Category Archives: Aviation history

Publisher Milberry in the Toronto Sun!

Air Canada's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, landing at Toronto Pearson International

Air Canada’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, landing at Toronto Pearson International

From Mike Filey’s Saturday column in the Toronto Sun:

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 12.37.03 PM

Norsemans Here & There …

Anchorage3

 In the winter scene outside at Anchorage’s Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum is Interior Airways Norseman N725E. Originally US Army UC-64A 43-35433, in 1945 it joined the US Fish and Wildlife Service, moved to Alaska in 1951 for Northern Consolidated Airlines, thence to Interior in 1955. Forty years later it was donated to the museum by Alaska’s great aviation history aficionado, Jim McGoffin.

By now I hope that you’re reveling in your set of CANAV Noorduyn Norseman books. These already have been recognized as two of the finest aviation books so far in the 2000s. As usual, new Norseman material continues to roll in and the Norseman Festival spins up next week in Red Lake in Northwestern Ontario. Enjoy these five nifty Norseman photos submitted recently by CANAV reader Antti Hyvärinen, a Finnair A320 pilot. As usual, good reading to you all … Larry

Anchorage4

The ramshackle cockpit of Norseman N725E. Some day, however, this old Norseman will shine like new – whenever museum priorities allow.

Stockholm3

Stockholm4Arlanda Airport

This project Norseman is in the Swedish aviation museum at Arlanda airport, Stockholm. The cockpit certainly is in more respectable condition than N725E’s. If you scroll back you can see this Norseman as RCAF 3538. Later it was RNoAF “R-AY”.

Victoria1

Antti’s close-up of the Norseman in RCAF colours at the British Columbia Aviation Museum near Victoria. The museum uses its Norseman on its logo. The 3 museum aircraft shown here all are covered in Vol.2 of our Norseman book.

New CF-GUE Coverage from Gordon Olafson

ImageIn April 2014 former Norseman pilot Gordon Olafson sent us these great 1970-71 views of Gimli Air/Northway Norseman CF-GUE (GUE’s basic story is told in Noorduyn Norseman Vol.2). First, the rugged-looking Norseman at Riverton, Manitoba with a 12-foot aluminum boat strapped to each side for a trip to the outpost camp at Sasaginnigak Lake.

Two winter scenes of CF-GUE on different skis. First on Lake Winnipeg at Arnes. That’s Gordon standing by the plane. He’s warming up his R-1340 before a trip north. The Norseman is on standard air bag pedestals. Gordon explains: “You can see how we drove the skis up onto green poplar poles (not too sticky), so they wouldn't freeze down to the ice.” Then, CF-GUE at Charron Lake with just the oleos for suspension. This type of skis made for a pretty stiff run on take-off or landing. Jake Thorsteinson (left) is ready with his helper to start cutting ice to be put up in a shed insulated with bales of hay. The tourist camp there then would have ice for the coming season

CF-GUE -3 - Gordon Olafson img068_LR2 Above, two winter scenes of CF-GUE on different skis. First on Lake Winnipeg at Arnes. That’s Gordon standing by the plane. He’s warming up his R-1340 before a trip north. The Norseman is on standard air bag pedestals. Gordon explains: “You can see how we drove the skis up onto green poplar poles (not too sticky), so they wouldn’t freeze down to the ice.” Then, CF-GUE at Charron Lake with just the oleos for suspension. This type of skis made for a pretty stiff run on take-off or landing. Jake Thorsteinson (left) is ready with his helper to start cutting ice to be put up in a shed insulated with bales of hay. The tourist camp there then would have ice for the coming season

CF-GUE -4- Gordon Olsfson 1982014_LRA typical Norseman summer scene with some of the fellows not exactly looking overworked. On the left is Gordon’s cousin, Danny; bush pilot Jim Johnson, whose father, Geiri, founded Gimli Air; Howard Olafson bush pilot (no relation); and Gordon himself.

CF-GUE -5 db9017_LR

Another excellent winter scene with GUE on straight skis.

CF-GUE -6 img074

Gordon and GUE at the dock on a fine day for a Norseman trip.

Norseman restoration projects: Pics from Finland

Norseman_A_Hyvarinen-1There are numerous Norseman “project” planes around the world. Some actively are being restored, as is Pablo Columbo’s LV-FFH in Argentina, or the Aviodrome’s N4474 in Holland. Others projects are more cautiously underway. Sometimes work moves ahead, sometimes planes are dormant for years. Examples would be CF-BHU waiting in the corner of a hangar in Steinbach, Manitoba, or N725E in Anchorage. Yet other Norsemans seem to be hopeless wrecks, as are CF-OBD at Selkirk, Manitoba, or 4X-ARS in Israel. But one never knows, right.

One of the long term project Norsemans is OH-NOA, the only known Finnish example. Delivered from Cartierville to the USAAF in September 1944 as 44-70381, it was shipped from New York in October, then served the US military  8th Air Force for a year, until a take-off accident in Germany. In November 1946 it was sold to a Swiss operator, becoming HB-UIK. In May 1951 it went  to Voukralento Oy of Finland, becoming OH-NOA. He and others operated it until 1969, when it was de-registered and stored. Today it is a project with the Finnish Air Force Museum, but no one is in a rush to move it up into the restoration shop.

On April 16, 2014 Finnair A320 pilot Antti Hyvärinen wrote to me: “I finally found those pics of Finnish Norseman OH-NOA! She’s in a bad place behind all the junk, so getting photos is almost hopeless. Hope you find these interesting anyway! She’s stored in the Tikkakoski aviation museum in Jyvaskylä.” Thanks, Antti — everyone loves a set of photos like this!

Norseman_A_Hyvarinen-3Norseman_A_Hyvarinen-4You can see that years ago the plane was painted yellow and black, then a dark blue, then a light blue. This is certainly a restorable Norseman — the cockpit and cabin are in quite decent shape, the fuselage frame looks good, but every museum has its priorities. OH-NOA likely will gather dust for a few more years, but it’s in safe storage. Many other Norsemans are in similar condition, including CF-PAA in Langely, BC.

Thank you for this great new blog content, Antti!

CANAV Special Offer: De Havilland in Canada

 De Havilland in Canada

by Fred W. Hotson

Image

An aviation hound since he was a little boy, while still in high school Fred Hotson built his own plane – a tiny one-seater, mail-order Heath. Fred ordered it one part at a time, finally finished it and got it airborne. Finished with school, Fred got on at de Havilland Canada before WWII. He flew through the war, including with Ferry Command, then had a distinguished postwar career in corporate aviation. Eventually, he returned to DHC, where he demonstrated Twin Otters and trained pilots all over the world.

As an early member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Fred promoted Canada’s aviation heritage every chance he got. His special passion was DHC, about which he spoke and wrote much until the time came to do a comprehensive history. First published by CANAV in 1983, his best-selling The De Havilland Canada Story eventually needed an update. We did that in 1999, creating a new book, De Havilland in Canada. This production gives all the details of an incredible success story from the 1920s to the present. You won’t find a lovelier aviation book. Not only does DHC cover all the great planes from tiny Moths to wartime Mosquito and postwar Beaver, Buffalo, Dash 7 right to today’s Q400 and Global Express, but the key people also all are there. This is a story of humble beginnings and grand success, how a dubious gamble ended with a Canadian company influencing the entire world.

Revered as Canada’s leading aviation history personality, Fred Hotson was a fastidious collector of aviation documents, photos and memorabilia. He was a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame and there’s a list of other honours. On his passing in 2012 Fred’s priceless collection was offered gratis to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, which turned it down as irrelevant (your Ottawa mentality at work, eh – can you believe it!). Fred already had donated his magnificent library to me, so the estate offered me the pick of everything Ottawa had no use for. I selected a few items, the rest was snapped up by the quick-minded folks at the Provincial Archives of Ontario, who know valuable Canadiana when they see it. Anyone doing serious DHC research will do well in visiting Fred’s collection, located in the new provincial archives building on the York University campus in northwest Toronto. Masses of photographs and a very rare collection of DHC 16mm movie reels are included.

Ordering De Havilland in Canada:

This world-famous title is a 376-page, large-format hardcover printed on top-grade paper. Its vast, comprehensive, well-written text is complemented by some 500 photos. If you have the remotest interest in Canada’s grand aviation past and don’t yet have your copy of DHC, or if you need a premier gift for some special occasion, get in on this offer today. Regularly $45.00, now $35.00 + $12.00 postage (Canada) + $2.35 tax = $49.35 (cheque or PayPal only). USA/Overseas postpaid $60.00.

Here are a few of the astounding de Havilland Canada photos from Fred’s collection. Some of these you’ll enjoy in the book, some not. Check every so often to see what new DHC photos have been added. Click once on any photo to see it full frame. Have a great day, have fun with the CANAV blog and thanks for your loyal support … Larry Milberry, publisher

Image

As young fellows, Fred Hotson and his pals, including C. Don Long and George Neal, were totally keen about aviation. Not surprisingly, they usually carried their cameras — even in his 90s Fred was avid about photography. C. Don Long, a DHC engineer, carefully covered the aviation scene at least since the late 1920s. Fred inherited his old pal’s collection, including this fabulous view of a pair of Moths circa June 1928 in front of the first de Havilland Canada building. This was at de Lesseps Field in Mount Dennis, on the northwest fringes of Toronto. C-GAKX was a Cirrus Moth newly assembled for the Halifax Aero Club. The following summer ‘AKX was wrecked landing on floats near Halifax. By this stage, unfortunately, there remains almost no record of how any of these old planes were painted. Call it a black-and-white world, right! (Click on any photo to enjoy it full screen.)

Image

Don photographed Fox Moth CF-API at the Toronto Flying Club on some pleasant weekend. As you can see, the aviation set always was pretty sharply turned out in these early times. That’s the renowned Leigh Capreol standing by the cockpit. Canada’s first Fox Moth, CF-API arrived in Toronto in a crate from the UK in May 1933. That winter it joined General Airways of Rouyn to toil in the Quebec and Ontario bush. In 1937-39 it was in Western Canada, then returned east for Leavens Brothers. Wrecked in the Ontario northland, it was rebuilt as CF-EVK, then worked into the 1950s, before fading from the scene.

Another early DHC type was the D.H.84 Dragon. Powered by two 130-hp D.H. Gipsy engines, the Dragon carried six passengers at about 100 mph. CF-APJ was delivered to Canadian Airways Ltd. of Montreal in May 1933. That summer it served the tourist trade, joy-riding from Cartierville airport, making a lot of money for CAL. It then joined CAL’s Maritime’s division. Eventually, it was cannibalized, so that Dragon CF-AVD could be reconditioned. The Dragon was an early example of a solid, economic, general purpose “airliner”, kind of a Dash 8 of its day. Don photographed it while DHC was getting it ready for delivery. Note the classic CAL “Goose” emblem.

Another early DHC type was the D.H.84 Dragon. Powered by two 130-hp D.H. Gipsy engines, the Dragon carried six passengers at about 100 mph. CF-APJ was delivered to Canadian Airways Ltd. of Montreal in May 1933. That summer it served the tourist trade, joy-riding from Cartierville airport, making a lot of money for CAL. It then joined CAL’s Maritimes division. Eventually, it was cannibalized, so that Dragon CF-AVD could be reconditioned. The Dragon was an early example of a solid, economic, general purpose “airliner”, kind of a mini-Dash 8 of its day. Don photographed it while DHC was getting it ready for delivery. Note the classic CAL “Goose” emblem.

De Havilland in the UK refined the somewhat dowdy-looking Dragon into the nifty-looking D.H.89 Rapide. Many Rapides served the Canadian scene into the late 1940s. CF-BBG was one of Canada’s early corporate planes. Delivered in June 1937 to Toronto-based Globe and Mail, Don photographed it “factory-fresh” on Toronto Bay. Dubbed “The Flying Newsroom”, it was intended for use on news gathering expeditions. But fate intervened -- CF-BBG was soon was lost. Fred tells the story in his book.

De Havilland in the UK refined the somewhat dowdy Dragon into the nifty-looking D.H.89 Rapide. Many Rapides served the Canadian scene into the late 1940s. CF-BBG was one of Canada’s early corporate planes. Delivered in June 1937 to the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, Don photographed it “factory-fresh” on Toronto Bay. Dubbed “The Flying Newsroom”, it was intended for news gathering expeditions. But fate intervened — CF-BBG was soon was lost. Fred tells the story in his book.

From Mont Dennis, DHC moved to Downsview, where airplanes still are built under the Bombardier banner. Here is the factory set-up circa 1938. Very little empty space remains here today – it’s now all jam-packed with “Toronto megalopolis” development.

From Mont Dennis, DHC moved to Downsview, where airplanes still are built under the Bombardier banner. Here is the factory set-up circa 1938. Very little empty space remains here today – it’s now all jam-packed with “Toronto megalopolis” development.

Further pre-war DHC development at Downsview.

Further pre-war DHC development at Downsview.

The hangars shown in this spring 1940 photo are easily seen in the aerial view. By now the place had picked up wildly. The war is on and Tiger Moth trainers were being churned out – more than 1400 would be produced. No.4043 (nearest) was delivered in May 1940. Sad to say, the following March is was lost in a crash at the RCAF flying school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

The hangars shown in this spring 1940 photo are easily seen in the aerial view. By now the place had picked up wildly. The war was on and Tiger Moth trainers were being churned out – more than 1400 would be built. No.4043 (nearest) was delivered in May 1940. Sad to say, the following March is was lost in a crash at the RCAF flying school in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Also mass-produced at Downsview were more than 1100 Mosquito bombers. This is the view as Mosquitos were coming down the line. This very production bay still stood in 2014, but it likely soon will disappear, now that the former Toronto Aerospace Museum has been rousted from the place. The Mosquito story is well covered in Fred’s book – you’ll love it!

Also mass-produced at Downsview were more than 1100 Mosquito bombers. This is the view as Mosquitos were coming down the line. This very production bay still stood in 2014, but it likely soon will disappear, now that the former Toronto Aerospace Museum has been rousted from the place. The Mosquito story is well covered in Fred’s book – you’ll love it!

How Downsview looked during the Mosquito era. Hovering over this spot in a helicopter today, you would see Hwy 401 sweeping across the bottom left to right, the sprawling Yorkdale Shopping Center and a major TTC subway station.  You would not see much unused real estate!

How Downsview looked during the Mosquito era. Notice how suburban development already was encroaching on the airport. Hovering over this spot in a helicopter today, you would see Hwy 401 sweeping across the bottom left to right, the sprawling Yorkdale Shopping Center and a major TTC subway station.

DHC author – the great Fred Hotson in his home office in Mississauga in 2012. Age 97, Fred still was busy researching and writing. On the wall is the painting Bill Wheeler did of Fred’s tiny Heath homebuilt.

DHC author – the great Fred Hotson in his home office in Mississauga in 2012. Age 97, Fred still was busy researching and writing. On the wall is the painting Bill Wheeler did of Fred’s tiny Heath homebuilt.

PS … are you keen about the F-104, that fantastic “Fighter of the Fifties”? If yes, then here’s something to light your burner …  check into The Canadian Starfighter Museum. Located in Manitoba, the CSM is restoring one of the oldest CF-104s — RCAF 12703. It also has many important “collectibles”, including one of the RCAF’s CAE-built CF-104 flight simulators. Make sure you see what excellent work these dedicated, hardworking folks are doing!

CF-104 12703 on arrival in 2013 at the CSM hangar at St. Andrews Airport, a short drive north of Winnipeg.

CF-104 12703 on arrival in 2013 at the CSM hangar at St. Andrews Airport, a short drive north of Winnipeg.

The CSM's beautifully-restored CAE-built CF-104 flight simulator. Based at Cold Lake, No.6 OTU/417 Squadron trained Canada's CF-104 pilots from 1961 into the early 1980s.

The CSM’s beautifully-restored CAE-built CF-104 flight simulator. Based at Cold Lake, No.6 OTU/417 Squadron trained Canada’s CF-104 pilots from 1961 into the early 1980s.

The CF-104 flight simulator cockpit restored by the CSM to the smallest detail. (photos via Steve Pajot/CSM)

The CF-104 flight simulator cockpit restored by the CSM to the smallest detail. (photos via Steve Pajot/CSM)

PPS … Are you a self-respecting airliner fan? If so, you must have these essential sources to be “au courant” (including the “fashionable” and “stylish” versions of the translation):

1) Your subscriptions to Airways: The Global Review of Commercial Flight  and Propliner Aviation Magazine.

2) Your personal connection to Henry Tenby’s airlinehobby.com. There you can order books, buy/sell aviation photos and other collectibles, etc.

3) Your copies of The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection, The Wilf White Propliner Collection and Air Transport in Canada. These now are on sale, see CANAV’s current booklist.

Canada Post — spare us from the yahoos in Ottawa, please! You can scoll back a bit to see about CANAV’s Canada Post woes. We still are missing delivery days in M4E. So be that, but others in Canada seem to be getting really royally screwed over –  little or zero mail for them. So why are we paying taxes and is it time for a tax payer revolution? How about it, citizens?

Can you believe this crapola about King Deepak Chopra and his do-nothings at Canada Post? Have a look at this little news item:  Herein, “$500K Deepak” discusses the Canada Post charter. His summary is a real hoot — Deepak bleets how the terms of the charter are what “we try to strive for”. Huh? Not actually striving, just “trying” to strive — Homer Simpson couldn’t have put it better. Hey, Your Eminence, you don’t strive for the terms of the Canada Post charter — you deliver as promised or get outta town.

The Norseman Saga Grows and Grows

Blog Crossley #4 TorStar563On Feb.17, 2014, Robert Galway, who’s researching the life of W.R. Maxwell (founding father of the Ontario Provincial Air Service), showed up at CANAV with some rare newspaper clippings covering important Ontario aviation topics. Included is the front page of the Toronto Daily Star June 1, 1956 “Home Edition” with the banner headline, “COLDEST JUNE 1 EVER, FARMS FACE DISASTER, MERCURY MAY HIT 28”. Wow … looks like “climate change” has been around for a while, eh!

Crossley #3 TorStar562This page also has a “breaking news” headline in red ink across the very top of Page 1: “In Darkest Hours I Put My Faith in God – Pilot”. (See the rest of the story here).

Thus did the Star announce the rescue of Carl Crossley, given up for lost with his Norseman far up in Hudson Bay. The great reporter Frank Teskey turned out the main story, backed up by Edwin Feeny.

Blog Crossley #5 Westaway Crash TorStar572Blog Crossley #6 G&M 28-5-1948Also in Robert’s collection are Star and Globe and Mail clippings about the death in May 1948 of James “Westy” Westaway, another of the “Kings of the Norseman” covered in Vol.1.

What excellent fodder for our blog, right. If you’re into Norseman lore, especially if you have Vol.1, you’ll revel in this stuff, so here it is.

Norseman miseries

Blog CF-OBN accident576

On p.113 of Austin Airways that great Dave Russell photo showing “drowned” Norseman CF-OBN correctly reads: “Norseman CF-OBN submerged at Moosonee. ‘OBN finally met its end on August 10, 1968. That day it stalled and crashed neat Winisk in the hands of pilot Don Plaunt.” This straightens out the iffy caption in Norseman Vol.2 p.101. The wonderful Norseman website NorsemanHistory.ca adds: “During take-off, lift-off was attempted at low speed to avoid shallow water ahead. Then a  turn was attempted to avoid an island, but the aircraft hit the shore at considerable speed and was destroyed. The flaps had been left in the up position.” Well, not exactly the shore from what we see here, but we get the drift, right. Thanks to Roland Brandt, who took this photo when passing by one day.

Finally, if you scroll back to the Alaska item and the previous Norseman update, you can check out some of our recent readers’ comments and reviews. Have fun with all this good stuff … Larry

Bush flying in Ketchikan

Similar to Canada, Alaska has a rich aviation heritage dating from early post-WWI days. Every  settlement in the state remains dependent on air transportation. Aviation hounds consider Alaska one of the world’s best “hunting grounds” for photographing old planes, from Beavers and Otters to C-46s and DC-4s.

The Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage and the Alaskaland Pioneer Air Museum in Fairbanks tell the story of Alaska aviation through the decades. The Norseman, of course, has its place. Many US Army UC-64s served in Alaska during the war. Civil examples operated postwar, several with Wien Airlines. In 2014, however, Alaska didn’t have a single airworthy Norseman. You’ll find museum examples N725E in Anchorage and N55555 in Fairbanks. There also are 2 or 3 “project” Norsemans around Alaska awaiting restoration.

The town of Ketchikan has produced this gem of a video honouring its bush flying lifestyle. Here it is and you won’t regret taking a look:

Ketchikan: The Bush Pilots from Laurel Lindahl on Vimeo.

One of my Alaska aviation pals comments after watching it: “Great footage and what good quality! Ketchikan is a pretty special town, lots of old style bar life going on. The houses in the red light district had hatches in the floor, so the customers could arrive under the house unseen in skiffs.”

Here are three shots I took on August 3, 1993, when Sandy Parker flew me up to Ketchikan from Prince Rupert in his Wagair Beaver. It was a perfect summer’s day for such a swan.

Ketchikan 1

Shown above is recently-converted Turbo Otter N51KA of Ketchikan Air. Note the Turbo Beaver in the distance. To this day Beavers and Otters remain at the heart of bush and coast flying in this region. In 1957 N51KA came off the production line at DHC in Toronto as Otter 270. It was delivered to the US Army as 57-6128. Its Army days over, in 1978 it became C-GLFK back in Canada with Air Saguenay in Quebec, then migrated to Alaska, sporting a PT6 turbine engine. By 2014 N51KA had been re-registered N270A of Pro Mech Air, also of Ketchikan.

Ketchikan 4 N4787C of Yes Bay Lodge began as Beaver 1330 in 1959, then spent its entire career on the West Coast. It last was in the news on July 24, 2013. While on a Pro Mech Air flight-seeing trip from Ketchikan, the engine failed. N4787C crashed into trees, but all four aboard were rescued.

Ketchikan 2

Here’s a typical view from town looking across to Gravina Island, site of Ketchikan International Airport. An Alaska Airlines 737 is on final approach.

Special note to serious fans: The Regina Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society is hosting the 2014 CAHS national convention in early June. For info, here’s the link: http://cahs.ca/Convention-2014/2014-agm.html

And … Check out Steinar’s Hangar for a fabulous website about one of history’s great little bushplanes/sportplanes — the Republic RC-3 Seabee. Visit www.seabee.info — don’t skip this one or you’ll really be missing out! Steinar also covers such topics as Norway’s Otters and Twin Otters, so there’s plenty of Canadian content.

Lately I dug out some Seabee photos I took 50+ years ago and sent them to Steinar. Now everyone can see these nifty old shots, uselessly buried in my files for so many years. So … if you have any Seabee photos or info, kindly share with Steinar at steinar.saevdal@gmail.com. Thanks … Larry

People sure do need their Norseman fix! Readers keep getting in touch to order Norseman books and tell me a bit about their Norseman connections. Eric Boyce in Alaska writes on February 14, 2014:

I worked on CF-FQI when it was owned by Sept-Iles Air Service in Sept-Iles, QC. That was in 1961 and ’62. I was 14. FQI was the first airplane I ever got to fly — I got to hold the controls for 30 minutes from Lac Manitou to Lac Des Rapides. 
 
In 1999 I brokered CF-GUE to Bear Lake Air, a company in Seward Alaska. I flew it back with my engineer buddy and fellow Canadian, John “Alan” Wakefield. I flew GUE a bit here in Alaska for the last operator, Renfro Air. I modified it by putting Sikorsky S-58 axles, wheels and brakes on it (just like having Otter wheels). I sent Gordy Hughes a copy of the FAA approval and blueprints. Renfro said he could beat the Cessna Caravans hauling freight into the Eskimo villages, because the Norseman was fast and a lot cheaper to operate. He said the wheels and brakes made it taxi, takeoff and land with great control. As you may know Renfro’s engine quit and he rolled it up in the muskeg trying to make the airport.
 
Anyway, I love the Norseman and have since 1961. So I need the books to complete my love affair. Thanks a million for making these books available.

Canada’s Cadet Program … One of our country’s best organizations for teens is “Cadets”. Th Cadet movement is under attack from the Harper Government (our great pals in Ottawa, right). Not only is the HG campaigning to destroy our post services, etc., now they’ve put their sights on the Cadets. Please look at this item. Please sign the petition and forward. Thanks again … Larry

http://www.change.org/petitions/stephen-harper-and-government-of-canada-end-the-cuts-to-cadets-canada-training-and-uniforms-and-cut-the-expansive-regional-cadet-bureaucracy-instead?share_id=RKtrcoJlib&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Buried Norseman Photos Re-Emerge

Image

One of the fine Norseman photos from the Geoff Rowe Collection recently supplied to CANAV Books by the Comox Air Force Museum (all the photos in this item are via this collection). In Norseman Vol.1 p.142 the centre photo shows RCAF 2495 during Exercise Musk Ox in 1946. There’s an inscription on this plane that can’t fully be made out – it’s obscured by the open door. Happily, this detail view has turned up, so the mystery of the inscription is resolved. However, we don’t yet have the names of these 4 jolly “Musk Ox” fellows. Also too bad is that the significance of “Kripple Kee-Bird” remains unknown. Only someone who was there 67 years ago could clear up that one! Andrew Yee has fine-tuned these photos for your viewing pleasure. (On March 25, 2015 I heard from Doreen, the daughter of Canada’s great Arctic explorer, and captain of the St. Roch, Henry Larsen. Having come across our post, Doreen immediately recognized her father standing 2nd from the left. Recalling his profile in my Gr. 5 or 6 social studies book of 60 years ago, I immediately could agree. So … mystery partially solved!) To see any photo full frame, just click on it.

The route to today’s selection of new Norseman photos is slightly roundabout: Having such a monumental aviation past, Canada has no shortage of history devotees, many of whom I met over the decades. These dedicated researchers, photographers and collectors usually supported my own efforts. Included were/are the likes of Sheldon Benner, Leslie Corness, Hugh Halliday, Terry Judge, Peter Keating, Al Martin, Jack McNulty, Ken Molson, Merlin Ready, Harry Stone, Bill Wheeler and Wilf White. In this blog item I’m featuring Geoffrey A. Rowe, a Brit born on February 9, 1939, who lived (after coming to Canada) first at “Top Acres” farm at Stittsville near Ottawa, then in Victoria, where he moved in the early 1970s and passed away on August 2, 1994. Without the likes of Geoff Rowe, our aviation heritage resources would be vastly smaller, since it is not the prerogative of most people working in aviation to record or save what is necessary for posterity.

Norseman 369 offloads somewhere in the NWT during “Musk Ox”. For this famous northern exercise, air support was provided to the Army by a temporary RCAF organization – No.1 Air Support Unit (see Norseman Vol.1 pp 143-145). This view illustrates the Norseman’s big wooden “bear paw” skis, which pilots did not like. (RCAF PL37690)

Norseman 369 offloads somewhere in the NWT during “Musk Ox”. For this famous northern exercise, air support was provided to the Army by a temporary RCAF organization – No.1 Air Support Unit (see Norseman Vol.1 pp 143-145). This view illustrates the Norseman’s big wooden “bear paw” skis, which pilots did not like. (RCAF PL37690)

Following Geoff’s passing, his parents, George and Martha, donated his collection to the superb Comox Air Force Museum. Recently, Comox contacted me with news that some folders of “Geoff Rowe” Norseman photos suddenly had surfaced during the process off accessing his material. Would I be interested in copies? Naturally, the answer was a frantic “Yes”! Fifty years ago, Geoff was pals with many Canadian Aviation Historical Society members in those halcyon early CAHS days. CAHS member No.58 since June 10, 1963, Geoff was an avid collector of photos, books and artifacts. He was a founding member of the CAHS Ottawa Chapter. I recently noticed a short advert that he placed in 1963 in Vol.2 No.1 of the CAHS Journal: “Geoff Rowe (#58), Top Acres, RR2, Stittsville. Ontario. Needs a perspex nose cap from a Lockheed Hudson Mk.III.” Whom else in the world would be looking for such an oddball thing!

Likely also from “Musk Ox” is this view of Norseman 371 with RCAF Dakota 963, location unknown. 371 previously served on wartime survey operations in the Canadian Arctic. It later was CF-ILR, the adventures of which are well covered in Norseman Vol.2 (its remains still may be seen on Baffin Island).

Likely also from “Musk Ox” is this view of Norseman 371 with RCAF Dakota 963, location unknown. 371 previously served on wartime survey operations in the Canadian Arctic. It later was CF-ILR, the adventures of which are well covered in Norseman Vol.2 (its remains still may be seen on Baffin Island).

In 1961 Geoff (if you can believe this) acquired a genuine Bf.109E fighter, maker’s number 1190. This plane had run into trouble during a Battle of Britain sortie, obliging pilot Horst Perez to crash land in Sussex. Later, the relatively undamaged 1190 was shipped to New York via Canada to be shown off from city to city as a wartime morale booster. For several years it toured from NYC to Galveston, Birmingham, Chicago, Buffalo — all over America. Near war’s end it visited centres from Edmonton to Winnipeg and Toronto. It then endured several years stored and deteriorating at Arnprior, west of Ottawa. In 1959 it was rejected by the Canadian War Museum as being beyond limits for practical restoration, so was sold for scrap. In CAHS Journal Vol.2 No.2 of 1964, Geoff explained: “After painstaking enquiries, the airframe was located in 1961 in a junk yard buried beneath wrecked cars and was rescued by the author.” He kept 1190 in his yard, until passing it in 1966 to two like-minded UK collaborators. After languishing further in the UK, in 1998 this priceless Battle of Britain veteran was acquired by the Imperial War Museum and restored for exhibit. Thanks exclusively to Geoff Rowe’s foresight, 1190 now may be seen at the IWM in Duxford, displayed in a full-size diorama in the markings in which it came down in Surrey in 1940.

On p.125 of Norseman Vol.1 there’s a photo of RCAF Norseman 792 taken at almost the same angle as this one, except that 792 there is on wheels (also see it on p.149). Here’s 792 in a fine winter scene at Rockcliffe, as ground crew remove the engine cover in preparation for a trip. The many adventures of 792 are covered in both Norseman volumes. As a beautifully-restored “modern day” Norseman, it remained airworthy in 2014 as CF-IGX (presently, it is wintering in Manitoba at Selkirk airport). (RCAF RE64-2794)

On p.125 of Norseman Vol.1 there’s a photo of RCAF Norseman 792 taken at almost the same angle as this one, except that 792, there, is on wheels (also see it on p.149). Here’s 792 in a fine winter scene at Rockcliffe, as ground crew remove the engine cover in preparation for a trip. The many adventures of 792 are covered in both Norseman volumes. As a beautifully-restored “modern day” Norseman, it remained airworthy in 2014 as CF-IGX (presently, it is wintering in Manitoba at Selkirk airport). (RCAF RE64-2794)

The last I saw Geoff was circa 1974 in Victoria. That day he kindly toured me through his basement “Airchive”, as he called it. On January 1, 2014 Paddy Gardiner of Kuujjuaq sent me these personal reminiscences about his old pal:

During the Second World War, Geoff’s father had worked in Canada as a federal government “dollar-a-year” man. Following the war he brought his family out. He purchased a large parcel of land in what today is the modern Ottawa suburb of Kanata. This is where we used to hang out in the early 1960s. The lot was on an exposed limestone outcropping. It had a small quarry used for swimming. Here could be seen Geoff’s pride and joy — the remains of his Battle of Britain Me.109.

Another fine winter scene, this one of 2456 at Rockcliffe on December 23, 1940. Beyond are a couple of RCAF Hudsons. (RCAF)

Another fine winter scene, this one of 2456 at Rockcliffe on December 23, 1940. Beyond are a couple of RCAF Hudsons. (RCAF)

Geoff Rowe was an eclectic collector and an unusual person to boot. It was either (or both) Hugh Halliday or Dick Kamm, who introduced me to Geoff. Hugh was then with the RCAF Air Historical Section in Ottawa. Dick was a Canadian in the USAF, serving as a flight engineer on the B-36. It was with Geoff and Hugh that we formed the Ottawa chapter of the CAHS in 1964. Geoff was employed as a patent draftsman with the Ottawa law firm of Gowling and MacTavish. He drove (rather ferociously, I always thought) a Volkswagen Beetle, touring around checking for the widest range of aeronautica to collect. One find was an almost complete Fairchild Cornell, which he towed with my help (wings off) down a newly-completed section of Ottawa’s Queensway. It was later stored at a friend’s farm.

Pristine-looking Norseman 3523 at rest at Rockcliffe. An Anson V, Beech 18, Oxford and Lysander are part of the interesting background. Following a busy RCAF career, 3523 was transferred in 1953 to the Royal Norwegian Air Force. It later served commercially throughout Norway with Widerøe air service until a December 1966 accident. (RCAF PL24366)

Pristine-looking Norseman 3523 at rest at Rockcliffe. An Anson V, Beech 18, Oxford and Lysander are part of the interesting background. Following a busy RCAF career, 3523 was transferred in 1953 to the Royal Norwegian Air Force. It later served commercially throughout Norway with Widerøe air service until a December 1966 accident. (RCAF PL24366)

Geoff’s had many aviation contacts all over. One day, for example, he introduced me to Paul Garber, founder of the Smithsonian Air and Space Collection. During his time as a patent draftsman, Geoff subcontracted me to photograph for his employer all kinds of items for patent applications. That job largely paid for my photographic equipment over several years. Geoff was a skilled artist in a unique “cartoony” style and was capable of creating artwork for calendars and other art forms that depicted flying in some bizarre and satiric way. I always thought it was a pity that few people saw these works, which he reserved for his closer friends.

Norseman Vol.1 tells a bit about the RCAF’s early search and para-rescue activities. On p.197 there’s a fuzzy photo of 2471 with a class of early para-rescue jumpers on course at Jasper, Alberta. Suddenly, via the Geoff Rowe Collection, we now have this far better version of this photo. Janet Lacroix at the DND in Ottawa looked this neg up for me to determine that the picture dates to June 16, 1947. There’s also a great photo on p.55 showing 2471 just about to come off the somewhat primitive Norseman production line at Cartierville. (RCAF PL38459)

Norseman Vol.1 tells a bit about the RCAF’s early search and para-rescue activities. On p.197 there’s a fuzzy photo of 2471 with a class of early para-rescue jumpers on course at Jasper, Alberta. Suddenly, via the Geoff Rowe Collection, we now have this far better version of this photo. Janet Lacroix at the DND in Ottawa looked this neg up for me to determine that the picture dates to June 16, 1947. There’s also a great photo on p.55 showing 2471 just about to come off the somewhat primitive Norseman production line at Cartierville. (RCAF PL38459)

Geoff’s collecting interests broadened over the years. His father sold the farm and the family moved west to Victoria in the early seventies. By then he had one of the best collections of German aircraft maintenance manuals, some dating to the early Junkers used in the Canadian north. He also collected small-format cameras and Dinky Toys. Collecting Dinky Toys demanded having two examples of each item — one in the original box and the other on display.

Para-rescue jumpers check each other out (circa 1947-48) prior to a training jump from Norseman 2475. Sgt William Farr is ensuring that everything is in order with Cpl T.W.L. Dawson’s equipment (the RCAF caption describes them as “mercy jumpers”). Note such early safety features as the helmet with metal-mesh facemask, rugged cloth jump suit, and sturdy gauntlets. Cpl Dawson holds a battery-operated portable radio. For many good reasons, the Norseman was ideal in search and rescue, e.g. note its large cabin doors. (PL39565)

Para-rescue jumpers check each other out (circa 1947-48) prior to a training jump from Norseman 2475. Sgt William Farr is ensuring that everything is in order with Cpl T.W.L. Dawson’s equipment (the RCAF caption describes them as “mercy jumpers”). Note such early safety features as the helmet with metal-mesh facemask, rugged cloth jump suit, and sturdy gauntlets. Cpl Dawson holds a battery-operated portable radio. For many good reasons, the Norseman was ideal in search and rescue, e.g. note its large cabin doors. (PL39565)

Geoff was keenly interested in preservation of artifacts. It was due to him that we, as the Ottawa Chapter of the CAHS, were able to present to Canada’s (then) National Aeronautical Collection the original winter engine baffle from Fairchild Super 71 CF-AUJ, that had crashed in Northwestern Ontario bush. There were several other items that we also presented to the museum, thanks to his keen eye for artifacts. [Paddy adds elsewhere” “It is due in no small part to Geoff’s efforts that the remains of the Fairchild Super 71 CF-AUJ were located, as well as those of Bellanca Aircruisers CF-AWR and CF-BKV.”] Geoff had another passion — Cornish tin mines. Apparently when he had lived in Cornwall, UK, he developed an interest in the ancient art and skill of tin mining. He had quite a library on that subject alone.

Norseman Vol.2 includes a fabulous 2013 action shot showing four carefree kids diving “in formations” from their dad’s newly-restored Norseman CF-FQI. Well, they were not the first to have such fun. Here a couple of RCAF airmen have a great time diving from 3528 during free time out in the bush. Too bad, but 3528 ended very badly. The tragic tale is told on p.119 of Vol.1. (RCAF PL25436)

Norseman Vol.2 includes a fabulous 2013 action shot showing four carefree kids diving “in formations” from their dad’s newly-restored Norseman CF-FQI. Well, they were not the first to have such fun. Here a couple of RCAF airmen have a great time diving from 3528 during free time out in the bush. Too bad, but 3528 ended very badly. The tragic tale is told on p.119 of Vol.1. (RCAF PL25436)

The last time I saw Geoff was in Victoria. It was a delightful visit. He mentioned such things that day as his concern about some of the aircraft restorations (Hampden included) at the late Ed Zaleski’s museum. At this time Geoff loaned me a mint copy of a B-17 field maintenance manual. Sadly, it was only a matter of a few weeks after this that we learnt that Geoff had died of a heart attack at a young age. Custodians of history lost a great and valued friend. His father later told me that Geoff’s vast collection of aeronautica had been donated to the RCAF museum at Comox, BC.

In its June 8, 1995 edition, Totem Times, the base newspaper for CFB Comox, made a momentous announcement: “On 16 May, the Comox Air Force Museum dedicated the second floor of the museum/AFIS/Totem Times building as the Geoffrey Rowe Library. The entire collection includes 2300 books, 5000 magazines, hundred of aircraft parts, aircraft models, pilots log books, maps, posters and other assorted memorabilia, including a signed photograph of Herman Goering.”

A nice frigid view of CF-CPR between trips (location not known). In Norseman Vol.1 there’s another good view of CF-CPR taken at Yellowknife shortly before it was lost near there in August 1945.

A nice frigid view of CF-CPR between trips (location not known). In Norseman Vol.1 there’s another nice view of CF-CPR taken at Yellowknife shortly before it was lost near there in August 1945.

Comox Rowe_2Four young fellows pose with CF-CPS on a fine summer’s day. Then, the same Norseman at rest. The tragic December 23, 1950 end of CF-CPS is related in Norseman Vol.1.

Four young fellows pose with CF-CPS on a fine summer’s day. Then, the same Norseman at rest. The tragic December 23, 1950 end of CF-CPS is related in Norseman Vol.1.
A CPA Norseman roars off in a cloud of dust in a good wartime action shot taken at Fort Nelson, BC, along the Northwest Staging Route.

A CPA Norseman roars off in a cloud of dust in a good wartime action shot taken at Fort Nelson, BC, along the Northwest Staging Route.

The renowned and much covered Austin Airways Norseman CF-BSC screams down Ramsay Lake at Sudbury, Rusty Blakey at the helm. (M.L. “Mac” McIntyre).

The renowned and much covered Austin Airways Norseman CF-BSC screams down Ramsay Lake at Sudbury, Rusty Blakey at the helm. Thanks again to the Comox Air Force Museum and museum librarian Allison Hetman for directing these excellent photos to CANAV. (M.L. “Mac” McIntyre).

More readers are checking in about Norseman Vols. 1 and 2: John G. from Ottawa observes on January 22:

Hi Larry: The Vol. 2 that I purchased from you last fall was given to me by the family as a Christmas present, so I have only now been permitted to read it. You have done a fantastic job on both volumes. In all my northern travels I think I only actually flew in a Norseman on a couple of occasions, but it is great to read the history and to enjoy the stories. Again, congratulations on the books.

From Jeff R. “Out West”: Larry, well the results are in … your new Norseman books are absolutely AWESOME . I have had the pleasure of having them in my collection since Christmas and cannot put them down. The photo essay you present is an absolute paradise to an aviation buff, any lover of bush planes, float planes, Canadian aviation history and scale model builders like myself. You have filled a long overdue void, many thanks, since my current Norseman model kit has endless possibilities now!

 I also ‘fly’ a Norseman or two on my computer Flight Sim. Two summers ago I had the dream flight of my life so far and that was in a Beaver float plane in Alaska. My next quest is to go for a ride in the Norseman float plane. Well, I am truly impressed with your work. I have lots to keep me going now, as I also have bought Bob Cameron’s book. Thanks again for your hard work and dedication, it is well appreciated for sure. Cheers for now.

Al B., a retired bush pilot now in Toronto, also has taken time to comment:

Volume Two arrived … that was quick! Needless to say, any work, household chores, etc. got pushed on the back burner as soon as I opened the book. However, after I went to get a cup of coffee from the kitchen, I had to take a break since Elaine had picked up the new arrival and got absorbed in it.

As I was with Norseman, Volume 1, I am absolutely in awe of the multitude of photographs, the fascinating text, as well as the tremendous amount of work, such as research, planning, sorting, organizing, etc. you put into producing these books. I will treasure them for the rest of my days, since I met and got to know many of the people you write about. As an example, a familiar face jumped out at me: a young- looking Harry Speight. I met him in the spring of 1959 when I was based at Caribou Lake (Armstrong), which was then within the Sioux Lookout district. Harry was the senior pilot at the Sioux Lookout base, flying Otter CF-ODT. I often saw him and got to know him, including when I would fly our Chief Ranger to the district office. Harry was fairly short and, knowing that he flew Lancasters overseas in WW2, I tried to picture him wrestling a Lanc around in the night skies over Europe. He got his  job with the OPAS back after he returned from the war.I would like to mention what came to mind while reading about Gord Hughes and Stinson CF-HAW that Ellis found in a barn near Hearst. I flew CF-HAW in the first part of the 1957 float season. A fellow by the name of Chic Eckhart operated it at his tourist resort at Cushing Lake (part of Lac des Mille Lacs). He had the maintenance done by Superior Airways, who also supplied a pilot to fly CF-HAW each summer season. Orville Wieben sent me there at the beginning of the float season and I thought I was in heaven. I had a neat log cabin to myself, enjoyed nice meals at the lodge. I would fly the tourists out to fish at outpost camps and bring them back each evening for dinner. Tourists climbed in and out and I did not have to load 45gallon drums, propane bottles, etc. An easy touch!

But that did not last. Just as I had nicely settled in, after a couple of weeks Orville flew in with a new pilot he was checking out. His name was Rudolf Schönert (another squarehead like me). Wieben told me to get my things together, as he was taking me back to Fort William. The next day I was on my way to Sioux Lookout in an Aeronca Champ on wheels, which Superior used to move pilots around the country. Soon I was flying a Cessna 180 from the Severn Enterprises base until sent to Great Whale. After the end of the float season, at freeze-up time, while visiting my parents in Toronto, I saw the hangar fire at the Fort William airport on TV and thought that CF-HAW was lost as well, as it was in that hangar when I left to go to Toronto. I also worried about my job. Years later, after Ellis had bought CF-HAW, I found out that it had been moved to the Great Lakes hangar just before the fire occurred.

Why am I writing about all this?  In Vol.2 you write about Pete Lazarenko’s “Northland Fish” operation on Savage Island in Island Lake. On page 275, you have a picture of Husky CF-BQC. In the years 1959 to 1963, while the OPAS Armstrong division was still part of the Sioux Lookout district, I flew fish and wildlife officers to Savage Island to inspect the records of Northland Fish, since Lazarenko hauled a lot of fish from lakes in Northwestern Ontario. During one of those visits, I met Rudi Schönert again. He flew CF-BQC and sometimes also ws co-pilot on Lazarenko’s Canso. I had heard that Rudi flew in the Luftwaffe during the war, but when I asked him about that, he did not want to talk about it. I did get to know him a bit in the pilots’ bunkhouse , when we were overnighting. Years later, while reading a book about German fighter pilots in WW2, I found out that Rudi had been a highly decorated nightfighter ace and a Wing Commander with 64 night victories, all of them four-engine bombers. He flew Ju.88G and Do.217 twins and is credited with the idea to mount guns at a steep angle to fire upwards. I thought of Harry Speight. They could have been in the same area over Germany some night, trying to kill each other. Two great guys, who under normal circumstances could be great friends. I still think about that often.

Pierre Gillard’s Blog Features Ralph Clint’s Long-Lost Airliner Photos, A310s to the Boneyard, Readers React to Norseman Vol.2 + Initial Errata Details

The demise of Norseman 495, about which Bob Cameron of Whitehorse adds some details. (John Biehler Collection)

The demise of Norseman 495, about which Bob Cameron of Whitehorse adds some details. (John Biehler Collection)

All the best to CANAV’s great supporters over 2014! Thanks hugely to one and all of you solid folks, who go back to the birth of CANAV in 1981, but also to you many new fans/younger readers who are gradually getting to know CANAV and all it has to offer via its top-notch book list and always-informative blog.

For January 4, 2014 please note that I’ve added an addendum to blog posting “The Wartime Era Fades”. This is based on an obituary that I spotted in today’s newspaper. You’ll absolutely enjoy this item. Find it easily by using the search box.

Blog followers will love what Pierre Gillard is doing with Ralph Clint’s collection of old slides. Born in 1935, Ralph passed away in 2013. A long-serving TCA/Air Canada radio operator, Ralph was the commensurate aviation fan (nothing shallow for him) and one of CANAV’s hard-working researchers, proof readers etc. since the days of our Canadair North Star book.

Three cheers for Pierre, a professor at E.N.A. at St. Hubert, who does such a fantastic job with his blog. To see his fine gallery of Ralph’s airliner photos, have a look at this week’s headline offerings at his blog. Looks like most of Pierre’s “Ralph” photos were taken in the 1960s-70s at Toronto YYZ, mainly from the upper parking level of the original (now recycled) “Aeroquay” passenger terminal. This is really a great trip back into the days of such types as the stubby DC-9-15 and such Classic 747s as CF-TOA, a vintage -133.  Each photo was decently taken by Ralph and and has been nicely “tweaked up” by Pierre. As to “tweaking”, Pierre explains: “Most of Ralph’s slides are easy to scan and process because they are not Kodachromes. So, I can use a function to virtually wipe dust and remove scratches, which is totally impossible to do with Kodachrome slides. This saves a lot of time.”

This week Pierre also covers the dismantling of a couple of Air Transat Airbus 310s (“On démantèle à Mirabel”, A310 “au recyclage”, etc.). Who would believe that these seemingly modern airliners so soon could be over the hill but … I guess we’re all getting there. Something to think about, eh!

“Merci bien” CANAV people and good reading (as usual) to one and all … Larry

A Norseman Aficionado Weighs In

Norseman readers are gradually getting back to me with their comments about our new books. I’ve just heard from Bob Cameron of Whitehorse. Bob led a small team back in the 1990s restoring Fokker Super Universal CF-AAM (dormant since a 1937 accident) to flying condition. He and his pals then toured Canada in this astoundingly historic plane, a photo of which graces the cover of Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years. CF-AAM today is permanently on show at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg. Last year Bob’s grand book, Yukon Wings, was published. You can read my review of this big-time beauty for more details.

Bob also is a veteran Norseman pilot, so who better to pass judgment on a Norseman book? Off the top, this is what he has to say: “The hi-lite of my Christmas was the arrival of your magnificent Norseman Vol. I! It is fabulous, and I am absorbing every millimeter of it!”

Encrusted remnants of Norseman 495 as they sit today on the bottom of Tagish Lake. (via Bob Cameron)

Encrusted remnants of Norseman 495 as they sit today on the bottom of Tagish Lake. (via Bob Cameron)

Bob adds some historic tidbits about the dramatic wreck of RCAF Norseman 495, pictured on p.151 of Norseman Vol.1: “That happened 40 miles south of here on Tagish Lake on St. Patrick’s Day, 1950. One guy was checking out another on skis. Unfortunately, they chose to shoot a landing too far off shore, in flat light, rendering depth perception next to impossible.” He then explains the final fate of 495. The RCAF salvage team stripped it of useful parts, then abandonned the wreck to settle to the lake bottom with the spring melt. If one flies over Tagish Lake today, the outline of 495 may still be spotted in the shallow water. Bob finishes: “Anyway, good work, Larry, I’ve waited a long time for a pictorial history of one of my favourite airplanes!”

 The Gremlins are About!

Several typical typos have been pointed out in the Norseman volumes. These inevitably seem to occur no matter how hard we try to correct them before printing. Thanks to former Norseman pilot Rodney Kozar for spotting these. The real clanger is the one referring to the great Dishlevoy/Magnusson Norseman website as noorduynnorseman.com, when that should be norsemanhistory.ca. So please make a note (but do use both sites, eh).

In Vol.1: In Norseman Vol.1 p.119, the correct date for the Hazelton crash is the one shown on the grave marker.

For p.120 somehow the caption for Norseman 2477 got transposed. In an earlier version of the galleys the correct caption is in place — can you believe it! So how in the world did it end up with a caption for Norseman 2469. The desired caption is: Camping with 2477 at Crystal 1 in March 1942. From February 6 to April 4, 1942 this Norseman was on loan to Ferry Command for the Eastern Arctic airstrip/weather station survey. Postwar, it was CF-PAB. While serving Associated Airways of Edmonton, in August 1954 it was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident. (A.W. Baker Col.)

p. 197 – the correct month for the Nelles incident is August.

In Vol. 2 – p.11, line 2 of caption, change RCAF to RCMP

p.13 – lower caption, change Ontario to Canadian

p.14 – top caption for CF-OBG incorrectly gives the info for CF-OBF

p.17 – in the chart, change CF-UDD to CF-UUD

p.20 – lower caption change CF-SAN to CF-SAH

p.41 – at end of  CF-GUE entry, the Huron Air mention applies to above entry for CF-GSR

pp.62/63 – all registrations should read CF-EIH, delete CF-EIN

p.74 – CF-GUM Mark IV, change to UC-64A; CF-HFV change serial no. to N29-50; CF-SAHI V, change to CF-SAH  IV; CF-SAM Mark IV, change to V.

p.123 – lower caption change OK-XDB is OK-XBD

p.194 – lower caption, change CF-ORD to CF-OBD

p.239 – 2nd para, col.3 CF-DRD went on permanent display in 1992

p.246 – top caption change CF-GTN to CF-GJN

p.286 – lower photo, Norseman shown is CF-JIN, not CF-JEC

Pierre Gillard Reviews Norseman Vol. 2

 Probablement que, pour Larry Milberry, les 232 pages du premier volume consacré au Noorduyn Norseman avait un “goût de trop peu” car il a immédiatement embrayé, en solo cette fois-ci, avec un second volume ne comprenant pas moins de 304 pages ! Il restait donc beaucoup de choses à dire encore au sujet de cet avion de brousse produit à Cartierville. Et vous n’allez pas me croire quand je vous dirai que l’auteur a reçu des commentaires acerbes de certains frustrés mentionnant qu’il manquait de détails au sujet de quelques opérateurs “oubliés” par le récit!

Toujours est-il que ce second volume traite essentiellement des Norseman utilisés après la Seconde guerre mondiale par la Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC-RCMP), les opérateurs civils canadiens ainsi que les opérateurs étrangers, toujours avec le souci du détail et la minutie que l’on connaît à Larry Milberry. Une place importante est réservée aux résultats de nombreuses entrevues et échanges que l’auteur a eus avec des personnes pour qui cet avion était le gagne-pain. C’est ainsi que j’ai retrouvé une belle participation de mon ami Paul Gagnon, à ses débuts en qualité de pilote de brousse, dont des récits de quelques “aventures” vécues avec des Norseman.

Sur le plan des illustrations, un grand nombre de photos en couleur, dont certaines sont absolument magnifiques et relèvent du grand art, complètent les archives extraordinaires en noir et blanc publiées dans les deux volumes. Comme toujours, à la lecture des ouvrages de Canav Book, on peut se demander comment il est possible de rassembler autant de documents photographiques inédits. Avec ces deux volumes au sujet du Norduyn Norseman, Larry Milberry et Hugh A. Halliday ont définitivement comblé un vide historique pour cet avion construit au Québec.

For Pierre’s review of Norseman Vol. 1, click here.

Reminder to  UK and EuroZone bibliophiles … pick up your copy of Norseman Vol.1 and Vol.2 at  Simon Watson’s Aviation Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells, UK. Email:  simon@aviation-bookshop.com. Or … visit Henk Timmers’ Aviation Megastore at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport. Email: henk@aviationmegastore.com.

Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange – A Book You Are Guaranteed to Enjoy & Treasure

Image

Since early post-WWI days, Canadian airmen have gone on exchange postings to foreign nations. There they have learned how other air forces operate, become familiar with different aircraft types and procedures, enlightened their hosts about Canadian military aviation, and established new (often life-lasting) professional and personal relationships.

This story always was of special interest to me for, during base visits, while enjoying life in air force messes, attending airshow briefings and parties, etc., I often would meet foreign airman on exchange here in Canada. Once it was a Dutch pilot instructing on the CF-5 with 419 Sqn at Cold Lake, another time a French air force Mirage pilot serving 2 years on CF-5s with 433 Sqn at Bagotville. On a CanForces trip to Somalia one year, our C-130 navigator was on exchange from the RAF. While visiting Canada’s “Willy Tell” team at Tyndall AFB one year, I met another exchange pilot – a USAF fellow flying the CF-18 with 425 Sqn at Bagotville. Eventually it occurred to me – this is a brilliant topic for a book. And … if I don’t do it, no one ever will, right. So the work began.

Through the late 1990s I was travelling around visiting people who had done RCAF/CF exchange postings, or who had been here from foreign militaries. All this turned out to be some of the most fascinating research. Here are some of the characters I encountered either face-to-face or via telephone interviews or in the “dusty” personnel files in Canada’s public archives (Hugh Halliday did a lot of that hardcore research for me). You’ll enjoy reading about these airmen in detail in the book:

W/C William Barker – Canada’s famous WWI fighter ace, whose incomparable efforts led to a Victoria Cross. I cover his exchange duties in Mesopotamia in the mid-1920s, flying the D.H.9 and Snipe. Barker analyzes the type of “tribal warfare” under way and what role the tactical  combat plane had in it. He submitted a detailed field report once back on more routine duties in Ottawa. Reading the original copy was enlightening, but this also tempted me to compare the amazing Canadian with his contemporary – Lawrence of Arabia.

F/L E.L. McLeod, who flew RAF Southampton flying boats in the UK in 1927; and Sgt J.D. Hunter who crewed with 7 Sqn RAF on Virginia bombers in 1933. Also, the likes of F/L F.A. Sampson flying large Singapore flying boats on armed security patrols off Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

F/L A.A. Lewis piloted RAF Heyford pre-war bombers. One of his reports was critical of this type, which just was joining RAF squadrons as the Germans were equipping with such modern types as the He.111. Wrote Lewis at the time of the Heyford: “It is practically useless for modern warfare.”

F/L Ernie McNab. In 1937 McNab had the good fortune for an RCAF fighter pilot (then flying obsolete Siskins) to be posted on exchange to 46 Sqn RAF to fly the high-performance Gauntlet biplane fighter. From his reports we learn much of daily routines on an RAF fighter base and how training was organized.

F/L L.F.J Taylor. This RAF pilot came to Canada on exchange to RCAF Station Trenton. Sadly, there he came to his end in the crash of a Fleet trainer. F/L Ken Mude (RAF) had an early postwar exchange, serving as a navigator on the P2V-7 Neptune at RCAF Station Greenwood. Ken tells how a Brit adapted to life in Canada following WWII. The story of each man’s exchange is packed with details about how his career evolved, led to an exchange, then what was learned and passed on.

Many RCAF aircrew on postwar exchanges with the RAF are covered: S/L A.P. Huchala – piloted Lincoln bombers including on combat against the Mau Mau in Kenya; F/L D.R. Pearce — navigated on Hastings transports and ended in a ditching in the Mediterranean; and F/L Donald T. Thompson — flew Britannias on RAF Air Transport Command global duties.

There also were many RCAF postwar exchanges to USAF flying units, examples being:

  • F/L Douglas G. Scott flying the WB-50 bomber. On one long-range patrol a propeller disintegrated. This was a “dicey do”, but Scott brought his plane back to an Alaskan base.
  • F/L G.G. Webb flew C-97 transports at Kelly AFB, Texas. Later, he evaluated the C-119 in Korea. Data from his C-119 report likely were  studied at RCAF HQ prior to Canada re-equipping with this important postwar transport. Webb even had a mission on the giant XC-99, the transport version of the B-36. He had a further USAF exchange flying the C-118.
  • F/L S.R. Wallis flew the oddball YC-122 transport on exchange in Tennessee. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy such “reverse” exchanges as Major Jack Ralph, who flew RCAF North Stars from Resolute Bay to North Luffenham (UK) to Haneda (Japan). Later, RCAF aircrew would have exchanges on USAF jet transports from the C-141 to today’s C-17 – it’s all here!
  • F/L D.J. Williams and F/L George Conway-Brown: two of the RCAF men who flew the B-47 and B-52 with USAF Strategic Air Command. This reminds me of several retired RCAF officers who were “too tough the crack” – they felt duty bound not to reveal details of their exchanges. This was fair enough, any researcher would understand. Although I earlier had written about this great man’s career, when it came to the top secret B-52 air navigation research he did in SAC, Keith was mum. He since has passed on, but it’s possible that some future researcher may uncover the details.

Test Flying: numerous RCAF pilots had test pilot exchanges abroad, including F/L Roger Mace, F/L Bob Ayres, S/L Frank Phripp and F/L R.D. Schultz flying such types as the early Meteor and Vampire in the RAF. There are some fascinating pages describing S/L Joe McCarthy test flying Luftwaffe aircraft in the immediate postwar months. Joe was an American in the RCAF flying with a RAF experimental unit. Another section covers test flying at RCAF Winter Experimental Establishment. Such UK types as the Venom, Canberra, Beverley and Sycamore are covered.

There is much covering the adventures of RCAF crew on exchange with operational squadrons flying such RAF types as the Canberra (F/L Steve Gulyas, F/L Garnet Ovans, F/L Robert Brinkhurst, F/L Mo Gates, F/L N. Funge, etc.) There are many exciting experiences, including Brinkhurst’s almost-fatal inadvertent ejection. Also covered, is the RAF’s Javelin and the exotic Lightning Mach 2 interceptor, which several RCAF pilots flew. F/L Al Robb’s tour doing Lightning weapons evaluation at RAF Binbrook is one of the more fascinating RCAF exchanges. Canadians flying the RAF and Luftwaffe Tornado also are covered.

Other fighter exchanges involve everything from RCAF F-86 pilots in the USAF fighting MiG-15s in Korea, to F/L Jim Hanna flying early F-94 all-weather fighters at Otis AFB, and F/L Norman and F/O Vaessen on an evaluation tour at Tyndall AFB flying such USAF fighters as the F-89 Scorpion. During his tour at Tyndall, F/L Ted Simkins crews on the F-101, F-102, RB-66, etc. One week he navigated a B-57 on its delivery flight all the way to Pakistan. The summary of his tour helps explain why exchanges often were sought after by the more adventuresome RCAF aircrew. Also covered is the RCAF exchange posting flying the Mirage III in Australia.

Other USAF fighter exchanges include F/L Gordy Joy and F/L Garth Cinnamon flying the F-100 at Nellis AFB, Garth doing trials with such weapons as the Bullpup missile. Buster Kincaid ejects one day from his F-100 over the southwest desert. F/L Ray Carruthers and F/O E.H. Stone are covered re. their USAF tours instructing on the F-105 Thunderchief. Carruthers maneuvers without success for a combat exchange tour in Vietnam, Stone has a scary ejection. Others fly the F-104 from USAF bases, including F/L Larry Sutton instructing Luftwaffe students at Luke AFB. Only two “Canucks” fly the F-106 on exchange — both are covered. Canadians flying F-4s for the USAF, RAF and Luftwaffe also are part of this beautifully-produced book.

Training: Canadians had many tours instructing in the RAF on the Vampire, Meteor and Jet Provost. In the USAF they instructed on the T-37 and T-38. About 100 RCAF instructors were involved with the USAF, this being a little known aspect of Canada’s quiet support for the US during the Vietnam War.

Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange covers many aspects of maritime air warfare, including people on RAF exchange on the Shackleton and Nimrod. In one case, F/L John Hudson survives a horrendous Shackleton crash at night near Inverness, Scotland. Another ordeal involves F/L Herb Smale surviving at sea when his big Marlin flying boat was forced down onto the Atlantic between Puerto Rico and Norfolk. S/L R.E. Hicks’ US Navy exchange on early P-3s involved missions during the Cuban missile crisis. F/L Bill O’Gorman piloted Neptunes during his Australian exchange tour.

Other unusual USAF exchanges see RCAF members on such unusual types as the WB-47 and EB-57. USAF exchanges on the CF-101 and CF-104 also are included. Other unusual material includes Rogers Smith, a former RCAF Sabre pilot who eventually became one of the high time SR-71 pilots, Capt Kevin Whale flying AH-64 Apache gunships, and ex-pat F/O Christopher Hasler, flying RAF Chinooks in Afghanistan and earning the DFC for his good efforts.

This 320-page hardcover is one of Canada’s best aviation reads in decades. “Unique” barely begins to describe it. There are  hundreds of photos, a bibliography, glossary and index. It’s the full package! Get this $50.00 beauty at this time for $30.00 + shipping and tax for a total of $44.94 (Canada) or USA and overseas all in at $54.00. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool aviation hound, you must have a copy of this rare book! Order by cheque or PayPal via CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E 3B6. Tel (416) 698-7559. As always, feel free to send an e-mail: larry@canavbooks.com.