written on the smokejumpers and the air attack system, and organized the photographs. Gerry Weinstein took everyone else's words and polished them into a readable and coherent style. Audrey Mark, of the Pahkisimon Nuye?ah Library System, proof-read the manuscript, provided valuable advice on its form and content, and saw it through the publishing process.
Wings Beyond Road's End was produced in conjunction with the Pahkisimon Nuye? ah, Library System in La Ronge. The library offered support during the development of the book, worked with the staff of Saskatchewan Education to complete the publishing of the book, and distributed the finished product.
The committee wishes to thank the many people who provided information and recollections for this history. It would also like to acknowledge the Prince Albert Daily Herald, the Saskatchewan Archives Board in Saskatoon, and Ray Crone, an aviation historian, for providing historic material and photographs and for granting permission for their use in the book.
Wings Beyond Road's End is intended as a general account of the development of aviation in northern Saskatchewan and does not claim to be a scholarly or exhaustive study. It has not been possible to research all areas of the subject or speak to all those involved in the aviation industry. Many interesting and exciting stories still exist only as oral history. The committee hopes this book will, in a small way, help to make the story of aviation in northern Saskatchewan permanent.
Ray A. McKay, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Education, Northern Division