CAE News and Views

Photo 1 Kapadia Book Cover 5-2016

CAE retiree, Mehr Kapadia, has published an important memoir covering his lifelong career in engineering. Entitled An Old Engineer Remembers, Mehr describes the book understatedly as “a short history of what early real-time computer control systems and electronic systems engineering were like”. This is a serious “must read” book for anyone with a professional connection to these themes, who’s in the overall business world, getting into engineering as a young person, or simply interested in “what goes on” in an industry that touches our lives every instant of the day. Who wouldn’t be interested, right?

Mehr outlines his younger days leading to his first job as a junior software man at English Electric in the UK, then covers subsequent jobs, such as automating underground processes at a mine in Arctic Norway. As his story unfolds, he illustrates how computers and software evolved, but also includes interesting anecdotes about all the travels to do with his work — what people are like in different corners of the world, all the great learning experiences as one travels hither to thither, etc.

Eventually, Mehr moves to Canada to begin a lifelong career with CAE. He describes much about how software-oriented projects are conceived, bid upon, then won or lost in the market place. He adds graphic descriptions of all sorts of projects, especially where computer control systems are paramount, such as controlling flight simulators, shipboard machinery and weapons control, machinery and electric power transmission for the great James Bay hydro project of the 1970s, the same for vast hydro systems in as China, the USA, Venezuela, global air traffic control systems, etc.

Mehr enjoyed CAE from Day 1, including such aspects as its international mindset, observing: “The easygoing internationalism is one of the nicest things about working in Canada … a company like CAE is too large to exist by solely relying on the Canadian market. It had to become truly international right from its early days, so an internationally flavoured staff was a big plus. We could always find someone to speak and understand almost all the major world languages and cultures.”

CANAV’s own Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story is already recognized as the benchmark for the company’s general history. However, what Mehr’s book does is explain things in depth vs my book’s sweeping view. So … these two books are nicely complementary. Anyone who already has The CAE Story will delight in Mehr’s book, mainly for its detailed explanations and opinions about such leading edge projects as how, with CAE as prime contractor, Ontario Hydro computer-automated its great nuclear power plants of the 1970s, how the Canadian Forces did likewise with its fleet of new “City Class” patrol frigates, or how Transport Canada automated air traffic control from BC to Newfoundland. While The CAE Story has something to say about such topics as flight simulator visual systems, Mehr’s book drills down into that and such other special CAE topics as computers – how they have evolved, which types suit particular projects, etc.

An Old Engineer Remembers is necessary reading for anyone with an interest in what CAE has achieved over its seven decades. Any employee or retiree really needs a copy … point finale! Certainly, every present executive and CAE board members must read this book. Without doing so, their education “will be sadly lacking”, as one of my old-time high school teachers used to say. The book’s also highly recommended for students beginning any level of engineering studies, and for engineering department heads who should seriously consider it as obligatory course reading. Naturally, not all is “rosy” with Mehr’s coverage, for CAE does come in for its criticism, especially regarding management (e.g., decision’s badly made, or, CAE’s need “to continuously fight the bureaucratic tendency … to play safe”).

Get your copy of An Old Engineer Remembers here . This book is a few dollars very well spent and I had my copy delivered within a few days. Meanwhile, if you still don’t have your copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, here’s how to order:

CAE Prestige Club Gala

: The Prestige Club’s Mike Cregan (left) works the registration table at CAE on May 26. Long a devotee of CAE heritage, Mike was an invaluable part of CANAV’s push to produce its landmark history of CAE.

The Prestige Club’s Mike Cregan (left) works the registration table at CAE on May 26. Long a devotee of CAE heritage, Mike was an invaluable part of CANAV’s push to produce its landmark history of CAE.

On Thursday, May 26, 2016 members of CAE’s Prestige Club held their grand annual dinner at the plant on Côte de Liesse in Montreal. Prestige Club members have put in 25 years with the company (I met one retiree with 42 years on the payroll).

Attending this year’s event, I was able to meet (for the first time in person, in several cases) many CAE people who had helped me complete a company history that was as authoritative as possible. Shaking hands with the likes of Byron Cavadias, Mike Cregan, Bob Duthie, George Morrow, Dave Tait, Bob Kemerer, Jack Shlien, Rolf Vissers and Les White was an amazing honour.

A small corner of the Prestige Club crowd during cocktail hour. As you can see, it was all about conviviality.

A small corner of the Prestige Club crowd during cocktail hour. As you can see, it was all about conviviality.

CAE pioneers Dave Tait and Jack Schlien. A Arriving from New Zealand, Dave joined CAE in 1958, following a stint at NRC/CARDE analyzing interception scenarios for the Avro Arrow. Jack started in 1968. Both rose to senior positions.

CAE pioneers Dave Tait and Jack Schlien. A Arriving from New Zealand, Dave joined CAE in 1958, following a stint at NRC/CARDE analyzing interception scenarios for the Avro Arrow. Jack started in 1968. Both rose to senior positions.

Mike Cregan greets Bob Barnard, two key supporters when it came to various historical topics and fact checking as the CAE book. Bob joined CAE from the RCAF in 1960, his first of many projects being the Argus Tactical Crew Procedures Trainer. The TCPT now is on display in the museum as RCAF Station Greenwood.

Mike Cregan greets Bob Barnard, two key supporters when it came to various historical topics and fact checking as the CAE book. Bob joined CAE from the RCAF in 1960, his first of many projects being the Argus Tactical Crew Procedures Trainer. The TCPT now is on display in the museum as RCAF Station Greenwood.

George Morrow joined CAE after a short service stint in the RCAF. There, his first great adventures were navigating 408 Squadron Lancasters across the Arctic. While at CAE, he also had a long career with 401 Squadron at St. Hubert, where he rose to be LCol Morrow. George travelled to the Prestige Club dinner from his home on Vancouver Island.

George Morrow joined CAE after a short service stint in the RCAF. There, his first great adventures were navigating 408 Squadron Lancasters across the Arctic. While at CAE, he also had a long career with 401 Squadron at St. Hubert, where he rose to be LCol Morrow. George travelled to the Prestige Club dinner from his home on Vancouver Island.

Here I am with Byron Cavadias, who ran CAE Electronics Ltd. longer than anyone and, basically, laid the foundation for the company as the world knows it today.

Here I am with Byron Cavadias, who ran CAE Electronics Ltd. longer than anyone and, basically, laid the foundation for the company as the world knows it today.

Bob Duthie and I. Byron assigned Bob many crucial projects, the unusual Iranian CH-47 Chinook flight simulator included. Bob’s work took him to the far corners of the world over the decades – par for the course for CAE people.

Bob Duthie and I. Byron assigned Bob many crucial projects, the unusual Iranian CH-47 Chinook flight simulator included. Bob’s work took him to the far corners of the world over the decades – par for the course for CAE people.

One of the 40 or so tables at this year’s Prestige Club gathering included (seated) company pioneers Bob Kemerer, Jack Shlien, Byron Cavadias and Gilles Sevingy.

One of the 40 or so tables at this year’s Prestige Club gathering included (seated) company pioneers Bob Kemerer, Jack Shlien, Byron Cavadias and Gilles Sevingy.

This year’s many Prestige Club door prizes included several classic CANAV titles. These fellows were the lucky winners! Take at look at this great photo by CAE’s Noella Theriault and dwell on the fact that, even though CANAV Books has been labouring since 1981 at producing best selling Canadian books, the Canada Council in Ottawa does not consider it to be a real book publisher. Our world-class titles are not eligible for the Governor General’s Canada Council book awards.

This year’s many Prestige Club door prizes included several classic CANAV titles. These fellows were the lucky winners! Take at look at this great photo by CAE’s Noella Theriault and dwell on the fact that, even though CANAV Books has been labouring since 1981 at producing best selling Canadian books, the Canada Council in Ottawa does not consider it to be a real book publisher. Our world-class titles are not eligible for the Governor General’s Canada Council book awards.

I’m still hearing from people in the know with their informed critiques of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. Lately, when Mehr Kapadia first got in touch, it was by way of his comments about the book. He comments:

Dear Larry … my congratulations. Your recent CAE history really is a great, well-researched book. I’ve found it most interesting going through the early history from long before I joined the company. You have to be complimented for the effort and care that you took.

We Canadians have a bad habit of not blowing our horn when we achieve something great. As I might have mentioned, I am of the opinion that CAE probably was the world’s best systems engineering company for many years. I think I can say that, as over the years I dealt with most of the best large US and UK engineering companies and I never came across any as good as us.

Canada Post Claims, “We Service Canadians with Pride and Passion”

One of Canada’s Post’s fleet of mini mail trucks. Instead of our posties collecting the pre-sorted mail for their routes from the secure corner boxes (now largely disappeared), they now sort their own mail in the mini trucks and do all sorts of other tasks once done by specialized help. If you peer in the passenger side of one of these trucks, often you can see high priority mail just sitting there unattended, as the postie walks his/her route.

One of Canada’s Post’s fleet of mail trucks. Instead of our posties collecting the pre-sorted mail for their routes from the secure corner boxes (largely a thing of the past), they now sort their own mail in their mini trucks and do all sorts of other tasks once done by specialized help. If you peer in the passenger side of one of these trucks, often you can see high priority mail just sitting there unattended, as the postie walks his/her route. Canada Post leaves the postie few options. Ordinary posties also often are tasked these days with clearing corner post boxes, once a separate job, but now being eliminated where possible to improve the bottom line at the expense of having a real postal service.

Canada Post is a huge organization. According to Wikipedia: “Canada Post provided service to 15.7 million addresses and delivered more than 9 billion items in 2014 and consolidated revenue from operations reached $7.98 billion.” Ordinary citizens (who own the outfit and pay its 65,000 of employees very generously) and innumerable small businesses, however, continue to be punished daily by Canada Post management and labour. So much for the “service” part of the Canada Post slogan that heads this item, right. With CANAV Books, for example, the poor service has not improved since we began campaigning years ago — writing letters to Canada Post in Ottawa, discussing on the phone with its representatives, blogging, etc. Lately, things are worse than ever — there’s no consistency even to the simple process of delivering a letter to someone’s house.

For one thing, there are the rates. Sadly, nothing much can be done about Canada’s exorbitant postal rates and it’s the same picture almost anywhere in the world. These rates have driven many small mail order operators out of the picture. CANAV Books barely holds on. It’s tough to sell a $30 book, when the cheapest postal rate to the West Coast is in the $20 range. Canada Post, sad to say, doesn’t worry about which small company it drives out of business next. This goes back to whenever it was that Canada Post decided that postal service no longer was a vital, national, public right, but a new government “profit centre”. So … if a service doesn’t make money, reduce or eliminate it as necessary.

Canada Post’s ivory tower people live in their comfy dreamland, while CUPW (another ivory tower outfit) plans new ways to undermine its postal bosses up there at 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa. Who are we in the process? Nothing much more than suckers stuck in the middle. We 36,000,000 owners of Canada Post just keep getting all the crap in ever more smelly ways.

Through it all, CANAV Books somehow has survived. We started with our best selling book, The Avro CF-100, in 1981, right in the jaws of an ugly CUPW strike, so all CANAV could do was wait for this particular horror story to settle. The only hope of a solution was that Canadians still could ship to the US and overseas (rates were affordable the those times) by driving their mail across the border to be handled by US Post. To serve my good customers, I made such trips in 1981 and during subsequent postal strikes.

USA and offshore business today

Once a vital part of CANAV operations, 99% of the world no longer is a market for our books. This is solely due to postal rates. To ship a single copy from the “Aviation in Canada” series anywhere in the European Union, for example, doubles the sticker price of the book. The most avid EU aviation bibliophile these days throws up his hands in despair. It’s a done deal … thanks, Canada Post. All the way down the line, this sad story can be felt through ever-smaller print runs and fewer titles gestating. Paper makers, ink and glue suppliers, printers and binders, truckers, warehousers and many others gradually feel the pinch. Bottom line … today’s postal rates are retrogressive.

Door to Door Delivery

Back in 2009 I still was praising Canada Post for its door-to-door delivery. Certainly in the M4E postal code, that no longer is the case and, judging by the uproar in other postal codes across Canada, M4E is no aberration. Over the past two to three years service has deteriorated to the “pitiful” level, what with every neighbour in M4E regularly receiving other people’s mail. Neighbours regularly bring CANAV mail to my door, and these thoughtful citizens aren’t exactly receiving CUPW benefits. Neither are they obliged to re-direct wrongly delivered mail (some do not, so we all lose valuable letters, etc. – talk about the unthinkable). Last month I did not get my usual bank statements and other important banking mail that always comes in the same week. Where is it? Last week I received a neighbour’s Census papers. Great, eh, since Census Canada threatens the citizenry with $500 fines and/or jail time, should someone not file a census report on time. Guaranteed, other Canadians did not receive their census paperwork on account of Canada Post.

Once, when I discussed mail delivery foul-ups with a Canada Post employee I was told: “Get to love it. This is Canada Post’s new “Get to Know Your Neighbours Program”. Very funny, Mr. $500,000-a-year Canada Post potentate CEO, Deepak Chopra. More recently, when I nicely enquired of a letter carrier about the frequent mis-delivery of mail in M4E, the answer was, “It’s those guys down at the sortation plant. They give us the wrong mail or it’s in the wrong order”. What?! Isn’t it the letter carrier’s actual DUTY to actually read the address on each piece of mail? Or is this (along, perhaps, with literacy) no longer a job requirement at Canada Post?

 

Canada’s Post’s new “open air” mail delivery was introduced to M4E on May 6, 2016. The peasantry is not impressed.

Here’s the latest little curve ball. Recently my letter carrier (these folks now change like the weather, gone is the letter carrier who held a route for years and became a beloved community member) has decided not to use the mail slot in my door. For 46 years letter carriers have understood the basic function of the mail-slot-in-the-door. Now, CANAV’s mail some days simply is dropped on the open porch floor (see above unstaged photo). With this new glitch I now have to hope that I can catch all my cheques, orders, legal and government documents, letters from grand kids, etc., before they blow away.

This spring Canada Post is once again re-thinking door-to-door delivery. As if that wasn’t bound to happen, following the corporation’s disastrous community mailbox program. The PM promised some action during his election campaign, so good on him. On May 5 the Winnipeg Free Press ran this headline, “Door-to-door delivery up for debate as Liberals order review of Canada Post”. The item begins, “Canadians could once again find mail at their doors after what the government says will be a sweeping review of every business line at Canada Post …”

This can’t hurt, considering how the previous government had zero interest, except to support Canada Post’s profit vs service fixation. It watched unconcerned as Canada Post ran down in the general direction of Somalia standards (no mail delivery there for 23 years). Now, according to the Free Press, change is in the wind. Minister Judy Foote explains, “We need to hear from Canadians what it is they need and Canadians are responsible” Wow, eh!

Well, Minister Foote, you are hearing from this Canadian. Feel free to drop by any time for a chitchat about Canada Post and how vital it still is for any country that’s going anywhere, e.g., to the key building blocks that spell civilization – education, healthcare, postal service, national defence, transportation infrastructure, etc. You just cannot remove one of these essentials and still have a strong, healthy society.

One of my suggestions last year to Canada Post was that it might seriously take a look at the mission statement of the Bangladeshi Post Office. Bangladesh (at least on paper) seems to have an action plan for postal service. Here’s an excerpt that should really make you hang your heads at Canada Post: “Bangladesh Post office is a government-owned department dedicated to provide a wide range of postal products and public services. It is the premier national postal communication service holding together a vast country with a large population. Bangladesh Post Office is committed to provide a speedy, reliable and regular service to the people of all walks of life at a reasonable cost.”

What do you think, Minister Foote? Mightn’t this work for Canada, too? It sure as heck used to “back in the day”, when few countries had a postal service as effective as Canada’s, and when a slogan such as “We Service Canadians with Pride and Passion”  actually would have rung true.

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The Canadair Sabre — A 30-Year Retrospective 1986-2016

Sabre dust jacket

This year is the 30th anniversary of CANAV’s best-selling The Canadair Sabre. Since Day One, this title has been synonymous with the great Geoff Bennett’s cover art depicting a 413 Squadron Sabre in its splendid early-1950s RCAF No.1 Air Division markings. *Click on the pictures to see them full size.

No trouble moving a few copies at the book launch 30 years ago. At the left here is Chuck Kemp (430 Sqn 1960-63), Gerhard Joos (Luftwaffe F-84F), Spitfire veteran Raymond Munro (dark tie), photographer/artist Bob Finlayson, modeller Derek Pennington, author Larry Milberry with daughter Stephanie, and Max Nerriere (Orenda).

No trouble moving a few copies at the book launch 30 years ago. At the left here is Chuck Kemp (430 Sqn 1960-63), Gerhard Joos (Luftwaffe F-84F), Spitfire veteran Raymond Munro (dark tie), photographer/artist Bob Finlayson, modeller Derek Pennington, author Larry Milberry with daughter Stephanie, and Max Nerriere (Orenda).

Thirty, even 20 years ago, there still was great enthusiasm for the printed word. When a new aviation book appeared, readers would hurry out to find a copy, and there sure never was a problem filling a room for a book launching. The evolution of the internet has greatly altered this historic scenario – news of the world, right. Now that “everything’s on the web” (what a crock, but the idea has been beautifully marketed to the gullible public), book publishers are on an increasingly steep uphill grade.

A typical print run for a new Canadian hardcover trade book 30 years ago was 3500 to 5000 (with a good prospect for at least one reprint). Today, a publisher is loath to run more than 1500 copies with zero prospect of a reprint. Naturally, there still are blockbusters, but I’m talking here about what’s average. Certainly, something like Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide, with printings into the six figures, encourages trade book publishers, whose motto (in most cases) remains, “We live in hope”.

Sparked by some great old photos that recently came “out of nowhere”, this reminiscence takes me back to the fourth title published under my then fairly unknown “CANAV Books” banner. Having begun on a wing and a prayer in 1981 with The Avro CF-100, I was pleased to find that readers liked the CANAV style. The CF-100 sold out its 3500 first printing in nine weeks, a second printing in nine months, and appeared yet again under a unique CANAV/McGraw Hill-Ryerson imprint. Next, I produced The Canadair North Star, launching it in November 1982 (scroll back to see the North Star book launch story). This also was a success, selling out 5000 and going to a second printing. For title three (1983), Fred Hotson and I teamed with support from DHC to produce The De Havilland Canada Story. Before that one rolled out, I already had begun an RCAF 60th anniversary extravaganza. In 1984 that came out as Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984. There were rave reviews and I even got seven minutes that summer live with Peter Gzowski on CBC Morningside (a huge deal for a minor book publisher, but who would have a clue these days, eh).

Having had access during my North Star research to behind-the-scenes material at Canadair, I decided next to tackle the important history of the Canadair F-86 Sabre. Started late in 1984, the book was launched on August 19, 1986 at the old Cambridge Hotel on Toronto’s airport strip. Other Sabre events followed in Ottawa and Montreal. The launch was attended by a good crowd of keen types, many a “Swordsman” included.

Many Sabre pilots joined us for the launch, Ralph Heard (left) and Ken “Hagis McPuke” Hagerty (center) included. By this time Ralph was flying helicopters for Ontario Hydro. Hagis was pretty well retired. Cancer since deprived us of these wonderful Canadians. On the right is the great Moe Servos, retired from Air Canada and enjoying the joys of flying his classic Beech 17 Staggerwing. Moe later died in a traffic accident.

Many Sabre pilots joined us for the launch, Ralph Heard (left) and Ken “Hagis McPuke” Hagerty (center) included. By this time Ralph was flying helicopters for Ontario Hydro. Hagis was pretty well retired. Cancer since deprived us of these wonderful Canadians. On the right is the great Moe Servos, retired by 1986 from Air Canada and enjoying the joys of flying his classic Beech 17 Staggerwing. Moe later died in a traffic accident.

Revered wartime Spitfire pilot, Dean Kelly (left), was one of the first to do a Sabre solo demo airshow, while on 441 Sqn. Dean (as they say) could make your eyes water with his amazing display. Here he is with John L. “Denny” Den Ouden (410 Sqn), well-known on squadron and with the wild and crazy Overseas Ferry Unit. Denny later practiced law in Niagara Falls and built up a spectacular 5000-volume aviation library. Both of these fine aviators have departed.

While with 441 Sqn, revered wartime Spitfire pilot, Dean Kelly (left), was one of the first to do a Sabre solo demo airshow. Dean (as they say) could make your eyes water with his amazing display. Here he is with John L. “Denny” Den Ouden (410 Sqn), well-known on squadron and with the wild and crazy Overseas Ferry Unit. Denny later practiced law in Niagara Falls and built up a spectacular 5000-volume aviation library. Both of these fine aviators have departed.

Far left in this snapshot is Len “Rocky” Redman (444 Sqn). Then … unknown, Denny Den Ouden, myself, daughter Steff and Max Nerriere. Rocky appears twice in the book for near-deadly crashes. I last met him on leaving Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition grounds minutes after we had witnessed a Nimrod crash with the loss of all aboard. Not long afterwards we heard that Rocky had passed on.

Far left in this snapshot is Len “Rocky” Redman (444 Sqn). Then … unknown, Denny Den Ouden, myself and Max Nerriere. Rocky appears twice in the book for near-deadly crashes. I last met him on leaving Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition grounds minutes after we had witnessed a Nimrod crash with the loss of all aboard. Not long afterwards we heard that Rocky had passed on.

Caption Air reservists attending the book launch included Jim Foy, Denny Den Ouden, Mike Valenti, Ron Richardson and Gord Mansell. All but Mike (from the Otter era) had flown Sabre 5s from Downsview.

Air reservists attending the book launch included Jim Foy, Denny Den Ouden, Mike Valenti, Ron Richardson and Gord Mansell. All but Mike (from the Otter era) had flown Sabre 5s from Downsview.

I never wavered from the start about diving in for 10,000 copies of the Sabre book, which the Bryant Press of Toronto delivered. Happily, I’ve lasted long enough to see my huge stock of 20+ tons dwindle to today’s part skid.

In 1986 the book won immediate praise from Sabre people, serious aviation bibliophiles and respected old-guard reviewers. Air Combat simply called the book, “The aviation literary event of the year”. France’s leading aviation monthly, Air Fan, added a delicious compliment: “Ici encore, les anecdotes savoureuses fourmillent. Ce sont celles-ci qui rendent les livres de Milberry différents des publications anglo-saxonnes ou américaines, qui sont généralement moins humaines”. So … Air Fan picked up on my two chief objectives in doing any book – to tell the human as carefully as the airplane story. The inimitable Air International commented of The Canadair Sabre: “There seems scant prospect of a better history.” Greece’s aviation monthly, Ptisi, added that the book was “a real oasis for F-86 fans”. No publisher or author could have had his book better received.

The success of the Sabre book counted heavily on the talents and patience of graphics man and editorial guru Robin Brass. I met Robin in the early 1970s, when he was a sponsoring editor at McGraw Hill-Ryerson. I then was trying to sell the idea for a general Canadian aviation book to succeed Frank Ellis’ 1954 Canada’s Flying Heritage. Through Robin, the idea was accepted by MHR, appearing in 1979 as Aviation in Canada, which eventually sold out five printings. Robin soon left MHR to go freelance. As such he became the production brains behind the first wave of CANAV titles. Here (right) he chats at the book launch with Ralph Clint, the project’s indispensible proof reader, fact checker, and line drawing/map making perfectionist. Left is our great mutual pal and darkroom practitioner, Bob Finlayson. Bob and Ralph since have left us. Robin recently guided the Ontario Regiment through the complex task of producing Fidelis et Paratus: The History of the Ontario Regiment, 1866-2016.

The success of the Sabre book counted heavily on the talents and patience of graphics man and editorial guru Robin Brass. I met Robin in the early 1970s, when he was a sponsoring editor at McGraw Hill-Ryerson. I then was trying to sell the idea for a general Canadian aviation book to succeed Frank Ellis’ 1954 Canada’s Flying Heritage. Through Robin, the idea was accepted by MHR, appearing in 1979 as Aviation in Canada, which eventually sold out five printings. Robin soon left MHR to go freelance. As such he became the production brains behind the first wave of CANAV titles. Here (right) he chats at the book launch with Ralph Clint, the project’s indispensable proof reader, fact checker, and line drawing/map making perfectionist. Left is our great mutual pal and darkroom practitioner, Bob Finlayson. Bob and Ralph since have left us. Robin recently guided the Ontario Regiment through the complex task of producing Fidelis et Paratus: The History of the Ontario Regiment, 1866-2016.

Some younger fans at the book launch: Simon and Stephanie Milberry, Zoe Brass, Kate Milberry, Jane Werniuk and Matt Milberry.

Some younger fans at the book launch: Simon and Stephanie Milberry, Zoe Brass, Kate Milberry, Jane Werniuk and Matt Milberry.

So many contributed to the Sabre project. Here I am with Gerhard Joos, who researched the basic material for Ch.11 “The German Sabre Story”. As a young postwar aviator, Gerhard flew the F-84F in the newly re-formed Luftwaffe, but his unfulfilled dream had been to fly the Canadair Sabre. Later, he flew with Condor Airlines and to this day is keen about all things aviation. Yes, those were the days when a fellow would drop everything and fly an ocean to attend a book launch. For our North Star launch at the same hotel people flew in from the UK, Bermuda and California, while Canadair showed up from Montreal with a Learjet full of old timers. By comparison, these days people barely will cross the street to attend a book event. Times and priorities change, eh.

So many contributed to the Sabre project. Here I am with Gerhard Joos, who researched the basic material for Ch.11 “The German Sabre Story”. As a young postwar aviator, Gerhard flew the F-84F in the newly re-formed Luftwaffe (his unfulfilled dream had been to fly the Canadair Sabre). Later, he flew with Condor Airlines and to this day is keen about all things aviation. Yes, those were the days when a fellow would drop everything and fly an ocean to attend a book launch. For our North Star launch at the same hotel people flew in from the UK, Bermuda and California, while Canadair showed up from Montreal with a Learjet full of old timers. By comparison, these days people barely will cross the street to attend a book event. Times and priorities change, eh.

RCAF wartime veterans all were keen about the sleek and speedy Sabre. Here W.H.D. Meaden, DFC (left, 432 Sqn Lancaster IIs, 436 Sqn C-130), is having fun at the launch with John Biehler (centre, 254 Sqn Beaufighters) and Aussie Maxwell (436 Sqn C-119, C-130, CPAir DC-8). These three fine citizens have since “moved on”.

RCAF wartime veterans all were keen about the sleek and speedy Sabre. Here W.H.D. Meaden, DFC (left, 432 Sqn Lancaster IIs, 436 Sqn C-130), is having fun at the launch with John Biehler (centre, 254 Sqn Beaufighters) and Aussie Maxwell (436 Sqn C-119, C-130, CPAir DC-8). These three fine citizens have since “moved on”.

The late Spitfire history aficionado, Robert Bracken, and John Biehler look over a spread in the Sabre book. Robert was one of the solid types at researching RCAF and CAN/RAF Spitfire personalities. His wonderful 2-volume work Spitfire: The Canadians (illustrated by the incomparable Ron Lowry) belongs in every collector’s library.

The late Spitfire history aficionado, Robert Bracken, and John Biehler look over a spread in the Sabre book. Robert was one of the solid types researching RCAF and CAN/RAF Spitfire personalities. His wonderful 2-volume work Spitfire: The Canadians (illustrated by the incomparable Ron Lowry) belongs in every collector’s library.

The author looks over some Sabre photos with Max Nerriere, one of the pioneers of the Orenda 14 that powered the Sabre VI. Max later was helped maintain the large fleet of ex-Luftwaffe Sabres that Pakistan clandestinely acquired.

The author looks over some Sabre photos with Max Nerriere, one of the pioneers of the Orenda 14 that powered the Sabre VI. Max later helped maintain the large fleet of ex-Luftwaffe Sabres that Pakistan clandestinely acquired.

Ray Munro of Oakville with his hero, G/C Z.L. “Lewie” Leigh of Grimsby, Lewie’s lawyer pal, and Canada’s premier aviation historian, Ken Molson of Toronto. Lewie and Ken were always supportive of my efforts, but could be no-nonsense critics. Sabre history was not really Ken’s territory – he was more of a Silver Dart, JN-4 and Fairchild FC type. Four years earlier at the North Star book launch, he gave me his opinion about that book’s art gallery. When I saw him flipping through those pages, I (foolishly) asked what he thought. In his true style, Ken told me unapologetically, “I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the lot of it.”

Ray Munro of Oakville with his hero, G/C Z.L. “Lewie” Leigh of Grimsby, Lewie’s lawyer pal, and Canada’s premier aviation historian, Ken Molson of Toronto (all since passed). Lewie and Ken were always supportive of my efforts, but could be no-nonsense critics. Sabre history was not really Ken’s territory – he was more of a Silver Dart, JN-4 and Fairchild FC type. Four years earlier at the North Star book launch, he had given me his opinion about the book’s art gallery. When I saw him flipping through the art pages, like a dope I asked what he thought of the paintings. Ken replied unapologetically, “I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the lot of it.”

Some of the autographs I collected in my Sabre book at our Toronto 1986 book launch.

Some of the autographs I collected in my Sabre book at our Toronto 1986 book launch.

Sabre 15

 CANAV was the first book publisher to support Canada’s almost invisible (at the time) aviation art community. Our Sabre cover art by Geoff Bennett was his first published book art. We put up a small show at the Sabre launch – likely the first such in Canada. Other artists on show were Tom Bjarnason, Ross Buckland, Keith Ferris (USA), Ron Lowry and Pete Mossman.

CANAV was the first book publisher to support Canada’s almost invisible (at the time) aviation art community. Our Sabre cover art by Geoff Bennett was his first published book art. We put up a small show at the launch – maybe the first such in Canada. Other artists on show were Tom Bjarnason, Ross Buckland, Keith Ferris (USA), Ron Lowry and Pete Mossman.

The last batch of Sabre books now is available at the bargain price in Canada of $30.00 + $12.00 postage + tax $2.10 = $44.10. USA and overseas CDN$54.00 postpaid (surface mail). Any reader will be delighted with this world class production. Also, The Canadair Sabre makes the perfect gift book for any aviation fan. Mail your cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4E3B6 Canada, or, use PayPal by depositing to larry@canavbooks.com.

All the best as usual … Larry

Email larry@canavbooks.com

Tel. (416) 698-7559

Evolution of an Aerospace Company History

 

CAE dust jacket

No sooner does any history get into print than the author starts hearing from the readership. Some have fresh material to contribute about some topic covered, others are pointing out the author’s sins of commission or of omission. All this is important stuff and provides an author with a close-in take on how a book is faring.

Over the decades the great Fred Hotson gathered tidbits and insights from his readers about his wonderful book, The De Havilland Canada Story. The book had its roots with Fred’s modestly-published 50th anniversary of DHC. Then, as the Dash 8 began taking shape at Downsview in the early 1980s, DHC president, John Sandford, asked Fred to expand on his “50th” effort. Late in 1981 I was brought into the picture as publisher. Mr. Sandford let us know that he needed the book for the Dash 8 rollout, so don’t even think of missing that deadline.

Working with Fred, editor and designer, Robin Brass, and such artists as Pete Mossman and Ron Lowry, I set my sights on the Dash 8 rollout. Somehow, it all panned out and The De Havilland Canada Story was delivered three days before the Dash 8 ceremony of April 19, 1983.

Publisher Milberry, DHC President Sandford and author Hotson at the Dash 8 rollout. The Dash 8 and the DHC book developed simultaneously and rolled out together on April 19, 1983. Plane and book are still going strong.

Publisher Milberry, DHC President Sandford and author Hotson at the Dash 8 rollout. The Dash 8 and the DHC book developed simultaneously and rolled out together on April 19, 1983. Plane and book are still going strong. New copies of the book now are available via Viking Aircraft in Sidney, BC.

No sooner was the book in print, than Fred was wanting to get our fast-selling first edition “cleaned up”. Our second edition included numerous tweaks, still more were added in a third. As the years passed, Fred faithfully kept on top of his story to the point that, in 1999, we ended with such a pile of DHC history updates, that not a fourth edition, but a whole new book came about, re-titled De Havilland in Canada. Since then, more than 15 further years have floated by, so yet another major makeover of Fred’s book beckons.

So it has happened with Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. Launched last September 30, the book has panned out nicely so far. Major criticisms mainly are of perceived omissions – why not more details about this project or that, why so much about such and such, etc. Of course, that’s where subjectiveness arises – everyone’s a critic, right. Were ten authors to write ten histories of CAE, there would be ten completely good, but, different takes, yet all ten still wouldn’t satisfy some readers. However, it’s rare that even two takes are ever made about a company’s history. So … for now, Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story is “it”.

Among the many readers from whom I’ve heard since the CAE book appeared last September is Roy Lefebvre, a company retiree, who specialized in flight simulator evaluations and installations. Formerly an RCAF CF-100 pilot, Roy loved his time getting flight simulators to work at their best. He even was involved with Air New Zealand’s amazing DC-10 “terrain model board” flight simulation system. In the book I also describe one of Roy’s visits to TWA to evaluate and tweak its B.727 simulator. On p.213 is a beautifully staged photo by Pierre Giroux of this shiny new CAE “sim” with the cockpit crew looking sharp and ready to “fly”. But who was this crew? So far, no one could remember their names, not even the folks at the TWA museum in Kansas City, Missouri, whom I asked. Finally, however, we have cracked into this mystery with one name.

 

The TWA crew on the flight deck of their new 727 full flight simulator at CAE in Montreal during the acceptance phase. Until now, we didn’t know the fellows’ names. Now we know that senior TWA Captain George André is in the left seat. (Pierre Giroux)

(Click to see the picture full screen.) The TWA crew on the flight deck of their new 727 full flight simulator at CAE in Montreal during the acceptance phase. Until now, we didn’t know the fellows’ names. (Pierre Giroux)

This is what Roy Lefebvre wrote to me on March 25, 2016:

While leafing through “CAE” recently, I noted the picture at the bottom of page 213 and now recall the name of the pilot in the captain’s seat – it’s George André, whom I had gotten to know, when he was the TWA pilot in charge of CAE 727 sim procurement and acceptance.

I had been involved in the marketing process with TWA in Kansas City, and developed a great respect for George. He was a prince of a man, but you had to work hard to learn much about his background. I did learn that he had flown the SR-71 Blackbird, but George wasn’t revealing too many details back in those days.

So, today I did a google George, and what a resume! I found that in 2013 he published an amazing personal story, Wingspan – from J3 to Mach 3. In 2014 he had spoken to the Missouri Aviation Historical Society, which summarized his main accomplishments: “Over his impressive flying career, George has served as a USAF fighter pilot, Lockheed Martin test pilot flying (among other types) the SR-71 Blackbird out of Groom Lake, a longtime airline pilot for TWA, an airshow pilot, and the oldest Reno air-racer in show history — among many other achievements. The presentation was truly magnificent and shed light on some of the greatest milestones in American aviation from someone who flew them firsthand.”

As well as being the CAE pilot assigned to TWA’s 727 sim, I worked with marketing to help secure this contract, which was a first for the 727 from a mainline US air carrier. Among other “firsts”, with this project CAE introduced the popular Fortran computer language, which was considered a breakthrough. This led to some difficult times during in-plant acceptance, in that the less efficient (but user friendly) Fortran overloaded our computer, resulting in some apparent shortfalls, where I felt compelled to support George. This was the first time I felt the squeeze between us and the customer.

Last week, even more details about the photo and the TWA 727 “sim” emerged. Earlier I had tracked down George André and had a great chat with him. I ordered a copy of Wingspan, and George promised to add his own details about the p.213 photo. Here’s what George sent:

Hi Larry … The picture in question is not the one I envisioned.  I am in the left seat and my flight engineer, who was my assistant in the program, is Stacy Patterson. At the time, Stacy was the 727 flight engineer training manager, later to become the 727 pilot training manager. In the third seat is a TWA simulator engineer/technician whose first name I remember is Tom, but I forget the last. Being forty years ago, I have no idea who might be around to ask.

Regarding some stuff from the CAE book- I was tasked to be the project manager for the acquisition of two 727 advanced simulators for TWA purchase around 1976. The only viable contenders were Link, which had furnished all of our previous simulators, Redifon in England, and CAE.

Link obviously felt it had the job, hands down, and that was evident by the apparent lack of enthusiasm in pleasing us in order to win the contract. Redifon wanted badly to gain a foothold with a major US carrier, and bent over backwards. This, delightfully, included considerable wining and dining, hosting at the Paris Air Show and about anything else my team desired.

In the end, I believed CAE with a new DEC computer had the most promise for achieving the nirvana in simulation. Having a simulator so advanced that it would replace the entire flight envelope, meant, primarily, that it could be used for landings. CAE was most co-operative. Together we developed an advanced instructor station that greatly modernized the instructor tasks and capabilities.

After many months of construction and proving runs, and nearly full time residence in Montreal for me, we had our machine. The biggest glitch would turn out to be the new computer, which had a lot of growing pains. I would personally take a lot of heat for my CAE decision, putting faith in a new computer design, but, in the end it all worked out.

I spent many enjoyable work and social sessions with Byron Cavadias and David Tait, and regret not staying in touch with them. At that time I was involved with the restoration of my WWII Bücker Jungmann biplane. Byron informed me that the famed Adolf Galland, a senior Luftwaffe commander in WWII, was a CAE representative in Europe. Byron kindly informed the General of my plane and we received a nice letter from Herr Galland, saying that he had flown the plane and had good memories thereof. I still have that letter somewhere.

Some comments in the CAE book differ somewhat from my recollections, which could be erroneous on my part. You point out how United achieved first Phase III simulator approval in the early eighties with a CAE unit. This is what I remember. United did achieve the first approval of a simulator for the landing maneuver around 1979, but it was done with a Link unit with a staff of four 727 pilots and numerous (10, I heard) engineers from Link. We were trying to beat them to the punch. I was the only pilot on TWA’s effort and had the help of one CAE engineer. We did all of the tests and downloaded reams of data to prove the simulator replicated the aircraft with high fidelity.

I personally hand-carried several heavy boxes of evidence to FAA headquarters in Washington and presented our request for approval. It was given and we achieved the second landing approval behind United, sadly a few weeks later. To this day, it is one of my proudest professional achievements. Subsequently we were able to completely train a 727 pilot totally in a simulator, a feat unheard of in earlier times. Cheers … George

 

 

CANAV’s 2016 Spring/Summer Booklist is here!

The world famous TCA Super Connie CF-TGE, soon to be on display at the Museum of Flight, is featured on the cover of The Wilf White Propliner Collection. Check out the booklist to order.

The world famous TCA Super Connie CF-TGE, now on display at the Museum of Flight in Washington State, is featured on the cover of The Wilf White Propliner Collection. See CANAV’sbooklist to order.

Check out our latest booklist! There are some great titles and deals you won’t want to miss:)

**SPECIAL NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER**

Dear readers … As of March 17, 2016 CANAV is out of stock of its world-famous  title, De Havilland in Canada. Having begun in 1983 as The De Havilland Canada Story by Fred Hotson, the book morphed in 1999 into De Havilland in Canada. Should you need a new copy, contact Viking Aircraft in Victoria, BC, or search some of the internet’s many used book sites — abebooks.com, bookfinder.com, ebay, etc. All the best … Larry

 

You, too, can fly your own Spitfire!

The Beech Bonanza at 70 and the Golden Age of Post-WWII Light Planes

The Bonanza also captured Canadian civil aviation headlines and scooped covers. Featured on the May 1948 cover of Canadian Aviation magazine is Lome Airways Beech 35 CF-FKI (serial number D-55) at Toronto Island Airport, while busy flying Miss Canada around the country. After 57 years of service, in 2016 “FKI” was N1599V based at Genoa, NY. (Click on any picture to see it full size.)

With the end of WWII in sight in 1944, the Allied nations started planning to eventually get their economies back into peacetime mode. The aviation industry was enthusiastic, yet, unsure about what the future held. One assumption made by manufactures was that thousands of returning airmen, pumped up by the thrill of flight, were sure to soon be shopping for their personal planes. Accordingly, each company from Beech to Cessna, Grumman, Piper, Republic, Ryan, Stinson, etc., began designing their own version of an attractive, affordable, 2- or 4-seat light plane. Excellent aircraft emerged from the Cessna 170 to the Globe Swift, Grumman Kitten, Piper Pacer, Ryan Navion, Republic Seabee and Stinson 108. However, 3 or 4 years into peacetime there were so many new airplane type that the market was swamped, especially by the industry’s “Big 2” in light planes – Cessna and Piper.

There wasn’t going to be room for every contender, so by 1950 production had petered out for most, as with the Navion (about 1200 built), Seabee (1060) and Swift (1521). Only two Kittens were built. Chief factors explaining what happened were 1) relatively few airman really wanted or could afford a new plane 2) airman were more likely to buy a cheaper war surplus plane, thousands of which flooded the postwar market.

Determined to win a market share was the renowned Wichita manufacturer, Beechcraft, run by Walter and Olive Ann Beech. Beechcraft had made its name in the 1920s-30s, especially with its upscale Model 17 Staggerwing 4/5-seat personal plane, first flown in 1932. With the war, Staggerwing production continued for the military, while the twin-engine Beech Model 18 crew trainer was mass-produced.

This beautiful, 200-mph Beech D17S Staggerwing was photographed at Oshawa in June 1965. Begun in 1932, Staggerwing production eventually totalled 785, the final 20 being G17Ss built in 1946, when the sticker price was $29,000. That same year Beech was offering its shiny new Bonanza at a quarter the price. Even so it must have been a sad moment for Beech’s old timers when the gavel came down on Staggerwing production. These classics still regularly appear all around North America during fly-in season. (Larry Milberry)

This beautiful, 200-mph Beech D17S Staggerwing was photographed at Oshawa in June 1965. Begun in 1932, Staggerwing production eventually totalled 785, the final 20 being G17Ss built in 1946, when the sticker price was $29,000. That same year Beech was offering its shiny new Bonanza at a quarter the price. Even so it must have been a sad moment for Beech’s old timers when the gavel came down on Staggerwing production. These classics still regularly appear all around North America during fly-in season. (Larry Milberry)

The brainwave of Beech designer Frank Harmon, the 180-mph Bonanza at first was pooh-poohed by Walter Beech, so Harmon and some associates (according to legend) designed the Bonanza on their own time. Then, they made a new and successful run at Mr. Beech. The prototype flew on December 22, 1945, by which time Beech had deposits in the bank for the first 500 aircraft. In the February 1947 issue of Flying Magazine, chief editor Max Karant (already with six flying hours on the still-experimental Bonanza) thoroughly reviewed the new plane, commenting, in part:

As this is written, three Bonanzas are being flown 16 hours a day, seven days a week in an exhaustive accelerated service test. Eighteen pilots fly the planes in shifts, their sole job being to do everything the average private owner would do, and get 1,000 hours on each plane. Any design change indicated by a failure is made immediately … the test airplane is quickly repaired and sent back into the air. The result, Beech officials hope, will be a bug-free airplane. No airplanes have yet been delivered … although the company already has over $2,000,000 invested in the design. Engineers call this basic design “good for 10 years”. Contrary to rumors, the price still is $7,345 … I must admit frankly that the Bonanza is one of the best personal planes I’ve ever flown.

In his 1982 book, Beechcraft: Fifty Years of Excellence, William H. McDaniel added: “A wholly new Beechcraft also made its way from the drawing boards … into the skies over Wichita soon after the war ended. It was the Model 35, a four-place, all-metal monoplane powered with a 165 hp Continental engine, and using a fully-retractable, tricycle type landing gear. Among its features were the two-element ‘V-tail’ and the Beechcraft controllable pitch propeller. In addition, it was perhaps the only airplane in its class to be offered with all instruments and equipment necessary for cross-country and night flying operation including two-way radio”. Bonanzas Nos.1 and 2 were non-flying airframes. The first to fly was No.3 and No.4 made it onto the cover of Aviation Week. While most of the new postwar personal planes were affordably priced at $3000 – $5000, Beechcraft gambled on the market’s higher end at about $7500 ($97,500 today) which panned out. The Bonanza instantly appealed to the professional classes. Flying physicians, for example, couldn’t resist a Bonanza – its looks and performance suited them and price was no impediment.

CF-FKM Shell_LR

The initial six Canadian Bonanzas arrived via Beech’s distributor, Page Aviation of Canada. These were CF-FKI through CF-FKM, including Shell Aviation’s CF-FKM D-218, and the Royal Canadian Flying Club Association’s CF-FKK D-140. Gross weight for this early version was 2550 pounds. “FKM” was delivered in July 1947. Having served Shell reliably, it was sold in 1956 to Arcade Electric Co. of Toronto. Various others enjoyed this classic plane over the years, especially Clifford Watson of Elora, Ontario, who operated it from 1976 to 2014. In 2016 “FKM” was residing in Revelstoke, BC. Note the two side windows. Later Bonanzas had three. Many earlier machines eventually had the third window retrofitted (see C-GZAY below). Both these photos were snapped by the (late) great Toronto aviation fan, Al Martin. In 1963 Al was a founding member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society and twisted my arm that year to join. Putting down my $2.00, I received CAHS membership No.11, for which I owe Al Martin a great deal.

The initial six Canadian Bonanzas arrived via Beech’s distributor, Page Aviation of Canada. These were CF-FKI through CF-FKM, including Shell Aviation’s CF-FKM D-218, and the Royal Canadian Flying Club Association’s CF-FKK D-140. Gross weight for this early version was 2550 pounds. “FKM” was delivered in July 1947. Having served Shell reliably, it was sold in 1956 to Arcade Electric Co. of Toronto. Various others enjoyed this classic plane over the years, especially Clifford Watson of Elora, Ontario, who operated it from 1976 to 2014. In 2016 “FKM” was residing in Revelstoke, BC. Note the two side windows. Later Bonanzas had three. Many earlier machines eventually had the third window retrofitted (see C-GZAY below). Both these photos were snapped by the (late) great Toronto aviation fan, Al Martin. In 1963 Al was a founding member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society and twisted my arm that year to join. Putting down my $2.00, I received CAHS membership No.11, for which I owe Al Martin a great deal!

Don McVicar of Worldwide Airways in Dorval and Lome Airways at Toronto Island Airport were two early Bonanza operators. McVicar bought CF-FZC in 1947 as a company utility plane, e.g., to speed his pilots back and forth as they ferried war surplus planes around the continent. Don also loved the pizazz of the Bonanza, how it always turned heads when he arrived anywhere in “FZC”. Other early Canadian Bonanzas were CF-FAC (Aero Club of Vancouver), CF-FAS (Crown Coal Co. of Edmonton), CF-FKJ (Roy Staniland of Edmonton), CF-FKK (Royal Canadian Flying Clubs of Ottawa), CF-FKM (Shell Aviation Co. of Toronto), CF-FLW (Intercontinental Packers of Saskatoon), CF-FYE (Gayport Shipping Ltd. of Toronto) and CF-FYF (Chilliwack Finance Corp. of Chilliwack.

This scene at Regina during the 1953 Trans Canada Air Tour couldn’t illustrate better the predominance of the Bonanza as a private plane. At least nine V-tails can be counted. (Canadian Aviation)

This scene at Regina during the 1953 Trans Canada Air Tour couldn’t illustrate better the predominance of the Bonanza as a private plane. At least nine V-tails can be counted. (Canadian Aviation)

From the outset the Bonanza in Canada was ordered by sport aviators wanting the flashiest in a single-engine, light plane, and by companies needing speedy, comfortable travel on short business hops. This profile never really changed, although small charter operators sometimes had a Bonanza for air taxi business. By 2016 some 18,000 Bonanzas have been manufactured in a great variety of models and sub-models. Roughly 12,000 remain in service, including about 140 listed in 2016 by Transport Canada. Listed are such 1947 “oldies” as serial number D-64 C-GZAY in Castlegar, s/n D-95 C-GLMZ in Edmonton, s/n D-218 C-FFKM (the old Shell Bonanza) in Revelstoke, s/n D-294 CF-UVV in Waterloo and s/n D-320 CF-IDJ in Medicine Hat.

Bonanza owners are a loyal bunch – once a pilot gets to know one, it’s bound to be a long-term relationship. In 2015 Ian Coull in BC wanted a Bonanza for more reasons than one. He previously had owned one, so had come to appreciate its comfort, speed, range and economy – it was in a class of its own giving 20 miles to the US gallon. When Ian found Bonanza D-64, a 1947 Beech 35, on ebay, he looked into it, liked the general deal, so bought D-64 for US$25,000. The plane looked great with a modern paint job and even had the third window mod. It also had a recommended wing spar mod, and the airframe was low time at about 4000 hours. Once in Canada, D-64 became C-GKAY. Ian added some further upgrades – two yokes, electric fuel pump, and long range tank (giving a 5 ½-hour range). Just starting a new life, in 2016 D-64 is Canada’s oldest Bonanza.

C-GZAY is Canada’s oldest Bonanza. It’s seen at home base in Castlegar, BC, looking mighty fine for its 69 years! (Ian Coull)

C-GZAY is Canada’s oldest Bonanza. It’s seen at home base in Castlegar, BC, looking mighty fine for its 69 years! (Ian Coull)

The current edition of the Bonanza is the G36, of which only a few dozen are produced annually. In 2016 the CCAR lists five, the newest (registered in 2014) being Edmonton-based C-FGWD, a 2006 model. Flying Magazine flew a new G36 in December 2013, reporting: “When the subject of legendary light airplanes comes up, one of the names certain to be mentioned early in the conversation is the Beechcraft Bonanza. The latest model, the G36, bears a passing resemblance to the revolutionary original, which Beech Aircraft began selling way back in 1947. But today’s Bonanza is a very sophisticated platform, one that has enjoyed a wealth of improvements, from spinner to tail, over its 65-year production span. No other airplane has been able to achieve such a lengthy production record. Beech launched the G36 in 2005 to usher in the era of flat panel avionics, including the Garmin G1000 (the “G” in G36 is for Garmin)” From 1947 to the present, Flying clearly has been impressed by this (by now) 70-year-old beauty!

Some Specs for the 1947 Prototype Beech 35 Bonanza:

  • Length 25’2”
  • Height 6’6.5”
  • Wing span 32’10”
  • Seating 4
  • Max takeoff weight 2650 lb
  • Useful load 1075 lb
  • Fuel 40 US gal (60 gal with aux. tank)
  • Max cruise speed 150 ktas
  • Max range (with aux fuel) 775 mi.
  • Ceiling 18,100’
  • Engine Continental 165 hp
  • New price about CDN$7000

Some specs for the 2016 G36 Bonanza:

  • Length 27’6”
  • Height 8’7”
  • Wing span 33’6”
  • Seating 6
  • Max takeoff weight 3650 lb
  • Useful load 1033 lb
  • Fuel 74 US gal
  • Max cruise speed 176 ktas
  • Max range 920 mi.
  • Ceiling 18,500’
  • Engine Continental IO-550-B 300 hp
  • New price about CDN$950,000
CF-KVL was B35 Bonanza D-2650 built in 1950. Until 1958 it had been N5258C, then came to Winnipeg for Wallace C. Hanaway, who sold it to Teal Air, a Northern Manitoba tourist operator. In August 1959 “KVL” migrated to Hamilton for John Knapp, then R.F. Mitten of nearby Galt took over in 1963. The following year it was sold to Air Taxi Service of Cincinnati, becoming N8724R. On June 2, 1967 it was damaged at Lunken Airport, Ohio, when the pilot inadvertently landed wheels-up. In 2016 N8724R was flying from Frankfort in northern Michigan. I spotted “KVL” at Hamilton’s Mount Hope Airport on April 30, 1961.

CF-KVL was B35 Bonanza D-2650 built in 1950. Until 1958 it had been N5258C, then came to Winnipeg for Wallace C. Hanaway, who sold it to Teal Air, a Northern Manitoba tourist operator. In August 1959 “KVL” migrated to Hamilton for John Knapp, then R.F. Mitten of nearby Galt took over in 1963. The following year it was sold to Air Taxi Service of Cincinnati, becoming N8724R. On June 2, 1967 it was damaged at Lunken Airport, Ohio, when the pilot inadvertently landed wheels-up. In 2016 N8724R was flying from Frankfort in northern Michigan. I spotted “KVL” at Hamilton’s Mount Hope Airport on April 30, 1961.

Bonanza CF-LUT was 1950-built K35 D-5726. Bob Finlayson photographed it at Hamilton’s Mount Hope Airport on May 6, 1967. Having begun as N620T, it came to Canada for Beech dealer Field Aviation in August 1959. It soon was sold to John W. Combs Ltd. of Toronto. Actress Joan Fairfax had it in 1961-62, then it was based in Regina until sold in 1967 to Toronto aircraft dealer, Bob Quigley. He sold “LUT” to D.V. Brown of Manitoulin Island. On March 4, 1979 Brown and his wife died when “LUT” flew into a West Virginia mountain while flying from Toronto to Florida. Canada’s worst Bonanza accident occurred on February 13, 1949, when legendary Canadian aviator, Wally Siple of Montreal, his wife and five children all died when their (4-seat) Bonanza CF-FYC crashed in foul weather en route Montreal - Ottawa.

Bonanza CF-LUT was 1950-built K35 D-5726. Bob Finlayson photographed it at Hamilton’s Mount Hope Airport on May 6, 1967. Having begun as N620T, it came to Canada for Beech dealer Field Aviation in August 1959. It soon was sold to John W. Combs Ltd. of Toronto. Actress Joan Fairfax had it in 1961-62, then it was based in Regina until sold in 1967 to Toronto aircraft dealer, Bob Quigley. He sold “LUT” to D.V. Brown of Manitoulin Island. On March 4, 1979 Brown and his wife died when “LUT” flew into a West Virginia mountain while flying from Toronto to Florida. Canada’s worst Bonanza accident occurred on February 13, 1949, when legendary Canadian aviator, Wally Siple of Montreal, his wife and five children all died when their (4-seat) Bonanza CF-FYC crashed in foul weather en route Montreal – Ottawa.

When the V-tail left production in 1982, the straight tail Model 33 Bonanza (at first called the Debonair) still was a great plane. It did, however, lose an aesthetic something in the redesign. Here F33 CF-CWW, one of only 20 built, sits at Toronto YYZ on May 15, 1971. (Larry Milberry)

When the V-tail left production in 1982, the straight tail Model 33 Bonanza (at first called the Debonair) still was a great plane. It did, however, lose an aesthetic something in the redesign. Here F33 CF-CWW, one of only 20 built, sits at Toronto YYZ on May 15, 1971. (Larry Milberry)

12 CF-OIP_LR

The Bonanza gave rise to some natural spin-offs, starting with the Model 50 Twin Bonanza. Seen at Toronto Island on July 16, 1963 is F50 Twin Bonanza CF-OIP s/n FH96, recently bought from the Milwaukee Braves, and soon in use with Sarnia-based upstart charter company, Great Lakes Air Services. From 1950-63 almost 900 Twin Bonanzas were built in several versions. Initially, they were top-line executive planes and small feeder liners. Eventually, they filtered down the line to end in such unglamorous roles as hauling fish in northern Canada. Then, Super V N4530V in its spiffy white and blue paint job at Toronto Island Airport on May 14, 1961. The Super V was an oddball 2-engine Bonanza conversion that began with Bay Aviation in Oakland in the mid-1950s, then migrated to Fleet Aircraft at Fort Erie (see Air Transport in Canada, Vol.2 for this story). However, the Super V did not find a market. Only 14 were turned out, at least eight of which ended in crashes. Three or four survive including N4530V based in 2016 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (Larry Milberry)

The Bonanza gave rise to some natural spin-offs, starting with the Model 50 Twin Bonanza. Seen at Toronto Island on July 16, 1963 is F50 Twin Bonanza CF-OIP s/n FH96, recently bought from the Milwaukee Braves, and soon in use with Sarnia-based upstart charter company, Great Lakes Air Services. From 1950-63 almost 900 Twin Bonanzas were built in several versions. Initially, they were top-line executive planes and small feeder liners. Eventually, they filtered down the line to end in such unglamorous roles as hauling fish in northern Canada. Then, Super V N4530V in its spiffy white and blue paint job at Toronto Island Airport on May 14, 1961. The Super V was an oddball 2-engine Bonanza conversion that began with Bay Aviation in Oakland in the mid-1950s, then migrated to Fleet Aircraft at Fort Erie (see Air Transport in Canada, Vol.2 for this story). However, the Super V did not find a market. Only 14 were turned out, at least eight of which ended in crashes. Three or four survive including N4530V based in 2016 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (Larry Milberry)

Blog Bonanza 13B
Blog Bonanza 13C

Another staple is Edward Phillips’ 1992 Beechcraft: Pursuit of Excellence. Copies of these books usually can be found on the web, including at abebooks.com, where I often shop.

There are countless things to read about the Beech Bonanza saga. A wonderful history is Beechcraft: Fifty Years of Excellence, a copy of which I received in 1984 from Oliver Ann Beech. Another staple is Edward Phillips’ 1992 Beechcraft: Pursuit of Excellence. Copies of these books usually can be found on the web, including at abebooks.com, where I often shop. My all-in-one info source for any earlier plane with a US Air Transport Certificate (the Bonanza has ATC 777) is the great Joseph P. Juptner’s U.S. Civil Aircraft Series, published in 1962 and subsequently revised. A serious aviation library is incomplete without Juptner’s 9 volumes. I suggest investing in a set almost at any price. And no … Juptner’s life’s work is not “on the web” as the internet yahoos always say everything must be. Instead, it’s in paper, ink and glue, something call a book, which intelligent people avidly collect and love (nincompoops need not bother even to look, right).

My all-in-one info source for any earlier plane with a US Air Transport Certificate (the Bonanza has ATC 777) is the great Joseph P. Juptner’s U.S. Civil Aircraft Series, published in 1962 and subsequently revised. A serious aviation library is incomplete without Juptner’s 9 volumes. I suggest investing in a set almost at any price. And no … Juptner’s life’s work is not “on the web” as the internet yahoos always say everything must be. Instead, it’s in paper, ink and glue, something call a book, which intelligent people avidly collect and love (nincompoops need not bother even to look, right).

A Crowded Field — Other Early Postwar Light Planes

Too many types flooded the early post-war small plane market. Canada’s entry into these risky waters was the Fleet Model 80 Canuck 2-seater. First flown in 1946, orders at first poured from flying clubs and sport aviators eager to get away from the wartime Tiger Moths and Finches (a Canuck then cost about $5000 taxes in, while an airworthy ex-RCAF Tiger Moth could be picked up for a few hundred dollars). When reality struck, Fleet abandonned the Canuck in face of competition from such cheaper US types as the Cessna 140, Aeronca Champion and Globe Swift. Carl Millard of Toronto bought the last 28 Canucks from Fleet for $1500 each, then quickly re-sold them at $2500. Today the Canuck is sought after by collectors (in 2016 CF-ENM was for sale at $60,000 -- about $5000 in 1946 dollars). Here sits Central Airways Canuck CF-EBE at Toronto Island Airport c1960. First flown at Fleet on November 6, 1946, it was sold in September 1949 to Roger Watson of Stayner, Ontario, who leased it to Bob and Tom Wong of Central Airways at Toronto Island (the Wongs bought it in 1953). Hundreds of students would learn to fly in “EBE”. Finally, in 1971 Central Airways sold “EBE” to Dr. J.D. Robinson, who flew it from Collingwood. Others took their turn until 1974, when Ernest Weller of Port Loring sold “EBE” to Canada’s national aviation museum in Ottawa, where today it enjoys a deserved place of honour.

Too many types flooded the early post-war small plane market. Canada’s entry into these risky waters was the Fleet Model 80 Canuck 2-seater. First flown in 1946, orders at first poured from flying clubs and sport aviators eager to get away from the wartime Tiger Moths and Finches (a Canuck then cost about $5000 taxes in, while an airworthy ex-RCAF Tiger Moth could be picked up for a few hundred dollars). When reality struck, Fleet abandonned the Canuck in face of competition from such cheaper US types as the Cessna 140, Aeronca Champion and Globe Swift. Carl Millard of Toronto bought the last 28 Canucks from Fleet for $1500 each, then quickly re-sold them at $2500. Today the Canuck is sought after by collectors (in 2016 CF-ENM was for sale at $60,000 — about $5000 in 1946 dollars). Here sits Central Airways Canuck CF-EBE at Toronto Island Airport c1960. First flown at Fleet on November 6, 1946, it was sold in September 1949 to Roger Watson of Stayner, Ontario, who leased it to Bob and Tom Wong of Central Airways at Toronto Island (the Wongs bought it in 1953). Hundreds of students would learn to fly in “EBE”. Finally, in 1971 Central Airways sold “EBE” to Dr. J.D. Robinson, who flew it from Collingwood. Others took their turn until 1974, when Ernest Weller of Port Loring sold “EBE” to Canada’s national aviation museum in Ottawa, where today it enjoys a deserved place of honour.

Ercoupe CF-LUV_LR

Two especially beloved, all-metal, 2-seat light planes mass-produced in the 1940s are the ERCO Ercoupe and Globe Swift. The Ercoupe first flew in 1937. It went on sale in 1940, but the advent of war delayed production until 1946, when the Model 415 appeared with a $2665 sticker price ($35,500 in 2016 dollars). When the postwar light plane boon faltered, ERCO ceased production, having turned out an astounding 4311 Ercoupes. Happily, others took an interest and, over the decades, more were built under such banners as Forney, Alon, even Mooney. Some 5700 Ercoupes eventually flew. The natty Globe GC-1 Swift also was a pre-war US design, which had to wait for 1945 to get going. After rushing out more than 1200 Swifts, however, Globe ran out of money and was sold to Temco. Temco added just 260 more, before ceasing production in 1951. Shown is ERCO 415C Ercoupe CF-LUV s/n 1016 and Toronto Flying Club GC-1A CF-DLD. “LUV” was photographed at the Kitchener-Waterloo breakfast fly-in on July 9, 1961. It then was owned by Heinz Asmussen of Sarnia. “DLD” had been sold by Globe in Texas to McDonald Aviation in Edmonton, which immediately re-sold it to Carl Millard in Toronto, where it first reached Canada in April 1946. In June, Carl sold it to the flying club. Beginning in May 1950 came a long list of Quebec owners, until in 1957 “DLD” returned to Toronto. In 1967 it went to a buyer in Michigan then, on January 15, 1977, was lost in a fatal accident near El Paso, Texas. (Larry Milberry, Al Martin)

Two especially beloved, all-metal, 2-seat light planes mass-produced in the 1940s are the ERCO Ercoupe and Globe Swift. The Ercoupe first flew in 1937. It went on sale in 1940, but the advent of war delayed production until 1946, when the Model 415 appeared with a $2665 sticker price ($35,500 in 2016 dollars). When the postwar light plane boon faltered, ERCO ceased production, having turned out an astounding 4311 Ercoupes. Happily, others took an interest and, over the decades, more were built under such banners as Forney, Alon, even Mooney. Some 5700 Ercoupes eventually flew. The natty Globe GC-1 Swift also was a pre-war US design, which had to wait for 1945 to get going. After rushing out more than 1200 Swifts, however, Globe ran out of money and was sold to Temco. Temco added just 260 more, before ceasing production in 1951. Shown is ERCO 415C Ercoupe CF-LUV s/n 1016 and Toronto Flying Club GC-1A CF-DLD. “LUV” was photographed at the Kitchener-Waterloo breakfast fly-in on July 9, 1961. It then was owned by Heinz Asmussen of Sarnia. “DLD” had been sold by Globe in Texas to McDonald Aviation in Edmonton, which immediately re-sold it to Carl Millard in Toronto, where it first reached Canada in April 1946. In June, Carl sold it to the flying club. Beginning in May 1950 came a long list of Quebec owners, until in 1957 “DLD” returned to Toronto. In 1967 it went to a buyer in Michigan then, on January 15, 1977, was lost in a fatal accident near El Paso, Texas. (Larry Milberry, Al Martin)

Cessna got off to a strong postwar start with its 2-seat Ce.120/140 personal planes and trainers, and glitzy Ce.170 and 190/195 4/5-seaters. The 1948 Ce.170 had an all-metal fuselage with fabric-covered, metal-framed wing and tail. Fabric was traditional and practical enough, but buyers now were eyeing all-metal construction, where Beech was excelling. Cessna closed the gap in 1949 with the all-metal Ce.170A, then the Ce.170B with improved wing/flaps. But these aircraft all were tail draggers, while the Bonanza had begun futuristically (as far as personal light planes then went) with a steerable nose wheel. Ultimately, in 1956 Cessna brought out its nose wheel “172”. Cessna turned out more than 5000 Ce.170s plus some 1200 of its higher-end, Ce.190/195s, introduced in 1947 at $12,750. Shown is Cessna 170B CF-HVY departing the Oshawa Breakfast Fly-In on June 16, 1963. Richard Pagani of Guelph owned “HVY” at this time. Ce.195B CF-FRO is seen at Vancouver on September 25, 1956. Following an accident of October 23, 1972, when it was owned by Gary Bell of White Rock, BC, “FRO” was sold to Robert Payne of Kent, Washington. The last heard of “FRO” was a 1996 notice in the Ce.195 club newsletter that a few of its bits and pieces were for sale. Parked behind and to the right of “FRO” in this fine view is a 1951 Nash Ambassador. (Larry Milberry, Al Martin)

Cessna got off to a strong postwar start with its 2-seat Ce.120/140 personal planes and trainers, and glitzy Ce.170 and 190/195 4/5-seaters. The 1948 Ce.170 had an all-metal fuselage with fabric-covered, metal-framed wing and tail. Fabric was traditional and practical enough, but buyers now were eyeing all-metal construction, where Beech was excelling. Cessna closed the gap in 1949 with the all-metal Ce.170A, then the Ce.170B with improved wing/flaps. But these aircraft all were tail draggers, while the Bonanza had begun futuristically (as far as personal light planes then went) with a steerable nose wheel. Ultimately, in 1956 Cessna brought out its nose wheel “172”. Cessna turned out more than 5000 Ce.170s plus some 1200 of its higher-end, Ce.190/195s, introduced in 1947 at $12,750. Shown is Cessna 170B CF-HVY departing the Oshawa Breakfast Fly-In on June 16, 1963. Richard Pagani of Guelph owned “HVY” at this time. Ce.195B CF-FRO is seen at Vancouver on September 25, 1956. Following an accident of October 23, 1972, when it was owned by Gary Bell of White Rock, BC, “FRO” was sold to Robert Payne of Kent, Washington. The last heard of “FRO” was a 1996 notice in the Ce.195 club newsletter that a few of its bits and pieces were for sale. Parked behind and to the right of “FRO” in this fine view is a 1951 Nash Ambassador. (Larry Milberry, Al Martin)

Blog Bonanza 15 CE.170B CF-HVY_LR

Piper’s main entry right after the war was the PA-20 Pacer 4-seat tail dragger, first flown in 1949. After building more than 1100 Pacers, in 1951 Piper transformed it into the tricycle gear PA-22 Tri-Pacer, of which more than 8000 were built by the time production ended in 1960 (plus 2000+ 2-seater PA-22 Colts). Here is CF-HHF, which in 2016 was one of 69 Pacers still listed by Transport Canada. You can see by the great looks of this natty little beauty why the Pacer always has been in demand by sport aviators. This scene is at Welland, Ontario on March 26, 1961, the day I hitchhiked to Welland from Toronto to meet the great WWI ace, Tommy Williams, and photograph his Fleet 21. But “HHF” also caught my eye, sitting handsomely in its tan paint job with red trim. When last heard of “HHF” was domiciled in Carleton Place, Ontario. Then, CF-PKO, a standard Tri-Pacer, is seen at Hamilton in 1967. (Larry Milberry, Bob Finlayson)

Piper’s main entry right after the war was the PA-20 Pacer 4-seat tail dragger, first flown in 1949. After building more than 1100 Pacers, in 1951 Piper transformed it into the tricycle gear PA-22 Tri-Pacer, of which more than 8000 were built by the time production ended in 1960 (plus 2000+ 2-seater PA-22 Colts). Here is CF-HHF, which in 2016 was one of 69 Pacers still listed by Transport Canada. You can see by the great looks of this natty little beauty why the Pacer always has been in demand by sport aviators. This scene is at Welland, Ontario on March 26, 1961, the day I hitchhiked to Welland from Toronto to meet the great WWI ace, Tommy Williams, and photograph his Fleet 21. But “HHF” also caught my eye, sitting handsomely in its tan paint job with red trim. When last heard of “HHF” was domiciled in Carleton Place, Ontario. Then, CF-PKO, a standard Tri-Pacer, is seen at Hamilton in 1967. (Larry Milberry, Bob Finlayson)

Blog Bonanza 16 Piper Pacer CF-HHF

In 1947 Aeronca introduced its own 4-seater, the attractive Model 15AC Sedan. Framed in metal and wood and covered in fabric, the Sedan proved a durable type with good performance and cabin spaciousness to the point that small bush operators were quick to buy. Production ended in 1951 at 561 Sedans. Not only are the survivors now collectable (they sell in the US$60,000 range), but newly-built Sedans can be ordered in Alaska from Burl’s Aircraft (base price US$235,000). Shown is Sedan CF-FNS s/n 328 at St. Catharines on May 18, 1963. “FNS” went new in 1949 to W.N. Dalzeg of Morson, a remote Lake-of-the-Woods hamlet accessible only by boat or plane. Next, it called Whitedog Falls (NW of Minaki) its home after Henry Zuzek bought it in 1958. Ten years later it moved to Terrace Bay on Lake Superior, then to Timmins, finally Matheson. In 1997 retired Air Canada pilot Ron Dennis bought “FNS” from Cec Tomlinson, a mining man in Matheson. In 2016 Ron was getting his wing rebuilt at Parry Sound to keep “FNS” fit for many more good years of flying. (Larry Milberry)

In 1947 Aeronca introduced its own 4-seater, the attractive Model 15AC Sedan. Framed in metal and wood and covered in fabric, the Sedan proved a durable type with good performance and cabin spaciousness to the point that small bush operators were quick to buy. Production ended in 1951 at 561 Sedans. Not only are the survivors now collectable (they sell in the US$60,000 range), but newly-built Sedans can be ordered in Alaska from Burl’s Aircraft (base price US$235,000). Shown is Sedan CF-FNS s/n 328 at St. Catharines on May 18, 1963. “FNS” went new in 1949 to W.N. Dalzeg of Morson, a remote Lake-of-the-Woods hamlet accessible only by boat or plane. Next, it called Whitedog Falls (NW of Minaki) its home after Henry Zuzek bought it in 1958. Ten years later it moved to Terrace Bay on Lake Superior, then to Timmins, finally Matheson. In 1997 retired Air Canada pilot Ron Dennis bought “FNS” from Cec Tomlinson, a mining man in Matheson. In 2016 Ron was getting his wing rebuilt at Parry Sound to keep “FNS” fit for many more good years of flying. (Larry Milberry)

Of all the new light planes of the mid-to-late 1940s one of the most representative is the Republic RC-3 Seabee. Invariably referred to as “an ugly duckling”, it’s endured admirably and is greatly sought after by sport aviators. Being all-metal, rugged and amphibious, the Seabee originally found eager fans among sportsmen, cottagers, and bush and coast air taxi services. Designed in 1940 by Percival Spencer, who first had flown in his own hang glider in 1911, the Seabee first flew in December 1945. It immediately entered production at Republic, which recently had been churning out P-47 Thunderbolt fighters. Production suddenly ceased in October 1947 at 1060 aircraft, many of which were sold in Canada. Republic then concentrated on mass-producing F-84 Thunder Jets for the USAF. Subsequently, many Seabee survivors have been restored, especially with modern engines, e.g., Eric B. Robinson of Lindsay, Ontario has turned out several “new” Seabees powered by the 425-hp Corvette V-8 engine (the Seabee originally came with a 165-hp Franklin), plus other upgrades. Shown at Toronto Island c1950 is Orillia Air Service Seabee CF-GAF. For all the latest Seabee news visit www.seabee.info. (Al Martin)

Of all the new light planes of the mid-to-late 1940s one of the most representative is the Republic RC-3 Seabee. Invariably referred to as “an ugly duckling”, it’s endured admirably and is greatly sought after by sport aviators. Being all-metal, rugged and amphibious, the Seabee originally found eager fans among sportsmen, cottagers, and bush and coast air taxi services. Designed in 1940 by Percival Spencer, who first had flown in his own hang glider in 1911, the Seabee first flew in December 1945. It immediately entered production at Republic, which recently had been churning out P-47 Thunderbolt fighters. Production suddenly ceased in October 1947 at 1060 aircraft, many of which were sold in Canada. Republic then concentrated on mass-producing F-84 Thunder Jets for the USAF. Subsequently, many Seabee survivors have been restored, especially with modern engines, e.g., Eric B. Robinson of Lindsay, Ontario has turned out several “new” Seabees powered by the 425-hp Corvette V-8 engine (the Seabee originally came with a 165-hp Franklin), plus other upgrades. Shown at Toronto Island c1950 is Orillia Air Service Seabee CF-GAF. For all the latest Seabee news visit http://www.seabee.info. (Al Martin)

The historic Bellanca company also was in the postwar running with a new design – the Model 14-13, first flown in 1946. Dubbed the Cruisair, this attractive plane had a fabric-covered, metal-tube fuselage with wooden wings. About 600 were built until 1956, when it was replaced by the Model 14-19 Cruisemaster. Shown at Hamilton’s Mount Hope Airport on April 30, 1961 is Donald Hawkin’s Cruisemaster CF-LGV. Although speedy at about 200 mph (max), its wood and fabric features limited the appeal of this otherwise alluring 4-seater. By this time Cruisemaster production was under the Downer Aircraft banner, but Downer (of Alexandria, Minnesota) soon ceased making Bellancas. However, in 2016 Alexandria Aircraft (same town) was manufacturing and rebuilding Bellanca wings (see partsales@bellanca-aircraft.com). (Larry Milberry)

The historic Bellanca company also was in the postwar running with a new design – the Model 14-13, first flown in 1946. Dubbed the Cruisair, this attractive plane had a fabric-covered, metal-tube fuselage with wooden wings. About 600 were built until 1956, when it was replaced by the Model 14-19 Cruisemaster. Shown at Hamilton’s Mount Hope Airport on April 30, 1961 is Donald Hawkin’s Cruisemaster CF-LGV. Although speedy at about 200 mph (max), its wood and fabric features limited the appeal of this otherwise alluring 4-seater. By this time Cruisemaster production was under the Downer Aircraft banner, but Downer (of Alexandria, Minnesota) soon ceased making Bellancas. However, in 2016 Alexandria Aircraft (same town) was manufacturing and rebuilding Bellanca wings (see partsales@bellanca-aircraft.com). (Larry Milberry)

In November 1945 the historic Stinson Aircraft Co. of Wayne, Michigan introduced its Model 108 Voyageur, priced initially at $5489. In his quintessential study, US Civil Aircraft, Joseph Juptner notes: “Dealers were having no trouble selling this airplane and by the end of 1946 some 1436 were built and sold”. By 1948 Stinson had turned out more than 5000 in three main models. Then the company also was clobbered by the 1948 slump. Piper swooshed in to buy Stinson, but had no enthusiasm for the 108, so production ended. Happily, hundreds of these lovely postwar “family planes” survive all over the US and Canada. Here, Stinson 108-3 CF-HJE, owned by Arcade Electric Co., bobs at its buoy at Toronto Island Airport c1955. Beyond are Toronto’s only two skyscrapers of the day – the 32-storey Bank of Commerce on the right, and the Royal York Hotel. Today, these can barely be picked out among the crush of skyscrapers. In 2016 Transport Canada still listed 279 Stinson 108s, CF-HJE included. (Al Martin)

In November 1945 the historic Stinson Aircraft Co. of Wayne, Michigan introduced its Model 108 Voyageur, priced initially at $5489. In his quintessential study, US Civil Aircraft, Joseph Juptner notes: “Dealers were having no trouble selling this airplane and by the end of 1946 some 1436 were built and sold”. By 1948 Stinson had turned out more than 5000 in three main models. Then the company also was clobbered by the 1948 slump. Piper swooshed in to buy Stinson, but had no enthusiasm for the 108, so production ended. Happily, hundreds of these lovely postwar “family planes” survive all over the US and Canada. Here, Stinson 108-3 CF-HJE, owned by Arcade Electric Co., bobs at its buoy at Toronto Island Airport c1955. Beyond are Toronto’s only two skyscrapers of the day – the 32-storey Bank of Commerce on the right, and the Royal York Hotel. Today, these can barely be picked out among the crush of skyscrapers. In 2016 Transport Canada still listed 279 Stinson 108s, CF-HJE included. (Al Martin)

. Also keen on the personal plane market was Ryan, which built the high-end 4-seat Navion. Designed by North American, the Navion looked reminiscently like the beloved wartime P-51 Mustang. But North American decided not to challenge the postwar civil market after all, selling the Navion to Ryan in 1948. About 1200 were produced before Tusco took over and kept the Navion alive for several more years, modernizing it along the way mainly in the form of the very handsome Rangemaster, which endured into 1976. In the 2000s there still was interest in this fabulous design from Sierra Hotel Aero Inc. Inc. in Minnesota. SHA’s website notes: “As holder of the type certificate for the Navion, Sierra Hotel Aero, is dedicated to improving the safety, support, performance and preservation of all Navions worldwide.” See info@navion.com. As with most of the great light planes of the 1940s, there also is a Navion owners club. See navionx.org and look for the many other Navion-related sites. Shown is 1947 Navion CF-HJI of the St. Catharines Flying Club. Originally N8957H, the club acquired it in December 1953, then flew it until an accident three years later. Rebuilt by Trans Aircraft of Hamilton, “HJI” then had a succession of owners across Canada and in 2016 still is listed (along with 35 others) in Transport Canada’s Canadian Civil Aircraft Register. Special thanks to astronomer Andrew Yee for processing these old negatives and slides. (Al Martin)

Also keen on the personal plane market was Ryan, which built the high-end 4-seat Navion. Designed by North American, the Navion looked reminiscently like the beloved wartime P-51 Mustang. But North American decided not to challenge the postwar civil market after all, selling the Navion to Ryan in 1948. About 1200 were produced before Tusco took over and kept the Navion alive for several more years, modernizing it along the way mainly in the form of the very handsome Rangemaster, which endured into 1976. In the 2000s there still was interest in this fabulous design from Sierra Hotel Aero Inc. Inc. in Minnesota. SHA’s website notes: “As holder of the type certificate for the Navion, Sierra Hotel Aero, is dedicated to improving the safety, support, performance and preservation of all Navions worldwide.” See info@navion.com. As with most of the great light planes of the 1940s, there also is a Navion owners club. See navionx.org and look for the many other Navion-related sites. Shown is 1947 Navion CF-HJI of the St. Catharines Flying Club. Originally N8957H, the club acquired it in December 1953, then flew it until an accident three years later. Rebuilt by Trans Aircraft of Hamilton, “HJI” then had a succession of owners across Canada and in 2016 still is listed (along with 35 others) in Transport Canada’s Canadian Civil Aircraft Register. Special thanks to astronomer Andrew Yee for processing these old negatives and slides. (Al Martin)

SPECIAL NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER
** Dear readers** … As of March 17, 2016 CANAV is out of stock of its world-famous  title, De Havilland in Canada. Having begun in 1983 as The De Havilland Canada Story by Fred Hotson, the book morphed in 1999 into De Havilland in Canada. Should you need a new copy, contact Viking Aircraft in Victoria, BC, or search some of the internet’s many used book sites — abebooks.com, bookfinder.com, ebay, etc. All the best … Larry