Shuswap resident Jim Hall shares tales from 27 of his 52-year career as a pilot, including several years working as an air traffic controller, in his new book Tower Tales. (Contributed)

Shuswap resident Jim Hall shares tales from 27 of his 52-year career as a pilot, including several years working as an air traffic controller, in his new book Tower Tales. (Contributed)

Shuswap resident shares tales from career as pilot, air traffic controller

Jim Hall releases Tower Tales, an autobiographical flight spanning 27 years

While the tales in Jim Hall’s new book aren’t tall, they do originate from his time high above the ground as a pilot, and as an air traffic controller.

The Shuswap resident and pilot of 52 years recently received the first hard copies of Tower Tales, his book of about 90 stories spanning 27 years, including anecdotes from when he was an air cadet, bush pilot, aerial photographer and his time working in the often stressful job of air traffic controller.

“Rather than the Sabre rolling out of the turn for base leg, the angle of bank steepened, the aircraft rolled inverted and the nose pitched downward. Within milliseconds the Sabre hit the ground at high speed. An instant explosion not half a mile from the control tower.

“My god. They hit. I couldn’t believe it. We just had a mid-air collision.”

The above is an excerpt from Golden Hawks, the harrowing tale that begins Hall’s book.

All of the stories in Tower Tales are factual, said Hall, including those from the control tower, which were based on details recorded at the time.

“When I got into air traffic control, I was on duty an awful lot of times that had major accidents, fatal accidents and so on,” said Hall. “Whenever we had these experiences, you had to, immediately when you got home, write them all down because otherwise your memory forgets… So after accident investigation boards and so on were over, rather than chuck these stories, I thought, well, I’ll just hang on to them.”

While there are plenty of intense moments, Hall’s book also includes moments of humour, personal successes and loads of information detailing what it was like being in the cockpit, or on the ground and responsible for those in the cockpit.

Read more: Air cadet squadron celebrates 25 years

Read more: Flying over the Shuswap

Read more: Salmon Arm airport: Appreciation Day plans underway, borrowing flies for new runway

“I kept them as simple as I could for the general public that aren’t quite aware of all the things that happen either while flying or in the control tower, yet in detail enough that anybody that flies or controls will really get a bang out of it because they’ll be able to relate to it,” said Hall.

Hall said he was inspired to write the book in part from tales told by pilots who flew in the Second World War, stories Hall enjoyed that were never written down.

At 17, Hall completed the RCAC flying scholarship program for his private pilot’s licence. By 20, he had his commercial pilot’s licence and started his first flying job for a construction company doing oil exploration north of Fort Nelson. At 21, while waiting for an instructor’s job, he applied for and began working as an air traffic controller at Calgary International Airport. He started his second career as an aerial photographer in 1985.

After arriving Salmon Arm in 1992, he was hanging around the Shuswap Regional Airport in Salmon Arm when he was asked to fly for a local skydiving company. Later, he took up work with Shuswap Air, flying fire patrols.

“After 52 years of flying I decided to let my pilot licence elapse and retire full time,” said Hall.

Tower Tales was printed locally and Hall said hard copy versions of the book will be available at Bookingham Palace when it reopens after restrictions around COVID-19 are loosened. Electronic versions of the book are currently available on amazon.ca and at smashwords.com.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Shuswap resident Jim Hall shares tales from 27 of his 52-year career as a pilot, including several years working as an air traffic controller, in his new book Tower Tales. (Contributed)

Shuswap resident Jim Hall shares tales from 27 of his 52-year career as a pilot, including several years working as an air traffic controller, in his new book Tower Tales. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Movie crews filmed a holiday parade in Summerland in July. The parade, filmed on Main Street in Summerland, is for the movie, The Christmas Yule Blog. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Figure skaters in the old skating rink in the 1940s. 
(Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 4034)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Nov. 26

A look a local history as recorded by the newspaper

Cst. Dane Storey was recognized as a member of Alexa’s Team, a provincial recognition paying tribute to police officers who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of impaired drivers on the roads. (Submitted/Revelstoke RCMP)
Alexa’s Team awarded to Revelstoke RCMP officer

Cst. Dane Storey removed 59 impaired drivers from B.C. roads in 2019

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP issue warning after woman assaulted while walking in Kelowna

On Saturday, the unknown man ran up and grabbed her in an inappropriate manner before fleeing

A West Cabs driver is being investigated for an incident which allegedly took place this week. (West Cabs)
West Kelowna cab driver under investigation after altercation over his lack of mask

Passenger alleges cab driver became confrontational when asked about wearing mask

Supt. Brian Hunter will be presenting first quarter RCMP stats to Penticton city council, tomorrow (April 21). (Phil McLachlan - Western News - File)
South Okanagan RCMP superintendent wants to set up dedicated prolific offender task force

Supt. Brian Hunter plans to use the additional officers city council approved for the force

(Pixabay)
‘We need to be empathetic’; Kelowna support worker speaks out after disabled individual denied haircut

Individual with severe autism denied service at a Kelowna hair salon for not wearing mask

Parents are urged to be on alert after a potential child abduction attempt took place near Armstrong Elementary School Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (amsas/neden photo)
Possible child abduction attempt at North Okanagan elementary school prompts warning

A letter from the school’s principal urges parents to be on high alert

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COLUMN: Anti-maskers’ message misses the mark

Following COVID-19 restrictions now could determine just how happy our holidays are

Most Read