Aviation Bio for John M. Laing
John began his “aviation life” at the tender age of 12. He was employed as a Hangar boy at Gateway Aviation Ltd., National Servicair Ltd. and Superior Aviation Ltd. in Edmonton. His first flying lessons followed shortly thereafter starting at Gateway Aviation in Edmonton. He soloed on his 16th birthday, obtained his private license on his 17th birthday and earned his Commercial license on his 18th birthday. Three months later he became a qualified Flight Instructor.
In 1965 his family moved from Edmonton to Castlegar as owner operators of Adastra Aviation Ltd. John worked in the family business as a charter pilot and as a flight instructor and obtained his Class 1 Flight Instructor Rating in 1969. He eventually bought his parents out and becoming variously Chief Flying Instructor, President and General Manager. While the company is no longer active in the flight training or aircraft Air Taxi/Charter, the business it is still owned by John and his wife offering “Aviation Services” such as Advanced Instruction, Recurrent Training, Aircraft Leasing and Aviation Consulting.
In 1969 Laing became involved as a Civilian Instructor with 531 (Castlegar) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets. He was commissioned into the Canadian Armed Forces September 1st. 1971. He rose to the rank of Captain taking command of 531 Squadron in September of 1977. After moving to the Lower Mainland in 1980, Laing was posted to 513 (Hornet) Squadron R.C.A.C. as Chief Instructor. He commanded 513 Squadron from September 1983 until his retirement from the Canadian Armed forces in 1985 having received the Canadian Forces Decoration the year prior.
In June of 1974 John joined Conair of Abbotsford. Retired from Conair in June 2011, Laing holds a valid Airline Transport Pilots License rated for both Land & Sea. He was a Training Pilot and Check Captain on the Firecat Air Tanker aircraft and on the Convair 580’s. Specifically typed for Douglas A-26 Invader, Conair Firecat and Convair 580, he has flown 64 different types to date.
During his semi-retirement, Laing works as a Freelance Flight Instructor for various Flying Schools in the lower mainland still holding a Class 1 Instructor Rating with Transport Canada authorities as Pilot Examiner for Recreational, Private, Commercial and Multi Engine ratings and as an Aviation Language Pilot Examiner.