St. John’s, Newfoundland
In the mid 1960’s Randy Cross, an upstart from Dark Cove, NL ventured out into the world of aviation. He graduated from Gander’s Aircraft Maintenance School in 1967 and immediately began a prosperous career in aircraft maintenance.
Following graduation he began a two-year stint as an aircraft mechanic with Eastern Provincial Airlines (1967-69) but a work shortage led to a layoff and a journey north in search of his next position in the aviation world. His next stop was in Norway House, Manitoba working for Transair Midwest Airlines from 1969-71 where he continued his aircraft maintenance role and even worked on the old Barkley.
Though his early career path took him to the northern reaches of Canada, Randy returned to his beloved Newfoundland in 1971 where he spent the majority of his career working for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
When the Newfoundland government took over the Fire Fighting and Air Ambulance Services, Randy followed the aircraft he loved so much to this new operation. Considered one of the foremost experts in the PBY5 maintenance practices, he was also instrumental in acquiring the CL215 water bomber further protecting the forest and homes of every Newfoundlander and became the sounding board for Canadair for troubleshooting aircraft issues and providing solutions.
Revered by his colleagues at Government Air Service, Randy climbed the ladder to Chief Inspector, a position he held from 1989-2003. His knowledge of aircraft regulations and procedures is unsurpassed and he earned respect throughout the industry for his commitment and honesty. You could count on Randy to always give a straight answer and you could be sure when pilots were calling with snags in the wee hours of the morning he took every call as seriously as the next.
Randy was a believer in continuous education. He spent many late nights after putting the kids to bed studying and furthering his knowledge of the aircraft. For many years Randy held the only S licenses east of Montreal. His combination of education, a great reputation and attention to detail put him in high demand throughout the Maritimes. And Randy continued to give back to the field; he played a significant role with the Atlantic AME Association and championed a project to acquire a fully operational King Air 100 for the maintenance school in Gander, NL.
When the Government Air Services moved from St. John’s to Gander it was not feasible at the time for Randy to follow. He took early retirement in 2003 from the Government but Randy’s life in aviation did not end there. As the primary expert in the PBY 5 he was contracted once more by the Newfoundland Government to refurbish the old bird to fly once more. And fly it did. The most beautiful and well-maintained PBY 5’s reside in Newfoundland (Stephenville and St. Anthony) as Randy’s legacy to all those that were involved in protecting our forests and families. He also remains active in aviation and he has continued his involvement for over a decade in contract work on private aircraft since his retirement.
Randy’s commitment to a higher standard of work, decision making, education, interaction with Transport Canada and his ability to bring people together has led him to be one of the most respected AME’s in Canada.