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British Industrial History

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John Alexander Douglas McCurdy

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1910.
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John Alexander Douglas McCurdy (August 2, 1886 – June 25, 1961) was a Canadian aviation pioneer and Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia from 1947 to 1952.

Born in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, he was known as "Douglas". He was schooled at St. Andrew's College in Aurora, Ontario and graduated from the University of Toronto in mechanical engineering in 1906.

In 1907, he joined Alexander Graham Bell's Aerial Experiment Association.

After co-developer Frederick W. Baldwin first flew in 1908, on February 23, 1909, McCurdy became the first person to fly an aeroplane in the British Empire when he piloted the Silver Dart off the ice of Bras d'Or Lake in Nova Scotia.

In 1910, he was the first Canadian to be issued a pilot's license and the following year he made the first flight from Florida to Cuba.

At the beginning of the Second World War, he became Assistant Director General of Aircraft Production. He remained in that position until he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia in 1947.

Douglas McCurdy established the first aviation school in Canada and was the first manager of Long Branch Aerodrome, Canada's first airport. He died in 1961.



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