British Columbia, Canada
 Aircraft Companies,
 and Airplanes
ca: 1920's to 2012

Site Index

Aircraft Section Home Page

Airline Companies
Queen Charlotte Airlines
Associated Air Taxi
Conair Aviation Ltd.
BC Air Lines Ltd.

BC Airways Ltd.
Pacific Western Airlines Ltd.
Trans Provincial Airlines Ltd.

Western Straits Air
Westinghouse Airways
Air Caledonia
Canadian Pacific Airlines
Pacific Airways Ltd.

Helicopter Companies
Okanagan Helicopters Ltd.

Transwest Helicopters (1965) Ltd.
Vancouver Island Helicopters
Northern Mountain Helicopters
Quantum Helicopters Ltd.

Aircraft Repair Shops
Associated Aero Services

Aircraft Sales Company
Vancouver Aircraft Sales Ltd.

Airport-Seaplane Bases
Patricia Bay, Catalina Graveyard

Sea Island

Pilots - Owners Bios
Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights
Robert Benjamin "Bob" Gayer
Arthur John "Jack" Moul
Ashton James Ward "Jim" Spilsbury
Ronald F. "Ron" Connelly
Leslie George "Les" Kerr
Francis Russell "Russ" Baker
John Francis "Jack" McMahon
Edward Percy Hector Wells
William Frederick "Bill" Waddington

BA Concord and RAF Red Arrows
May 1985, taken from QE II

Bristol Type 170 Freighter
First Around the World Flight

Corporate Jets
BC Tel-Telus

External Links
(Note- NOT my sites)
Ext links


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Conair Aviation Ltd.

Company started by
Leslie George "Les" Kerr,
President and General Manager.
Operations Manager, K. Barry Marsden.
Directors, Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights, of Vancouver
Ronald "Ron" F. Connelly of Whitehorse.
I was still missing one name, until Dec 23, 2012.

Email from John De Voin's son, Leon De Voin
"My father, John Leslie De Voin,
was the Silent Partner in Conair Aviation Ltd.
Slim Knights and my father were friends.
They started KCR and brought Don Cadenhead and Ron Rogers into the firm.
KCR was subsequently sold to a German Investor.

Slim and my father became founding partners
in Conair Aviation Ltd. , after they sold KCR.
The truth of the matter is that Vic Sellers had stipulated
that Les Kerr had to be the major shareholder of any company formed
through the sale of Skyways Air Services.
Ron Connelly was the largest single investor in the newly formed company.
The real brains of the company was Slim Knights."

Privately owned Company.
In 1984 they had 5 shareholders as described above.

Company incorporated April 1969.

Received their operating licence, Oct 22, 1969.

Red and White were the Company Colors

1984 they had the world's largest
Private Fleet of Air Tankers.
they had a fleet of 50 fixed wing aircraft.
Which included 28 Water Bombers.
these consisted of 9, 4 engine, DC6's
they also had a fleet of 15 helicopters.
Les Kerr was President and General Manager of Conair.
One article claimed he put together the 5 man group,
which bought out the fire control and aerial agricultural interests
 of Skyway Air Services Ltd..
Les was Operations Manager of Skyway for 17 years, at the time.
Skyway was a pioneer fire bombing operator,
based in Langley BC at the time.
It came with 22 single engine planes.

Skyway was formed 23 years prior by Art Seller.
Skyway continued it's flying school,
and Charter Service from Langley BC.
Art Seller, who owned Skyway at the time,
had a stroke, and wanted to eliminate
some of his work load.

Conair purchased 13 Grumman Avengers,
5 Boeing Stearmans, a North American Harvard,
and Skyways no 1 hangar at Abbotsford.

In 1978 Conair acquired subsidiary Frontier Helicopters Ltd.
based in Watson Lake, Yukon.
In 1999 this Rotary Division became Conair Helicopters.

Conair went into the Air Cargo Business,
with Air Cargo Agency, a Toronto freight forwarder.
the new company, Swiftair Cargo.
They filed for a licence early July, 1979,
Flying for the first time on Sept 15, 1980
with 2, DC8's flying in opposite directions across Canada.

They still operate today, ca 2012
but today they are called Conair Group Inc.
celebrating 40 years + in Business.
Still based in Abbotsford, BC, Canada

In the pamphlet above,
Slim Knights told his nephew Grant Walker,
the plane in the top right corner,
was bought to fly, just for fun.
the benefits of Private Ownership,
No Shareholders to answer to.

More of the late 1970's Conair Pamphlet

click on thumbnails to enlarge in new window

5 Original Company Shareholders

Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights

See my Herman Joseph "Slim" Knights
Bio Page

Ronald "Ron" F. Connelly

See my Ronald F. "Ron" Connelly
Bio Page

Leslie George "Les" Kerr

See my
Leslie George "Les" Kerr Bio Page

Kenneth Barry Marsden
b- June 15, 1939 in Vancouver BC
started his aviation career in 1954
with Skyway Air Services
In 1980 he became Vice President and General Manager,
In 1991 he became President and Chief Executive Officer
working for Skyway he would have known Les Kerr

John Leslie De Voin,
the "Silent Partner"

b- Aug 1, 1911 in Hazelton BC
d- Feb 25, 1977, Peace Arch District Hospital, White Rock, BC, age 65

son of Louis Leon De Voin,
b- Waupaca, (Wapuka) Wisconsin, USA
d- Nov 29, 1930, age 55, buried in Smithers BC
and Aileen Loomis, (Spencer?)

Louis was married to Gertrude Evelyn Eveleigh, July 3, 1921 in Smithers,
and she is buried next to him in Smithers,
so possibly Aileen was his 2nd wife?

John married Vera Elsie Harriet Massey, Mar 9, 1931 in Nelson BC
b- July 5, 1903, Selkirk MB
d- July 31, 1990 in Vancouver BC, age 87
divorced June 22, 1959.
She was a School teacher when they married
Daughter of John Massey and Jane Harriot

John's 2nd wife- Madge Josephine York

John De Voin was a Claims Manager for the BC Law Society
In 1950's he lived in Edmonton, worked as an Insurance Adjuster.
In Edmonton his encouragement was part of the reason
Driver Ed was taught in Edmonton Schools.
He was a member of the Kiwanis Club in Edmonton.
In 1961, in Vancouver, he was part of the recovery
of 22 of 24, stolen paintings,
owned by Edward Poole, Edmonton contractor (PCL),
who loaned the paintings to the University of BC,
where they were stolen from in 1959.
The paintings were valued at $30,000 at the time.

External Links
Note- Not my sites,
Links may or may not work in the future.

Conair Group Inc.- Home Page

BC Aviation Hall of Fame

Skyway and Art Seller

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and you want them removed from this site,
please contact me ASAP.
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No Reproduction in Whole or in Part may be made
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 of Doug Gent

Page created by Doug Gent 2016
Created Jan 13, 2012
Revised Mar 16, 2014

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