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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton has been re-elected as Regional District of North Okanagan Chair Nov. 18, 2020. (Richard Rolke - Morning Star file)
North Okanagan district re-elects chair, vice-chair

Acton, Shatzko re-elected for third lap as chair, vice-chair

An Armstrong resident shared video of a beaver gnawing away on a stick to Facebook Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Robyn Civic Adnoh photo)
WATCH: Beaver gnaws away in Armstrong wetlands

A resident captured video of a beaver chewing happily in a local creek Friday

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are teaming up with the RCMP North Okanagan Traffic Services and BC Integrated Road Safety Unit in its Counter Attack program in support of National Impaired Driving Enforcement Month starting Dec. 5, 2020.(File)
Out in full force: Vernon police counter-attack impaired driving

Month-long campaign to remove impaired drivers from North Okanagan roadways set to take off this weekend

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
Kelowna hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced the Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Damage to window panes at the downtown Salmon Arm Askew’s location could still be seen on Dec. 4. It was apparently caused by a pellet gun overnight on Dec. 2. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Windows damaged by pellet gun at both Salmon Arm Askew’s locations

Window panes were shot multiple times overnight on Dec. 2.

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

Most Read