How RAPCAN got its start!Bob McRae

It all began with the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association - Retired. Who started CALPA (R)? Air Canada Captain - RCAF Squadron Leader - Vancouver Streetcar Motorman, Bob McRae - that's who!

The years passed rapidly, and AC and CPA pilots started reaching retirement age. Many false starts were made with regard to associations for retired airline pilots. Frank Smythe made a try out of Vancouver. Bill Marr made similar efforts in Toronto. The early efforts were all slanted towards individual airline associations, as had been the ongoing case in the USA. Bill Marr was a driving force and very definitely deserves credit for the on going work he did on behalf of getting CALPA (R) up and running.

To get it started, Captain McRae (at his own expense) went to Atlanta to meet with Delta retired association members and those of Eastern Airlines. Next he wrote over sixty retired members, asking them for their interest in the formation of such an organization. Miraculously, he got nearly 100% responses, even from Bob Smuck away down in New Zealand.

In 1975, he asked for and got a meeting with Captains Ken Maley and Bruce Yake, President and First Vice President of CALPA. They were most receptive to his proposals. Captain Bruce Yake, in a letter to Captain McRae dated September 10, 1975, requested Captain McRae accept the project to establish CALPA (R).

The founding meeting of CALPA (R) was held on the final afternoon of the CALPA Convention in Montreal on November 25, 1976. At that meeting Captain John Wright reviewed the resolution that brought Captain Bob McRae from retirement to organize CALPA (R) and then asked him to take the chair. Capt. F.E.W. Smith was elected the first President and Capt. Bob McRae the lst. Vice President, Capt. Bert Birch, 2nd VicePresident.

The first CALPA (R) Annual General Meeting was held in Anaheim, California on November 20, 1977. Captain F.E.W. Smith in his President's Report stated "I hope a great many similar reports will follow in the years to come, that our organization will flourish as the medium through which men who have spent their working lives in the air will continue their lifelong associations and friendships. I believe there is a need for this. A pilot's job is different from most occupations, being in part employment and in part a deep involvement in aviation and airplanes. Other people do not comprehend our way of life too clearly, we relate best to each other, and now that we are too old to drive through the high skies we should come together from time to time to enjoy our unique fraternity."

In 1996, after the breakup of CALPA into the Air Canada Pilots Association and the Air Line Pilots Association - International, in order to represent all airline pilots in Canada, RAPCAN came into being.

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