Mike Sattler (left) and David Seller sign the papers for Seller’s donation of the Skyway Stearman to the Canadian Museum of Flight.

Langley Airport founder’s plane comes home

The donated biplane helped build the Langley Regional Airport.

A piece of Langley history arrived at the Canadian Museum of Flight on Thursday afternoon.

A Boeing-Stearman biplane, built in 1940, was donated to the Langley-based museum by its owner, Dave Seller.

“This is Art Seller’s actual personal machine,” said museum general manager Mike Sattler.

Art Seller was a pivotal figure in the development of aviation in the Lower Mainland, and at the Langley Regional Airport in particular.

It was Seller with Skyway who created the first business at the Langley Airport, at the time not much more than a mowed grass runway.

Art Seller had been a Spitfire pilot during the Second World War, shot down a little over a week after D-Day and taken prisoner. A journal of his time in the prison camp showed that even in captivity he was planning for a future aviation business, including sketches of advertising designs.

When Seller returned to the West Coast after he was liberated, he started out with a couple of surplus Tiger Moths. Skyway Air Services was officially formed in the summer of 1947.

The first upgrade in equipment was to some Stearmans, sturdy biplanes used as trainers during the war.

Seller had already taken up crop dusting, and the Stearmans came specially modified for the job, with aluminum bodies instead of the usual wood and canvas.

One of their first jobs was spraying DDT everywhere to keep mosquitoes in check after the Fraser River floods of 1948.

Although Skyway upgraded its planes many times over the years, Art kept the sturdy Stearman as his personal plane.

“This machine is basically the genesis of the airport,” said Sattler.

David Sellar also learned to fly on the old biplane, first soloing in it at the age of 16.

He donated the plane in the presence of a number of former Skyway employees.

“I’m so proud to have worked with such a fine, dedicated group,” said David Seller.

Art Seller flew the Stearman almost up to his death in 1998.

Since then it has remained airworthy – it needs a little maintenance and an inspection to fly again, said Sattler.

“Thank you for taking care of something that’s not only in our heritage, but in our hearts,” said David Sattler.

The Skyway Stearman joins a number of other historic aircraft from around B.C. at the museum.

It is the second-oldest Skyway aircraft currently preserved in Langley – one of the original Tiger Moths hangs from the ceiling of the Farm Machinery Museum in Fort Langley.

Skyway still exists through its spin-off company, Conair Aviation, which operates out of Abbotsford.


Just Posted

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds take silver in finals of new minor midget hockey league

Team of mostly Langley players will have a new look in the second season

Langley tutor lauded on ice

Sylvia Lloyd was recognized for the work she does – paid and unpaid – helping tutor children.

Trappers on brink of elimination after third loss

“We’ve got to play desperate hockey’ coach of Langley hockey team says

Arrest in alleged parking lot assault at LMH

Langley RCMP investigating daylight incident

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

Teacher reprimanded after incident with Grade 11 student in school gym

Gregory Norman Brock was teaching at a high school in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Avalanche control tomorrow on Highway 1

Expect closures of up to two hours east of Revelstoke

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read