About Laidman Lake Ecolodge
How Laidman Lake Found Its Name
The story of Laidman Lake Ecolodge begins with a bush pilot and a plane. Richard (Dick) Hamilton Laidman was born on May 15, 1921, in Vernon, British Columbia, to a family of fruit and vegetable farmers. At a young age Dick was destined to get into all sorts of mischief. After Dick’s brother joined the Royal Air Force, toward the end of the First World War, Dick became aviation bent. Around the age of fourteen Dick and three of his friends were spotted towing a training glider behind a Model-T Ford; later on in his years, kids in tow, he could be seen running from a helicopter crash excited and exasperated in the middle of central British Columbia’s wilderness. This man, Dick Laidman, was relentless when it came to aviation and the back woods.
Extended information on our our history
It was near the end of the Second World War when de Havilland Canada began the study and design for a new bush (utility) aircraft, but it was not until 1946 that they seriously began design. Tailored to the Ontario Provincial Air Service specifications, detailed design began in September and by December parts were on the line for manufacturing. The Beaver prototype, the CF-FHB, named for one of its two designers, Frederick Howard Buller, first took flight at Downsview, Ontario on August 16, 1947; piloted by Russell Bannock, a Royal Canadian Air Force Distinguished Service Order recipient and de Havilland’s Chief test pilot, beginning the long history of one of the world’s most rugged airplanes.
Around the same time as the first flights of the Beaver, Dick Laidman found himself strapped; his air service, L & M Air Service Ltd., was not pulling in the business it needed to. After a couple of attempts by Russell (Russ) Baker, of Central B.C. Airways, Dick was finally swayed to join Russ at CBCA in Kamloops, British Columbia. In May of 1948, after a heavy construction push into Burns Lake, Dick was sent into Burns Lake to try and base a floatplane at the lake, helping with forest patrols on the side. Russ had some more convincing to do before Dick would take the job and head out to the remote location. Dick was adamant, he said “it’s got to be a good airplane (if I’m going to do the job)…Give me a Beaver.” Russ did just as Dick requested and the CF-FHB Beaver was purchased later that month. The CF-FHB remained in service with the CBCA, later known as Pacific Western Airways, until March of 1966.
Known as the “general’s jeep,” the de Havilland Canada CF-FHB Beaver was the first all-metal Canadian bush aircraft and the perfect short-take-off-and-landing aircraft for the job Dick had been tasked. While on a surveying flight with V.A. “Bob” Roberts, assistant project manager of Morrison-Knudsen the construction company in charge of the Nechako dam-site near Burns Lake, Dick spotted a small unnamed lake where a Beaver might be able to land. So, Dick later brought Alfred Olaf (Ole) Standberg, the project manager for Morrison-Knudsen and the Nechako site, out to the unnamed lake to head inland for about a mile and a half to the dam-site. On the way out from the dam “Dick treated the project boss to an ecstasy of fishing…(the lake) was jumping with trout,” stated Dick in the only documented finding of the lake, later named after him. More information on Richard Hamilton Laidman and the history of Pacific Western Airways can be found in the book Wings Over the West; both the book and the CF-FHB Beaver now sit in Ottawa, Ontario at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. This tale documents the first sighting and fishing of Laidman Lake, and a glimpse of history behind one of Canada’s national icons, the de Havilland Canada Beaver.
LAIDMAN _ Richard Hamilton "Dick", May 15, 1921 - July 25, 2002. Dick passed away peacefully after a long illness on July 25, 2002 at Jackman Manor in Aldergrove, B.C. He was among Canada's aviation pioneers and past president of Pacific Western Airlines and will be long remembered in the aviation world. Dick will be sadly missed by his children: Bill (Karen) Laidman, Larry (Vi) Laidman and their mother Hellen Laidman; Lee Laidman, Lonnie (Roy) Seriosa, and their mother Sandi Laidman; stepchildren Troy Adair, Scott Adair, Cindy (Sal) Ramos, Mike Adair, and their mother Twylla Laidman; several grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by 2 nieces, Ruth (John) Mephan, Diane Kersey and 1 nephew, Richard (Sandy) Skermer. (archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com)