Alberta Pilot who started own Airline honoured by Aviation Hall of Fame

Jim McBride’s induction to Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame came 65 years after his first days in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Everything since then — serving overseas, investing in his First Plane, becoming President of his own Airline — had culminated in this, one of the highest honours possible for Canadian Airmen and Women.

“It was just unbelievable,” McBride said of the June 4 ceremony at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. “For a kid that grew up on a farm in Alberta, to end up with that was pretty good.”

McBride bought a plane while still in the RCAF, racking up 200 hours of flight to earn a Commercial Licence. Then he sold that Aircraft, and combined the money with his Air Force severance pay to buy the Piper P18 Super Cub he’d use to start Midwest Aviation Ltd. in 1956. He was in his twenties.
Aviator Jim McBride and his wife Ruth pose in front of the First Aircraft they bought in 1953. McBride used the plane to get enough hours for a Commercial Flying License, then started his first company, Midwest Aviation Ltd.  

In November 1969, the company merged with Transair to become Transair Ltd., with Jim at the helm as president. The company kept expanding until it had a fleet of 80 Aircraft, including 16 Helicopters, and over 700 Employees. It had flight routes all across Canada, even offering vacation charters to Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico from Toronto.

“We ended up not doing too badly,” McBride said with a laugh.

McBride now has an investment company called IMS Ltd. and sold his Transair shares in 1973. His former employees and colleagues nominated him for the honour.

‘I have known Jim McBride for over 50 years,” wrote Douglas Fletcher, retired senior vice-president of operations for CN Rail.

“From his early days through the creation of Midwest Aviation to the merger with Transair, he demonstrated his love for the industry, a keen business sense, a vision of the future in Aviation and a total commitment to air safety.”

Jim McBride receives his certificate of membership to the Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame from retired Lt. Colonel Maryse  Carmichael, the first woman to fly as a pilot with the Snowbirds, and hall of fame chairman Tom Appleton. The ceremony took place June 4, 2015 at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

His partner through it all has been his wife, Ruth. When they met in Ottawa in 1952, both were serving in the RCAF and McBride was about to be deployed overseas. The pair were married within 10 days.

In all his years flying, McBride was never involved in an accident. He insists that he never had a close call, either. 

“I lost an engine once, but that was OK,” he said.

“It was a twin engine Airplane, so we went in and landed with no problems.”


Eesha Rohida [ MBA Mktg ]
Aviation News Editor