Gander, Canada!!

Another one out of the old cabinet, vault whatever, this is way from the beginning of visiting France with my now dear lafe wife Martine from Florida. Always looking for a inexpensive way to travel with the whole family and do so every year since 1990 to 2002 when finally came to live permanently in France in 2003 as already French citizens. Memories forever!! Hope you like the story as we do.

We were registered at the French consulate in Miami as French citizens and partipated in its activities thru Miami Accueil. One of the niceties of belonging is that French families living there (about 8K in all of Florida) looking for ways to visit the country the least expensive possible as the goings and comings were frequent. One of the ideas was to charter a flight by the group and passed on the good prices to us. So therefore we got on Rich International airlines (now gone) and took a charter flight to Paris Orly airport at less than 400 dollars per person!!! The trick it landed for refueling at Gander, Canada. Sot here is the story of this spot on earth, I can call it I WAS HERE!

By the way for any French reader of this post, the Miami Accueil is still there! Here is the webpage: Miami Accueil Miami Florida

Gander is a town located in the northeast of the island of Newfoundland in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador,Canada; about 40 km south of Gander Bay.  The territory of the city is home to the Gander International Airport, a former major stopover for the refueling of transatlantic flights and still houses a military air base, as well as an air control center, attached to the Gander Oceanic Control Center. The activity of the city is very linked to this airport which was created in the 1930s .

Some titbits of information gathered from the town’s webpage which I like as history is good to know are

Nearly all of Gander’s streets are named for famous aviators, from the Wright brothers, Alcock and Brown, Lindbergh and Earhart, to more modern pioneers like Canadian astronauts Marc Garneau, Roberta Bondar and Chris Hadfield. It hosted early experiments in aerial refuelling in the late 1930s. The decidedly low-tech system of the day required some brave soul to lean out of the target plane with a large hook and try to snag a fuel line dangling from a tanker flying in close formation overhead. In the early years of the supersonic transport Concorde, while most nations still refused to allow the futuristic craft into their airspace, Gander successfully lobbied to host cold-weather avionics testing. Two prototypes were based at Gander International two years before Concorde’s first commercial flight!.  The runways at Gander International Airport routinely handle the world’s largest, fastest and heaviest aircraft, up to and including the Russian Antonov An-225. Due to its strategic location and runway capacity, Gander was a designated alternate landing site for NASA’s Space Shuttle program! At the time of its completion in 1938, the then ‘Newfoundland Airport’ was the largest airfield on the planet, with four huge paved runways covering a combined area of one square mile.

Gander is the site of North America’s only Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery as well as a nice museum would love to visit the North Atlantic Aviation Museum: where you learn all about Gander’s strategic role in the world of aviation and its important role in WWII and beyond. More here: North Atlantic Aviation Museum

The Gander International Airport Authority Inc. is the official authority of the airport main office at 1000 James Boulevard P.O. Box 400 Gander, NL, Canada.  According to their site there are only four airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing Airlines and Pal Airlines. More info here: Gander International Airport

GAnder

Gander International Airport (IATA: YQX, ICAO: CYQX) is the official name of the airport, and is operated by the Gander International Airport Authority. Canadian Forces Base Gander shares the airfield but is a separate entity from the airport. Construction of the airport began in 1936 and it was opened in 1938. Within a few years it had four runways and was the largest airport in the world. Its official name until 1949 was Newfoundland Airport.

Gander

The Canadian federal government changed the name to Gander Airport after Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. It opened the current passenger terminal in 1959. On 16 September 1945 the first transatlantic proving flight, a Pan Am (I worked for them in Miami!) DC-4, departed Gander for Shannon in western Ireland On 24 October 1945, the first scheduled commercial flight, an American (my school chairman was co founder in 1934) Overseas Airlines DC-4, passed through Gander. Gander is near the great circle route between North America and Europe. Starting in the 1940s it was a refueling stop for transatlantic flights and continued in this role through the early 1960s and in some cases into the 1990s.

Gander

With the advent of jets with longer range in the 1960s, most flights no longer needed to refuel. Gander has decreased in importance, but it remains the home of Gander Control, one of the two air traffic control centrers (the other being Shanwick Oceanic Control in western Ireland) which direct the high-level airways of the North Atlantic. Most aircraft travelling to and from Europe or North America must talk to at least one of these air traffic controls.

Gander

During the Cold War, Gander was notable for the number of persons from the former Warsaw Pact (I was part of it young boy) nations who defected there including Soviet chess player and pianist Igor Vasilyevich Ivanov, Cuban Olympic swimmer Rafael Polinario and the Vietnamese woman famously photographed as a naked girl fleeing a napalmed village, Phan Thi Kim Phuc. It was one of the few refueling points where airplanes could stop en route from Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union to Cuba.

On September 11, 2001, with United States airspace closed because of the terrorist attacks, Gander International played host to 38 airliners, as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon. Gander International received more flights than any other Canadian airport involved in the operation apart from Halifax.

Officials at Gander International Airport have stated that the future for the airport is grim unless the Canadian Federal government provides funding to cover costs. Over 50% of all aircraft operating from the air field are military, and do not pay landing fees The terminal building built in the 1950s and noted for its modernist design and heritage architecture still includes many of its original furnishings and fixtures. In 2017, the airport announced the existing terminal would instead be renovated and downsized .

A BBC Video showing Gander passed world leaders and celebraties of our world interesting me think: BBC video on people faces at Gander

The city of Gander on its history here: City of Gander on its history

And there you go folks ,another corner of the world yours truly has partake; never amazes me our wonderful world. We find ways where there is none and continue to enjoy travel as a free men, Gander is an example of it thru the years and hosting a family wishing to reach France inexpensively and together. Gander is for the memories, never forgotten. The pictures are old from paper photos maybe blurry but worth a million showing my family in flight. Hope you enjoy the post on Gander, Newfoundland, Canada!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: