About Christopher Weicht
Chris Weicht, the son of an R.A.F. officer and former journalist, was born at London, England in 1935. He spent the war years in several boarding schools and refugee homes after surviving the bombing of his home in Coventry.
In 1948 Christopher immigrated to Vancouver, Canada with his parents who eventually settled on forty acres in rural Port Coquitlam, B.C. where his father found employment as the editor of two Fraser Valley newspapers.
In 1949 he joined an Air Cadet Squadron in New Westminster where he rose through the ranks to Warrant Officer and in 1952 he was presented his wings on completion of a flight training scholarship. In 1953 he enlisted in the R.C.A.F. at Jericho Beach, Vancouver and later served at R.C.A.F. Station Comox.
In 1956 Chris was hired by Pacific Western Airlines and served on D.E.W. Line operations in the Northwest Territories where his first chief pilot was aviation pioneer, Stan McMillan. Later he moved to multi-engine operations under the tutelage of Sheldon Luck.
A vision problem caused Chris to temporarily leave aviation in 1960 but he utilized this time to advance his education and four years later the commerce graduate was hired in a management position with an oil company in Vancouver.
The desire to return to aviation was strong but Department of Transport medical staff was unrelenting. Chris was advised to apply to the United States for an F.A.A. licence. This application was successful and he immediately obtained employment as a pilot with Cascade Aircraft of Bellingham, Washington, flying on U.S. Forest Service operations.
In 1967 he was successful in an appeal to reinstate his Canadian medical and was hired by Caribou Air Charter as base manager at Dawson Creek and Fort St. John on a contract with the British Columbia Forest Service.
Chris Returned to the B.C. coast in 1971 as a pilot for Air West Airlines and other charter airlines and in 1978 he became Chief Pilot for a corporate aviation department.
In 1980 he became an instructor for an Air Cadet Squadron at Abbotsford, B.C. and in 1982 he was promoted to Captain and became the Commanding Officer. In 1983 he founded a scholarship program that gave young people an opportunity to experience the joy of flying. The Ultra Light Flight Training Scholarship was awarded to 65 teenagers, many of whom are now actively employed in aviation.
By 1984 an economic slowdown resulted in the closure of the flight department that employed Chris and he was subsequently hired as Chief Pilot and Operations Manager for a First Nations airline based in Bella Bella and Vancouver, B.C. This small airline grew from a single deHavilland Beaver to both VFR and IFR operations utilizing Beaver, Aztec, Navajo, Beech 99, and DC-3 aircraft.
In 1987 he joined ALC Airlift as Chief Pilot IFR operations and flew charters throughout North America. During this time, his son, Andrew Weicht, served with him as Co-pilot. In the early 1990?s Chris returned to support the Air Cadet movement serving for three summers at C.F.B. Penhold Alberta as a tow plane officer pilot on the cadet glider program.
At this time Chris became aware of plans to permanently close the military base at Jericho Beach in Vancouver. Chris contacted Colonel Crober, the Chief of Staff B.C. District with respect to writing a history of the long-standing military presence at Jericho Beach.
Captain Christopher Weicht was appointed a Special Projects Officer and dispatched to Ottawa to carry out preliminary research. He received substantial support from both Air Command and Land Forces Western Region. In 1997 Jericho Beach and the West Coast Flying Boat Stations was published and was an instant success with over 5000 copies in print. Subsequently Air Command honored Chris by appointing him an Associate Air Force Historian.
In 1995, at age sixty, Chris allowed his instrument flight licence to lapse but took a position in the Queen Charlotte Islands, flying a deHavilland Beaver in support of logging activities. He later moved to the central Vancouver Island area where he continued flying Beavers for a Nanaimo-based airline. In 2001 Chris relocating to Roberts Creek, about thirty miles north of Vancouver, where he flew float planes part-time for Coast Western Airlines until 2002. At age sixty-seven, with over 17,000 flying hours, he retired from commercial aviation but still instructed Air Cadets at a local squadron.
After joining a local flying club, Chris celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his first solo flight on September 27, 2002, with a flight above the coastal mountains near Garibaldi Lake, B.C. In retirement he now concentrates his efforts writing a seven-volume tome entitled Air Pilot Navigator.
Chris Weicht travels extensively throughout British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Alaska giving lectures and slide shows on the subject of his first love, the rich aviation heritage and history of the Pacific North West.
Chris always has time to talk about aviation history and may be contacted at home at 604-886-6877 or email at email@example.com.
Chris will be at the Tumbler Ridge Library on Tuesday July 15th. Call the Library at 242-4778 for more information.