Harold Rex Terpening

By | November 15, 2020

Harold Rex Terpening

Rex was born in Wainwright, Alberta on July 23, 1913. After completing his formal education in Ft. McMurray, he began his career in the early 1930’s working for various northern air transport operators, mostly from their float bases on the Snye and Waterways in Ft. McMurray. Since these locations lacked heated facilities, most servicing and maintenance had to be done outdoors, even during inclement weather and darkness.

While employed by Spence‐McDonough Air Lines he obtained his AME license (known then as an A&C license) in November 1935, and was immediately hired by Canadian Airways. In January 1939, Rex transferred to the company’s Winnipeg overhaul base to pursue career opportunities.

It was here that he assisted in the development, (with subsequent approval by the Department of Transport), of oil dilution systems for piston engines to facilitate “cold starts” of aircraft engines in sub-zero temperatures (aboon to northern operators in Canada at that time). In 1940 he took a course in metallurgy from the University of Manitoba in preparation for his “B” license application.

During World War II he was transferred by Canadian Airways to their #2 Air Observer School (AOS) in Edmonton as Crew Chief, then to #7 AOS in Portage La Prairie as Maintenance Manager, and finally back to Edmonton, where he completed his “B” engineer examinations.

After the war ended, he obtained license endorsements for Lockheed Lodestar, Norseman, and several others. Rex was then transferred again, this time to Regina as Chief Mechanic. Four years later he was transferred to Whitehorse as Chief Mechanic. His final transfer was to Vancouver, where he had an opportunity to attend an Aircraft Accident Investigation course at UCLA, which he later used in the investigation of the in‐flight loss of a company DC‐6 near 100 Mile House, BC. His final assignment was with Canadian Pacific Airlines as Manager of Line Maintenance for the Orient & Pacific, South America, and Europe Regions, retiring at age 65 in 1978. Rex is the author of Bent Props and Blow Pots, a history of his time in Canadian aviation, as well as being the recipient of the 10th Annual Canadian Aerophilatelist Editor’s Award in 2008 for his substantial contribution to the aviation community.