CANAV Books Summer 2018 Announcement + News from CAE: New Business, Profits Strong + Canada Post Passes up the 100th Anniversary of Our Air Mail 1918-2018

1 Blog Fighter Pilots Vol.8 August 2018

To all CANAV readers … Volume 8 of “Aviation in Canada” now is at the printer. You can expect to see Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 in September. Solid Canadian history from start to finish, this authoritative book revives a key theme in Canada’s aviation heritage in a landmark year – the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War.  This is Canada’s only major title in print covering the nation’s pioneers of aerial combat. It honours the men, the aircraft and the organizations, detailing in a fresh light the incredible story from training in Canada as early as 1914, to the deadly skies over the Western Front, Italy and wherever else the men were needed. The story continues after 1918, covering the many roles played by Canada’s wartime aviators through the interwar years – how the role of the fighter pilot and observer waned at first, then gradually was revived, initially with the Siskin and Atlas, finally — on the eve of war — with the Hurricane, etc. Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 is 184 pages, extra-large format (9×12 inches), hardcover, beautifully designed and produced with a spectacular collection of 350 photographs. There’s never been anything like it in Canadian aviation book publishing. Having seen our previous volumes in the series, you’ll know what to expect. Sticker price? $50.00. Watch our blog for more details and drop me an email if you’d like to receive Volume 8 updates in the next few weeks. Cheers … Larry (larry@canavbooks.com)

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News from CAE: New Business, New Products, Profits Strong: “Flight Simulator’s CEO Says Bigger U.S. Armed Forces Budgets are a Boon” by Christopher Reynolds of the Canadian Press

Since CANAV published Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, CAE has been on a steady climb, introducing new products and seeing share value and profits steadily rising. When I started researching the company’s history in 2011, a single CAE share was valued at about CDN$10.00, a price that had been stagnant for years. By the time the book was published in 2015, however, CAE share value had risen (literally) overnight to CDN$15.00 and today (August 15, 2018) sits at CDN$25.58. In his Canadian Press item today, Christopher Reynolds brings us up to date about this great Canadian company. If you don’t yet have your copy of The CAE Story (one of CANAV’s best ever titles — you’ll see what I mean once you get your hands on a copy) drop me an email today and fill that gap on your aviation bookshelf. Also … for more CAE info check CANAV’s blog: http://www.canavbooks.wordpress.com  Cheers … Larry                                                                       larry@canavbooks.com

CAE corporate headquarters are shown in Montreal on August 10, 2016. The CEO of flight simulator CAE Inc. suggested U.S. President Donald Trump’s appetite for defence spending is a boon to the Montreal-based company, with newfound access to contracts tied to top-secret missions paving the runway for more revenue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – The head of flight simulator company CAE Inc. said Tuesday U.S. President Donald Trump’s appetite for defence spending is a boon to the Montreal-based company, as newfound access to contracts tied to top-secret missions pave the runway for more revenue. “On the defence side, budgets continue to be on the rise worldwide, and in the U.S. they are at historical highs,” president and CEO Marc Parent told shareholders at an annual general meeting Tuesday. On Monday, Trump signed a $716-billion defence spending bill for 2019, an $82-billion increase from 2017 and a dramatic upswing from most Obama-era military budgets. CAE’s acquisition of Virginia-based Alpha-Omega Change Engineering earlier this month opens the hatch to “top-secret missions,” mainly out of the U.S., Parent told reporters.

An agreement between the U.S. government and a CAE subsidiary allows a proxy board made up of two American generals and a military contractor executive to oversee the high-security contracts, he said. “That opens up an extra $3 billion of potential market for us. So that brings our total addressable market in the world to $17 billion,” Parent said. As to what the classified missions involve, he said only, “You can speculate all day long.”

Parent defended how CAE potentially stands to benefit amidst heightened military spending south of the border, more combative language from the White House and the creation of a new armed services branch focused on fighting wars in space. “It’s certainly not offensive,” Parent said of CAE’s training and simulator programs. “It’s for defence and security forces and search and rescue. To me, there is a societal benefit to what we do. It’s to help personnel execute their mission and save lives that way,” he said. “I don’t see it negatively.”

The annual meeting at CAE’s Montreal headquarters Tuesday saw former federal finance minister John Manley named chair of the company’s 10-member board of directors. Manley, current president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, replaces James Hankinson at the helm. CAE, which operates in roughly three dozen countries, saw annual revenue rise five per cent year-over-year to $2.83 billion in 2018. Record order intake in the civil aviation wing fuelled the increase as that division’s operating income grew 12 per cent.

CAE also increased its dividend as it reported its first-quarter profit and revenue improved compared with a year ago. The simulator maker says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share, up from nine cents. The increased payment to shareholders came as it reported a first-quarter profit attributable to equity holders of $69.4 million or 26 cents per diluted share for the quarter June 30. That compared with a profit of $59.6 million or 22 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue in the three-month period totalled $722 million, up from $656.2 million.

 

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100th Anniversary of Our Air Mail: Canada Post Drops the Ball

 

Blog Air Mail 1 Leaside Pub June 30

Blog Air Mail 2 Leaside Pub June 30 2018

Lt Brian Peck of the Royal Air Force Canada flew Canada’s first air mail from Montreal to Toronto in a JN-4 on June 24, 1918. Here he is at the time, then a photo of his arrival with the mail at Leaside (Toronto). Read about this historic event in the June 2018 edition of the CAS publication, “The Canadian Aerophilatelist” and elsewhere. Peck’s mission was a bit of a comedy of errors, yet made it deservedly into the official records.

As you noticed in our previous blog (n.b. as always, any views stated on the CANAV blog are strictly my own), June 24, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first air mail. This event is covered in such books as Canada’s Flying Heritage (1954) and Aviation on Canada: The Formative Years (2009), and in the newsletter of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society. If you follow the early years of Canada’s great aviation heritage, you will not regret joining the CAS (you don’t need to be a stamp collector). To follow through (please do) see http://www.aerophilately.caBlog Air Mail 3 Leaside Pub June 30 2018

Blog Air Mail 4 Leaside Pub June 30 2018

A sample page from Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years covering Canada’s earliest air mail flights. Then, the crowd scene when the second Canadian airmail flight (also a JN-4) reached  Ottawa from Leaside on August 27, 1918.

On June 30 an enthusiastic crowd packed into the Leaside Pub on Laird Drive in Toronto to celebrate Lt Peck’s historic mail flight. Represented (naturally) were the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society and the Canadian Aviation Historic Society, while such other organizations as the Great War Flying Museum and a number of history-minded Leaside people added to the fun. But what about Canada Post?

Blog Air Mail 5

Blog Air Mail 6

CAS members Chris Hargreaves, John Bertram and Dr. Robert Galway at the Leaside Pub “air mail bash”. Then, CAHS members Dick MacIntosh, Sheldon Benner and John Bertram.

Blog Air Mail 7

Old-time CAHS members Chris Terry and Jack Gow. Chris formerly headed the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

Blog Air Mail 7A Edit

Aviation history researcher and author, Dr. Robert Galway, talks over some Leaside aerodrome history with event organized Chris Daniels.

Blog Air Mail 8 Leaside Pub June 30

Blog Air Mail 9

A highlight of the afternoon was the arrival overhead (to honour Lt Peck and his airmail “first”) of the Great War Flying Museum’s Sopwith 1½ Strutter replica. Pilot Kees van Berkel made several wonderful passes over the pub and neighbourhood. A hundred years ago the sky here would have been full of JN-4 Canuck trainers, for the Royal Flying Corps Canada’s Leaside aerodrome then occupied this very corner of Toronto. Sheldon Benner caught this candid scene. Then … the crowd having a great time in Leaside’s 30+ degree that afternoon.

“Leaside Life” has published this nifty little piece about the air mail celebration.

Around the world any major postal anniversary (such as a 100th anniversary of the air mail — what could be more important to postal historians) normally is greeted with commemorative postage stamps and important historic events sponsored by the post office itself. Totally befitting, right? However, as far as I know, Leaside was Canada’s only formal celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canada’s air mail. So … that Canada Post didn’t bother to send a representative is hard to believe. Neither was even one commemorative air mail stamp issued from Ottawa. Only in Canada you say? What? Take a look (in contrast) to what the ever-history loving United States did this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its air mail (also, look on the web to see how Australia celebrated its air mail anniversary in 2014):

United States Postal Service to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of U.S. Air Mail Service

First of Two United States Air Mail Forever Stamps to be Dedicated May 1WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service will honor the beginning of airmail service by dedicating two United States Air Mail Forever stamps this year. The first, depicted above in blue, commemorates the pioneering spirit of the brave pilots who first flew the mail in the early years of aviation. The first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place May 1, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public.

 On May 15, 1918, in the midst of World War I, a small group of Army pilots delivered mail along a route that linked Washington, Philadelphia, and New York—initiating the world’s first regularly scheduled airmail service. The United States Post Office Department, the predecessor to the U.S. Postal Service, took charge of the U.S. Air Mail Service later that summer, operating it from Aug. 12, 1918, through Sept. 1, 1927. Airmail delivery, daily except on Sundays, became part of the fabric of the American economy and spurred growth of the nation’s aviation industry. The second stamp, red and pictured above, will commemorate this milestone with its first-day-of-issue to take place later this summer. Both stamps, printed in the intaglio print method— a design transferred to paper from an engraved plate — depict the type of plane typically used in the early days of airmail, a Curtiss JN-4H biplane. The biplane was also featured on the stamps originally issued in 1918 to commemorate the beginning of regularly scheduled airmail service. The stamp designs evoke that earlier period.

 For airmail service to succeed in the early days of flight, the Post Office had to develop profitable routes, such as between New York and Chicago, and to establish the infrastructure for safely making night flights. It set up lighted airfields and erected hundreds of airmail guide beacons between New York and San Francisco so that by 1924 regularly scheduled, transcontinental flying was possible, day and night. Airmail delivery, daily except on Sundays, became part of the fabric of the American economy and spurred the growth of the nation’s aviation industry. The United States Air Mail stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First Class Mail one ounce price.

 On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of regular airmail service, this stamp celebrates the courage of the pioneering airmail carriers and the foresight of those who fostered the new service and made it a success. The stamp, printed in intaglio, features a drawing of the type of plane typically used in the early days of airmail, a Curtiss JN4H biplane. This type of biplane was also featured on the 24 cent stamp that was issued in 1918 to commemorate the beginning of regularly scheduled airmail service. The words “UNITED STATES” and “AIR MAIL” are respectively at the top and bottom of the stamp. “EST” is an abbreviation for “established.” The stamp designer and typographer was Dan Gretta; Greg Breeding was the art director.

Pretty impressive, no? But we’re talking about the United States of America, so what else would one with half a brain expect? This certainly makes one wonder about Canada Post being conspicuous by its absence at the Leaside Pub. Just another example of Ottawa’s growing insouciance when it comes to our great country’s incomparable accomplishments? Or … is it simply that Canada Post has no one with a clue? Regardless, Leaside, the CAS, CAHS, GWFM, etc. pulled it off royally.

Enjoy the rest of your summer … Larry      larry@canavbooks.com

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Canada’s Magnificent Dash 8

Dash 8 No.0 Air Ontario C-FJVV departing London, Ontario

A lovely Air Ontario Dash 8-300 departs London, Ontario on June 3, 1993, likely headed
for Toronto YYZ. Delivered in March 1991, some 27 years later “JVV” is still hard at work.

Books galore have been written about Canada’s astounding contributions in aviation dating way back to the Silver Dart of 1909, then progressing to the Vedette, Norseman, North Star, Beaver, Husky and Arrow to today’s incomparable CSeries (recently rebranded as the Airbus A220). Armchair fans and “experts” all have a list of favorites. Debates on the topic can get heated. But it’s mainly great fun, right.

One of my great Canadian aviation heroes is the late R.H. “Bob” Fowler. Having earned his wings during the war, Bob flew the B-25 Mitchell on such bloody operations as Market-Garden. Bob ended as a senior test pilot with de Havilland Aircraft of Canada. There he few all the types from the 1950s into the 1980s. A pilot of such incredible experience usually ends with a special place for one particular type. I asked  Bob one day what his was, figuring it would be something like the P-38 or Sea Hornet,  which he had flown doing photo survey after the war, or maybe the impressive Buffalo. No, by far Bob’s favourite airplane was the DHC-8 — the “Dash 8”.

On June 20, 1983 Bob, his great pal, Mick Saunders (a wartime Typhoon pilot) and flight test engineers Don Brand and Geoff Pyne crewed the first Dash 8 C-GDNK on it inaugural flight from Downsview airfield in Toronto. Having evolved from the (perhaps) overly specialized) Dash 7, the Dash 8 was to become one of the world’s top commuter airliners. With more than a 1200 delivered by now, after 35 years many of the earliest Dash 8-100s are still giving solid service around the world, and the series remains in production as the incomparable Q400.

It may seem surprising, but the Dash 8-100 now is reaching the end of its frontline years with several leading commuter airlines. In a recent case, on July 4 , 2018 Piedmont Airlines recorded its last of hundreds of thousands of Dash 8 flights. What’s the story about this great US airline? Check out Piedmont’s website for the details, but for our purposes I’ll quote a few points from the company’s own history that tie in to the Dash 8:

The 1980s were a decade of dramatic growth and change for us. The addition of new equipment transformed the airline into a modern regional carrier. The first significant change occurred in 1983, when Piedmont Aviation agreed to purchase Henson and our company became known as Henson, the Piedmont Regional Airline. The next year, eight de Havilland Dash 8 aircraft were purchased. Through subsequent re-orders for the Dash 8, we have become the world’s largest operator of that highly efficient, passenger-friendly aircraft. In 1985, we boarded our five-millionth passenger… By the end of 1987, the route structure touched 38 cities in ten states plus the Bahamas. In 1989, Piedmont merged into USAir and Henson planes were repainted to reflect the new identity of USAir Express. In 1993, Henson was renamed Piedmont Airlines in order to preserve the Piedmont identity within the USAir Group family. In 1997, USAir itself underwent a name change, becoming US Airways.

That year the company’s fleet totalled 37 Dash 8-100s plus 10 Dash 8-200s. Twenty-one years later the 37 -100s remained in service along with 50 -300s. At the same time, US Airways Express was flying 187 Canadair/Bombardier regional jets, so what a relationship between this star of an American commuter airline and the Canadian economy! I think you will enjoy this nostalgic video about US Airways Express and the Dash 8. This is what I call a heartfelt tribute to one of the world’s greatest commuter planes. Have a look here: https://youtu.be/I3KNEhAbbyo

Next, you can flip through my own little album of Dash 8 photos. In scouring my collection taken over the decades, I was surprised at the depth of coverage. It seems that wherever I travelled since the mid-1980s, there often was a Dash 8 involved (I’ve roughly arranged these shots from west to east).

Dash 8 No.1 Air BC'sFleet No.807 Comox August 18, 1991

I grabbed this quick shot of Air BC 38-seat Dash 8- 100 No.807 at CFB Comox on a perfect April 15, 1991. “807” had just delivered its passengers from Vancouver, a scenic 30-minute hop across Georgia Strait. Notice the Dash 8’s pure aesthetics as far as airplane good looks go. This particular week I was on the BC coast gathering material for what eventually would become my 1997 book, Air Transport in Canada. A highlight during this Comox visit was a famil flight with 424 Squadron aboard DHC-5 Buffalo ‘456.

Dash 8 No.2 C-GTAG of Time Air at Vancouver on April 9, 1990

On April 4, 1990 I flew across to Comox from Vancouver to spend a few days with the Snowbirds. Heading back east on April 9, I crossed back to Vancouver on a TimeAir Short 360. Walking through the “YVR” terminal after arrival, I spotted Dash 8-300 C-GTAG (the 200th Dash 8) on the ramp. Built in 1990, at age 28 “TAG” still is on the go carrying the travelling public and making lots of money for current owner, JAZZ. For June 2018 alone, “TAG” completed 242 flights (8 per day), covering 56,485 miles (90,750 km). Cities served included Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Kamloops and Vancouver.

Dash 8 No.3 Horizon's N823PH landing at Vancouver

Having flown to Vancouver from Toronto on July 31, 1993 aboard a Canada 3000 757, I had to wait a while for my Air BC flight to Prince Rupert. In the process, I spent an hour or so taking landing shots. Several gorgeous Dash 8s came by, including Horizon’s N823PH. It would serve Seattle-based Horizon from 1988 into Y2K, when Bombardier took it back, perhaps as a trade-in. Next, it migrated to the Caribbean to fly for Air Jamaica Express as 6Y-JMZ, then in 2009 moved Africa, becoming 5Y-EMD. On arrival from Nairobi at Moba, DRC on January 13, 2010, “EMD” had a very hard landing and was written off. Happily, no one was injured.

Dash 8 No.4 C-GABH at Edmonton Municipal Airport June 25, 1993

While waiting at Edmonton “Muni” for a flight to Yellowknifeon June 25, 1993, I photographed Dash 8-100 C-GABH. Delivered new to Air BC in 1990, “ABH” next served Air Nova of Halifax 1999-2001, when Air Canada amalgamated several regional carriers under its new commuter brand – JAZZ. “ABH” was parked in 2005, then re-appeared later that year in North Caribou Flying Service colours. After several more productive years in the BC market, in 2011 it crossed the Pacific to start yet another career, this time in Papua New Guinea. Note the Air BC Jetstream in the background. This was the period of airline deregulation in North America that saw new carriers appearing, and modern commuter planes replacing the traditional old Beech 18s, DC- 3s, etc. that had been serving Canada’s smaller markets for far too long.

Dash 8 No.5 A pair pf TimeAir Dash 8s at Calgary April 7, 1991

A handsome pair of TimeAir Dash 8-300s on the tarmac at Calgary on April 7, 1991. I had just flown in from Toronto on a CAIL 767 and was headed to Edmonton to spend a week with 447 Squadron (Chinooks).

Dash 8 No.6 C-GHTA at Saskatoon

Every part of Canada has enjoyed Dash 8 service and talk about lucky for Canada. Here TimeAir’s C-GHTA waits at Saskatoon on a frigid winter’s afternoon January 8, 1993. At the time I was en route to Prince Alberta to interview the folks at Athabasca Airways, who recently had upgraded to the spiffy Beech 1900D. In you’re plane spotting around BC and Alberta this summer, you could be seeing a lot of “HTA” in the colours of Air Canada JAZZ.

Dash 8 No.7 CanForces CT-142 142802 Lahr

The Canadian military could not find much of a role for the Dash 8. This is an old state of affairs. In the 1940-50s the DND couldn’t find or make a role for the Beaver, and later couldn’t use the Caribou or Twin Otter other than in token numbers. With the Dash 8, two early examples joined the Canadian Forces in 1987 as utility planes based at Lahr, West Germany. Here is 142802 there on June 2, 1991. It was disposed of in 2002 and today is C-GSUR doing maritime surveillance with Transport Canada.

Dash 8 No.9 C-FGRC at Sault Ste. Marie

Air Ontario’s Dash 8-100 C-FGRC at Sault Ste. Marie on July 23, 1992. Right into the early 1970s such Northern Ontario cities had limited air service. One or two Viscount flights daily was about the max. Then, competition heated up with deregulation and there was overkill, as any airline with a 737 wanting into the Soo, Thunder Bay, even Dryden, anything to complete with Air Canada’s DC-9 skeds. But for these big jets there wasn’t the demand. Fortunately, fuel still was cheap. Then along came the Dash 8 and “problem solved” with the right size of airplane plus the ideal capacity, performance and economic specs. At its peak, Air Ontario was run by James Plaxton of London and the Deluce family of White River (Delplax Holdings Ltd.). They quickly identified the Dash 8 as the way to go for their Ontario-wide network, replacing an uneconomic fleet of Convair 580s. By 1990 Air Ontario had something like 27 Dash 8s and was building up a solid business at Toronto Island Airport with some 60 scheduled flights daily. In 1985 49% of Air Ontario was sold to Air Canada (Delplax kept 51%). Eventually, Air Ontario went outright to Air Canada, so the original Dash 8s today flit around in JAZZ or Air Canada Express colours. First delivered to Air Ontario in 1990, “GRC” remains in the JAZZ fleet. What was I doing in the Soo the day I saw “GRC”? I was travelling from Toronto to Red Lake with as many stops as I could arrange: Toronto-Soo-Thunder Bay-Winnipeg-Red Lake. I was on Brasilias to Winnipeg,  then took a Beech 1900C to Red Lake.

Dash 8 No.10 Air Ontario Toronto Island Fleet No.817

Air Ontario Dash 8s on the ramp during the company’s heyday there in the 1980s. When Air Canada bought out Air Ontario, it let the Island Airport business die. However, Air Ontario’s original boldness in developing a thriving Ontario network in its early years, provided a solid foundation for what followed in the 2000s – the world class Porter Airlines network founded by the Deluces using the amazing Q400 (i.e. the Dash 8-400).

Dash 8 No.11 Air Ontario Toronto skyline

Every Air Ontario passenger (and all who fly Porter today) revelled at the sight of Toronto’s landmark skyline each time they departed from or arrived at Toronto Island in a Dash 8.

Dash 8 No.12 US Air Express N975HA

Had the burgeoning US commuter airlines not seen the Dash 8 as “the” way to go for the future, the whole project would have fizzled. But early on de Havilland salesmen were able to sell American carriers on their new product and close the vital deals. Dick Henson took this Dash 8-100 serial No.176 N975HA in October 1989. Henson soon had a large Dash 8 fleet with nowhere to go but up – which happened. N975HA served Henson and Piedmont into 2015, when it parked. In 2017 it was sold to Avmac in Calgary, perhaps to be parted out. I wonder how many airframe hours this Dash 8 had piled up and how many cycles (landings and takeoffs). Here is N975HA at Baltimore on December 11, 1989. I was on a trip that week to Norfolk to spend a few days with the great RCAF legend, J.C. “Big Joe” McCarthy of Dam Buster raid renown. However, I didn’t fly once on the Dash 8 on this trip. My transportation was via 727, F.28, Jetstream and Short 360.

Dash 8 No.13 Eastern Metro Express

My very first Dash 8 flight was aboard this Eastern Metro Express example on October 22, 1986. Mike Valenti and I had just spent a fantastic few days with Canada’s ace CF-18 team competing at Tyndall AFB in
Florida for the William Tell Trophy. The party was over and we were headed home. This new Dash 8 took us from Panama City to Atlanta, where we connected back to Toronto. This carrier disappeared when “big” Eastern Airlines folded in 1991. In taking this quickie shot, I failed to include the registration, so don’t know which particular Dash 8 this is, other than fleet No.7.

Dash 8 No.14 Air Alliance Dash 8 C-FJMO at Sept-Ilse

Again while working towards Air Transport in Canada, in 1992 I made a trip down Quebec’s famous Côte Nord, working out of Sept-Îles for a few days. On November 18 I photographed Air Alliance Dash 8-100 C-GJMO there. Having begun in 1987 with Air Ontario, “JMO” moved the following year to Air Alliance, later was with Air Nova, and most recently has been in JAZZ colours … 31 years of steady service.

Dash 8 No.15 Air Atlantic at Fredericton

On November 28, 1990 I was aboard CanForces C-130 130325 returning from Honduras. The crew had a Twin Huey to deliver for CFB Gagetown, so had to go in to Fredericton on the way to Trenton to make the drop-off. We landed late at night in very claggy weather. While waiting for fuel, I snapped off a few time exposures. I was happy to catch these Dash 8s “being put to bed” after their day’s work. Nearest is Air Atlantic’s C-FDNF fleet No.153. In Y2K “DNG” migrated to BC operator Central Mountain Air.

Dash 8 No.16 Air Creebec at Waskakanish, Quebec

In the 1970s air transportation really started improving in northern Canada. The Twin Otter and HS748 revolutionized things, finally edging the DC-3 out of its hallowed place. Formed in 1982 with backing from Austin Airways (recently acquired by the Deluce family), Air Creebec brought modern service at last to the many small Cree Indian communities in James Bay Quebec. Even better, in the early 1990s the Dash 8 arrived. Here an Air Creebec Dash 8-100 starts up at Waskaganish. That day I was doing the rounds in Air Creebec 748 C-GGNZ from Timmins to six Cree centres and back one town at a time. Six hours on the flight deck with pilots Marc Boisvert and Bruce Godby. Although the 748 was a fine airplane for this region, the Dash 8 was the icing on the cake. Today, it brings top daily service to all of Quebec’s James Bay centres.

“Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years” + Some Norseman Updates

Blog 1 June 2018

Blog 2 June 2018

How it looked “back in the day”. One of Germany’s famous aluminum-skinned Junkers in a typical northern Canadian setting. Pilot, engineer and some local men are hefting a big cedar strip freighter canoe from atop the plane. CF-AQW came to Canada in 1931. It flew with Canadian Airways and CPA into 1947, spent the next decade with Central BC Airways, then was with PWA and Skyway of BC, until wrecked taking off from Kootenay Lake on August 10, 1959. (all photos
CANAV Books Collection)

Here is an aviation book in which you’ll get years of enjoyment! Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years is the very best book ever published about the beginnings of commercial aviation in Canada, the birth of bush flying included. These were amazingly exciting times. It all begins where Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades leaves off. With WWI over in November 1918, Canadian enterprisers were quick to adapt war surplus JN-4s and HS-2Ls for commercial uses. The first Canadian air mail already had been carried on June 24, 1918, when Capt Brian Peck piloted a JN-4 from the Bois Franc Polo Grounds near Montreal to Leaside aerodrome (near Toronto). The Centennial of this historic event will be celebrated in Leaside on June 30 this year. The Formative Years dives into all this excitement, showing how the airplane proves its usefulness. It carries passengers on Canada’s first scheduled airline routes, photographs Canada from the air, opens up mineral exploration, supports such huge projects as constructing the port at Churchill, Manitoba with its direct oceanic link (the very port in the media these days for being in such pitiful shape), and supports such other essential Canadian activities as forestry and the coastal fisheries.

The Formative Years traces the evolution of the commercial airplane in Canada from the original war surplus stock to the first then- modern types designed for commercial use — the Buhls, Canadian Vickers, de Havillands, Fairchilds, Fokkers, Hamiltons, Junkers, Loenings, Stinsons, Wacos, etc. Canada itself gets involved, designing its first purpose-made commercial plane, the Canadian Vickers Vedette, and manufacturing international designs by such companies as de Havilland, Fairchild and Fokker. The book brings you to the early/mid 1930s just before the Norseman bursts onto the scene. rm

The Formative Years is a completely fresh approach to the topic. Besides all the aircraft, this beautifully produced 224-page large format hardcover includes the key personalities who staked everything they had to advance civil aviation. Many of the book’s hundreds of photos have never previously been published, and it brings some of Canada’s giants of aviation back into the limelight after generations in the shadows. This is a book that you will cherish for a lifetime. Treat yourself, go ahead! Order your copy today – right here on the blog. I’ll autograph it for you and get it on its way within a day. Is this an enticing offer or not? Thanks and all the best … Larry Milberry, author

Blog 3 June 2018

Blog 4 June 2018

Rare 1930 views of Fokker Super Universal CF-AJH on duty with W.J. McDonough’s prospecting operation in Canada’s Northwest Territories. “AJH” later flew with Dominion Skyways from its famous Noranda base in northeast Quebec. It faded from the scene in 1936.

Blog 5 June 2018

Mining and air transport pioneers, W.J. “Jack” McDonough and Bill Spence, pose in a winter setting with one of their sturdy Fairchild bushplanes.

Heads up for a Bit of Norseman News

On our blog and in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman you’ve read about one of the more famous Canadian Norseman’s, CF-DRD, and how in 1992 it became the symbol of Canada’s famous gold mining town, Red Lake, Ontario. Back then, “DRD” was a sad looking mess, having been abandoned in Kuby’s parts and scrap yard in Kenora. Happily, however, once Red Lake decided to brand itself as “The Norseman Capital of the World”, “DRD” was acquired from Kuby, trucked to Red Lake, then restored at Whitey Hostetler’s Red Lake Seaplane Service.

Such a fine job was done, that “DRD” was able to taxi across Howie Bay under its own power to be lifted atop its specially designed pylon. There it sat majestically for years as one of Red Lake’s proud symbols. Until, that is, a hail storm roared through last July and tore its fabric to pieces. This year, money has been raised through a brilliant $50K gofundme effort (have a look at https://ca.gofundme.com/Save-DRD and please make a donation). Right now, DRD’s wings are at Gordy Hughes’ famous Ignace, Ontario Norseman base being recovered. The fuselage is back in the Red Lake Seaplane Service hangar, where Superior Airways will do what’s needed. It’s hoped that “DRD” will be ready for next year’s Norseman Festival.

Blog 6 June 2018

Here’s a look at “DRD” back in Kuby days in the 1980s. This photo was taken by one of Canada’s prominent aircraft hobby photographers of the 1960s-80s – Joan P. Turner of Toronto. Joan was a solid photographer, always doing the best with available composition and lighting opportunities. She also showed her high level of interest by keeping fastidious notes for each photo. Here are a few of her numerous other Norseman shots. It wasn’t always easy to get the desired “set-up” shot – it took know-how, determination and imagination.

Blog 7 June 2018

Green’s Norseman CF-JDG at Red Lake on September 20, 1977. “JDG” was ex-USAAF 44-70273 in 1944. George Green imported it in 1956. In 1986 it went to Alaska for Diamond Aviation, but it was wrecked in a landing accident at Bronson Creek, BC on June 4, 1987. It was further damaged there by a rampaging grizzly bear, then the ruins were acquired by the BC Aviation Museum of Sidney, BC. The museum used parts from “JDG” to complete restoration (to airworthy condition) of its Norseman CF-DRE, which can be seen at the museum resplendent in WWII RCAF markings.

Blog 8 June 2018

CF-UUD also at Red Lake on August 4, 1979, while serving Wings Aviation. This spring, the very nicely restored “UUD” was for sale at US$425,000, but no one would pay such a price, when other excellent Norsemans were in the $200,000 to $300,000 range.

Blog 9 June 2018

The famous CF-SAM at Prince Albert on May 25, 1964. Joan traded this negative from her fellow hobbyist, the famous Jack McNulty of Hamilton. Trading was great fun among all the serious aviation fans back “in the old days”. We all enjoyed trading. If anywhere near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, visit the Western Development Museum where “SAM” is restored to its former glory in Government of Saskatchewan colours.

Blog 10 June 2018

While checking out the action in Fort Francis on September 23, 1977, Joan photographed Norseman”project” CF-LSS at Ed Steim’s outpost. While with Kyro’s Albany River Airways, “LSS” had been in a fire at Thunder Bay. Then, Ed acquired it in 1973, having some sort of plan. “LSS” originally had been delivered to the USAAF in August 1944. Postwar, it was sold
to the US Dept. of Agriculture, where it flew as NC58691. It came to Canada in 1961 for Barney Lamm’s Ontario Central Airlines of Kenora. There it became CF-LSS. From Ed Steim’s, it went to the US where Forrest Klies turned it into the beautiful, Oshkosh award winning Norseman N786921. Believe it or not, after around 74 years it’s now in Alaska as a work-a-day Norseman bushplane. If you want more about the Norseman story, read up on our blog about CANAV’s two-volume history — The Noorduyn Norseman. Something else to add to your Canadian aviation history bookshelves.

 

330 “Danforth Tech” Air Cadet Squadron Annual Ceremonial Review, 330 Squadron Turns 75

Blog 330 No.1 P1020926_LRBlog 330 No.2 P1020927_LRVIPs and parents getting set to enjoy 330 Squadron’s 75th annual inspection at Danforth Collegiate and Technical School in Toronto on June 9, 2018.

We covered Air Cadets in an earlier blog (check this out by scrolling back to “Air Cadet Camp at Trenton 2017”). Today, here’s a further look at one of Canada’s most historic Air Cadet units – Toronto’s 330 ‘Danforth Tech” Squadron, which turns 75 this year. What a proud legacy the squadron has developed over all those the decades.Blog 330 No.3 P1020931_LRBlog 330 No.4 P1020905_LRBlog 330 No.5 P1020910_LRBlog 330 No.6 P1020908_LR

330’s band marches in, then the squadron stands at attention waiting for things to get rolling. Next, 330’s colour guard enters and the squadron flight leads march by.

If you have a child or grandchild age 12 to 18, they couldn’t be in a more fantastic youth program than Air Cadets. The fun and long-lasting rewards include sports and fitness, good citizenship, developing personal self-confidence and responsibility, introduction to flight (gliding and powered airplanes), travel, summer camp, etc. No other youth program in Canada offers such potential. There are Air Cadet squadrons all across Canada as far north as Iqaluit in the Arctic.

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The band again, then the percussion section performing a special piece developed for the ACR.

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Cadets receive a number of important awards at the ACR. As usual, several cadets leave the squadron at this time, having reach age 18. Others receive well-deserved promotions.

Blog 330 No.10  P1020948_LR.jpgThe 330 cadets enjoy a scrumptious lunch following another show-stopping annual parade. Most will be back in the fall for the new season. Meanwhile, several will attend a challenging Air Cadet camp this summer at CFB Trenton and CFB Bagotville. Take a look 330aircadets.com to get all the details and, wherever you are, see if you can steer some young Canadian into Air Cadets.

PS … for all fans of Canada’s great aviation heritage … CANAV Books Spring/Summer 2018 Booklist is out! For the very best in Canadian aviation history reading have a look! Highly recommend for front porch summer reading: Millardair and Me, Alberta Forestry Helicopters in Wildfire Management, Propliner 2018 Annual, The Captain’s Widow, Farm Boy to Fly Boy, The Noorduyn Norseman and The CAE Story. For the full list, click here (see p.4 for ordering details): CANAV 2018 Spring_Summer List

Great Summer Reading … Here are Three Important New Aviation Publications!

CANAV Books Spring/Summer 2018 Booklist is out!  For the very best in Canadian aviation history reading have a look! Highly recommend for front porch summer reading: Millardair and Me, Alberta Forestry Helicopters in Wildfire Management, Propliner 2018 Annual, The Captain’s Widow, Farm Boy to Fly Boy, The Noorduyn Norseman and The CAE Story. For the full list, click here (see p.4 for ordering details):  CANAV 2018 Spring_Summer List

Speaking of summer, Gus Corujo is doing his July-August rounds. Look what he reports (in his wonderful style) about new developments at Orillia, a pleasant drive north of Toronto. See: http://gusair.com/htdocs/Airshows/2018/18-CNV6-Orillia/18-cnv6-orillia.html

Millardair and Me: A Young Man’s Journey from Turbulence to Triumph 242 pages, softcover, photos. $22.50 + $12.00 Canada Post (any 2 or more books flat rate of $16.00) + tax at 5% $1.72. Total 36.22 (International: US$30.00 postpaid anywhere)

Paying? Mail your cheque (address below) or send via PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

2 Millardair

Millardair and Me is Dennis J. Chadala’s outstanding narrative covering his first five years in the airline business in the 1980s. A former flight instructor barely wet behind the ears, Dennis hires on with Millardair, where eventually he becomes (as he puts it) Carl  Millard’s “Golden Boy”. He flies the Beech 18, DC-3, C-117 and DC-4 on endless cargo missions all over North America. Dennis has a breezy writing style that will keep you turning the pages. But be ready for a reality check. Millardair and Me is no love story, but the one about how young pilots flew rickety airplanes often having dubious log books. Pilots head into the unknown, since their boss doesn’t lose any sleep about such fundamentals as weather conditions, or cockpit checklists, is constantly at war with Transport Canada, and has no use for air traffic controllers. Millardair pilots are “along for the ride” every time they select “gear up”. In one of his near-death experiences, Dennis is on final at New York when his DC-4 begins porpoising uncontrollably. He and his copilot pull off another miracle – they get onto the runway as emergency vehicles stand by. In his words, this is “Another of those Millardair moments when … you rue the day you had ever heard the name Millard.” Put this new book high on your list for this summer’s reading.
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3 Alberta Forestry

Alberta Forestry Helicopters in Wildfire Management 124 pages softcover, large format, photos. $30.00 + $12.00 Canada Post+tax 5% $2.10 Total $44.10 (International: US $40.00 postpaid anywhere) None other than Robert S. Petite, co-author of the magnificent Bell 47 Helicopter Story, has researched and written this wonderful new history of how Alberta embraced the helicopter in the 1950s, exploring and developing its potential in forest fire intervention. Starting with a brief history of the helicopter in Canada, Bob covers Alberta’s early forestry contracts with such operators as Associated Helicopters. He outlines how Alberta steadily adapted the helicopter to help battle its devastating annual forest fires, then eventually developed its own fleet of Bell 47Js and Jet Rangers. Beautifully produced, fastidious in detail, this is an important title for aviation bibliophiles everywhere.
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4 Propliner
Also now available … Propliner 2018 Annual This spring Propliner of the UK published its spectacular Annual”. If you have an interest in the great prop planes of years gone by – many of which are still flying – this wonderful publication is for you. Catch up on recent general goings on with such types as the Avro 748, Beech 18, Convairliner, DC-3, Electra, F-27, Heron, PBY, Twin Pioneer, etc. Then enjoy special features covering such important propliner topics as Air North of Whitehorse, Sproat Lake activities (Mars, Goose, Beech 18) and the seemingly indestructible AN-12. What else? There are reports about the DC-3 and DC-4, news recent DC-6 happenings in Hawaii, BOAC’s Constellation fleet, the recent demise of the P2V Neptune fire bomber, what one DHC-3 Otter is doing in the South Pacific, Convair operations yesterday in Australia and today in New Zealand, the Sandringham flying boat in the South Pacific, current news about a C-97G that’s back  In the air. All packed into a fantastic 132-page collector item. You’ll enjoy every page — guaranteed. $28.50 postpaid in Canada.

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CANAV Books: Canada’s Aviation Heritage Book Publisher

Red Lake and the Norseman Festival, July 2017 + Norwegian Norseman News + Wasaya Airlines Sold to EIC of Winnipeg

Last year’s Northwestern Ontario travels took me to Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout, Lake-of- the-Woods and, finally, Red Lake. It all really came together with support from Porter Airlines, Bearskin Airlines, Rich Hulina, Northwest Flying Inc, Red Lake Airport, the Sinkowskis and others. The following photo album completes my brief coverage of this busy and productive aviation history-gathering pilgrimage.

Having begun on July 19 with a Porter Airlines flight from Toronto to the Lakehead, then on later in the day to Sioux Lookout on Bearskin, I overnighted at the Hulinas. Next day Rich and I enjoyed flights in his Cessna 206 and one of Northwest’s spiffy Beech 18s. Back in Sioux Lookout that afternoon, I connected with Bearskin again for the half- hour hop over to the historic gold mining town of Red Lake.

Speeding along in Bearskin Metro C-GJVW and watching the great Canadian Shield rolling out below, got me thinking of the pioneers confronting this massive Canadian region, the first aviators included. As early as 1925 some Ontario Provincial Air Service Curtiss HS-2L flying boats operating from Kenora, carried men and supplies into what soon would become the Red Lake mining district.

When news of a strike leaked out, the Red Lake gold rush was on. Over the winter of 1925-26 the first few airplanes were serving the region, mainly from the railroad town of Hudson, near Sioux Lookout. A couple of war surplus Curtiss JN-4s, an impressive little Curtiss Lark and the first new Fokker Universals soon were transporting men and supplies into the area, so that the prospecting could begin. The first claims were staked, then, beginning with “The Howey”, the mines started producing in 1930. None of it could have happened without the airplane and those stalwart pioneer aviators – Jack Elliott, “Doc” Oaks, J.R. Ross, etc. As our Metro started its decent, I also thought of my own dad, Basil Emerson Milberry (1901-1948), who had done his bit around here, starting in the gold rush era and finishing at the Uchi Mine, before moving c.1935 across to the Kirkland Lake and South Porcupine gold mining camps. His name still appears on Kenora District claims maps. History, eh … we live it and we love it. Ruth W. Russell has written a history of the Red Lake gold rushes. Pick up a copy — North for Gold: The Red Lake Gold Rush of 1926. Also, see if you can find copies of the late Donald F. Parrott’s Red Lake books – The Gold Mines of Red Lake, etc. As to the general aviation history of the region, you can’t do better than with Air Transport in Canada and Aviation in Canada: The Formative Years.

When the usually noisy Metro cabin suddenly got quieter and the flaps and gear came down, I returned to the present and soon was stepping off Bearskin at the Red Lake terminal. Meeting me was Joe Sinkowski, who was keen to provide a quick airport run-around. A long- serving bush pilot, in his “retirement” Joe’s on the airport staff doing a host of interesting jobs. He had taken me on my first Norseman flight back in 1995. Today, he introduced me to some of the local operators and for the next three days I had great fun photographing around Red Lake airport — a.k.a. “YRL”.

Red Lake Airport Photo Tour, July 22-24, 2017

Photo 1

Red Lake is one of the great Canadian (and global) gold mining centres. Flying over in the summer of 1995 in a Green Airways PZL Otter, I took this photo that has Red Lake written all over it.

Photo 1A Balmertown Map

Joe Sinkowski provides this basic map to explain what you see in the aerial view. The mine photo is from Balmertown looking slightly northwest about 300 degrees towards the airport. As you look here, Red Lake would be back over your left shoulder about 4
miles.

Photo 1B

On the same flight, I snapped this view of Red Lake Airport. Pretty well at the centre, that looks like a Beech 99 at the terminal. This old building has been replaced by today’s modern one. Near the bottom, you can spot an Apache and an Aztec, two of the standard types serving the area (they’ve all but disappeared, even the Beech 99 has faded). Notice the big yellow MNR Canadair water bomber sitting on forest fire standby.

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The daily scene at YRL terminal includes several arrivals by the ubiquitous Bearskin Airlines Metro. Shown on July 22 is C-GJVH. Built in 1996 and operated with Merlin Airways for a number of years as N898ML, “JVH” has been in the Bearskin fleet since May 2007. Bearskin belongs to the Exchange Income Corporation of Winnipeg. EIC’s other aviation holdings include Calmair, Custom Helicopters, Keewatin Air, Perimeter Aviation and Provincial Aerospace. Just today (April 20) comes news that EIC has added Bearskin’s traditional competition in Northwest Ontario — Wasaya Airlines. On the right in the top photo sits Norseman CF-LZO, which has graced the terminal for several years.

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For any visitor to Red Lake airport there’s no shortage of subject matter on a typical day. What’s common to see for the locals will be exciting for the out-of- town “plane spotter”. Let’s start with the DC-3, a plane that’s no stranger to Northwest Ontario, except that today’s DC-3 is vastly different from yesterday’s. Now known as the Basler BT-67, it’s powered by PT6 turbine engines. It carries pretty well twice the payload of a standard DC-3, so is much more efficient and profitabler by comparison. Shown is one of the Baslers brought to Canada by Frank Kelner of Caravan and PC-12 fame. Initially, he operated under the Cargo North and North Star banners, but has sold this part of his operation to the Northwest Company of Winnipeg. Shown at Red Lake on July 21 is C-FKGL. Notice the extra wide doors. Even that bulky motorboat got squeezed in. When you watch  an operation like this you might wonder about all the babble about bush flying being so “romantic”. Mostly it’s simply about hard, grubby work done by a tough bunch guys and gals who can take the worst of it and keep showing up day after day.

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North Star Air’s Basler C-FWUI began in 1945 as RAF KN511. It then operated as such with the RCAF until its identity changed in 1970 to 12926. It retired in 1974, then became C- GWUH.  Having flown for several northern operators, it became N707BA in 1985, mostly flying for US  courier outfits. Converted by Basler in 2005, it essentially became a completely new airplane. Nonetheless, its heritage dates back almost 75 years.

Photo 6A

For those who aren’t sure about DC-3s, this is more what they looked like “in the old days”. I shot  C-FFAY at Red Lake on July 15, 1991, while it was doing some freighting. “FAY” is an old bird – serial number 4785 built in 1942. Postwar it spent years in South America, then came to Canada in 1972 for a Red Deer outfit called Astro Aviation. From 1973-81 it was with Lambair of  Winnipeg, then was here and there with Perimeter Airlines of Winnipeg, Buffalo Airways of Hay River, etc. In recent years it’s been sitting dismantled back at Red Deer.

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Here I am beside the Red Lake terminal’s Norseman CF-LZO in a shot taken by Joe Sinkowski.

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Other aircraft types come and go daily at Red Lake airport, the indispensable Cessna Caravan included. Here, Superior’s C-FYMK arrives from one of the northern reservations that it helps keep supplied with the daily essentials. The bulky belly pack carries much extra cargo. Built in 2010, “YMK” spent its early days in Italy, but mainly has been in Canada.

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“YMK” loads up for another trip. Due to the steep cost of air transport, a liter of milk, dozen eggs, bottle of pop or bag of chips gets ridiculously expensive by the time it reaches Bearskin Lake, Muskrat Dam, Big Trout Lake, Pikangikum, etc. Note that those last two belly bays carry up to 550 lb.

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Superior’s “amphib” Caravan C-FYMT gets back to base after another trip. In this configuration  “YMT” can get in and out of less accessible spots, and cater to the seasonal fly-in fishing or hunting markets.

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Also seen pretty well daily at YRL is the Pilatus PC-12. Its roles are varied, whether carrying  passengers, freight or, as shown, working as a speedy air ambulance. Air Bravo’s PC-12 C- FTAB was transferring a patient to Red Lake clinic on this July day in 2017. “TAB” previously was C- FMPO of the RCMP, which had acquired it new in 1999.

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One of the great unsung workhorses of the Canadian north is the 1960s-vintage Hawker 748. Last  summer Northwest Ontario, where “The Hawker” once ruled the skies, had only one  left. Although expensive to operate in the 2010s due to its “gas guzzling” Dart engines, former Wasaya Airways C-FFFS still was piling up the hours hauling groceries and all sorts of other supplies to the region’s isolated communities. Having begun in the Philippines in 1969, “FFS” eventually showed up in Canada in 1989 with Northland Air Manitoba. Kelner Airways had  it on lease in 1991, then it was sold to Wasaya in 1996. The Hawker’s main advantages are  how it probably doesn’t carry a mortgage, but it does carry a hefty payload – 12,000 pounds, and it’s fairly speedy, cruising at around 200 mph. No doubt, however, the more recent arrival of BT- 67 and Dash 8 freighters soon will see “FFS” shunted off to the boneyard.

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Another classic in and around Red Lake for decades has been the Piper PA-31 Navajo and  Chieftain. Here, Superior’s Chieftain C-FVWY sits at YRL after a day’s work. Built in 1982, it originally was N4110N. It came to Canada from Hawaii in 2008.

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Chieftain C-GAJT looking a bit worse for wear at YRL. Built in 1981, it operated in the US as N800SA until migrating to Canada in 2003. As it sat last July, “AJT” didn’t seem to have great prospects. Some such aircraft sometimes return to life, but more often than not progressively get cannibalized, then go for pots ‘n pans.

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Also “in the boneyard” at Red Lake last summer was this Piper PA-23 Apache – C-FLQN. One of  Canada’s leading light twins of the early postwar years, the “Plain Jane” Apache gave excellent service as a private, corporate and commercial plane. “LQN” came to Canada in 1959 for Reimer Express, a leading Manitoba trucking company. There it served for years before passing on to a string of Manitoba and Northwest Ontario owners. “LQN” may or may not ever get back into the air. If not, it sure could make a nice little acquisition for any serious aviation museum. Who knows, eh, but  it would be sad to see this historic little Apache carted off for scrap.

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A steady stream of transient aircraft visits YRL, often just to refuel, but sometimes to drop off or pick up business travellers or sportsmen. Here, SOCATA TBM-850 N851MA from KABO Aviation in Kentucky arrives on a charter last July.

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For last summer’s Norseman Festival, the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team flew in from Southern Ontario. They were the icing on the cake for the week’s festivities. Here are pix of the CHAT Harvards at the airport. In decades gone by many an RCAF Harvard used to stop at Red Lake for fuel.

Round and About Red Lake in Norseman Festival Week 2017

Photo 20

For this part of today’s blog, let’s start with a few Red Lake pictures from “way back”, when the Norseman Festival began. I’d only been casually following the Norseman scene since I got  interested in airplane photography back in the late 1950s. It took 3-4 trips to Northwestern Ontario starting in 1974 to get me keen on it. Still, I’d never had a ride in one ‘til I visited Red Lake in 1995 and Joe Sinkowski took me flying on July 15 in Chimo Air’s CF-KAO. Later that day Joe McBryan invited a few of us for a flight in his beautifully- restored CF-SAN. Here’s a shot of “KAO” from our flight. Joe was delivering sport fisherman that evening to their lodge on Culverson Lake.

Photo 21

Joe’ McBryan’s pride and joy in 1995. He still flies “SAN” from his base in Yellowknife.

Photo 22

The scene from above at the original 1992 festival. Just as we flew over the head of Howey Bay there were nine Norsemans (and one Beaver) at the docks. This was the Norseman Festival at its peak. As the years passed, the number of Norsemans gradually dwindled, but they’re still out there. So come on … fill up your tanks, Norseman people, and fly on over to Red Lake this year.

Photo 23

Photo 24

Some of “ye olde tyme” Norseman people around Red Lake in 1992. Joe Sinkowski is shown with Bob Green on his left, Bob’s brother Jack Green on his right. Then, Norseman technical wizkids Whitey Hostetler and John “JB” Blaszczyk of Whitey’s famous Red Lake Seaplane Service, where Red Lake’s “town Norseman” CF-DRD was restored in 1991-92.

Photo 25

Photo 26

When Red Lake started talking over the idea of a Norseman festival and the idea got wheels, the town acquired the hulk of CF-DRD. This is how I saw it in 1991 soon after it had arrived at Whitey’s hangar. Then, here it is beautifully mounted in 1992 at Red Lake’s Norseman heritage park.

Photo 27

Photo 28

To get a true sense of Northwest Ontario you need to bundle up and visit in winter. I did that a number of times in the 1980s-90s while laying all the groundwork for Air Transport in Canada. This is how I saw Norseman “JIN” one winter. Then, a view of the Howey Bay main docks shot from Sabourin Air’s Cessna 185 C-GDSJ on March 26, 1992.

Photo 29 HOWEY-BAY

Joe Sinkowski took the time to put some labels to my aerial shot. Joe flew all the planes in the Green Airways cluster. He got along fine with them, but had a special love for Beech 18 CF-GNR.

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Let’s have a quick look at some of last year’s Norseman Festival scenes in downtown Red Lake and around and about. Here some folks get ready for their flight of a lifetime in Norseman “KAO”. Then, “KAO” pushing off. Sightseeing passengers get to see Red Lake and area from on high, and definitely get to feel, hear and smell “the wonders” of the Norseman first hand. You get your money’s worth, no doubt about it. Last year there also were Otter and Caravan rides.

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Chimo’s Norsemans “JIN” and “KAO” last summer. Even though the festival was on, they still had to do their daily trips, mainly going back and forth among the many local fishing lodges.

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Turbine Otters “ODQ” and “RRJ” also were at Chimo last July. They represent the future of bush flying here, especially since the Chimo Norsemans were damaged last year by a furious hailstorm.

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“JIN” at the dock. Note “DRD” up behind in Norseman Park. Then, a view from the park  overlooking down at the docks.

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Lots of other bushplanes call Howey Bay home, including another indigenous Canadian plane – Found FBA-2C1 Bush Hawk “EJM” of Canadian Fly-In Fishing.

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Beavers at the famous Viking Outpost base on Howey Bay. Then, Green family Norseman CF-ZMX. Many years earlier Harvey Friesen had started up Bearskin Airlines with “ZMX”. Except for showing up annually at the Norseman Festival, “ZMX” is based at Selkirk (downstream from Winnipeg on the Red River).

 

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Last year I decided on a flight in Chimo’s “Steam Otter” C-GYYS. I blasted off a lot of frames during our 20 minutes with bush pilot Alex Moore. Here are a couple of shots of the great Goldcorp Mine at nearby Balmertown. Still one of the world’s most productive gold mines.

 

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Several other operators call the Red Lake region home. In nearby Cochenour is Faron Buckler’s base from where he operates Otter C-FODJ mainly to support of fishing camps, and bear and moose hunting trips under the Excellent Adventures brand. “ODJ” is powered by a 1000-hp Polish PZL engine. Then, Joe Sinkowski and Faron talking shop.

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The pilot’s front office in “ODJ”. The PZL Otter conversion gained a bit of popularity in the early 1990s, Green Airways operating two. Eventually, however, most became turbine Otters.

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Amik Outpost’s PZL Otter C-FHXY roars away from its base at Chukuni bridge on Hwy 125 on the way to the airport.

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Drive up Red Lake’s Forestry Road to the end and you’ll find the Ministry of Natural Resources main district fire base. The fire threat last July was low, so there was only one helicopter on standby — Heli-Inter’s Bell 205A C-GLHE “Tanker 2” flown by Swiss pilot, Steve Feuz. In the control centre scene, Randy Crampton of the MNR briefs Joe Sinkowski and George Holborn about the day’s fire situation.

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There’s always a load of great Norseman Festival fun at Centennial Park, kids “Norseman rides” included. Each of these little carts is done up in the registration and paint job of an actual Norseman. That’s “JIN” first.

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Last year there even was a Norseman/Bush Flying/Northern Ontario tattoo contest. Here are a couple of the entrees. Far out, eh!

For the total “history nut” a walking tour of the Red Lake Cemetery is a must. The history of the town and region is here in a unique way. Joe Sinkowski gives a fascinating cemetery tour, relating stories galore of the old days, of so many great names and families from prospecting and mining times, of famous bush pilots and air engineers, local doctors, teachers, shopkeepers, trappers, town drunks, you name it. And it’s a very peaceful hour or two. Here’s the grave marker for World War 1 pilot Frederick Carroll, who found himself in Red Lake after the fighting ended and prospectors were pouring into the region. Looking in Royal Flying Corps and Canadian Expeditionary Force records, Hugh Halliday has found a bit about Carroll. It’s known that he was born in Newbrdge, Curragh, Ireland on August 5, 1891. Pre-war he had been a rancher “out west”, then joined the CEF in Winnipeg in September 1914. He was wounded in action on March 17, 1915, then was gassed on April 26. In October 1917 he joined the RFC and a year later was posted to 8 Squadron to fly the FK.8 2-seater on observation and bombing duties. So far we don’t know what had drawn this keen Irishman to Red Lake or what he did there over the years.

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Here’s Whitey’s marker with a Norseman motif. Such other legendary aviators as George Green (Green Airways) and Jake Siegel also lie here.

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James Lindokken’s stone features a Cessna T-50 Crane. His father, Oscar, ran a store at Deer Lake north of Red Lake. James died in a 1964 plane crash.

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Every visitor needs to drop in to Lamar Weavers’s “Treasure House of Red Lake”, the best spot in town to find a good book, a nice pair of hand-made moccasins, or a Norseman cap or T- shirt. Here I am perusing the aviation book section, where Lamar features Rich Hulina’s wonderful Bush Flying Captured and my Norseman books.

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What can one do on a little blog but maybe inspire visitors to look deeper into whichever topic. If you want the best treatment not just about bush flying in Northwest Ontario, but all around Canada, you definitely need a set of Air Transport in Canada. The world’s biggest ever aviation history book (1040 pages, 3000+ photos, 2 volumes, 6 kg, etc.) is on sale at $60.00 off. Regularly $155.00, yours for CDN$95.00 + $16.00 flat rate postage anywhere in Canada + $5.55 tax = $116.55. Do yourself your biggest book favour ever and order up. Having sold about 3500 sets, I’m down to the last 250. ATC will give you decades of enjoyment – there’s nothing like it in aviation literature. Meanwhile, Aviation in Canada: Noorduyn Norseman is still available. Both beautiful big volumes at $115.00 + $16.00 Canada Post + tax $5.65 = $136.65. For Richard’s spectacular book is $50.00 + $14.00 + $3.20 = $67.20. See http://www.canavbooks.wordpress.com for more info about these great Canadian aviation heritage books,

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Finishing up this little Red Lake tour, here’s a photo of last year’s Norseman Festival special guests, the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team, doing their thing over Howey Bay. For updates about this year’s festival google Annual Norseman Festival, Red Lake, Ontario http://www.norsemanfestival.on.ca/

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Something always pops up at the very last, as did these two old slides. First, a photo taken by my late old pal, the great Les Corness of Edmonton. Passing through Kenora on August 20, 1983, Les visited Kuby’s maintenance and parts base. Among the usual variety of old wrecks that used to fill the yard was Norseman CF-DRD of Wings Aviation. “DRD” sat there for many more long years until rescued by Red Lake in 1991. Here’s another shot I took of it in 1992 at the first Norseman Festival — looking very fine indeed under the spotlights.

Norseman News … Norwegian Project

Our good UK supporter, Trevor Mead, visited Bodo, Norway this spring. In the local Norwegian Aircraft Museum, he came across Norseman LN-PAB, which had begun as US Army 44-70546. It served with US forces in Europe following D-Day. Surplus at war’s end, it went to Norway in 1947 — first with Polar Fly, then with Wideroes. Following an accident in September 1952, “PAB” was stripped of useful parts and abandonned. In 2002 the wreck was recovered by volunteers from the Bodo museum, which gradually has been doing the restoration. So far so good by the looks of Trevor’s photo.

 

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Famed NW Ontario Airline Sold

Published on April 20, 2018, this press release describes a big air transport takeover for Northwest Ontario:

Wasaya Group, its shareholders and Exchange Income Corporation (EIC) have successfully closed the transaction that was first announced on Feb. 1, 2018. Completing this milestone is one of the most significant events in Wasaya’s 29 year history,” said Michael Rodyniuk, president and CEO of Wasaya. “The strength of our combined aviation assets coupled with our capable and motivated people will result in a strong company ensuring Wasaya continues to be a fixture in the communities for years to come.

“The enhanced level of service in Northern Ontario will benefit the people in our ownership communities as well as those in the non-owner communities we serve. Partnering with EIC is a natural fit. They understand aviation, servicing the north, and of utmost importance they have a great history working with First Nations across Canada to provide quality air service to these communities. Partnering with the communities we serve is fundamental to our values,” said Mike Pyle, CEO of EIC. “This transaction allows us to directly partner and engage with our customers. Wasaya’s strong brand and legacy in northern Ontario provides a solid foundation to expand passenger and cargo service into more communities within the region.”

Carmele Peter, president of EIC, stated: “This would not have been possible without the strong working relationship during the establishment of our partnership. This relationship will continue to grow delivering positive results for First Nations People, communities served, travelers, cargo shippers, and our mutual shareholders, all while celebrating and exemplifying success within First Nations’ business.”

Thunder Bay to Sioux Lookout 2017

Perimeter Dash 8 C-FPPW on arrival at Sioux Lookout on July 19, 2017. Having served frontline commuter airlines since the early 1980s, many Dash 8s have “come home” to serve northern Canada for such carriers as Air Creebec, Air Inuit, First Air, Perimeter and Wasaya.

Having flown to “YQT” Thunder Bay from Toronto on July 19 last year to spend the morning photographing this fascinating airport, it was time to push on. Mid-afternoon I boarded Perimeter’s Dash 8-100 C-FPPW for the 50-minute flight to Sioux Lookout “YXL”. The day remained fine, so it was a pleasant 50-minute trip in 1994-vintage “PPW” (the 390th Dash 8). Formerly N827EX, it served Allegheny Commuter and Piedmont Airlines for many years, before returning to Canada in 2010 for Perimeter of Winnipeg.

Bush pilot, award-winning aviation photographer, and writer/publisher Rich Hulina met me at the terminal. We started by touring around the airport, where there’s lots to see and photograph. Here are a few of my shots taken before we headed to the curling club for burgers and beers.

Since the days of the PA-23 Apache in the 1950s, Piper twins have done monumental work in Canada’s North. Introduced in 1972, the PA-31-350 Chieftain was a 10-seat version (2-foot stretch) of the 1964 8-seat PA-31 Navajo. Visiting YXL on July 19 was 1981 model year Chieftain C-GRWN in the markings of Northern Skies Air Service. “RWN” had come to Canada in 2007 for Sunwest Airlines of Calgary. In 2015 Sunwest posted it for sale by which time the airframe had piled up some 17,000 hours. By 2018 it was listed to Toronto-based FLYGTA Inc. The money-making PA-31 series remains in common use throughout the North.

One of the North’s ubiquitous Pilatus PC-12s taxis out at YXL on July 19. C-FKPA is in the colours of Thunder Bay-based North Star Air. As soon as the PC-12 was introduced to the region c1990, it began taking over from the previous generation of basic backcountry workhorses, especially the Cessna Caravan. About the same size as the Caravan (which North Star also flies), the PC-12 is much faster and is pressurized – a nice feature when on a long run such as Sioux Lookout to Bearskin Lake or maybe all the way over to Moosonee or Timmins.

Another typical daily Sioux Lookout scene shows SkyCare’s Metro II C-GKPX taxiing for takeoff as a Wasaya Beech 1900D arrives. Built in 1978, “KPX” operated throughout the EU until becoming N5470M in the USA in 1997. It came to Canada in 2008. Recently established at YXL with the Chieftain, Merlin and Metro, SkyCare specializes in charters and air ambulance service.

There’s invariably at least one Beaver being serviced at Sioux Lookout. This day, CF-IPL was waiting to be delivered back to base. Beaver No.132, it originally bought in 1951 by Imperial Oil of Toronto. Since 1963 “IPL” has been in the Atikokan area, most recently with Atikokan Aero Service specializing in the summertime sport fishing and wildness trips markets. Across the field you can see the hanger for the locally based Ornge PC-12 air ambulance.

It’s not uncommon on any main northern airfield to find a boneyard of old planes. At YXL the main one sits at the Allen Air hangar. Founded by George Allen offering aircraft maintenance and rebuilding, this is a legendary Sioux Lookout business. Following George’s passing, his son Dave took over the hangar.
Dave George’s business has been aircraft maintenance, but also restoring wrecks and cannibalizing others for useful spare parts. This was part of the scene on July 19 with lots of clapped out Cessnas lying around. However, it isn’t beyond the imagination that the odd one might fly again.

Last summer things were not looking promising ay YXL for SkyCare PA-31 C-GJCX. A 1977 model, “JCX” had been in the UK as G-BEZU with such operators as Oxford Air Training School. Later it was G-HVRD doing charter work with Clasair. It flew the North Atlantic to Canada in 2013. There also were 2-3 old Metros lying in the weeds here. The R-44 helicopter in the distance had just refueled and was continuing its ferry trip to Alberta.

Next morning Rich and I were up at sunrise to start a busy day. The plan was to take Rich’s beautiful Cessna 206 Stationair C-GGRU down to Nestor Falls on Lake-of-the-Woods for a day of knocking around the bushplane scene. Here, Rich pumps in gas at his home dock for the return trip of about 200 nm.

A couple of the local Nestor Falls planes on July 20: Beaver C-GEBL of Northwest Flying Service (NorthwestFlying.com), and Piper CF-FEJ head out on local trips. Beaver No.1068 “EBL” is an ex-US Army L-20A that served in military colours 1957-72. It came to Canada in 1975 and since then has always been in NW Ontario. “FEJ” first appeared on the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register in 1973, the co-owners then being in Lively, near Sudbury.

Rich (right) with Northwest Flying Service owner Shane Pope make plans for our visit.

Shane’s outfit is famous for its two lovely Beech 18s C-FHZA and C-FKL. Here, “NKL” is nearest, as “HZA” is pushed off for an early trip to one of the numerous fishing camps out as far as a hundred miles.

“NKL’s” front office. Then, Beech 18 aficionado Shane Pope just as he gets “NKL” neatly into the air for a short camp trip delivering passengers and supplies.

The setting out at camp where one of Shane’s Beeches is always a welcomed sight.

Rich relaxes in “NKL” on the way back to base. In recent summers he’s enjoyed flying a Beech 18 based at Ear Falls.

Back in the 1950s-60s we schoolboy “airplane photo hounds” rarely would let a Beech go by without snapping off a frame. Searching my files lately, I see that I photographed both “HZA” and “NKL” more than 55 years ago. I came across “NKL” at Rivercrest airstrip near Winnipeg on September 5, 1961; and “HZA” at Toronto Malton Airport on March 4, 1962. At the time, Warren Plummer of Sioux Narrows was using “NKL” to support his pioneer sport fishing camps on Great Bear Lake. “HZA” was then with Cascade Drilling of Calgary. Of course, one could write a book about any such Beech 18. The amazing thing is that in 2018 both Beeches will again be in the water at Nestor Falls.

After our Beech 18 fun at Nestor Falls, Rich and I drove up the road a bit to Todd Lougheed maintenance shop — a go-to place for any Beech fan. Today the fellows were doing maintenance on C-GESW, while C-FEHX and C-FTBX were in outdoor storage, their futures uncertain. Once retired by the RCAF c1965, many Beeches (“EHX” included, ex-RCAF 5181) made their way onto the civil aircraft register, then had long, useful careers. Other Beeches came from the US, as did “ESW” in 1999 and “TBX” in 1966. Geoff Goodall’s Beech 18 website is a key source for quick registration look-ups. Also, Robert Parmerter’s landmark 3-kg book Beech 18: A Civil& Military History is “a must have” for any true fan (available at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum). Besides such basic sources, many other blogs and websites feature Canada’s Beech 18s, a fine example being Michael Prophet’s http://www.michaelprophet.com/News_articles/OntarioBushPlanetrail.html

Various other photo-worthy planes were at Todd’s base on July 20, this fine-looking 1947 Aeronca “Champ” CF-TBY included.

From the Beech 18 haven, we drove over to visit Todd’s dock to have a look at his 1964 Found FBA-2C CF-RXJ. Built in Toronto, “RXJ” has spent its career in NW Ontario, where after 50+ years it still does useful work. Here’s how it typically looks at the dock in summer. Then, a view of the interior, little of which has changed other than some instrumentation. Finally, Rich and Todd discussing the Found, which proved to be such a solid northern workhorse over the decades. Rich sometimes flies Glen Tudhope’s FBA-2C C-FSDC from Hudson, near Sioux Lookout and rates it highly as a basic bushplane.

After snooping around some other local docks, we ended at Dave Beauchene’s always-busy Nestor Falls Fly-In Outposts. In former years this was another good spot for Beech 18s, but Dave ultimately converted to turbine Otters. Here are the fellows in Dave’s giftshop, where we found a copy of Rich’s photo of Dave’s two Otters. See Rich’s book Bush Flying Captured for the best current coverage of aviation in NW Ontario!

Three scenes at Dave’s main dock on July 20. First, his Otters at the dock: C-FODK and C-FSOR. C-FODK had begun in 1953 with the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. It served there to 1984, then went to Huron Air of Armstrong for another long career. However, things came to a messy ending when “ODK” had engine trouble on May 26, 1998 and crashed into the bush. Rebuilt, it came to Nestor Falls in 1999, then was converted along with “SOR” in the 2000s to the Garrett 1000-hp TPE-331 turbine. Next, a typical dock scene with an Otter just back from camp with a load of happy American fishermen. Finally, “SOR” heading out on a trip. “SOR” had begun 1958 with the Indian military, where it served in major shooting wars with China and Pakistan. By 1991 (when it was retired) it had logged nearly 6400 flying hours. Coming back to Canada, it was restored in Saskatoon in 1994, then found its way to Nestor Falls.

Our long, enjoyable day finally over on Lake-of-the-Woods, we got back aboard our lovely Cessna and returned to Sioux Lookout, where I had a flight to catch. Thanking Rich for a great day of meeting people and photographing bushplanes, off I went on Bearskin Flight JV319 (Metro C-GJVW) to Red Lake, a pleasant 30-minute hop. The Metro is basic NW Ontario air transportation and it works! Check in again to see “Part III Red Lake” of last summer’s NW Ontario travels.

Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre

Some years ago the Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre was formed in Thunder Bay. The society’s message is just as you might expect — it brings together people of like mind, whether old timers or “the younger set”. Meetings are held at 905 East Victoria Ave., and there’s a regular newsletter. Check out the website http://www.noahc.org (or … email to noahc@tbaytel.net) and get yourself a membership. You don’t need to be a local to belong, so get on the NOAHC bandwagon — you’ll be happy you did!