CP Air Collectibles

Because CP Air no longer exists and hasn’t existed for over 20 years now, the amount of collectible items available relating to the now defunct airline is not very large. Sure the full history of Canadian Pacific airlines goes back farther than the CP Air era but compared to other giant historic airlines like Pan Am & American, the fan interest in CP is much more likely to be a lot smaller and specialized being it a relatively obscure Canadian airline who only a lucky few may have flown.
For many years the only real CP Air collectible you could obtain was by building it yourself in the form of a model airplane. Plastic & resin model kits have been around along time and are of late becoming a dying hobby and art form but true enthusiasts are still around. It was as simple as buying yourself the correct model airplane and the proper decals and paint, the rest was up to you. There were an infinite number of model kits and decal kits available so you could pretty much make any CP Air model you’d like. After that there wasn’t much else.

Nowadays high quality and detailed diecast metal model planes have become extremely popular amongst collectors. Many companies are now producing entire fleets of planes from airlines past and present including of course, CP Air. Some of the companies that have produced CP Air collectible jets in various scales that I know of are: Inflight, Aeroclassics, Corgi, SkyJets, Gemini Jets, Herpa & Dragon Wings. Currently all of CP Air’s planes have been represented with their orange, red and silver paint schemes and special additions (Expo 86 & Montreal Expo logos). Models of course are a highly collectible reminder of the good old days but at your local aviation hobby shop you may get lucky to find other CP Air specific products for sale such as a custom made model, picture/print/poster or even a hat, pin, t-shirt or luggage tag commemorating the airline. There were also several books written about Canadian Pacific Airlines. One very good one but long out of print is D.M. Bain's "Canadian Pacific Airlines - It's History & Aircraft". More recently Peter Pigott's tribute entitled “Wing Walkers - The Rise and Fall of Canada’s Other Airline (Harbour Publishing) details the history of Canadian Pacific Airlines and obviously covers the CP Air era of 1968 to 1986. This book can still be ordered through various retailers or the publisher.

Canadian Aviation June 1977 - A Loveable David Among Goliaths

CP Air Memorabilia

Collecting of airline memorabilia has (pardon the pun) really taken off over the last few years. With large and small airline coming and going all the time there seems to be an infinite number of things you can collect and the amount of people collecting it keeps on growing. Just as railroad memorabilia has increased in value over the years, so has airline memorabilia now that collecting it has become more popular and many rare items can fetch a high price on sites like eBay and at collector shows. Since the beginning of passenger airline service in 1914 up until now airlines have produced, sold and given out many different items that could be classified as related memorabilia, usually with their company logo or name attached to it for information, sales, employment, marketing or operational purposes. They could be as small or meaningless as a swizzle stick, napkin, ticket or timetable or they might be as important or rare as a pilot’s wings, airline uniforms, art or even part of an actual plane! Memorabilia of CP Air comes in all different forms. There were many items produced for this airline for passengers and workers as well as items for advertising purposes. Often CP Air had promotional tie-ins with other divisions of Canadian Pacific such as CP Hotels or CP Rail. CP Air played a role as corporate sponsor to various events such as Expo 86 in Vancouver and the 1976 Olympics in Montreal which also would have produced many items worth collecting.

If you'd like to see or experience some real live memorabilia you might want to visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau Quebec Canada (near Ottawa). There they have an exhibit in Canada Hall called Pacific Gateway's Winged Empresses where it is designed as a full scale reproduction of a lounge in Vancouver International Airport in the late 1960s and uses some of the airport's actual fittings, such as two upholstered benches. Seated in the lounge, Museum visitors will be able to scan the Vancouver skyline, see virtual visitors traipse by, and admire period pieces that include a model of a DC-8 jet, a flight attendant's uniform and travel posters.

While CP Air primarily served Canada they had a very strong presence in Asia and the Pacific Rim and for that matter all over the world so the memorabilia available out there to collect is scattered throughout the globe.

CP Air in Flight International

This is a 6 page article that appeared in the March 26th 1976 edition of the U. K. aviation magazine, Flight International. Click to enlarge.

CP Air Virtual Airlines

It has been over 20 years now since you could have flown with CP Air, the airline’s big orange jets long gone but not forgotten. A few storied existing airlines these days sometimes wax nostalgia and paint a few of their current fleet’s aircraft with throwback liveries, a marketing move that allows their passengers or airline buffs the chance to fly in an old paint scheme. Air Canada, the current holder of CP Air’s trademarks and branding has not decided to do this yet but I’m sure they’ve received a few letters over the years. What a thrill it would be to fly in one of those big beautiful orange jets again, even if it wasn't quite the real thing.

While you may not be able to ever fly in one of those planes ever again for real, through the magic of technology you just might get as close as you can and even fly the plane yourself, virtually. Since its initial release back in 1979, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator program has come along way in allowing aviation fans to feel what it might really be like sitting in the cockpit of and flying various types of planes, including airliners. Over the last few years especially advancements in computer processing and graphics have if you can pardon the pun, elevated the experience of virtual flight. A huge flight sim community surrounds Flight Simulator and various user created custom features including detailed aircraft and paint schemes can be added to the experience and CP Air is well represented.

In 2005 some flight simulator, aviation and CP Air enthusiasts banded together to form their own CP Air Virtual Airlines which furthers the realism by trying to simulate as close as possible the real world workings of CP Air. They fly the same aircraft and routes the airline did back when they operated and also use present day aircraft and a modern schedule under the CP Air flag to keep things interesting. It is all there except maybe for those deliciously famous in-flight meals. If you are a flight sim pilot and interested in joining the first class CP Air Virtual Airlines community then definitely check out the website at www.cpairva.com. All the fleet data & specifications on this site is provided courtesy of CP Air Virtual Airlines.

CP Air Memories

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for looking over my little homage to CP Air i hope it brought back some fond memories or interested you in some way. I'd also like to extend an invitation to you, to leave a comment here and maybe relate some personal memories or experiences you may have had with CP Air for everyone to read, especially if you happen to be a "Pionair".
If you'd like to share the memory of CP Air, please help spread the word about this site and submit this site's link to any related aviation websites, forums or search engines and help keep the memories flying!

This picture of a CP Air 737 with a rainbow behind it, is somewhat of a famous photo amongst fans and employees of the airline and I'd thought i would share the photographer's memory of taking it. The picture was shot by Joe Muff and he writes:

"In August of 1979 i photographed a CP Air 737 in the orange livery, rolling off the active runway 31L and taxiing onto the ramp at Whitehorse Airport in the aftermath of a fairly violent rain squall. If memory serves me correctly, the 737 had to do a missed approach / go-around on its initial landing attempt due to excessive wind shear from the overhead cell.

At the time, this incident also delayed a prompt landing by our own smoke patrol aircraft, a small twin engine machine operated by Alkan Air under contract to Yukon Forestry, which was getting tossed around in that ugly cell upstairs and wanted to get the hell on to some firm ground as soon as possible.

I waded out onto the tarmac in a good 1/2" of standing rain water with my little 35mm Rollei camera and photographed a number of helicopters on the ramp and when the 737 came into perfect position i took this shot with Kodachrome 64 slide film.

Back in those days, a person could actually wander around the ramp without being immediately slapped into irons. The only place that was definitely off limits was the active runway."

The photograph, the best of several taken by Joe that day became so popular the rights to it were acquired by CP Air's Whitehorse office in June of 1985 and made available to employees for purchase.