Inspired by his uncle’s WWI aviation experiences, Melville enjoyed a lengthy career as a pilot. His talent was recognized at just 17 when he received an invite to join the Royal Canadian Air Force training camp in Edmonton. Melville underwent an intensive three-month training regimen aboard the Tiger Moth aircraft in Vernon. Later, he spent six months training on the Avro Anson, a British twin-engine aircraft.
When asked about his favourite aviation moment, Melville replied: “When I received my RCAF Pilot Wings.”
Throughout his career as a pilot, he worked at various locations in Northern America. These include the Air Force Army base in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and in the United States. One of the perks of being a pilot is getting to explore different destinations. While Melville loved flying to his hometown Vancouver to visit his parents, he also cherished Trenton Ontario, North Bay, Ottawa, and Quebec.
Melville Retires from His Career as a Pilot
After his release at the end of the war, he continued serving in the RCAF Reserves. However, his expertise was in such demand that he was recalled to service in 1950, spending the next four years training pilots. Subsequently, he joined the 410 Cougar Squadron as a fighter pilot on CF100 aircraft.
In 1972, Melville retired from the RCAF with the rank of Major. He spent the next 18 years as the Director of Emergency Planning for the City of Vancouver.
Melville’s Aviation Adventures
When asked about his favourite aircraft, Melville fondly said “The CF-100 twin-engine fighter jet for its safety and stability. I also enjoyed flying the T-33 on long-haul flights”. His longest journey was from Belgium to Ottawa on the CF-100, which involved multiple stops. Surprisingly, jetlag never bothered him.
Reminiscing on his aviation career, Melville recalled a harrowing close call while in flight. “I unknowingly came close to colliding with another plane and only found out about the near miss after landing”.
Melville offered pragmatic counsel for those grappling with a fear of flying: “Pretend you’re on a bus or read a book to distract your mind. And whatever you do, avoid looking out the window.”
Tranquility Following a Career as a Pilot on the Move
Having spent much of his life on the move, Melville relishes a peaceful life at home with his wife, Jacqueline. He crossed paths with Jacqueline in 1973, a mere fortnight after starting his career at the City of Vancouver. He finds solace in this tranquil chapter of his life with his wife and their Lab Charlie, cherishing the memories of his past adventures.