Gore Bay pilot marks 50 years flying

Perry Wilson and one of the planes he flies now as a corporate pilot.

PONOKA, ALBERTA – Perry Wilson, originally of Gore Bay, marked 50 years of flying on December 22, 2019, in Ponoka, Alberta.

In 1969, 16-year-old Perry started pilot ground school in Gore Bay with six Gore Bay men. Barrie Island pilot Oliver Runnalls relates that the Gore Bay group lost their instructor part-way through ground school, so young Perry, who had mastered the material already, instructed the other students to complete ground school. All of the group completed their flying lessons and earned their Private Pilot’s Licences, even changing the instruction plane before completing the lessons.

Unfortunately for the other men, none of them flew after earning their licence, recounts Mr. Runnalls. But young Wilson’s licence was issued on December 22, 1969, two days after he turned 17 (the minimum age for a Private Pilot’s Licence), and he has been flying ever since, owning a series of light planes.

Mr. Wilson retired as an optometrist in Ponoka and started flying as a corporate pilot. He now flies several twin turbo-prop planes all over North America. He has logged over 10,000 hours of flying and is still winging his way over the country.

Mr. Wilson and his wife Patricia are summer residents of Manitoulin at their property on Tobacco Lake. His father Clare and mother Violet were both pilots, flying from Gore Bay to provide optometric services to far-flung communities in Northern Ontario. Older brother Tim was also a pilot and son Ben is as well. Lately his brother Mark Wilson of Tobacco Lake has earned his licence, with inspiration from big brother Perry.

Congratulations to Gore Bay lad Perry Wilson who has been flying for 50 years so far.