Mars deal seems equal

Few people appreciate being told what they can and cannot do with their stuff, says letter writer.

To the Editor,

Few people appreciate being told what they can and cannot do with their stuff, especially when they are accomplished, intelligent and prominent people, and when the people doing the telling are with the government.

This appears to be the case with the Coulson-owned Martin Mars aircraft.

If Heritage Canada determines that the aircraft are of outstanding significance and national importance then they may deny him an export permit. At present, Heritage Canada can only intervene on the aircraft that is being prepared for export, specifically the Philippine Mars. As the second aircraft is not under threat of being exported, Heritage Canada can’t rule on it. You can only deal with what is actually on the table.

But it would appear that Heritage Canada knows this and while potentially blocking the export of the Philippine Mars to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, MP John Duncan is talking about offering Coulson what could well be fair trade value in C130 Hercules parts.

Yes the Martin Mars were designed and built in the United States, but they were in service for only 13 years then dormant for three, when the surviving four were sold by the US for scrap in 1959.

That’s when innovative and courageous Canadians saw a new use for them, doing groundbreaking work in converting these giants into firefighting aircraft.

As a result, the airplanes now have a 56-year history in Canada and the visionary who started them in their new career, Daniel E. McIvor, was awarded the Order of Canada and inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame for his work with these airplanes.

I’ve done some contract work for Mr. Coulson on an old airplane deal some 20 years ago and I’ve been working with Heritage Canada on issues concerning vintage aircraft for more than 35 years. I know Coulson to be a resourceful, respectful and reasonable man and I know the aims and process of Heritage Canada to be fair and equitable.

Let Mr. Coulson complete his deal to trade one Martin Mars to the US in exchange for a fair deal to see the Hawaii Mars stay here as part of his legacy and in tribute to Dan McIvor and the many that flew, supported and even died in the storied and colourful history of the Martin Mars in Canada. That is a good deal.

Richard de Boer, president,

Calgary Mosquito Aircraft Society

Calgary Chapter, Canadian Aviation Historical Society

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