Article: He Flies on Business

  • Fleet Fort-RAMWCCopyright
    August, 1946, Aircraft and Airport Magazine
    by W.E. Corfield

    Seeking to establish a precedent in aviation for businessmen, J. F. (Jack) Fawkes, Winnipeg travelling salesman, has embarked in his privately owned aircraft on a Dominion-spanning flight which will see him visit every major airport from Halifax to Victoria. Firmly convinced of the possibilities and advantages offered by air travel in small craft with time and money saved, Jack Fawkes took delivery of his Fleet Canuck at Fort Erie late in May to embark on his personal venture and proved conclusively to all men of business that personal planes are practical.

    The dapper, jaunty salesman, believed to be the first flying executive in Canada, is no newcomer to aviation. He has held his pilot’s licence since 1927 when he flew with the Winnipeg Flying Club. He has placed his experience behind the trip, which will be the first coast-to-coast flight of a post-war light plane.

    Working on a straight commission basis for the Mantle Lamp Company of Toronto, the Westerner calls on his customers in a sales territory stretching from Atlantic to Pacific. The name of his wares – “Aladdin Lamps”—is emblazoned on the nose of his machine in gold letters. The airborne salesman undertook his enterprise with the permission of his company, and contacts firms throughout the country as he has done for the past 13 years. At the same time, he is fulfilling his ambition to further the cause of aviation and personal flying.

    From his centrally located office in Winnipeg, any city in the Dominion is within a few days’ flying time of this enterprising businessman. Ten days after accepting delivery of his ship, Fawkes had put 50 hours on the machine, flying from Fort Erie to Halifax, around the Maritimes and back to Toronto. This journey used to take him two weeks by car and cost him $500. With his aircraft, Fawkes completed the run in five days with expenses reduced $100.

    His Canuck is a special model, completed to his own specifications with hand-rubbed finish, inside sound proofing and complete blind flying panel. Total cost was in the vicinity of $4,500. When asked why he decided on the Canadian-built Fleet in preference to other similar imported models, Fawkes declared emphatically that the Canuck was “the best danged light aircraft on the market.”

    Cruising at 100 miles an hour for five gallons of gasoline, Fawkes’ ship carries him from city to city more rapidly, cheaper and with increased convenience than a type of surface or airline accommodation. And he has tried every means during his years “on the road.”

    Fawkes is keeping a chronological diary of his flight, with pictures and definite information on costs and time to prove to skeptics the reliability and practicability of light aircraft for businessmen. Although his plane is small enough to land in fields close to any centre, Fawkes mainly uses the airports. He deplores the fact that so many medium-sized municipalities have not acquired an airport or even a landing strip. With a boom in aviation inevitable, the flying vendor thinks it imperative that localities provide landing accommodation for visiting aircraft.

    This article originally appeared in the August, 1946, edition of Aircraft and Airport magazine. The photo is of a plane similar to the one Jack Fawkes flew and is from the museum archives.

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