Born on 24 March 1933, Earl Sinnett was raised in St Catharines, Ontario. At the age of 13, he joined #23 Air Cadet Squadron. As a cadet, Earl was awarded two flying scholarships that helped him earn his private pilots licence, which he received on 29 Sept 1950. After five years in the Air Cadet organization, he was awarded an additional scholarship to attend first year as a cadet at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, BC. Earl soon decided to join the RCAF and was accepted as a pilot trainee. Upon graduation from Royal Military College in 1955, he received a permanent commission in the RCAF with the rank of Flying Officer.
Upon “wings” graduation, Earl was assigned instructor duties at RCAF Station Centralia, Ontario, where he flew both Harvards and Chipmunks. In 1958, he was posted to #1 Maritime Operational Training Unit located at Summerside PEI. Upon successful conversion to the CP107 Argus, Earl joined 404 Squadron, Greenwood where he served as a Maritime Patrol Crew Commander.
In January1961, Earl was posted to the Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment located at RCAF Station Uplands, Ottawa. Following three years of testing duties, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and sent on Exchange duties to England, where he served as a member of the aircraft evaluation staff at the RAF Ministry of Defence in London. On return to Canada, Squadron Leader Sinnett attended the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto. Upon graduation in 1969, he was assigned Senior Test Pilot at the Air Experimental Test and Evaluation Unit, located at RCAF Station Uplands.
Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in July 1971, Earl assumed command of 415 Squadron, Summerside PEI. During his command the Swordfish won the Fincastle Trophy, in a virtual tie with Australia. After holding the prize for 6 months, he had the pleasure of travelling to Australia to transfer the trophy. He also had the honour of meeting the Queen, as she visited CFB Summerside during the 1973 Royal Visit to Canada. He was honoured to guide their majesties on a tour of the 415 Squadron hangar and an Argus.
In 1973 Earl was back at Staff College, where he served as a member of the Directing Staff for a year before assuming the duties of Administration Officer of the College. In 1975 he returned to Ottawa and joined the Project Team for the Long Range Patrol Replacement Program. After 4 years of very hard work, he saw the delivery of the first CP140 Aurora aircraft to Greenwood. In 1979 Earl joined the NATO AWACS Program located at Handscombe Air Force Base near Boston Massachusetts and after three years he witnessed the delivery of the first program aircraft.
LCol Sinnett accepted a posting to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe at Casteau, Belgium. In 1982 after a short time on staff, he was offered a Staff Directors position at the NATO School located in Oberammergau, Germany. Following this tour, he returned to SHAPE to assume the duties of Secretary to a strategic analysis board, which provided advice to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
After more than 38 years of service, Earl retired in 1989. He chose to return to Ottawa and it was not long before he became involved with the Air Cadet League of Canada, volunteering as a League Adviser to an Air Cadet Squadron. Earl served 17 years as an advisor and then was encouraged to join the Air Force Association of Canada. Shortly afterwards, he was elected as President of 410 Wing, Ottawa. He served as Wing President for seven years before retiring from this position in 2017. He remains in Ottawa and now enjoys full retirement.
EARL J. SINNETT
COMMANDING OFFICER – July 1971 to July 1973
415 Squadron Association