Fox Moth at Redrock - Click to return to the art of Robert Bradford


Nov. 22, 1921: Maxwell William Ward is born in Edmonton. He grows up with stories of the early bush pilots - the most exciting people in the world in his eyes. Not very interested in school, Ward spends his later high school years counting the days until he can join the air force to pursue his dream of flying.
1940: Ward joins the Royal Canadian Air Force. His first flight on an aircraft - as a passenger - is commemorated with the loss of his "poise, courage and breakfast." His airsickness isn't a one-time occurrence, but Ward doesn't let it deter him from flying.
Nov. 2, 1941: Ward gets his wings with top marks. However, much to his disappointment, the high marks mean he will be posted for instructor training - not as a fighter pilot overseas, as he wanted.
June 28, 1944: Ward marries Marjorie Doretha Skelton - the woman he decided to marry upon first sight of her at age 17. She was 16.
1945: At the end of the Second World War, Ward leaves the air force to pursue his dream of flying in the bush, an area he'd never been to before. He joins Northern Flights Limited.
June 1946: Ward decides to strike out on his own and forms Polaris Charter Company Limited. The plan is to fly material for prospectors looking for gold into the mining camps around Yellowknife.
July 1946: Ward buys his first aircraft, a single-engine biplane, a Fox Moth, for $10,000, with help from family, friends and the bank. He crashes it on his first flight - taking it back to Yellowknife.
May 1947: Ward's troubles with the Air Transport Board (ATB) begin. He's forced to shut down after being told that he can't fly without a commercial license issued by the board. Ward begins a partnership with another pilot and his airline Yellowknife Airways.
Oct. 1949: Ward packs up his belongings and heads back to Alberta with his wife and children after a series of misfortunes: his house burns down, his Fox Moth is destroyed (also killing the pilot flying it at the time), and his partnership breaks down. Ward decides that he just isn't cut out to be a bush pilot and sets out to make a living building houses in Lethbridge.
May 1951: Paying heed to "an aching in [his] heart that would not stop," Ward heads back to Yellowknife to be a pilot for Associated Airways. This time, he's determined not to let any kind of hardships drive him out of the North again.
Nov. 22, 1951: Crashes in the High Arctic (Bathurst Inlet) during bad weather and spends five frigid days in the cold before being rescued.
July 1952: Ward applies to the ATB for a charter license, determined to strike out on his own again. (When Ward heard that his boss at Associated Airways wanted to promote him to manager, Ward avoided him as he planned to start up his own business. As a result, his boss fired him).
May 1953: Ward gets unofficial word that the ATB will approve his second application for a license. His first one was turned down.
June 1, 1953: Ward picks up his first Otter at de Havilland. It costs him $100,000 - about two-and-half times the cost of an average bush plane at the time. But, it is bigger, faster and can carry a much heavier payload. Its distance range is 600 miles (966 kilometres), three times the range of Max's first Fox Moth. It is the first de Havilland Otter to be used commercially in Western Canada and plays a significant role in the development of the North as it can carry 4-by-8 sheets of plywood and 16 foot-long pieces of lumber. It could also easily get into and out of lakes. Max chooses blue, with red and white trimming as his airline's colours.
June 3, 1953: Official approval of a license for Wardair Limited.
June 22, 1961: The company's name is officially changed to Wardair Canada Ltd. to indicate its international intentions.
May 10, 1962: Wardair's first charter passenger flight in southern Canada. The Alberta School Patrol Band is flown from Calgary to Ottawa and back.
June 22, 1962: Wardair's first overseas charter from Edmonton to Copenhagen, Denmark.
Apr. 28, 1966: Wardair takes delivery of its first jet, a Boeing 727. It is the first Boeing jet sold in Canada.
May 5, 1967: One of Wardair's pilots, Don Braun, lands a Bristol freighter at the geographic North Pole. It is the first wheel-equipped aircraft there.
Sept. 18, 1967: Wardair goes public for a much-needed injection of cash.
Dec. 1967: Wardair starts inclusive tours in the U.S. and package tours to Hawaii, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Mar. 25, 1968: The ATB sets new regulations that all charter passengers on Wardair must be verified to have been members of clubs for six months. (Wardair was under what was called the Charter Affinity Rule, which dictated that charter flights could only be sold to groups that could fill the capacity of the plane. Passengers had to be a member of a club for at least six months.) This regulation does not apply to scheduled airlines.
May 10, 1968: Wardair buys a bigger jet, a Boeing 707.
May 1968: Wardair is expelled from the Air Transport Association of Canada (which replaced the ATB) for not abiding by its flying rules. Wardair is later asked to rejoin and is given an honorary life membership in the association.
Jan. 1, 1973: Charter Affinity Rule is abolished.
May 28, 1974: Ward is given the Transportation Man of the Year Award for Alberta. In July, he is inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame.
July 1, 1975: Ward is appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
June 10, 1976: Wardair Canada Ltd.'s name is changed to Wardair International Ltd.
Jan. 1, 1978: Deregulation comes into effect in the U.S.
Aug. 4, 1978: Ward writes Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to point out the inequities toward charter airlines under the rules of Air Transport Association of Canada. By this time, Wardair is Canada's third largest air carrier.
Sept. 14, 1979: Ward is named the 1979 recipient of the Gordon R. McGregor Memorial Trophy for significant deeds in commercial aviation - an irony as it was bestowed on behalf of McGregor, a long-time president of Air Canada and Ward's "bitterest foe".
Oct. 18, 1979: Wardair closes its northern operations.
Feb. 18, 1980: With Transport Minister Don Mazankowski's urging to relax charter regulations, Wardair is allowed to offer domestic charter air services. Wardair makes its first domestic Advanced Booking Charter - Toronto to Vancouver a few months later.
1980 - 1984: Wardair aggressively expands its fleet of aircraft and builds a new workshop and hangar.
Mar. 1985: Wardair is named the world's top chartered airline by Holiday Which?, a British consumer magazine.
May 10, 1985: Wardair gets international scheduled routes between Canada and the United Kingdom.
Mar. 20, 1986: Wardair gets a license for a scheduled service within Canada.
Mar. 1986: Holiday Which? magazine honours Wardair again, this time with the distinction as the world's finest scheduled carrier. This would be repeated the next year.
1987 - 1988: Wardair goes on a buying spree to meet the challenge of a scheduled service. It purchases twelve airbuses and 16 McDonnell-Douglas MD-88s.
Aug. 7, 1987: Canada passes deregulation legislation, nine years after deregulation in the U.S.
May 2, 1989: Wardair is sold to Pacific Western Airlines (the company that owns Canadian Pacific) for about $250 million. Ward and his family get $70 million from the deal. Deregulation comes too late for Wardair. Behind in its reservation systems and laden with heavy debt from the buying spree, Max decides to sell rather than risk bankruptcy.

Max Ward 747-200  C-GXRD