By Lethbridge Herald on January 7, 2020.
GoFundMe campaign looking to purchase Time Air aircraft and return it to city
A group of local airplane enthusiasts is hoping to bring Lethbridge’s aviation past full circle.
The Time Air Historical Society has started a GoFundMe campaign to purchase one of the last original Time Air Fokker F-28s still in existence, and is hoping to raise just over $10,000 to bring the aircraft back to Lethbridge.
“Time Air originated after Air Canada pulled service from Lethbridge,” explains Rik Barry, chair of the Time Air Historical Society. “They were founded right here by (Walter) ‘Stubb’ Ross. They served Lethbridge and area from 1966 until approximately 1992 when they were folded into Canadian Regional. Right before Time Air became part of Canadian Regional, they were the largest regional airline in Canada. They served Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and they flew into two international destinations of Seattle, Washington, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.”
“Time Air was one of the largest employers in Lethbridge,” he adds, “and it was a huge blow to the city losing the corporate head offices when they were relocated to Calgary with the rebranding of Canadian Regional.”
The aircraft (listed as C-FTAV) is currently decommissioned and stored in Saskatoon. It was retired when Air Canada bought out Canadian Regional in the late 1990s. It was originally purchased in 1991 as part of the “Silver Bullet” fleet to mark the 25th anniversary of Time Air in Lethbridge, and is one of just over 100 first editions of the aircraft produced by now defunct aviation company Fokker.
“It is a rare aircraft,” confirms Barry. “The aircraft will not have engines — that’s part of the reason the purchase price is so low. Other than the engines, all parts will be made available to us.”
The salvage company which has carriage over the aircraft has given the Time Air Historical Society until Jan. 31 to come up with the funds to purchase the Fokker F-28; thus the urgency of the GoFundMe campaign, says Barry.
“It’s imperative we raise money,” he states. “We only have a few weeks left to get the money together.”
Unfortunately, the swiftness of events and timeline demands from the salvager have left the Time Air Historical Society, which is a registered non-profit, unable to get its charitable status registered on time, and donations will not be tax deductible, says Barry.
Barry hopes those with a love of Lethbridge aviation history, and a desire to see this landmark aircraft returned to the city, will not be inhibited by this fact.
“There is something magical about a commercial plane,” he explains. “It may not be as exciting as a military plane, but they served very well for what they did. And there isn’t much of anything left for displays of two companies (that built these planes). Fokker folded about 1996, and Irish company Short Brothers, which built the wings, have been sold to Spirit AeroSpace by Bombardier; so Short’s isn’t in existence anymore. And, of course, Time Air is not in existence anymore … Every last bit of this history is going to be blown away if we don’t support this campaign.”
Those interested in supporting the Time Air Historical Society GoFundMe campaign can donate at http://www.gofundme.com/f/saving-cftav-fokker-f281000-sn11106.
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