Terry Harrold School of Aviation (THSA) has been created by Northwestern Air Lease (NWAL) to help the northern resident to achieve their pilot licence.
The school is named by the owner of NWAL Terry Harrold, who has an incredible aviation career all over the north. At 86 years old, he is still flying regularly on the company Jetstream. His contribution to the community and toward the aviation industry is well-known and well-respected in the region.
Terry began his life on the family farm in Lamont, Alberta. He was first introduced to aviation when at 12 years of age he joined Air Cadets (Squadron 287) in Lamont, Alberta in 1946 just after the WWII ended. During the war many kids in Canada had model airplanes and many were well aware of the victories and tragedies of our Canadian pilots fighting in the war.
His first ride in an airplane took place in the summer of that year in Abbotsford, BC where he and 30 others flew in a C119 Freighter.
When he turned 17, he obtained his private pilot’s license. After graduating high school, he left the air cadets and attended University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he eventually graduated with a degree in agriculture. While at University he joined, as a pilot, the 418 Squadron of the RCAF as part of the reserve training program.
After University he returned to the family farm and spent many weekends flying where he earned far more money than he earned on the farm.
In January 1958, while attending a dance for the Lamont Hospital he met Ruth who was working at the hospital as a RN. She had moved to Lamont to work from her home in Peterborough, ON. At that dance he recognized Ruth as the one he would eventually marry. He married her in November 1958. This year (2019) they will celebrate 61 years together.
In 1964 he started flying with Air Spray as a water bombing pilot. One year later in 1965 he started, with a partner Peter Kuryluk, NWAL. Their first aircraft was a Beech 18. In 1971 Peter was killed when flying a Canso water bomber fighting a fire. Shortly after Terry and Ruth bought his shares and therefore wholly owned NWAL. His son, Brian, became a full partner in NWAL in 1981.
Terry feels although the technology has changed dramatically over the past 50 plus years, the required skills to fly a plane remains the same. When he began flying there was no GPS, no emergency locator transmitters and no radio contact. Essentially you flew from point A to point B using maps and looking for topographical indications of where you were at any given moment.
His advice to those who may be considering a career in aviation is, be a proficient pilot! You need to really like it. You will never become rich flying an airplane. There are many other ways to earn a living. It is also very expensive to get into.
His advice to current pilots is that you should not limit yourself to flying with the large commercial airlines. There are many other flying choices available, such as; charters, business, agricultural and many others.
He encourages everyone to have a dream and follow it. He finds many people don’t dream enough. Life offers many options, but many just float or subsist through life.
Terry really appreciates and thanks each NWAL team member for their hard work, because without their hard work we would not be as strong. Each person adds value regardless of their position in the company. After 60 years as a pilot, Terry is still flying scheduled and chartered flights. He inspires us all.