'A joyful trip': 86-year-old pilot flies across Canada, donates plane to N.B. museum

From Langley, B.C., to Miramichi, N.B., George Miller made the last stop on his final flight Tuesday.

The 86-year-old pilot and two crew members landed a 1947 Ryan Navion aircraft next to the New Brunswick Aviation Museum.

"It is the most beautiful country you could imagine,” said Miller. “The lakes, the hills, the people we met at every airport we landed at. Travelling with these two stars here, it was a joyful trip despite difficulties.”

The trio made stops in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Bathurst, N.B., before arriving on a perfect day.

"It was my first time seeing Canada right the way across,” said co-pilot Freya Inkster. “Just seeing the different landscapes, it was amazing. We met a lot of different people, we had our challenges. It's going to stay with me for my life.”

Miller decided to donate the aircraft to the museum because he was stationed in Chatham, N.B., in the early 1960s when he was a member of the Golden Hawks aerobatic flying group.

"George is 86 years old now, so it's not something that happens every day,” said Kevin Anderson, executive director of the New Brunswick Aviation Museum.

“For him to cross the country, and it’s been at his own expense to do this, he's been a big supporter of our museum. He's actually one of our patrons, and for him to come out here, it's a homecoming for him.”

After seven days of flying across the country, you might think Miller would want a hot meal or a cold drink.

“First thing we're going to do, I guarantee you, is today we’re getting to a laundromat. We need a laundromat. We are beyond what I think is acceptable.”

Miller said the next few days are all about decompressing.

As far as the plane goes, it is available for public viewing, but people need to book an appointment through the museum.