Holt, Wayne

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                                         WAYNE HOLT
                               Blackville Man Builds His Own Air Strip
                                          By Margery MacRae

Wayne Holt is building an air strip behind his home in Blackville. "I knew when I was five years old that I wanted to be a pilot," he said recently after a day of hard work on the project. Holt said he searched for about a year trying to find property in the area on which to build the strip, something he has always wanted to own. "It had to have certain soil and drainage conditions and be fairly level," he said. He finally found the perfect location at Smith's Crossing on the outskirts of Blackville. "I had my own plane a few years ago, but I sold it in 1985. However, I'm planning to get another one soon I think."

Holt said his strip, which he has named Pine Strip, is about 75 percent completed. "I have two runways, one parking area and one taxi. One runway is nearly 30 percent completed. There is also one hangar on the strip.”

Holt and his wife have three children who all share some of their fathers' enthusiasm with flying. His son has flown glider planes and he is interested in learning more, his father said. He has graduated from UNB. A daughter would like to learn to fly a helicopter. She graduated two years ago from Dalhousie University in Halifax with a Bachelor of Science degree. His other daughter is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.

Wayne Holt, who still works with Canadian Pacific, leads a busy life. The day after this interview he was to leave for Toronto where he is based. "On Monday I will be flying to Vancouver, and on Tuesday I will be attending a session on safety equipment. Then on Wednesday I'll be flying out of Sao Paulo, Brazil and will return to Canada on a Thursday midnight flight and I'll be back in Toronto on Friday," he said.

                                        Is That Santa?

One humorous incident Wayne Holt recalls happened on Christmas Eve several years ago when he was flying from Newfoundland to Moncton. "We had quite a few kids on board and the co-pilot and I decided we'd try to entertain them. We got on our public address system and did a little skit for them. "He was EPA109 and I played a reindeer talking to Santa Claus in his sleigh. As we were flying along another plane passed us and the kids thought it was Santa's sleigh. Imagine their excitement," he said and laughed.

On his days off Holt spends a great deal of time on his air strip, although he said planes have been landing there occasionally since last October.

Holt has been a pilot for almost 30 years. He graduated from high school in Medicine Hat, Alberta, 30 years ago. He then joined the Royal Canadian Air Force where he enrolled in the RCAF pilot training program. Following further training in Centralia, Ontario, Holt received his wings in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. "It was while I was stationed at CFB Chatham where I was flying 416 Squadron Voodoos that I met my wife," he said with a smile. Then it was off to Winnipeg where the young pilot was kept busy teaching navigator students attending aviator school.

"I was discharged from the air force in 1977 and joined Pacific Western Airlines in Edmonton, Alberta for a couple of years where I flew cargo planes all over the Arctic. “For six days straight I would be carrying not only cargo (fuel), but also passengers, in and out of the Arctic," he said. His next job was that of an air traffic controller trainee. The training was to last for three months, he said. His next job was with Eastern Provincial Airways (now Canadian Pacific) where he was once again transporting passengers and cargo all over eastern and western North America as well as points in South America.

"I am still employed by CPA, but I'm now flying Boeing 737 and Boeing 767 jets on flights to South America, Europe and Mexico as well as points all over Canada," he said. In June the pilot returned from a three month course overseas. He was also in Vancouver for six weeks for a course on the B767 jets recently.

"Things are a lot different from when I started out 30 years ago," he said, adding that everything is computerized now. The Boeings carry 16 hours of fuel, travel at 550 miles an hour and weigh 407,000 pounds.

Source: Miramichi Leader – September 01, 1993

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