Salt Spring Island, BC
Nils Christensen started his aviation career in 1942 when at the age of 21 he joined the Royal Norwegian Air Force in New York and was sent to “Little Norway” in Toronto as an aircraft mechanic. In 1943 he went overseas to the U.K. and joined 333 Squadron as a flight mechanic working on Mosquito’s engines. In 1944 he became a flight mechanic/air gunner on the Catalina’s. In 1945 he was a crewmember on the first aircraft to land in Norway with the Peace Commissionaires to sign the Allied Peace Commission to end German occupation. In 1945 he was the Chief Engineer on the King of Norway’s aircraft flying around Norway to view the devastation created by the Germans. In 1947 he left the air force and worked for a Norwegian company.
In 1951 he returned to Canada and worked at De Havilland in Toronto receiving his Canadian AME license at this time. In 1952 he became Chief of Maintenance at Sault Airways, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario maintaining Norseman, Cessnas, Pipers, Stinsons and Seebees at their float and ski operation.
In 1956 he moved to British Columbia where he held the following positions: Director of Maintenance for Victoria Flying Club, Director of Maintenance and Flight Engineer for Forest Industries Flying Tankers, working for Fairey Aviation where they did overhauls and converting Cansos, Avengers, Mitchells and Junkers to water bombers, and Manager of McKinnon Enterprises where they were rebuilding and converting Goose to Turbine and upgrading the Widgeons. In 1970 he formed Viking Air doing overhaul, maintenance and conversions to all types of aircraft but specializing in the flying boats. He was responsible for Viking Air obtaining the parts manufacturing rights for the Beaver, Otter, and Turbo Beaver from de Havilland.
In 1997 he received the Robert Hope Award of Excellence from the Pacific AME Association. Nils has provided employment opportunities and assisted many individuals to get their start in aviation. He has sponsored many apprentices who have become AMEs. Viking Air in conjunction with Camosun College established a sheet metal structures apprenticeship program.
Although he is officially retired he is still a licensed AME and very active in the community. Several companies and individuals from around the world seek his aviation expertise.
Nils is an active Member of the Pacific AME Association. He has made the Viking Air facility available for training seminars sponsored by the Pacific AME Association Victoria Chapter and Viking Air participates in the annual symposium and sponsors many functions. He could always be seen at these symposiums willing to spread his knowledge of our industry.