Our BRCM Club has some very interesting members. Brian Harrington is one of them. Brian is an up front, direct, no nonsense type of a guy with a military stature, friendly and approachable.
I first met Brian in 1996 at our Bronte Field as he assembled his Gypsy Moth model. After our introductions, he asked me if I knew Don Pritlove. a fellow recreational parachutist. I said that he is my brother, then we connected. Well, Brian and I were in the RCAF Reserve 424 Squadron at Mount Hope. I was trained as a Munition and Weapons Technician and Brian was an Airframe Mechanic. We then began sharing stories of people we both knew.
A little history: Brian was born, raised and educated (Mohawk College) in Hamilton. He became a MAAC member (2738) in 1956, and built his first model, a Goldberg J-3 Cub. While in the air force (1959-1964), he learned to fly full scale in a PA-18 Super Cub. Also, at this time, Brian was a founding member of the Hamilton Sport Parachute Club. A busy guy!
After the air force, in 1964, Brian became a member of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Chapter 65 and began to build a Corben Junior Ace in his basement. He never finished the Corben and sold it because his wife needed a car for work. Incidentally, Brian bought this same Corben in 2022, then did some upgrading work to make it airworthy. Brian then sold the Corben and bought and is still flying a Vans RV3A. All this time he was still building and flying R/C models with the Hamilton Flying Tigers.
A new interest was offered —- restoring and test flying full scale aircraft with four other guys in Hanger #4 at Mount Hope Airport. These aircraft included Harvards, a Tiger Moth, Boeing Stearmans and other trainer type aircraft.
Brian decided to go BIG TIME and joined Warplane Heritage and began flying Beach 18, Harvards, Chipmunks and other A/C types.
A milestone in Brian’s log book: In 1986, an Air Canada employee, vacationing in Florida, saw a Lockheed L10A airplane with very vague Trans Canada Airlines signage. Upon returning home, he alerted Air Canada management. An investigation determined that this aircraft was one of the first three Trans Canada Airlines planes that flew from Victoria, BC to Seattle, Washington in 1937. It was purchased, flown to Winnipeg and underwent a million dollar renovation. Air Canada contacted Warplane Heritage who recommended Brian to test fly this airplane because no Air Canada pilot was current on this type. Brian spent a week, all expenses paid, in Winnipeg and successfully completed 10 test flights to certify the L10A. WOW!
In 1985, Brian joined our BRCM Club and built some big complex models, i.e., 112 inch Beach 18, 90 inch Hawker Hurricane, etc. He was also instrumental in the 1987 building of our first
paved runway and in 2021, the repair to remove the infamous runway dip.
In 2015, Gary Arthur told Brian I was ready to sell my Turbine Powered Boomerang model. We met at the field, then Brian flew the Boomerang—–he was hooked. Since that flight he has had about 15 turbine models!
Brian builds fast and is a meticulous scale modeler; however they don’t seem to last too long in his hanger. We often see a new model at our field, then hear it has been sold or traded within a couple of weeks. He has lost count of the number of models he bought, built, sold or traded.
So playing pool in his recently renovated games room the other day, it was lots of fun chatting with someone who shares your interests and memories of aviation life!
Good stuff, Brian—–Thanks. Cheers, Ted Pritlove
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