Speaker Details

Speaker:Gord Bain - Helicopter Pilot
Topic:Brief history of the Ontario Government’s Air Service known as the ‘Yellowbirds’.

Gord Bain - 45 years in the Canadian aviation industry and 30 years with the OMNRF’s (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) Aviation and Fire Management branch. Gord is a 15,000-hour Airline-Transport-rated helicopter pilot having worked across Canada - but primarily in Ontario. Gord Bain - Helicopter Pilot

The Ontario Yellowbirds

In 1924, the government of Ontario set up a provincial air service to replace forest fire detection by canoe and foot patrols. Based at Sault Ste. Marie, the service's aircraft became known as the "Yellowbirds" because of their yellow and black colours. The Yellowbirds detected fires, transported fire fighters and supplies and, from the 1950s on, pioneered the use of water bombers in battling wilderness blazes. Over the years the service also provided aerial support for mapping, wildlife management, regulatory compliance and other provincial programs. In performing so many functions across a vast territory, the Yellowbirds grew into one of the largest non-commercial air services in the world.