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The Victoria Standard - - Front Page -

Ter­rance Mac­don­ald's ac­count of Canada's avi­a­tion be­gin­nings takes flight

Thanks to re­tired com­mer­cial air­line pi­lot and avi­a­tion au­thor Ter­rance Mac­don­ald, passersby the Sil­ver Dart sign at the base of the Alexan­der Graham Bell Na­tional His­toric Site (AGBNHS) drive­way no longer have cause to ques­tion Cana­di­ans’ knowl­edge of their own avi­a­tion his­tory.

While at­tempt­ing to pur­sue archival re­search at the AGBNHS for his lat­est book, Firsts in Flight: Alexan­der Graham Bell and His In­no­va­tive Air­planes (For­mac Pub­lish­ing) Mac­don­ald made a dis­cov­ery.

“I was at the end of the drive­way of the Bell Mu­seum. I took my cell phone out to take a pic­ture of the road sign that has the Sil­ver Dart on it. As I looked through the lens, I had an ‘oh my god mo­ment’. I re­al­ized it wasn’t the Sil­ver Dart. It was a pic­ture of the Wright Broth­ers' air­plane.”

He let mu­seum staff know, who quickly rec­ti­fied the mis­take. His as­tute­ness was re­warded with ac­cess to mu­seum ar­chives where he fi­nal­ized his re­search.

Firsts in Flight cap­tures the years between 1907 and 1910 when Bell, wife Ma­bel, and col­leagues - Thomas Sel­fridge, Glenn Cur­tiss, J. A. D. Mccurdy and F.W. Bald­win - formed the Aerial Ex­per­i­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (AEA) and worked at a fever­ish pace to get an air­plane in the air.

In the early stages of re­search, Mac­don­ald en­coun­tered a quote by Ma­bel Bell that bol­stered his con­fi­dence in tak­ing up the project.

“My feel­ing would be to have some­one write it from his own field of fas­ci­na­tion and do it for his own plea­sure,” wrote Ma­bel Bell.

This bless­ing from the past co­in­cided with a unique writ­ing prompt as­signed by Mac­don­ald’s Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity writ­ing in­struc­tor Paul Macdougall: write about some­thing that is al­ready known, but not as well-known as it could be.

Mac­don­ald got right to work writ­ing about what he is most pas­sion­ate about.

Firsts in Flight is full of rev­e­la­tions about a mo­ment in Canada’s avi­a­tion his­tory that could only be writ­ten by some­one who “loves air­planes, avi­a­tion and Cape Bre­ton”.

With Christ­mas just around the corner, this is just the gift for air­plane en­thu­si­asts.

To pur­chase a copy, visit For­mac Pub­lish­ing at www. for­mac.ca.

Au­thor Ter­rance Mac­don­ald signs copies of his new book, Firsts in Flight: Alexan­der Graham Bell and His In­no­va­tive Air­planes, at an Indigo book­store.

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