Russell Francis Baker
Russell Francis Baker, bush pilot, businessman (b at Winnipeg 31 Jan 1910; d at West Vancouver 15 Nov 1958). After several unhappy years working as a pilot for a number of airlines, including Western Canada Airways and Canadian Pacific, Baker established Central British Columbia Airways in 1946 on the strength of a fire-patrol contract from the BC Forest Service. Subsequent freighting contracts from the Alcan hydroelectric project near Kitimat and the DEW Line and, after 1949, the remorseless absorption by CBCA of its competition in BC and Alberta, advanced Baker toward his goal of building an airline serving every western Canadian community on a regular schedule.
In 1953 CBCA changed its name to Pacific Western Airlines, as more appropriate to the dominant western regional air carrier. At the time of his death Baker was making plans to transform his company into a national airline - a feat accomplished subsequently with PWA's purchase of CP Air in 1987.