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Attempted rescue of Ottawa windmill plan

Retired Canadian aviation executive John Stants passes at age 73

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

OTTAWA, Ontario – Dutch-Canadian former squadron leader John Stants built an impressive aviation career following a 27-year stint with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He bridged continents and countries in mere hours with an airplane but could not surmount the obstacles put in place by local Ottawa officialdom to gain approval for the Friendship Windmill. He recently died at age 73.

Retired aviation executive John W. Stants assumed the presidency of the floundering Friendship Windmill project to breath new life into the Ottawa Dutch community initiative. Stants who was born of Dutch parents in Winnipeg but lived in the Netherlands through that country's Nazi occupation, took over the project hoping new leadership could revitalize it.

An allrounder in aviation, Stants flew more than sixty types of military and civil aircraft and clocked over 14,000 flying hours. Following his air force career, he served as Vice-President of regional carrier Quebecair, and on behalf of government agency CIDA reorganized Guinea's national airline. At home in 1990, John Stants became the first Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board. He also was a co-founder of the International Transportation Safety Association.

Stants became involved with The Friendship Windmill Corporation after it was stuck, mired in ”not-in-my-backyard” sentiments among neighbours of proposed sites in the National Capital Region. Although the plan was warmly embraced by Canadian veterans, it failed to gain sufficient support to overcome the hurdles it found in its way.

John Stants who returned to Canada in 1948, is survived by his wife Francoise, six sons and their families, a sister and a brother.