Ground­ing Avi­a­tion

Re­flect­ing on 25 years of con­tri­bu­tions to the Bea­con

The Beacon (Gander) - - Front page - BY ADAM RANDELL THE BEA­CON

Af­ter 25 years Bea­con colum­nist Frank Tibbo will be re­tir­ing his col­umn.

“She’s com­ing in for a land­ing,” quipped award win­ning Bea­con colum­nist Frank Tibbo, who will be re­tir­ing Avi­a­tion af­ter a 25-year leg.

Ded­i­cated to telling the sto­ries of Gan­der’s his­tory and its con­nec­tion to avi­a­tion, his last col­umn will ap­pear in the May 25 edi­tion.

Hav­ing a habit of col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion and items per­tain­ing to Gan­der, Tibbo felt these in­ter­est­ing and valu­able tid­bits should be prop­erly doc­u­mented.

So he ap­proached then Bea­con ed­i­tor Ger­ald Vokey, who agreed with the con­cept, and on Oct. 14, 1992, his first col­umn was pub­lished.

The in­tro­duc­tory col­umn opened up by en­cour­ag­ing ques­tions from read­ers about avi­a­tion, fol­lowed the next week with a col­umn about pres­sure buildup in the ears when fly­ing.

He’s been a fix­ture with the Gan­der based pub­li­ca­tion ever since, with his col­umn even­tu­ally tran­si­tion­ing into the town’s his­tory and avi­a­tion con­tri­bu­tions.

“I had no idea it would con­tinue for this long, fig­ur­ing a year would be a pretty good run,” Tibbo said. “But ideas kept com­ing up and peo­ple re­sponded well to it.”

And while he doesn’t like re­fer­ring to him­self as a his­to­rian, his col­umn be­came a cor­ner­stone for pre­serv­ing the area’s his­tory.

In shar­ing in­for­ma­tion he had col­lected over the years, pre­par­ing col­umns about his in­ter­views with Gan­der pi­o­neers on a Chan­nel 9 pro­gram called Mile­post 213 – the mile marker from St. John’s to Gan­der along the rail­way track – and mi­cro­film­ing his way through count­less once clas­si­fied doc­u­ments on the air­port dur­ing war time, Tibbo framed to­gether Gan­der’s past.

While some ideas fell to­gether rel­a­tively quick, oth­ers re­quired hours and hours of re­search, but, “Just about ev­ery­thing that I found out I put into col­umns that peo­ple would be able to en­joy read­ing and learn the his­tory.”

His work has been highly re­garded in the his­toric com­mu­nity as well.

Jack Pin­sent, pres­i­dent of the Gan­der Air­port His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, called Tibbo’s re­search and col­umns were a great help to the or­ga­ni­za­tions cause.

“He’s been pro­vid­ing us with in­for­ma­tion and do­ing ar­ti­cles for us over the last num­ber of years,” Pin­sent said. “He’s been a great source of in­for­ma­tion and is al­ways there to be called upon.

“I hope that just be­cause he’s re­tir­ing from the Bea­con, it don’t mean he’s re­tir­ing from con­tribut­ing to the Gan­der Air­port His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.”

Pin­sent added that Tibbo’s col­umns have done a tremen­dous job of keep­ing the pub­lic in­formed.

“With­out the work he’s been do­ing over the years, a lot of that in­for­ma­tion would have been lost,” he said. “His col­umn will be missed for sure.”

How­ever, af­ter two and a half decades, the “oc­to­ge­nar­ian” – a per­son be­tween 80 and 89 years of age – who wouldn’t re­veal his age any fur­ther, feels it’s time to move on.

When all is said and done, Tibbo will have writ­ten ap­prox­i­mately 1,250 col­umns.


Af­ter 25 years, and ap­prox­i­mately 1,250 col­umns, Bea­con colum­nist Frank Tibbo will be re­tir­ing his Avi­a­tion fea­ture. His fi­nal pub­li­ca­tion will be on May 25.

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