Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Carl Arnold Lawrence Morberg (1936-2005)

Aviation pioneer.

Born near Mildred, Saskatchewan in 1936, he married Gail Myra Tratch in 1961 and together with her launched a career in the aviation industry. After acquiring his pilot’s license, he bought a single-engine float plane to serve a fishing lodge he’d built in the late 1950s at Black Lake, near Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan, and by 1962 owned a charter license, allowing him to move not only guests and supplies to Morberg’s Camps, but to serve the local communities’ needs as well. He named his company Calm Air, using the initials of his full name.

In 1969, the Morbergs bought Fred Chupka’s northern Manitoba airline operation based in Lynn Lake. Soon after, Calm Air began scheduled Twin Otter passenger service throughout the area. Lynn Lake would become home base for both the Morbergs and their company over the next sixteen years, as they raised their four children and expanded their business. The 1970s saw construction of new hydroelectric power facilities in the area, as well as renewed mining exploration, creating the opportunity for rapid growth in northern Manitoba and for Calm Air.

The airline began operations at Churchill in 1975. A year later, it took over Transair’s Twin Otter operations in the Keewatin district (now part of Nunavut). With the construction of Calm Air’s facility at the Rankin Inlet airport, Keewatin gained its first year-round resident airline service. A substantial freight operation from Churchill developed DC-4 servicing for Cullaton Lake in the early 1980s with the opening of the Cullaton Lake Gold Mine, west of Eskimo Point, NWT (known today as Arviat, Nunavut).

During this time, Calm Air was the first carrier to sign a joint scheduling and marketing agreement with Pacific Western Airlines, under the “Pacific Western Spirit” commuter program. Commencing service to Winnipeg enabled the carrier to offer enhanced frequencies and connections between Keewatin and Northern Manitoba and the south.

The purchase of the Swedish-built Saab 340B Plus aircraft in 1994 brought modern luxury to Calm Air fleet, with its inaugural service taking flight on 15 January 1995 between Winnipeg, The Pas, Flin Flon, and Thompson. Calm Air was the first Canadian carrier to operate this new 34-seat aircraft type. The late 1990s saw Calm Air venturing into new territories of northern Ontario and Saskatchewan, for which more SAAB aircraft were added to the fleet.

Besides growing his business, Morberg served a term as Mayor of Lynn Lake in the late 1970s. He sat on the Board of Directors for Manitoba Telephone System from 1994 to 2001 and the board of the Government of Manitoba’s Communities Development Economic Fund. He was a Director of both the Airline Transportation Association of Canada and the Northern Cancer Fundraiser.

He died at Paint Lake near Thompson on 7 September 2005.


Calm Air founder dies” by Paul Turenne, AvCanada, 8 September 2005

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 September 2005.

Our Story,” CalmAir.

This page was prepared by Lois Braun.

Page revised: 24 May 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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