Article: Phil Garratt is McKee Trophy Winner for 1951

  • Phil Garratt-640x250-copyright

    June, 1952, Canadian Aviation

    Ottawa – Phillip C. Garratt of Toronto, Manager of The de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. and an outstanding figure in Canadian flying and aircraft manufacture for many years, has been awarded the McKee Trans-Canada Trophy for 1951. The McKee Trophy, which dates back to 1927, is presented annually for meritorious service in the advancement of Canadian aviation. The late Dalzell McKee of Pittsburgh, a wealthy aviation enthusiast who made the first trans-Canada flight by seaplane in 1926, donated the trophy. Mr. McKee established the trophy in recognition of the welcome and assistance given him by the RCAF during his flight.

    Mr. Garratt, born in Toronto in 1894, has been associated with flying since 1915 when he soloed at the Curtiss Flying School in Toronto. He won his wings with the Royal Flying Corps the following spring and, after action as a fighter pilot on the western front, served for the remainder of the war as a flying instructor.

    In 1920, he flew as a pilot with Bishop Baker Airplanes on ‘barnstorming’ tours. In 1921, he served as an Air Force instructor at Camp Borden. He later did test flying and ferry work for the Canadian de Havilland Enterprise at Toronto and in 1936 accepted the management of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd.  He has been with that company since then.

    Under his direction and guidance, many British-designed aircraft were modified to meet Canadian requirements. This work culminated in the DH82C, the Tiger Moth, with major Canadian modifications and which the RCAF used as the primary trainer during the Second World War. During the latter part of the war, de Havilland switched from production of the Tiger Moth to assembly of Ansons and then on to production of the world-famed Mosquito.

    Following the war’s end, he guided the company in its production of civil aircraft. First of these was the Fox Moth and then the Canadian designed Chipmunk, a successor to the Tiger Moth. The Chipmunk today is in use by the RCAF for refresher pilot training and is used also in many other countries, being manufactured under license by the parent de Havilland Company in Britain.

    In 1946, de Havilland Aircraft of Canada began manufacture of an aircraft considered by Mr. Garratt before the war and designed to meet the needs of Canadian bush operations. This aircraft, the Beaver, now is in use in Canada and 15 other countries. In 1951, it was entered in a U.S. competition for a liaison aircraft and won by a wide margin. Designated the L-20, it was ordered in large numbers for the U.S. army, the first time in peace time that an aircraft was ever purchased by U.S. defense authorities from sources outside the United States.

    Continuing development of aircraft for Canadian needs, Mr. Garratt inspired and guided development of an aircraft with the performance of the Beaver but with double its payload. Design was begun in January, 1951. The following December the prototype of the new aircraft, called the Otter, made its first test flight.

    This article originally appeared in the June, 1952 edition of Canadian Aviation.

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