The Toronto Spring Classic Car Auction

Lot : SP767
Boeing 767 "Gimli Glider"

Auctioned on Sunday, April 14, 2013

Not Sold at a High Bid of $425,000

    Collector Car Productions is proud to have been chosen as the official auction house to offer for the first time ever by public auction, arguably the most important aircraft in Canadian aviation history. The 767 was Boeing's first wide-body twin-engine jet and the first modern airliner with a two-crew 'glass' cockpit featuring digital LCD instrumentation. This particular 767-233 model, delivered to Air Canada in 1983, was the most technologically advanced passenger jet for its era but because of confusion due to Canada switching to the metric system at the time it ran out of fuel at 41,000 feet on its way to Edmonton. The miraculous story of Air Canada Flight #143 made international headlines for the quick thinking of Captain Robert Pearson and First Officer Maurice Quintal who ‘glided’ the powerless aircraft to a safe landing at a former air force base runway that was being used for car drag racing at the time in Gimli, Manitoba, saving the lives of all passengers and crew. Nicknamed the ‘Gimli Glider’, the plane humbly returned to its regular flight duties for the next 25 years. The aircraft was eventually retired from service in 2008, when it then was ceremoniously flown for the last time by the original Gimli flight crew to its current and final destination in California.

    Unless the Buyer and Seller come to an alternate arrangement, the purchase price of the Gimli Glider will include the costs associated with flying it to the Buyer's location for delivery, anywhere in Canada or the Continental United States.

    Also, due to the significance of the Gimli Glider and the incredible opportunity it presents to own a piece of Canadian history, Collector Car Productions (on this lot ONLY) has reduced the Buyer's Premium from 10% to 4%.

    Collector Car Productions is very pleased to announce a special guest appearance by Captain Robert Pearson, heroic pilot of the famous Air Canada 'Gimli Glider' Boeing 767 that is being offered for the first time at the Toronto Classic Car Auction. Following a short video presentation, Captain Pearson will share a few thoughts of his incredible true life story of this state-of-the-art passenger jet that he and his crew glided to a safe landing after running out of fuel over the skies of Manitoba on July 23, 1983. This amazing tale of bravery and skill was the subject of several documentaries and movies, making headlines around the world as the "miracle on the dragstrip." Visit these links for video highlights and more information about Captain Pearson and the legendary Gimli Glider:

    Wikipedia info and description

    MAYDAY - TV Series - The Gimli Glider

    Falling from the Sky: Flight 174 (Movie trailer - starring William Devane)

    Auction information and details

    A firsthand account from "A Pilot's Perspective" by Barry Meek, July 2007:

    Three young boys, 11, 13 and 14 year olds, raced their bicycles down the decommissioned airport runway, burning off their energy. All day the excitement had been building, fuelled by the events, sounds and smells of the Winnipeg Sports Car Clubs’ family day. By evening, things were winding down, some people had already headed for home. Still, many campers, trailers, vehicles and people occupied the north end of the 6000 ft. runway at Gimli, Manitoba that pleasant evening in July, 1983.

    The 13 year old saw it first. “That guy’s crazy”, he shouted to his friends. They skidded their bikes to a stop and stood staring in disbelief. A giant, silver airplane was descending toward them, silently, in an odd forward slip configuration, dropping at over 2000 feet per minute, and closing rapidly from the south. Not able to fully comprehend the situation, but sensing the pending disaster, the boys bolted back toward their families. Pedalling as fast as their legs would go, they screamed at their parents to run. Others saw the jet, a Boeing 767, barrelling toward them, now less than a mile back. As people scattered in all directions, the jet hit the runway 1000 feet from the threshold. Two explosions as tires blew out were the first sounds they heard. Then one engine was dragging on the ground. As the front of the aircraft settled, it’s nose gear collapsed. Speeding down the runway at almost 180 miles per hour, now a giant shower of sparks blazed out behind as the gear leg tore a huge trench into the concrete.

    The crippled airliner, weighing over 130 tons, hurtled closer and closer to the trailers and people, grinding up the pavement with bent metal, trashed wheels, shredded tires, spitting sparks and smoke. Finally only 100 feet from the first line of vehicles, it stopped. The Gimli Glider had arrived. It was an Air Canada flight that had run out of fuel.