Elton Townsend

By | November 15, 2020

Elton Townsend
Gravenhurst, ON

Elton was born and raised on a farm near Woodstock, Ontario. After graduating high school, in 1956 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as an aircraft technician. He attended various courses in this field of study while obtaining a Private Pilot’s Licence and his Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s Licence.

In 1961 he began a career in civil aviation as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and soon became the chief AME for St. Catharines Flying Club and later Carldon Aviation, a Cessna Dealer, on Toronto Island. In 1964 he started Townsend Air Services and became a Lake Aircraft Dealer. By 1965 he had purchased the airport at Orangeville, Ontario and established an aircraft maintenance business, aircraft sales, and flight training organization. In 1970 he added the Rockwell Commander Single Engine aircraft line. Townsend Air Services moved to the Muskoka Airport, Gravenhurst, Ontario in 1975 and was reorganized during 1983–84 to become Lake Central Air Services. In 2005 Elton received The Robert Combie award. In 2015 Elton sold Lake Central Air Services and set off to enjoy his retirement.

Many young people became apprentices under Elton’s supervision. He had a great way of assessing their work and giving them as much responsibility as he could while letting them ‘run with it’. Those young people learned by having hands on, in every facet of aircraft maintenance. Elton’s own work standards were high and he expected that of others.

Elton went from a one man operation at a small country airport to 32 employees. During that time he became the holder of various classes of Supplemental Type Certificates on many aircraft especially in the airborne survey industry. The company was an Approved Maintenance Organization for aircraft up to and including the Basler BT67, Cessna Jets, and an Approved Manufacturer of Survey Equipment and Aircraft Parts. Lake Central and Townsend Air Services were always known as the biggest Lake amphibian dealer, repair facility and parts supplier.

The products manufactured were installed on aircraft from around the world up to and including the Basler BT 67 (DC3 turbo prop) and some jets. The customers ranged from one person companies to NASA, Universities, the Alfred Wegener Institute for studies in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Elton never lost sight of the value of sharing his knowledge and skills. Many people have gained from their association with Elton. Many careers have started with Elton because he could see the value in mentoring.