Cold Weather Storage, Testing and Photography: CLRVs to Jetliners

If you scroll back a few items on the CANAV Books blog, you can see our coverage from last summer of CLRV streetcars ready for disposal at the Toronto Transit Commission’s Russell yard (“Connaught Barns”) on Queen Street East in Toronto. That was a really enjoyable session, but it was a steamy day. Here’s a winter take on the same subject + a few winter scenes featuring Toronto’s new Bombardier cars on the 501 line during the same winter blow . You can also look back to our March 5, 2011 item about photographing airplanes in winter — it’s all great fun, right! (You can enlarge any photo by clicking on it.)

The snow was cutting sharply across Russell yard mid-afternoon on January 18, 2020. CLRV 4155 had been loaded earlier, so is ready for transportation to the scrap yard. Looks like 4043 and 4085 beyond. Then, a different angle that includes one of those heavy big main trucks from a CLRV.

Since there was such a good winter blow in Toronto on January 18, it seemed like a good idea to get out for some true winter photography, so I rode a Flexity car westward over to Russell, where I spent an hour slogging around in the wind and snowdrifts at both the Queen St. and Eastern Ave. sides of the yard. Here are a few of the photos taken with my trusty little Lumix pocket camera.

A wider view looking southwest across the yard. I didn’t make a count, but there were about 15 cars present.

Car 4024 was the only CLRV in motion at Russell this afternoon.

Views from the Eastern Ave. (south) side of the yard showing cars 4193 and 4053 nearest. Then, 4179 away up the line on this blustery day.

Next, I rode along to Spadina and Queen. It was a real urban transit mess, but somehow things kept rolling. I was amazed at the crowds out there — most of the Flexity cars were packed. Eventually, I was happy to get inside at the old Horseshoe Tavern to have a beer with some aviation buddies. I’m sure they figured I must be going around the bend. After all, what sense does it make to be out in a blizzard taking photos of streetcars!

While waiting at Queen and Greenwood for a car to continue my outing, I snapped TTC bus 8963 on its way back north to the TTC Line 2 Greenwood subway station. Then a hefty plow came by clearing this stretch of Queen.

A Flexity makes a stop on Queen west of McCaul. Regardless of the storm, people were out in their masses.

Car 4446 westbound on Queen approaches Spadina. Then, the general scene there looking east towards Soho St.

More snow removal action. Plows head north on Spadina towards Queen.

Car 4564 ready to pull out from Spadina going west on Queen. Amazingly, the system seemed to function reasonable well in this fair little Toronto blizzard. Cheers … Larry

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Airbus A220-300 in Yellowknife for Cold Weather Trials

Canada has a long tradition in cold-weather aeronautical testing. As early as the winter of 1926-27 a Siskin fighter conducted a host of demanding trials from the RCAF station at High River, Alberta. Subsequently, the RCAF and National Research Council did much pioneering R&D re. cold weather. The pace of all such science was spurred by the war. Postwar, the RCAF’s famous Winter Experimental Establishment tested a long list of aircraft in severe weather from such bases as Namao (Edmonton), Fort St. John, Cold Lake and Churchill. See Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984 for a good history of WEE Flight. See Aviation in Canada: Evolution of an Air Force for further coverage in the pre-WWII period.

Yellowknife recently had a rare visitor and another chance to feature itself as a centre for cold weather trials. On January 12, 2020 Airbus A220-300 C-FFDO landed there from Winnipeg to undergo some special testing. On taxiing in at Yellowknife, “FDO” parked beside the Buffalo Airway Lockheed Electra, whose captain, Tony Jarvis, took this great photo. What a contrast in air transport history, right! (The Electra is C-GZFE, which  had begun in 1961 as N138US with Northwest Airlines. There it gave good service into 1971, then flew with operators from Air Florida in the US to Atlantic Airlines in the UK (it had become a freighter in 1977). Finally, in 2013 “ZFE” was acquired by Joe McBryan’s legendary Buffalo Airways. Today it’s one of those “lifeline” Arctic freighters, delivering groceries and all sorts of other supplies and equipment to the north’s many isolated communities and mine sites.)

That afternoon Yellowknife had a temperature of -45C, so no one could complain about conditions. “FDO” sat outside being “cold soaked” (sitting outside with all aircraft power turned off). Apparently, this testing was about increasing the A220’s certified cold weather operations limit from -35C to -40C. On January 14 “FDO” — by then thoroughly cold soaked — made a 49-minute local flight. Ground testing continued until January 18, when it departed for base at Wichita via Calgary and Kansas City.

A220-300 “FDO” was manufactured in Montreal in March 2016 as Bombardier CSeries CS300. Designated “Flight Test Vehicle 8”, to January 20, 2020 it had logged 77 flights/207.46 flying hours. Last week Air Canada introduced the A220 to its fleet, so we’ll soon be enjoying this great new airliner on Air Canada’s North American services.

A380 Cold Weather Trials at “YFB” Iqaluit

Early in 2006 John Graham, the airport manager at Iqaluit, gave me a heads-up that an A380 was coming to town for cold weather trials. This sounded like a great opportunity, so I organized a trip north from Ottawa on a FirstAir 737 for February 3. The A380 was due on the 6th, so I had time to cover some other aviation. On the 4th, for example, I went over to Resolute Bay and back on a FirstAir 748. Next day I spent around town and the airport, then the 6th dawned as a fine, clear day. John gave me the A380’s ETA, so I had time to set up at the arrival end of the runway. Here’s one of the shots I took as the mighty A380 (call sign “AIB501”) was about to touch down. This was the first ever A380 landing in “The New World”. The aircraft was F-WWDD sn004 (the 4th A380, now in a museum in France). Some cold soaking was conducted with “WDD” parked off the main ramp — see photo of it with the Lynden Air Cargo L.100 Hercules. Does this look cold enough for you? “WDD” also made 1 or 2 test flights that week. In the other photos, “WDD” looms across the snow-covered ramp as a FirstAir BAe748 and ATR-42 await their next trips. Finally, a scene with “WDD” being de-iced for a test flight.

After another wonderful Arctic trip, I finally got back to Toronto on February 13. Thanks to Tony Jarvis for cluing me in to the A220 at Yellowknife, which led to this little bit of CANAV blog history. Cheers … Larry

 

Last Lockheed JetStar Retires

In December 2019 the last flying Lockheed L-1329 JetStar retired to the Marietta Aviation History and Technology Center near Atlanta. The story recently was told by Marc Cook on the web at “Aviation News” (google “Last JetStar Retires”). The JetStar would have a prominent history in Canada as the country’s first corporate jet, and the first civil jet operated by the federal government. At a peak in the mid-1980s there were eight Canadian JetStars: C-FDTF, C-FDTX, C-FETN (Transport Canada), C-FRBC (Royal Bank of Canada), C- GATU (Cathton Holdings), C-GAZU (Allarco Group) and C- GTCP (Trans Canada Pipelines)

First flown on September 4, 1957, the legendary JetStar was designed for a USAF requirement for a small jet transport. When the USAF abandoned these specs, Lockheed pushed ahead to develop what became the first large jet for the corporate market. Lockheed was out on a limb with this exotic and expensive pioneer project, but pushed on to manufacture some 204 aircraft.

Flight and chase crew for the Jetstar’s first flight (s/n 1001 N329J). Note that the prototype had two engines vs four for production aircraft: Robert Schumacher co-pilot, Ernest L. Joiner flight test engineer, Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson head of design team, Jim Wood USAF test pilot, Ray Jewett Goudey pilot, Tony LeVier, Lockheed chase plane pilot. (Lockheed Martin archives)

The JetStar prototype flew first with a pair of British-made Orpheus engines, but Lockheed quickly shifted to using four smaller Pratt & Whitney JT12s, the design of which Canadian Pratt & Whitney had the lead role (see Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story). All the details of the Jetstar are available at Wiki and innumerable other internet sources, and in many valuable books, including Walter J. Boyne’s seminal Beyond the Horizons: The Lockheed Story. Boyne concludes that Howard Hughes likely was the only one to make a profit from the project. Hughes had bought several production line slots when the plane was low-priced. Then, one by one he re-sold his JetStars at higher prices.

Canada’s first privately-owned JetStar was purchased by Toronto’s Eaton family of department store fame. Registered CF-ETN, it replaced the family’s renowned “Super DC-3” CF-ETE (search here to see the CF-ETE story in an earlier blog item). Seeing “ETN” at Malton airport in such early times was exciting for we local spotters. This was at a time when the speediest prop-driven corporate planes at Malton were J.F. Crother’s Gulfstream CF-JFC, Massey Ferguson’s Howard Super Ventura CF-MFL and Canadian Comstock’s OnMark Marksman A-26, CF-CCR. I first listed “ETN” in my spotter’s notebook at Malton on May 13, 1962, only noting that its paint job was similar to that on “ETE”.

The late, great Toronto aviation photographer, Al Martin, captured this fine view of “ETN” soon after its delivery to Malton. You can see that Lockheed built a glorious-looking airplane. I later used this excellent photo on p.480 of Air Transport in Canada.

DOT JetStar CF-DTX in a shot I took at Ottawa Uplands in the 1960s. Then, two snapshots of it by Al Martin at Windsor, Ontario in 1967. This classy DOT colour scheme of the 1950s-60s was fleet-wide from Apache to Beech 18, DC-3 and JetStar. Today, “DTX” belongs to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. There’s an ezToys 1:200 diecast model of “DTX” in its later red-and-white colour scheme.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Department of Transport was modernizing. With the growing amount of jet traffic in and over Canada (707, DC-8, etc.) the DOT was planning for a new world of air traffic control. Its aged Beech 18s and DC-3s could not serve indefinitely, as ATC technology evolved. Faster aircraft were needed to perform airport equipment (ILS, radio, etc.) calibration. Heading DOT flight operations in Ottawa was the great John D. “Jack” Hunter. He knew about the JetStar, was dreaming about one, but there was no budget. This obliged Jack (so he told me in a long ago interview) to get creative. The DOT just then was building a large hangar in Ottawa to house its fleet, including a new Viscount VIP plane. As the story went, Jack used some aspect from his hangar budget to pay for a JetStar – in the official paperwork, the JetStar appeared as something like an extra hangar door. Whatever happened, one day not long afterwards in 1962 JetStar CF-DTX landed in Ottawa wearing its handsome DOT colours. “DTX” was JetStar s/n 5018, “ETN” was s/n 5021, but I don’t know which was delivered first.

The DOT’s Jack Hunter accepts “the keys” to his shiny new JetStar CF-DTX at the Lockheed factory near Atlanta. If anyone can help with names for the other DOT men in this photo, please get in touch at larry@canavbooks.com. Then, a PR photo showing Canada’s Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, with US President, Lyndon B. Johnson, aboard “DTX” on a VIP trip (see caption at bottom). VIP duties seem to have been the raison d’être for “DTX”, although airways inspection and instrumentation calibration missions also were flown. (CANAV Books Collection)

 

Over the decades I photographed several JetStars. These below give you a sampling. Fishing around on the web, I have found little individual history for these aircraft.

After CF-ETN and CF-DTX, the next JetStar I photographed was N1 (s/n 1) of the Federal Aviation Administration. On this occasion, I was on a driving tour with fellow hobbyist, Nick Wolochatiuk. On July 3, 1966 we found N1 in the FAA hangar at Washington National Airport. Another classy paint scheme from a bygone era, right. “N1” appeared on a long series of FAA aircraft starting on a D.H.4 c1927; but it flew the longest on this JetStar (1963-86). N1 had been Lockheed’s No.1 production JetStar, the first with JT12s. With the FAA it mainly was in the transportation role. As late as 1978 it still was busy, logging 457 flying hours that year. In its March 1979 edition, “Flying Magazine” describes the FAA fleet in Washington, “Of the eight aircraft that currently call Hangar Six home, an ancient JetStar presides as queen bee over an orange and white hive housing a Gulfstream 1, Citation II, King Air 200, two Cessna 421s, Baron B55 and a Bell 206L helicopter.” Having by then been re-registered N7145V, JetStar No.1 left the FAA in 1990. Apparently, c.2006 it was purchased by White Industries Inc., a Bates City, Missouri company parting out and scrapping old airplanes.

Corporate JetStar N12R (s/n 5053) at Toronto Island Airport on June 4, 1966. The runway length at TIA in 1966 was 4000 feet, maybe a bit tight for a hefty JetStar. Eventually, due to noise restrictions, most jets were banished from the island. Today, the rule seems to be that only air ambulance jets can operate here.

One of the highlights for us during a trip to Buffalo, NY on May 20, 1967 was this gorgeous JetStar — N500Z s/n 5008. I found one historic reference to it in FAA document “FAA Aviation News” of May 1966: “The beginning of the switch to turbine aircraft for corporate business is generally logged as September 27, 1961, when Superior Oil of Houston put its brand on Lockheed Jetstar N500Z, which is still flying for the company.”

Amway Corporation JetStar N523AC (s/n 5013) on the Field Aviation ramp at Toronto YYZ on April 8, 1971. Built in 1961, N523AC is said to have ended as scrap at White Industries.

On the same ramp on March 24, 1972 I came across CF-DTF of Transport Canada (formerly known as the Department of Transport). On September 16 I spotted “DTF” at Halifax, by which time it belonged to the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. How great that a few JetStars have found museum homes!

Great War Flying Museum

Special Notice I Happy 2020 to all you fine, solid friends of CANAV Books. Many of you  have been behind my efforts going as far back as 1979. Gives new meaning to that old saying, “Keep on truckin'”. Thanks for all your genuine support, especially with a book order here and there! There’s so much on the web for New Year’s Day 2020, but one item caught my eye this morning. Well worth a look, something from Chris Hadfield. Just google this and you’ll be there: “I made a video to celebrate the new year of amazing things happening on Earth – An Astronaut’s Guide to Optimism 2020. I hope you like it!” Special Notice II … Attention avid collectors. Below are a few special collector items (and other things) on offer for New Year 2020 — from a rare Great Lakes freighter’s log book to a wide-ranging “airliner” collection. Prices include shipping (“all-in”). Prices are firm. If you see anything that you like, contact me at larry@canavbooks.com Special Notice III … Feel free to scroll back on the blog. It’s packed with solid Canadian aviation history. Sometimes I do updates, as recently to this item — “Ancient CAE 737-200 Flight Simulator”. This “sim” is a real record-breaker, having been in use since “flight tested” at CAE 45 years ago. It’s still on the go at YVR! You’ll enjoy all such windows into our fantastic Canadian aviation heritage, just take a few minutes to browse. Cheers … Larry

SPECIAL ITEMS For Sale

Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story Hug Halliday’s seminal book covering this important part of the WWII air war in the UK and Europe. Canadians fight and die flying the renowned Typhoon and Tempest on the most dangerous of operations. Writes the Calgary Herald: “A splendid book … pure history but … thoroughly readable… the book’s backbone is made up of those who climbed into the cockpits to dodge flak and telephone wires while taking out trains and tanks.” Very nice copy. 300 photos, app’x, maps, lists of aircraft, sqns, casualties, index. 208 pp, hc. Collector item. This copy autographed by 11 RCAF (+ 1 RAF) Typhoon pilots (all appear in the book) at a special get together on May 2, 2004: Bill Baggs 164 Sqn, Norm Dawber DFC 438 Sqn, Jock Duncan 440 Sqn, Norm Howe DFC 175 Sqn, Frank Johnson 174 Sqn, Graham Kennedy 137 Sqn, George Lane (RAF) 198 Sqn, Walter McCarthy 440 Sqn, John McCullough 439 Sqn, Ed McKay 438 Sqn, John Thompson 245Sqn, Wally Ward 440 Sqn (John Thompson is the only survivor in 2020). Very nice copy. $350.00 A

Air-Britain News The first 4 volumes complete from Vol.1 No.1 January 1972 to Vol.4 No.12 December 1975. A very nice set. These were the early days of the 12-page 7×10 inch plain pamphlet format. Strictly for the collector. Set only $85.00 all in

Great Lakes History … Log book for the famous “laker”, SS Victorious Upper Lakes Shipping Co. This laker’s log from Trip 1 1966 to her final sailing – Trip 18 1968. Vessel then was sold and used to help form a breakwater at Ontario Place, Toronto. All entries made in hand, showing departure and destination ports, cargo in detail by hold (Durham No.5 wheat, bushels per hold, coal (by type), salt) tons per hold, draft fore & aft, loading & discharging times, etc. Each page signed off by such officers as D. Fenton, H. Freeman, C. Hiscock, R. Smith. 198 pages, hardback logbook, first 74 pages are used for entries. Also includes various receipts for movements and transactions with such companies as American Grain Terminals Inc, Canada Department of Agriculture, Toledo Board of Trade. Great Lakes collector item only. Nice condition. CDN$150.00 all-in

Five Years of NATO: A Report on the Atlantic Alliance As it says. A very nice original 48-page history of NATO to date. Magazine format. Many fascinating topics from an overall 1954 summary to “Guarding the Seas’, “Strategic Air Power”, “Canada’s Contribution”, “Belgium’s FN Rifle”, reviews from the various members (e.g., “Norway: The Northern Flank”, and a very interesting (now outdated) overview of Turkey that suggests a future with such nations as Iran and Iraq also becoming NATO allies. Photos, chart, nice copy for any serious collector. $50.00

RCAF Meteor Mk.III EE361 Daily Reports The original hand-written, work-a-day, hardcover RCAF Winter Experimental Establishment log book for this famous RCAF jet fighter from November 20, 1946 to the last entry February 28, 1927: “A/C flown steadily since 16th of Feb. OAT -20C, no hydraulic troubles. Fuel consumptions tests, engines OK. Fuel very dirty from barrel and ice deposits. Streamline filter renewed in bowser …” Last page of the book lists “Ground Running Time” port & starboard engines Nov.5 1947 to January 10, 1948. This is an original RCAF “T35 Note Book for Workshop and Laboratory Records”. This item only for the serious collector deeply interested in the RCAF’s initial “hands on” experience with the jet fighter. Nice item just as it was on its final day of use in 1947. About the first ½ of the book has entries, the rest is blank. You have seen this diary referred to in CANAV’s books Sixty Years and in Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.3. EE361 was on RCAF strength March 14, 1946 to March 5, 1948. CDN$250.00

Airy Somethings: The Extraordinary Life of the Aviation Pioneer Horatio Barber New book … Terry Grace and Maggie Wilson have thoroughly researched the life of this eccentric Englishman and his many interests. In his global travels in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Barber spent time in the Australia, USA and Canada too often getting into trouble with women and business ventures. In California he swindled investors in a ranching scheme; in  Canada, his chief focus was hustling shares in northern mines. Back in the UK he spent years promoting pioneer aviation ventures, earned Royal Aero Club licence No.30, promoted airplane designs and sales, sold aviation insurance, and served in the RFC in WWI, supposedly even being in America for a time promoting what became the hugely successful RFC training plan. The book concludes with all Barber’s shady schemes in the 1920s-50s to his death in 1964. A fascinating, through, most interesting and important biography. 236 pages, large format, softcover, photos, diagrams  throughout, bibliography, index. $55 Canada, $65.00 USA/overseas

Aerophilatelic Collection 12 cerlox-bound histories of postal crash covers. The amazing stories of pieces of Canadian airmail recovered from airplane crashes in Canada and around the world 1920s-60s. Each folder about 20 pages, all in fine condition, well illustrated. All research by renowned aero-philatelist, R.K. Malott. Collection only CDN$100.00

The Norman Flayderman Collection of Vintage Aviation Memorabilia, Tuesday, November 14, 2000 in San Francisco A magnificent catalogue from this huge auction. Beautifully produced 280pp, lf, sc, colour catalogue listing and showing 100s of items for sale up to a complete JN-4 Jenny. Nice collector item. For more info, google “Auction of Legendary Dealer Norm Flayderman Brings $1.1M” $65.00

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The Great War Flying Museum: If You Haven’t Yet Visited … Make the Time!

Located at Brampton Airport northwest a bit from Toronto, the Great War Flying Museum is one of Canada’s extra special aviation history destinations. The GWFM website https://greatwarflyingmuseum.org  (be sure to take a close look) nicely describes the museum in a few words: “Our mission is to provide the finest local presentation of World War I aviation history by acquiring, building, maintaining and flying representations of period aircraft as well as displaying period artifacts for the education, entertainment and benefit of our members and the visiting public.” At all this the GWFM succeeds eminently, as you’ll see in the following photos by grandsons Owen, Foster and Shannon Milberry and taken at various GWFM’s events in recent years.

The Setting

The Great War Flying Museum is at Brampton Airport, a short drive up Hwy 10 (Hurontario St.) from Mississauga/Brampton. The first aerial view here shows the museum hangar near the end of Runway 08. Just passed it is the Brampton Flying Club complex with wide ramp area and rows of hangars. You can tell it’s an open house weekend by all the cars in the foreground. Then, a photo of the GWFM hangar with the museum building on its left and several WWI replica aircraft ready for the day’s flying. The flying club parking lot is mainly reserved for the vintage vehicle turnout. Third, the main building seen from the 892 (Snowy Owl) Air Cadet Squadron lot.

Many start their day at a GWFM open house by enjoying breakfast at the Brampton Flying Club. Here Foster and Owen get a start on their “Lancaster Bomber” platters. Then … they’re ready to roll.

The Collection

On a sunny day such as this, the fans flock to the GWFM to get a close look at its wonderful collection. Here, people mill around the museum’s replica Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter. This type was one of the first 2-seater multi-purpose combat planes — in a way the CF- 18 of its day. Many Canadians crewed on the 1½ Strutter, especially doing bombing raids on enemy installations in eastern France, even into Germany. The 1½ Strutter also could dogfight if attacked by enemy scouts. The archival scene shows a line of Royal Naval Air Service 1½ Strutters in France c1916. More than 5000 of these versatile planes were built during WWI. Visitors can buy a ride in the GWFM 1½ Strutter. What a great way to get the feeling first hand of WWI aviating!

The GWFM 1½ Strutter sets off on a passenger flight. The “gunner” in the rear cockpit already appears to be into the right spirit.

The 1½ Strutter taxis by. Then, ersatz gunner, Larry Milberry, ready for a flight. His books The Pioneer Decades, and, Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939 cover this era in Canadian aviation history, the 1½ Strutter included. These are the best books on the shelves today covering Canada’s role in the air war a century ago. Notice the (replica) Vickers and Lewis (rear) machine guns. These famous weapons made such British 2-seaters into formidable fighting machines.

Always a real show-stopper at the museum is its replica of the Fokker Dr.1 Triplane, the dreaded fighter flown over the Western Front by “The Red Baron” – Manfred von Richthofen, the greatest ace of WWI. Here’s the Triplane in flight near Brampton. Then, German ace, Rudolf Stark, with his personal Triplane somewhere on the Western Front.

More views of the Triplane. Everything about this historic little beauty of a WWI scout is fascinating. But why was the Dr.1 so short-lived? Armed with just one machine gun, it quickly was outmoded when the British introduced their 2-gun Camel and SE.5.

The GWFM also operates a replica of the Fokker D.VII. The D.VII was another superb WWI single-seat scout. The museum’s example had been dormant for years pending a rebuilt, but came back onto the flight line for the 2018 season. Built to scale, it’s powered by a 200-hp Ranger engine. In the next photos it’s seen firing up for a flying display, taxiing out, then doing a fly-by.

A typical D.VII in wartime service. Then, D.VII 7685. In 1918-19 many Canadians got to fly captured D.VIIs, several of which came to Canada as war prizes. Standing beside 7685 is the revered WWI Canadian ace, C.M. McEwen, who is being inducted in 2020 into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. The sole surviving Canadian D.VII may be seen in the Brome County Museum in Knowlton, Quebec.

A GWFM D.VII detail.

The GWFM also operates the famous Royal Flying Corps SE.5 scout. Along with the Sopwith Camel, the SE.5 turned the tide against the Germans in the skies over France and Belgium in 1917-18. Many Canadians flew the SE.5. Several became aces. The museum flies both full scale and scaled down versions of the SE.5.

This is an actual SE.5A with the instrumentation, gun sight and Vickers gun well shown.

Canadian SE.5A pilots Harold Molyneux and Ken Juror of 56 Squadron. Ken was killed in action. Harold survived to serve in the RCAF during WWII. Their stories are told in Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939.

A typical operational SE.5A, this one of 85 Squadron on which many Canadian flew in WWI. Then, SE.5A F9029 of Canadian Air Force No.1 Squadron in the UK in 1919. Captain W.R. Kenny, DFC, is in the cockpit. Veteran CAHS member and dogged recorder of each and every civil-registered Canadian civil aircraft, Terry Judge, adds about this nice set-up shot: “The photo of SE5A (my favourite WWI aircraft) F9029 was taken at the historic Shoreham-by-Sea airport. On the horizon, above the serial, is the Lancing College Chapel. I grew up in nearby Hove so knew this airport well.”

The reality of the first great air war — how hundreds of SE.5s ended on the Western Front in 1917-18. This one is being gloated over by some Germans from local units. Pilot Harry Spearpoint ended as a POW – one of the lucky ones, right.

The museum’s Nieuport 28 ready for its next flight at Brampton. This type of scout was especially famous with the Lafayette Escadrille – a French air force unit manned by America pilots (some of whom had  trained to fly in Canada in 1917-18). Many Canadians also flew Nieuports in combat, the most famous being W.A. “Billy” Bishop, VC, shown here demonstrating the Lewis gun.

Visiting Airplanes

Many local and visiting planes keep the crowd extra interested during any GWFM and Brampton Flying Club event. There’s usually at least one Harvard around. Here’s C-FRWN (ex-RCAF 3830 during WWII) as an SE.5 cruises by in the distance. Then, Auster C-FLWA, which formerly was Canadian Army 16671. “LWA” first appeared on the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register in 1960 and has been around southern Ontario ever since. I photographed it in black-and-white at the Oshawa fly-in of June 16, 1963. It was the same colour. To this day the colour scheme hasn’t changed much. It’s always great fun keeping an eye on such an airplane over the decades.

Homebuilts are always part of the scene at a GWFM fly-in. Here are Pitts S-1T C-GMMG and Rutan Varieze C-GNEZ in front of the flying club.

Cabin Waco C-FYOC visits the museum. Built in 1935, it was only in Canada 2013-17 before returning to the US. Such visitors add extra class to the whole setting.

Murray Kot’s beautifully restored Cessna L-19 in Canadian Army markings of the early 1960s period.

Ercoupe CF-IQA lands on Runway 08. Built in 1946 as N2227H, this little postwar beauty came to Canada in 1973 and has been around the Toronto area ever since.

Four Seasons Aviation’s big Sikorsky S-58T on display. A locally-based Tiger Moth is climbing out.

VAN’S RV-7A C-FVOS taxis for Runway 08 as Brampton Flying Club Cessna 172 C-GBNG lands.

Foster ready to do a photo mission in BFC Cessna 172 C-GBRF.

The Car Show

Besides all the great plane spotting around the GWFM, there’s plenty else to do. The annual vintage car turnout is fantastic. This Rolls-Royce 1924 Silver Ghost is treasured by owners Roger and Eleanor Hadfield of nearby Milton.

Some of the MGs arrive. Not to be outdone are the Morgan’s. Then another classic Brit gem – an early Jaguar XKE.

Two ’56 beauties – a Chevy and a Dodge.

“The Museum”

Apart from the hangar, the GWFM museum building is full of wonderful displays. As well, on special days re-enactors run a typical WWI medical field station.

What Else Goes On?

Music of different kinds adds to the ambience of a GWFM event.

Re-enactors are on hand to explain various WWI topics. Otherwise, there’s lots going on in the hangar.

Some of the Great War Flying Museum old timers. They always show up – thank goodness. Then, Foster and Shannon with Al Snowie, one of the chief movers behind the 2017 “Vimy Flight”. This important Canadian organization took several WWI replica fighters to France that year, then flew them over the Vimy monument on the 100th Anniversary of that seminal battle. Finally, at day’s end some of the GWFM staff “debrief” back in the shop.

There’s a Book about All This!

The story of Canada’s pioneers of aerial combat is best read these days in Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939. Below is one of our typical book reviews, this one from “Britain at War”. This is a book for any fan of Canada’s great role in aerial combat in WWI. To order a copy go to www.canavbooks.wordpress.com . Or, make a PayPal transfer of $67.20 (all-in) to larry@canavbooks.com , or mail your cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E3B6. All the best as usual. Be sure to keep tabs with the Great War Flying Museum website and see you there next season. Cheers … Larry Milberry

The Reader Speaks Out

Other than such great book reviews, I’m always keen to hear from my readers — the real lovers and cognoscenti when it comes to such books. Any publisher needs first and foremost to pay heed to these important supporters. Just lately I heard from a typical such reader, who writes about “Fighter Pilots and Observers”: Your new book has been open full time at the kitchen table where I get reading sessions at breakfast and lunch. Wonderful photos we see so rarely of this period and fascinating reading. Being more a student of WW II era aviation, I have limited knowledge of Canada’s participation in the aerial warfare of WWI, other than the classics, like Bishop. So it is somewhat of a revelation to read about Canada’s contributions to the air war and the efforts expended — and so much tragic loss of life. Incredible to think of the wild escapades so many young guys had flying those rickety early flying contraptions. Life expectancy was in very delicate balance and it seems just the luck of the draw for any that came out alive. If a fellow wasn’t being picked off by the enemy, his wings could be just as likely fall off! In part, I replied: Great that there are a few readers left who still appreciate the book and its ancient magic of enlightening, while entertaining. But, it’s all still trending away from lovely books to the stultifying, 90-second “quickie” info bit. So sad watching those  stoned smartphone people gawking down obliviously all the time. Mesmerized by what? What pleasure is there in that, and where’s the long-term pay-off in actual knowledge and joy? It’s all mildly depressing, eh.

Canadian Car and Foundry and the Curtiss SBW Helldiver + Remembrance Day 2011 + Canada and USA Aviation Halls of Fame 2020 Inductees, Norm Avery Update

*For copies of the famous CANAV aviation booklists, drop me an email at larry@canavbooks.com*

 

The impressive Curtiss SB2C/SBW Helldiver final line at Fort William in 1944. Such glorious factory scenes give the impression of stretching to the horizon. The official CCF caption for this photo reads, “Every day three planes come off the line. Those in foreground are checked and inspected. In centre of group at left: W.C. Will, Works Manager, with G.H. Kells, Shop Superintendent, on his right.” Then, a closer view of one of the planes. If there were any identifying serial numbers showing on a Helldiver at this stage, as a rule the dark room gurus in CCF’s photography department would dodge them out for security reasons. Notice the plane’s massive Wright R-2600 engine. More than 800 Helldivers would roll off this line in 1943-45. Other Helldivers were built by Fairchild of Canada at Longueuil, near Montreal.

Background to the Canadian Car and Foundry Story

The twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur (today’s Thunder Bay) at the head of Lake Superior have a long, proud history as progressive industrial centres. Since the 19th Century, they have manufactured such products as Great Lakes freighters, railway rolling stock, busses and airplanes. They also were vital in Canadian agriculture, with the railroads annually carrying millions of bushels of prairie grain east to the “Lakehead” cities. There it was stored in the elevators lining the waterfront, then shipped down the Great Lakes for Canadian, US and international markets. The Lakehead also had a thriving forest industry, with huge mills turning out paper products and lumber; and supported much of the mining in the vast surrounding hinterland.

You should look into the basic history, geography, etc. of the Lakehead in the published literature (books are your chief source of knowledge if you are as on the ball as I hope you are), then such other sources as Wiki. What about the region’s particular aviation heritage? Your No.1 source is the marvelous Jim Lysun book, Aviation in Thunder Bay, published by the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society info@thunderbaymuseum.com This book is much more than a general treatment, but digs below the surface from pre-WWI to modern times. This is a book for any serious follower of Canada’s great aviation heritage. So … track down a copy. Other sources? Keep an eye out for Gordon Burkowski’s 1990 book, CanCar History. It’s out of print, but a copy occasionally pops up for sale on the web. Also, in CANAV’s 2018 book, Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939, I cover how Canadian Car and Foundry, having begun at Fort William in 1912, established an aviation division there in 1936 to assemble the obsolete Grumman G- 23 biplane fighter for foreign sale. The first fighter built in Canada, the G-23 flew initially at Fort William’s Bishopsfield aerodrome in February 1938. CCF also considered building a large passenger plane based on Burnelli’s flying wing concept, but this did not go beyond a mock-up (a smaller version was built in 1945, but that went nowhere, see Air Transport in Canada). CCF did, however, build prototypes of the advanced Gregor biplane fighter, and a biplane trainer known as the Maple Leaf. But, by the eve of WWII only the G-23 had succeeded. According to K.M. Molson in Canadian Aircraft since 1909 (another seminal CCF sourcebook), CCF turned out 52 G-23s, most of which were exported to Spain for use by communist forces against Franco’s fascists. This illegal transaction caused a political scandal for Ottawa. Later, the RCAF was obliged to accept 15 G-23s that had been embargoed before they could get to Spain. Happily, better days lay ahead for CCF and the RCAF.

Other essential books to support this story are Ken Molson’s and H.A. Taylor’s invaluable Canadian Aircraft since 1909, and Robert Stern’s and Don Greer’s spectacular SB2C Helldiver in Action/Aircraft No.54. Yet another title is Jonathan Kirton’s Canadian Car & Foundry Aircraft Production at Fort William on the Eve of World War II. If you’re persistent, you’ll find copies of these for sale on the web.

The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver

The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver had been ordered by the US Navy to replace its earlier Douglas SDB Dauntless dive bomber. However, even at the design stage the SB2C had people worrying. The prototype flew at Buffalo, NY in December 1940, just as the SB2C factory was being built in Columbus, Ohio. Accidents and crashes plagued SB2C progress, so the first production plane wasn’t delivered until June 1942. By then, orders were on the books for 4000 planes. Development staggered along, the worst issue being how empty weight had skyrocketed from 7100 lb to 10,000 lb. The SB2C finally went to sea for trials aboard USS Yorkton, but these were disappointing. The ship’s captain reputedly suggested that the SB2C would make a better anchor than a dive bomber. Nonetheless, on entering combat early in 1943, the SB2C – with the help of innumerable modification — met the mark and within a year had replaced most SDBs in the south Pacific carrier fleet.

The daily press in every Canadian town and city reported in amazing detail about what was going on in the war from everything local to the cross-Canada and global scenes. In spite of strict press restrictions, it’s amazing how much detail was officially released or leaked. It takes diligent research to ferret out all of this so many decades later. The press often mentioned Canadian Car and Foundry and its Helldiver program. On February 4, 1944 this was page 19 in the “Toronto Daily Star” Toronto Daily Star Feb. 4 1944. Check out the fascinating report about the Helldiver in production and in action, then the two photos taken at Fort William. The Helldiver shown was for the Royal Navy, but the RN did not like the plane at all, so sent back its consignment to the USN. Regardless, the Helldiver proved its worth in the face of everything the Japanese could throw against it, sinking more enemy ships in the US South Pacific theatre than any other aircraft type. To get the most out of this news report, you need to put yourself back to 1944. There was a war on and we were facing two devilish world dictatorships in Germany and Japan that already had slaughtered millions of innocent civilians. So get into that frame of mind. Also, accept the fact that censorship and propaganda were in force. The “Shorty” Matten mentioned actually is “Shorty” Hatton, one of Canada’s renowned pilots of the 1930s-40s. His 2004 biography is Shorty, An Aviation Pioneer, by author James Glassco Henderson.

Another spectacular photo from my CCF collection. This RCAF Hurricane was converted at Fort William for ski trials. Once the concept was evaluated, it was set aside as impractical. More than 1400 Hurricanes were manufactured at CCF from 1940 to 1943. This set up CCF for the much more sophisticated SBD Helldiver project.

CCF and the Helldiver

Happily, CCF was able to leave its shady G-23 venture behind to undertake wartime contracts to build the Hawker Hurricane for British, Canadian and Soviet forces, then the SB2C (designated “SBW” for CCF purposes) for the US Navy. Certainly, CCF’s experience with 1930s biplanes did help prepare the company for its future wartime challenges, especially in how such projects trained the local labor force in ever more modern skills. According to Canadian Aircraft since 1909, CCF received its first order for Hurricanes in November 1938. The prototype flew at Fort William in January 1940, then production proceeded until the last of 1451 was delivered in June 1943. By then “in the big leagues” of aircraft production, CCF re-tooled to manufacture the Helldiver. Simultaneously, Fairchild of Canada at Longueuil, Quebec won some Helldiver contracts. CCF SB2Cs were designated SBW-1, SBW-3 and SBW-4, while Fairchild’s were SBF-1 and SBF-3. With Orville J. Wieben (CCF chief pilot) at the controls, the first Canadian SBW (US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics serial number 21192) flew at Fort William on July 29, 1943, just weeks after CCF’s final Hurricane was delivered. Soon the line was in full swing, but both CCF and Fairchild had to keep up with a flood of modifications demanded by the US Navy. With top management and skilled, dedicated labor, they got the job done.

Summary

The bugs gradually were beaten out of the Helldiver, especially when its 1500-hp Wright R-2600 engine was replaced with a 1900-hp version. In the end, the series proved itself in US Navy service. To the last day of the war, Helldivers hounded Japanese targets at sea and on land, even though hundreds were lost to flak, enemy fighters and accidents. The Commemorative Air Force web site observes, “While often maligned by some critics, the SB2Cs were responsible for more ship tonnage sunk during WWII than any other aircraft.” Historian Joe Baugher records the essential details for hundreds of individual SB2Cs. In one case, he mentions how on July 18, 1944 a US Navy PBY-5 of VP-100 Squadron sank at sea off Oahu (Hawaii) after landing hard while trying to pick up the crew of a ditched CCF-built SBW. The survivors of both planes were rescued by the destroyer USS Crouter. The final CCF-built SBW was delivered at Fort William on September 5, 1945, a few weeks after the war ended. Nearly all SB2Cs quickly were struck off US Navy charge. Many were shoved off carrier decks into the deep to save on paperwork (a common end-of- war practice). In 1946 several Canadian-made SBW-3s were among the planes sacrificed aboard the USS Saratoga and USS Independence, when those once-proud carriers were destroyed in atomic bomb test explosions in the south Pacific. Meanwhile, a few Helldivers were gifted to Allies, but it’s not known if any were Canadian-made. In French service, these fought doggedly in 1954 during the last days before Dien Bien Fou fell to Ho Chi Minh’s forces. The last operational Helldivers were those flown by Italy in the anti- submarine role. These were replaced by Trackers in 1959. Few SB2Cs survived their brief post-war days. One belongs to the Hellenic Air Force Museum in Greece, another is with the Royal Thai Air Force Museum. Check out the ever-fascinating SB2C Wiki entry, which lists other survivors, restoration projects and wrecks. Owned by the Commemorative Air Force of Texas, the sole airworthy Helldiver visited Thunder Bay in 1998. Many CCF old timers turned out for the celebration.

The world’s only airworthy SB2C is N92879. I photographed it at Washington-Dulles on May 27, 1972. Following a subsequent crash, it again was restored and continues to fly. Befittingly, N92879 visited Thunder Bay in 1992. Really keen fans can take a short flight in this historic warbird for US$995. Read all about N92879 at http://sb2chelldiver.com/

SB2C/SBW and SBF Production 1940 – 1945

SB2C-1: Curtiss 200, CCF 38

SB2C-1A: Curtiss 900 for US Army Air Force as A-25A Shrike

SB2C-1C: Curtiss 778, CCF (as SBW-1B) 28, Fairchild of Canada (as SBF-1) 50.
26 of the 28 CCF planes went to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, but were rejected.

SB2C-3: Curtiss 1112, CCF (SBW-3) 413, Fairchild of Canada (SBF-3) 150

SB2C-4: Curtiss 2045, CCF (SBW-4E) 270, Fairchild of Canada (SBF-4E) 100

SB2C-5: Curtiss 970, CCF (SBW-5) 85 (a further 165 cancelled at war’s end)

Canadian Helldiver production according to K.M. Molson: CCF 835 + Fairchild
300. Total 1135.

US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics SBW Series Serial Numbers*

SBW-1: 21192 to 21231

SBW-1B: 60010 to 60035 for Royal Navy

SBW-3: 21233 to 21645

SBW-4E: 21646 to 21741, also, 60036 to 60209

SBW-5: 60210 to 60459 Only 60210 was built, all others cancelled at war’s end (these do not quite tally with the usually stated figure of 835 CCF Helldivers). *These details as per Joe Baugher’s internet list, “US Navy and US Marine Corps BuNos”. It’s well worth your time to have a look.

Typical SBW-1 Helldiver Losses*

21199 (VB-2) shot down by A6M5 Zeke Jun 20, 1944 in Battle of the Phillipine
Sea (Great Marianas Turkey Shoot)

21203 (VB-8) attached to USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) shot down by AAA Sep 9,
1944, Mindnao, Philippine

21206 assigned to CASU-35, destroyed on ground by crashing PB4Y-1 38766
Aug 9, 1944, Eniwetok

21210 (VB-8) attached to USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) lost from unknown cause,
Palau Island Sep 16, 1944

21211 (VB-2) attached to USS Hornet (CV-12) ditched when ran out of fuel Jun
20, 1944, Battle of the Philippine Sea

21216 (VB-8) attached to USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) lost to unknown cause Sep
23, 1994, Okinawa

Typical SBW-3 Helldiver Losses

21236 (VB-100) in training accident Oct 20, 1944, Hawaii.

21238 assigned to COMAIRPAC lost to unknown cause, Pearl Harbor May 31,
1945.

21263 assigned to CASU(F)-12 lost to unknown cause May 17, 1945, Guam

21267 (VB-18) assigned to USS Intrepid (CV-11) lost to unknown cause Oct 24,
1944, Negros Island Visayas, Philippines

21279 (VB-17) assigned to USS Hornet (CV-12) lost to unknown cause Mar 28,
1945 near Kyushu, Japan

21283 (VB-14) attached to USS Wasp (CV-18) lost off Luzon in Philippines Oct
19, 1944

21287 (VB-18) attached to USS Intrepid (CV-11) lost to unknown cause Nov 25,
1944, Luzon, Philippines

21292 (VB-18) destroyed on deck of carrier USS Intrepid (CV-11) by kamikaze
attack Nov 25, 1944 near Luzon, Philippines

21296 (VB-14) attached to USS Wasp (CV-18) lost to unknown cause Oct 10,
1944, Okinawa

21304 (VB-100) attached to USS Saratoga (CV-3) lost in training accident Nov
17, 1944 near Pearl Harbor

21322 (VB-11) attached to USS Hornet (CV-12) lost in Philippines Nov 13, 1944

21350 lost to unknown cause Dec 7, 1944, Manus Island, Papua New Guinea

21351 (CASU(F)-14) lost to unknown cause Jun 21, 1945, Saipan

21353 (VB-4) destroyed on deck of USS Essex by kamikaze attack Nov 25,
1944.

21355 damaged on deck of USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88) by typhoon east of
Luzon Dec 18, 1944.

21374 (VB-80) attached to USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) lost at sea on launch off
Luzon in Philippines Dec 16, 1944

21377 (VB-7) attached to USS Hancock (CV-19) shot down by AAA over Hong
Kong, China Jan 16, 1945

21390 (VB-6) attached to USS Hancock (CV-19 shot down by AAA over Kyushu,
Japan Mar 18, 1945

21406 (VB-20) attached to USS Lexington (CV-16) lost to unknown cause Jan
16, 1945 near Hong Kong, China

21438 (VB-17) attached to USS Hornet (CV-12) lost to unknown cause Apr 7,
1945, Okinawa

21710 crashed Jun 19, 1945 in Goose Lake, CA. 2 killed.

60017 (JW107) force landed in sea after taking off from [Naval Air Station]
Squantum Jun 24, 1944, pilot rescued

60023 (JW113) crashed before delivery to RN. Used for spares

60028 (JW118) suffered engine fire while in circuit at Columbus at end of ferry
flight from Minneapolis Jan 25, 1944. Force landed in field and subsequently
used for spares.

60029 (JW119) RN records say sold as scrap Aug 25, 1944, but RAF
records say transferred to them and used at Empire Central Flying School until
SOC Nov 12, 1945

60030 (JW120) flew into ground, caught fire and burned out at Wellesley, MA
Jun 6, 1944, both crew killed

60031 (JW121) misjudged dive on target and flew into sea at Inskip bombing
range

in England Oct 6, 1944, both crew killed

60032 (JW122) ditched near Squantum following engine fire Jun 24, 1944
* as per Joe Baugher’s list

GENESIS OF A BLOG ITEM

What got me interested in doing this blog item was perusing a priceless old collection of historic 8 x 10 black-and-white albums that have been around my place for decades. Here and there over the years I’ve dug into these to illustrate one book or another. My history with this collection started with a phone call about 35 years ago from the great Ken Molson. Ken had a tip for me – George Olieux at George’s Trains on Mt. Pleasant Rd. here in Toronto had some original Canadian Car and Foundry photo albums for sale. Ken already had taken his choice of these, but suggested that I get up to see George ASAP and make a deal. That I did and picked up what was left for something like $200 for several hundred gorgeous, linen-backed 8 x 10 glossies. In my mind, I’ve often thanked Ken and George (who both are gone) for this great opportunity.

Here’s the pile of my CCF albums. Talk about a gold mine, eh. Two thick albums dwell exclusively on the Curtiss Helldiver.

My CCF albums are rich in company history at Fort William from the Grumman G-23 to the Gregor fighter, Maple Leaf trainer, Hurricane and Curtiss SB2C.  They include many amazing airplane photos, of course, but where the collection really shines is in what it shows about the plant, the machinery, the processes and — ever so importantly — the people. Whichever decision makers assigned CCF’s photographers to create these incomparable albums back in 1936 to 1944 deserve medals. Of course, at the time most of these photos were “classified”, so would have been under lock and key, other than for a few released for the company newsletter or public relations purposes. How they eventually got out into circulation remains a mystery. Some would have been taken home by keen employees once the war ended. I heard that George found these CCF albums in a much larger collection that he somehow acquired. Here is a small selection for your enjoyment:

A CCF SBW fuselage is about to be mated with its wing centre section. The adjustable and movable stand on which such work was done was known at CCF as a “corvette”. The CCF caption for this photo reads, “Precision tooling and accurate checking gauges assure a perfect fit when the two main components are spliced.” While CCF’s earlier G-23 production run was little more than an assembly job using parts brought in from such US manufacturers as Grumman and Brewster, the SBW airframe was manufactured at Fort William. By that time (1943-45) CCF had become qualified to do such advanced work, having already produced more than 1400 Hurricanes.

Further down the line, the airframe has been fully assembled, Wright R-2600 engine included. The plane has been lifted off its corvette and is ready for the final touches before rolling off the line. This SBW-3 still has to be painted. Its number (390) could represent US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics number 21390 (a CCF Helldiver that finally was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Hancock, but was shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Kyushu, Japan on March 18, 1945). “390” also might represent CCF’s 390th SBW. So … numbers can be mysterious.

Workers doing Helldiver fine wiring tasks at CCF. This photo collection has many such scenes. Things may look a bit crazy, but there’s nothing chaotic here. The entire CCF Helldiver operation was progressing like a finely-tuned machine. However, just partly through the contract there was news that Canada’s war industries would be slowing. A “Globe and Mail” item of June 12, 1944 (“Cut Contract on Hell-Divers; May Trim Staff”) noted CCF employment at Fort William at 8000. By this time the Allies were succeeding in every theatre. They were so confident of final victory that in June 1944 the RCAF stopped recruiting for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. This took place even though the Allies had only just landed in Normandy. It’s not surprising that the same paper was reporting about CCF on September 20, 1944: “There are some 5,500 workers. The Fort William plant has a contract which runs to the middle of next year and calls for more than 1,000 planes. Present output is in the neighbourhood of 56 a month.” In the end, Helldiver contracts at CCF and Fairchild of Canada were cut, CCF from 1000 to 835.

Workers at these benches are mainly finishing wing ribs. At every work station the job at hand had to be co-ordinated with each stage of production. Management and labour had to co-operate and they did. In exchange for their reliable services, workers at CCF took home very good pay.

Whether using small, hand-held tools or such massive ones as these drop hammers, workers had to be safety minded. On the whole, conditions were safe in the CCF plant for this stage of industrial development. Safety was pounded into everyone head day by day. Training was at a serious level (for the day), supervisors were forever watching for infractions, chemicals were handled as safely as possible, and doctors and nurses staffed clinics on site. Naïve people today may be horrified by such a photo and impose their 21st Century view of things upon it, but that is not history. Sad to say, but in today’s schools, much distorted history is taught by ill-educated, agenda-driven teachers. The CCF caption for this grand photo reads: “Drop Hammer Dept. has five hammers of various capacities and form sections up to 8 ft. long. The three in front are air-operated, the other two are electric revolving drum rope hammers. Air hammer at left is used for die-matching purposes only and was designed by our own staff and cast in Kirksite.”

Welders working on small parts. Then, another typical shop floor scene. No doubt the place was noisy and smelly, but people were happy to have such high-paying jobs, to be learning new skills and to be doing something to help the war effort. Notice the “Buy Victory Bonds” poster at the back. Each time one of these grand photos was taken, the photo team would ask everyone to “freeze” for a second or two.

Highly skilled staff work on Helldiver cockpit instrumentation.

Those in stores and warehousing kept supplies and parts moving to the various production lines as much on a “just in time” basis as do today’s modern factories. That as many as three Helldivers were pushed ready-to-fly off the final line every day shows us that. Notice the sign “Smoking Strictly Prohibited in this Building”.

Airframe structures and other components being manufactured. Every piece was being tracked, but by pencil and paper – on charts and graphs — vs today’s computerized everything. Final results? The same – beautiful airplanes – the most modern of the day rolling off the line. And we think we’re so smart. Surely, we must have invented everything, right.

Other shop floor scenes from Helldiver days. The CCF caption for the first of these reads, “Sand Blast chamber and rotating Blast Mill are shown in centre and at rear respectively, also Electric Furnace for normalizing and annealing or ‘Heat Treatment’ purposes.” For the next photo the caption reads: “Plaster Pattern has been removed and Molten Kirksite is poured into sand moulds. Box at the right has plaster pattern still embedded.” Finally, a photo of the open air acid baths used to clean parts before welding. Notice the basket of parts about to be lowered: “Clean contact surfaces are necessary before spot-welding. Oxide film is removed by immersion in etching solution. Etching also removes heat variations in contact surfaces and produces a better weld nugget. Some parts are cleaned by buffing.”

Another astounding factory scene as various parts are manufactured: “Fabricating exhaust manifold and tail wheel fairings, also carburetor air takes and ammunition boxes.”

The CCF receiving department never rested. Trainloads of raw material (steel, lumber, fluids, etc.) and finished items from nails and screws to engines arrived around the clock from suppliers and subcontractors throughout North America. Naturally, the trains ran like clockwork, the transportation system was impeccable. Periodically pulling in at receiving were boxcars full of Wright R-2600 engines from Wright either from Paterson, NJ, or Cincinnatti, Ohio. The mighty R-2600 also powered the Douglas A-20, Grumman Avenger and North American B-25. Wright delivered more than 50,000 R- 2600s. Once unpacked at CCF, the R-2600s were inspected, run on test stands, then installed in the Helldivers. CCF techs such as the fellow here normally wore ID badges. His was 7051. Sometimes these ancient factory IDs turn up these days on ebay. Everything’s collectible, right!

In dozens of other spaces around the plant all sorts of other tasks had to be done simultaneously. Here, for example, one of the busy office spaces where everything had to be done from ordering parts to expediting shipments, paying invoices, doing the payroll and keeping up with individual employee records. Notice the standard Underwood office typewriters – they did the same basic “data entry” work as any computer today – nothing mysterious about them. On the far wall are the typical calendars, notices and photos. Next, all the action underway in the ever-lively drafting room. The CCF caption notes: “Tool Design Dept, prepares drawings of all tools, jigs, assembly fixtures and special machinery used in the Plant. Also controls methods or procedures to be adopted in the fabrication of the plane.” The big poster in the distance includes a stark reminder to the staff: “Your Absence Makes the War Grow Longer … Work for Canada, Don’t Loaf for the Enemy”. Finally, fabric being cut and sewn for such essentials as engine and canopy covers.

All the finely-honed processes and parts manufacturing going on throughout the cavernous CCF Helldiver plant gradually came together as an airplane production line. Shown are fuselages at an early stage. Then, a fuselage section getting its initial coat of preservative paint. Next, Helldivers near the end of the line – not much further to go. Finally, a finished Helldiver being towed from the factory the short distance to Fort William airport for test flying.

At the airport, CCF pilots were swamped with work test flying Helldivers. Says the caption for this photos, “First flights of all planes are made by either of the Company’s three test pilots. Notes are kept on knee pad of each gauge and instrument reading taken during flight. Planes are not turned over for acceptance until performance is perfect.” Likely due to wartime restrictions, few people in such CCF photos are identified. However, I’ve found two names for this photo — Eddie Richards on the left, and chief pilot, Orville J. Wieben, centre.

“OJ” Wieben in the cockpit of an SBW-1 at Fort William. Notice the leading edge slats that were so useful during low- speed flight, especially when landing on the deck of one of a small US Navy aircraft carrier. This is an especially grubby-looking, patched-up Helldiver, so likely was CCF’s “company hack” used for such jobs as testing mods, giving pilots familiarization flights, doing air-to-air photography, etc. It might be 21192, the first CCF SBW-1, which “OJ” Wieben first flew in July 1943.

The US Navy stationed its own pilots at Fort William to monitor production and modifications, do test flights as needed, and manage all the complicated ferrying requirements. The RCAF also was involved, chiefly in aircraft acceptance and “paper pushing” roles. Here, S/L Frank Hems (1898-1985) is in his office with two of his staff. Hems previously had served in RCAF acceptance in Montreal for Stranraers, and Fort Erie for Fleet trainers. After the war, he was 12 years at Avro Canada until the company folded in 1959. He then worked in real estate. Check out the great calendar of the wall. Today, that would get a fellow thrown out on his RCAF head in 2 seconds. But these were more straight-forward times when people had actual lives, wars to win, etc. To balance things off and placate the killjoys there’s a picture on the other wall of a “manly” Helldiver, right.

USN pilots ready to ferry some new Helldivers to Columbus, a distance “as the crow flies” of nearly 700 miles. These young fellows had flown in to Fort William aboard a US Navy ferry service Cessna JRC-1 (a.k.a. T-50). Then, a stirring sight as three Helldivers rumble over the flightline to salute CCF before turning south for Columbus. Here’s a case where we can deduce some USN bureau numbers – 21548, etc., but Joe Baugher to date has no info for these particular Helldivers.

The flight test and acceptance/delivery hangars at Fort William. Then, a good overall view of the airport.

Fort William’s Helldiver story is chiefly about the citizens of Fort William, Port Arthur and surrounding area who hired on at CCF. Some brought useful skills to the job, but most turned up “not having a clue” about all the highly-skilled jobs essential in time of war. However, they trained in class sessions and on the job, quickly learned their roles, and did their part to get 835 Helldivers delivered. Inevitably, victory came and all the excitement of wartime Canada subsided. A “Toronto Daily Star” item of August 18, 1945 painted this blunt picture: “Canadian Car and Foundry Co. management here Friday announced that 3,000 employees of their Fort William plant were being laid off this week owing to the termination of aircraft contracts. The plant has been making Curtiss Hell Diver aircraft for the U.S. navy. W.O. Will, plant works manager, stated that between 1,500 and 2,000 employees will be continued on the payroll until Christmas on bus construction and taking of inventories.” After the war, many returned to CCF to staff the place when large orders came in for urban busses. But there also were aviation projects, including manufacturing Harvard trainers for the RCAF, and subcontracting for the Grumman Tracker being built by De Havilland in Toronto. In modern times CCF was acquired by Bombardier and to this day produces rapid transit trains.

Remembrance Day 2019

We’ve just celebrated the 101st Anniversary of the end of WWI, in which Canada played such a vital role. Canadians are privileged to be living in this great nation. Why have people been emigrating and planting their roots here since the early 1600s? Certainly not because they were leaving happier circumstances or better countries. So … who possibly would not show respect on Remembrance Day to all who have served and died for our freedoms to make Canada the finest and most tolerant nation on Earth.

Here are a few quick snapshots showing our snowy 2019 Remembrance Day ceremony in Toronto’s “Beaches” neighborhood. Things went off nicely, especially with the absence this year (at long last) of speechifying politicos. Keep politics out of Remembrance Day, OK? First, three pictures of the set-up and our crowd of solid citizens getting right into it in true Canadian style. Next, the march-off, then the neighbours at our Kew Park war memorial before they headed for a warmer spot. So it went at Remembrance Day events across Canada on this important day.

Keeping the History Alive — Canada and USA Aviation Halls of Fame 2020 Inductees

We need to keep in touch with what’s going on in aviation history in and beyond Canada. Here’s something possibly new for you. Have you ever heard of “The Living Legends of Aviation”? My old pal since back in the 1960s, Walter Eichhorn, is the only Canadian member of this honourable society. Do you know about the Canada and USA Aviation Halls of Fame? Both recently have announced their 2020 inductees. It’s interesting that the CAHF includes some aviation heroes who worked both in Canada and the United States, but I don’t see any such members in the US hall. The CAHF has honoured Alexander Graham Bell and Rogers Smith, who worked in both countries. With scientific, financial and moral support Bell, for example, made possible the first powered airplane flight in Canada in 1909. From Toronto and formerly in the RCAF, Smith became a NASA test pilot with many hours flying the SR-71 (see their profiles at cahf.ca). Here are our 2020 CAHF inductees:

Clifford MacKay McEwen, MC, DFC and Bar Born in Griswald, Manitoba in 1898, Clifford MacKay McEwen enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916 before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps. He flew the majority of his war in Italy, distinguishing himself as a scout pilot. McEwen then joined the fledgling Canadian Air Force in England and remained in uniform after war’s end, serving as part of the Air Board and the inter-war Royal Canadian Air Force. Holding the rank of group captain when war again broke out, McEwen was promoted to the rank of air commodore working to establish Canadian authority over aerial operations in the northwest Atlantic while conducting anti-submarine warfare. A disciplined leader, he was transferred to England and further promoted to air vice-marshal, taking command of No. 6 (RCAF) Group, part of Bomber Command. Facing low morale and lacklustre performance, McEwen instituted a rigorous training regimen that achieved results; by the end of 1944, 6 Group was considered a premier force, sustaining the fewest losses of the heavy bomber groups. In recognition of his outstanding leadership, McEwen was appointed to command of the RCAF’s contribution to Tiger Force in preparation for the Pacific theatre. McEwen supported veterans’ causes in his postwar career, working with both the Royal Canadian Legion and the Last Post Fund. He died in Montréal in 1967, having made a lasting mark on Canadian aviation. (We feature C.M. “Black Mike” McEwen in our 2018 book Aviation in Canada: Fighter Pilots and Observers 1915-1939. In fact, McEwen is on the book’s cover.)

Joseph D. Randell President and Chief Executive Officer of Chorus Aviation Inc, Joseph Randell was born in Curling, Newfoundland in 1954. He has been devoted to Canadian aviation, and the regional airline market especially, for more than three decades. In 1984, Randell pursued an MBA that examined the airline industry – work that led to the founding of Air Nova two years later. Recognizing that Canada’s vast geography was ideally suited to regional carriers, his company, which had previously relied on a fleet of turboprop aircraft, pioneered the use of regional jets. Success with Air Nova led to its eventual purchase by Air Canada, after which he oversaw a series of regional carrier mergers. In 2002, having overcome significant regulatory challenges, Air Canada Jazz was launched. A successful re-organization stemming from Air Canada’s filing for bankruptcy protection soon followed and, in 2006, Jazz was brought public. Renegotiation of its relationship with Air Canada has continued apace, as has the airline’s profitability. Chorus Aviation, Randell’s next venture, which acquired the regional operation Voyageur Airways in 2015, has become a global player in aircraft leasing. A widely-respected leader in Canadian aviation, Joseph Randell is a strong supporter of his alma mater, Dalhousie University, and his professional and philanthropic support for the aviation and broader community more generally has earned him well-deserved awards of recognition.

Shirley Linda Render One of Canada’s foremost aviation historians and a leader in the stewardship of this country’s aviation heritage, Shirley Render, born 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, earned her wings in 1973 and shortly after began volunteering at the Western Canada Aviation Museum. Soon, Render was sitting on the Museum’s board, writing for and editing its quarterly magazine, and curating its exhibits. After earning an MA in History, she undertook two influential books: No Place for a Lady, the first on Canada’s women pilots, and Double Cross, about James A. Richardson and his importance to Canadian aviation. Render held multiple positions of leadership at the museum and was critical to its growth. In 1990, she entered politics, being elected as the member of the Legislative Assembly for St. Vital. She served as legislative assistant to Premier Gary Filmon and as minister of consumer and corporate affairs. With the museum in difficulty, Render, no longer in government, was asked to return as executive director and curator in 2002. Her leadership, which has been recognized with her appointment as executive director emeritus, helped revitalize the museum, a process that culminated in its redesignation as the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a YM-YW Women of Distinction Award, and a University of Winnipeg Distinguished Alumni Award, among many others, Shirley is a role model for young people across Canada.

Bjarni Valdimar Tryggvason Bjarni Tryggvason was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1945. Captivated by aviation at a young age in Richmond, British Columbia, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and earned his commercial pilot wings by age 20. He has been involved in Canadian aviation ever since. Tryggvason completed a degree in engineering physics and, despite his goal to become a commercial airline pilot, he accepted a position with the Atmospheric Environmental Service. His work as a researcher then took him to the University of Western Ontario at the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel, to Kyoto, Japan, and to North Queensland, Australia. Keen to add to his piloting skills, he earned his instructor rating. In 1982, Tryggvason joined the National Research Council’s Low Speed Aerodynamics Laboratory. A year later, he applied for and was accepted to Canada’s first astronaut corps. With the NRC and the Canadian Space Agency, he helped design and develop satellites and fluid dynamics projects, but his primary focus was vibration isolation systems. In 1997, as part of STS-85, Tryggvason served as payload specialist aboard the shuttle Discovery. Since returning to earth, he has remained active in Canadian aviation. But, having been at the forefront of Canada’s aerospace program, this more recent work involves Canada’s aviation heritage and the flying of vintage aircraft, notably his 2009 flight of the replica Silver Dart – the first powered, heavier-than-air aircraft to fly in Canadian skies.

Belt of Orion inductee … The Red Knight The Royal Canadian Air Force Training Command’s solo performer between 1958 and 1969, the Red Knight flew more than 600 air show appearances – making it second only to the Snowbirds for the number of performances flown by a Canadian military aerobatic display team. During its 12-year run, seventeen different pilots flew as the Red Knight, beginning with Roy Windover, an RCAF Central Flying School instructor. Equipped with their venerable Canadair CT-133 Silver Star and later with Canadair CT-114 Tutors, decked out in Day-Glo red, various Knights flew alongside the Golden Hawks and the Golden Centennaires. But the solo display is best remembered for performing in smaller communities unable to accommodate larger, established teams. Notably, all the Red Knight’s manoeuvres were performed within the airfield’s boundaries. All told, the team performed in each of Canada’s ten provinces and in the Yukon. It also made appearances in the Bahamas and in the United States, flying in Alaska, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The Red Knight was awarded the Centennial Medal in 1967. As a testament to its lasting impact and as a tribute to the influence of the Red Knight’s displays, the team’s distinctive paint scheme has been revived by civilian operations across North America.These are are the new CAHF members:

Here’s the recent NAHF news from south of the border:

The National Aviation Hall of Fame has revealed the individuals who have been selected for its enshrinement in 2020 … Each year, the NAHF Board of Nominations, a voting body comprised of more than 120 aviation professionals nationwide, selects from a prestigious group of previously-nominated air and space pioneers to be recognized for their achievements with induction into the NAHF. Since its founding in 1962, 246 men and women have been honored with enshrinement into the Congressionally-chartered, non-profit National Aviation Hall of Fame. “We believe that this is an excellent class and we are already looking forward to their induction in our home, the Birthplace of Aviation, Dayton, Ohio,” NAHF Board of Trustees Chairman Michael Quiello said. “From pioneer Bullard, to visionaries Faget, Sullivan Garrett and Kaminski, to aerospace hero Gordon, the NAHF’s Class of 2020 represents the best in aviation.” The NAHF Class of 2020 will be inducted at the 58th Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony on Sept. 26, 2020, in Dayton, Ohio:

Second Lieutenant Eugene J. Bullard, USAF. World War I pilot, first African American combat pilot, denied in the U.S., flew for France, and is one of the highest decorated pilots, including the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur.

The late Dr. Maxime “Max” A. Faget, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineer. Developed rockets, missiles and aircraft, designed the Mercury Spacecraft and was part of the design team for Gemini, Apollo and the Space Shuttle.

Joan Sullivan Garrett . Medical Professional, founder of MedAire, established the first aviation global medical emergency response and directs real-time safety services to thousands annually throughout aviation.

The late Captain Richard “Dick” F. Gordon, USN. Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, Bendix Trophy Winner;,Gemini 11 Pilot, Command Module Pilot Apollo 12, back-up Commander Apollo 12 and part of design team for the Space Shuttle.

Colonel/Dr. Paul G. Kaminski, USAF (Ret). Ph.D. Aeronautical Engineer, led many technical aerospace programs, including guided munitions, lead developer of Stealth Technology, and directed F-117 and B-2 programs.

Norm Avery 1929 – 2019

I’ve often been asked by readers about this or that title by Norm Avery. Over the years, I listed Norm’s four books, but eventually lost contact – I hadn’t heard that he had moved into a seniors residence in recent years, then passed away on July 7, 2019. Norm’s aviation titles are Altimeter Rising (autobiographical, by Al MacNutt), then three by himself — Whiskey Whiskey Papa, Spartan: Seven Letters that Spanned the Globe, and Mayhem to Mayday. See https://normanavery.blogspot.com/ for more info about these books. Norm’s fascinating obituary summarizes his many achievements:

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Born in Parry Sound to Sydney and Hazel Avery, the family moved to Huntsville when he was 2. He had four siblings – survived by Lois and predeceased by Ken, James (Mac), and Harold. He was married for 55 years to Ruth (nee Robinson) – deceased (2011). He is survived by two children – Dean (Colleen) and Joel (Catherine) and two grandchildren – Shannon and James.

When he was 19, he earned his pilot’s licence. When he was 20, he left the grist mill behind and joined the Air Force where he was stationed in St Bruno, Quebec as a public relations specialist. Within a couple of years, he was promoted and then served in France as part of 2 Wing where his work with NATO was rewarded with a special service medal. He took the time to travel extensively in Europe and only stopped travelling until a few years ago. After ten years in the force, he left the force with a new wife to pursue a second career and start a family.

When he was 30, an Air Force colleague provided a lead which resulted in an eight year stint at the Ottawa Citizen where he was a staff writer, columnist, reporter and eventually assistant city editor. He specialized in aviation writing and began winning national awards after just one year on the job. Historical pictures show he interviewed PM candidate Robert Stanfield, Governor General Roland Michener, and, in 1966 while being escorted by the UN, Archbishop Makarios III – the president of Cyprus. He also fathered two children while at the Citizen.

Working at the Citizen spawned many freelancing engagements (including the publicity for the Paris air show in 1965). In 1967, he made freelancing his full time job and again was responsible for the publicity of the Paris air show in 1967. It was all good with the Citizen as he continued to write the aviation column for a few more years – however he no longer had to write the column in the smoke filled rooms at the Citizen. In this period he served as a correspondent for CBC Northern Services and also found time to be the founding editor of the monthly Armed Forces Review. In 1968 he formed a PR firm with his Air Force squadron friend Doug Harvey and famed photographer Malak Karch (brother of the other famous Karch photographer, Yousef Karsh). While they predominantly had aviation related clients, the firm of Harvey, Avery and Malak were the PR force involved in the resumption of the CFL all star game in 1970. They also represented IMAX which was founded in part by his cousin Robert Kerr; A & W and FTD florists. In 1970, he began his third career in the Federal public service in Fisheries and Forestry; the Canadian Forestry Service; Environment Canada; and Energy, Mines and Resources.

He rose through the ranks and several MPs specifically thanked him for making them sound intelligent. He travelled quite a bit across the country and had friends everywhere it seemed. He also went on an expedition to the Arctic. Through all of this, he found time to be a director of the Ottawa Flying Club; an executive in the camera club of Ottawa; and teach a PR course at Algonquin. With 26 years of service in the federal government, he retired in 1987, he began his fourth career as an author. He wrote and self published four historical aviation books (available in the lobby on the way out). His books were: Altimeter Rising; Whiskey, Whiskey, Papa; Spartan: Seven Letters that Spanned the Globe; and Mayhem to Mayday.

His true writing love was fiction for which he won several short story writing awards. Throughout his life, he could be found sailing, travelling, golfing, skiing, taking pictures and telling stories. He could also be found in front of the computer writing, researching, playing games and sleeping.

*For copies of the famous CANAV aviation booklists, drop me an email at larry@canavbooks.com*

Canadian Fighter Pilots Association 1992 + Russ Bannock, DSO, DFC and Bar, Turns 100 + Old Canadair CRJs Go for Scrap

One of Canada’s grand annual aviation highlights in “days of yore” was the Canadian Fighter Pilots Association reunion. Hundreds of veterans used to attend to renew acquaintances and keep alive that old spirit of 1939- 45. By the 1980s the fellows still mainly were in their 60s and hadn’t lost much of the old zip from their heyday. Few were worrying about how time slowly was catching up on them, and there were more and more obits to read and funerals to attend. Inevitably, the CFPA dissolved and today almost none of the “originals” survive. I just came across a few miscellaneous old colour prints from the CFPA reunion at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel in September 1992 – getting to be 3 decades ago. It’s important to be reminded about those fabulous Canadians who, when hardly out of their teens, were flying, fighting and dying in theaters of war from the UK to Europe, “the Med”, North Africa, and eastward to India, Ceylon, Burma and (in the Fleet Air Arm) into Japan’s home waters. You’ve read a lot about these great Canadians in many a book. Here today are some of the “quickie” snapshots I took that weekend back in ‘92.

 

A.R. “Andy” Mackenzie (left) with his great wartime pals, Eric G. Smith and Fred Evans. Each had the Distinguished Flying Cross (the striped ribbon on the left in these medal groups). A junior writer of RCAF history (as I was) could not have had such wonderful friends and supporters. During WWII Andy (1920-2009) scored 8 confirmed kills while serving on 421, then, 403 squadrons in the UK and European Theatre of Operations. The citation for his DFC noted: “Flying Officer Mackenzie is a skilful and resolute fighter whose determination to destroy the enemy has always been evident.” Postwar, Andy excelled flying Vampires, then Sabres. He commanded 441 Sqn in the UK, then accepted a tour flying Sabres with the USAF in Korea. On his final patrol there, he was shot down by friendly fire. Captured by the enemy, he spent 2 years in North Korean/Chinese captivity. He was brutally tortured by these masters of the art and forced to sign a phony document admitting to being “a baby killer”. Finally repatriated, Andy returned to RCAF service. He once told me that he was never forgiven by RCAF HQ for his “capitulation” while a POW, so never again was promoted. Andy’s own biography is Mayhem to Mayday: The Two Air Wars of Andy Mackenzie, DFC. For you serious readers … occasionally a copy appears for sale at www.abebooks.com or www.bookfinder.com

I already have featured Eric G. Smith (1921 – 2019) on this blog. You can find that item (with photos) simply by searching for “Eric”. Eric had flown night intruder Mosquitos during the war. The citation for his DFC reads: “This officer has completed a large number of operational sorties. He is a pilot of exceptional ability who has never let either adverse weather or enemy opposition deter him from completing his allotted tasks. He has inflicted considerable damage on the enemy lines of communication, mechanical transport and rolling stock. He has at all times exhibited great determination, initiative and daring and set  inspiring example by his fine fighting spirit and devotion to duty.” That sure sounds like the Eric Smith whom we all knew and loved. Eric also flew Sabres in combat with the USAF in Korea. He then excelled as a Sabre instructor/flight commander at RCAF Station Chatham, but also suffered from RCAF HQ small-mindedness. While CO of 413 Squadron (CF-100s) at Bagotville, one night he “put up a black” (nothing serious) in the mess. As had been Andy Mackenzie, this exceptional Canadian airman then was shunted aside. He soon left air force life to succeed in beef farming and real estate near Oxford Station south of Ottawa. Every summer for many years, the CFPA would enjoy a rip-roaring get together at Andy Mackenzie’s farm in the same neighborhood.

Fred Evans (1919 – 2009) flew Spitfires with 421 Squadron.
Although he tallied just one confirmed kill, he was revered among his
“Red Indian” mates at 421. The citation for his DFC explains: “This
officer has completed a very successful tour of operations. His skill and
resolution to frustrate the enemy on all occasions have set an outstanding example to his fellow pilots. While flying over France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, he has destroyed or damaged large numbers of enemy road transport vehicles, five locomotives and fifty railway goods wagons. He has also destroyed one enemy aircraft and shared in the destruction of another. Flying Officer Evans’ gallantry and fearlessness have proved him to be a brilliant and capable pilot.” As with Andy and Eric, postwar “civvie” life was not for Fred, so he re- joined the RCAF as a “retread”, flew fighters and also had a USAF Korean Sabre tour fighting the MiG-15. We cover the careers of these wonderful RCAF characters in such books as Sixty Years, The Canadair Sabre and Aviation in Canada: Bombing and Coastal Operations. Also see Hugh Halliday’s The Tumbling Sky.

Bob and Crystal Middlemiss with Eric and Andy. Bob (1920 – 2013) excelled as a Spitfire pilot first over the UK beginning in late 1941, then in Malta at the height of the German/Italian campaign to destroy that strategic little island, finally in the ETO. Postwar, he commanded 421 Squadron (Sabres), then pioneered on the F-104, being one of the first in the RCAF to fly it (he also flew the Grumman Super Tiger, the main contender challenging the F-104 for RCAF use – see Sixty Years). Bob commanded 427 Squadron (CF-104s) in NATO, and later in life was 427’s Honourary Colonel. One weekend in 2003 he took me along for 427’s annual “Gathering of Lions” thrash at Petawawa – another memorable event done up to perfection, Twin Huey flights for we VIPs included. Bob died on his 93 rd birthday.

(Above) Bob with his great friend, E.D. “Dean” Kelly. In fact, Dean (1920 – 2000) was beloved to every CFPA member worth his salt. I first was in touch with him in the early 1980s, when researching for CANAV’s project covering the first 60 years of the RCAF. When Hugh Halliday and I later wrote The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945, I talked to Dean about his Spitfire days, which also had included Malta. On a later sortie, he ended “in the drink” in the English Channel. I’d heard that there was a photo of him being fished out by an RAF rescue launch. Sure enough, Dean came up with a copy — here it is. For his efforts during WWII Dean received no DFC, but did receive a “Mention in Despatches”. After the war he excelled on the F-86 with the RCAF Air Division in NATO. Writing to me 35 years ago about those days, the great Sabre pilot, Johnny Greatrix of Winnipeg, noted about those times: “There were so many outstanding pilots, men like Dean Kelly, a superb solo aerobatic star. His shows made our eyes pop out!” Dean next flew the CF-100. When Eric Smith left 413, Dean took over from him. He later became one of the kings of the CF- 101 Voodoo, commanding 416 Squadron 1962-64. His solo Voodoo airshows were also said to be spectacular. He would put the normally non-aerobatic (but noisy and smoky) Voodoo, through its paces all within the tight confines of the airfield.

Dean with Andy Mackenzie. In my experience, all such RCAF wartime fellows were so jolly and positive, always ready to answer a question, come up with a photo, or suggest a good lead.

Another CFPA stalwart was R.D. “Joe” Schultz (1922 – 2011), also known as “Dutch” and “The Big Drifter”. Here’s Joe at the Royal York reunion with former CF-104 pilot, MGen D.R. “Don” Williams, then commanding Canadian Forces Fighter Group. Joe is remembered in many books including Hugh Halliday’s The Tumbling Sky. He flew the Beaufighter and Mosquito in the UK and ETO, scoring 8 confirmed kills against German night bombers. Postwar, he pioneered on the CF-100 and commanded Canada’s first Voodoo squadron. I first tracked down Joe while researching for my 1981 book, The Avro CF-100. That’s when Joe told me about almost losing a wing, when he over-stressed an early CF-100 at Toronto’s CNE airshow. Joe later appeared in such other CANAV titles as Sixty Years, The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945 and Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace Vol.2. Too bad, but he never took up my challenge to write his own story. Joe was the best friend to any history researcher – generous of his time, demanding of accuracy, always positive, etc. The citation to Joe’s DFC reads: “As pilot and observer respectively, Flying Officers Schultz and Williams have completed several sorties at night and have displayed a high degree of skill, courage and determination. During one sortie one night in December 1943, they destroyed three Dornier 217s, a feat which well illustrates their fine fighting qualities. In other sorties they have attacked locomotives and bridges.” That to the Bar to his DFC states: “This officer has at all times displayed great skill and courage in air operations. He has completed a large number of sorties and has invariably pressed home his attacks with much success. Flight Lieutenant Schultz has been responsible for the destruction of eight enemy aircraft at night, two of them during a patrol in April 1945. This officer has set a splendid example of keenness, ability and gallantry.”

As young men, Ron MacGarva (1922 – 2009, right) and Norm Howe (1920 -2018) flew Typhoons with 175 Squadron (RAF). Hugh Halliday summarizes a bit about Ron in his book, Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story: “Having joined the RCAF in 1940, he trained at No.16 EFTS (Edmonton) and No.10 SFTS (Dauphin. Overseas, he did his OTU at Crosby on Eden and went for a few weeks to 412 Squadron, before being posted to 175 Squadron at Warmwell in the spring of 1943. There, many of his ops were against shipping targets and enemy airfields across the Channel. MacGarva was tour-expired that autumn and posted to the Far East to instruct on Hurricanes, then flew more ops with 60 Squadron from Agartala [India]. Post-war, he studied agriculture at the University of Manitoba, but the lure of flying drew him back into the RCAF in 1948. He spent several years on Sabres – instructing at Nellis AFB in Nevada and at RCAF Station Chatham, and doing NATO tours. He led the RCAF team, which won the 1959 NATO gunnery trophy [Guynemer Trophy], and finally left the RCAF in 1969 to work for the Department of Transport” For more about this great RCAF fighter pilot, also see The Canadair Sabre and Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.3.

Ron MacGarva accepts NATO’s 1959 Guynemer Trophy from A/V/M Larry Wray (Air Officer Commanding of RCAF No.1 Air Division). Looking on are Ron’s teammates Dave Barker and Bill Norm on the left, and Alfie McDonald and Bill “Kiwi” McArthur on the right.

Norm Howe received the DFC on August 8, 1944, the recommendation for which (likely from his CO) reads: “This officer has been with the squadron since March 1942 during which time he has flown 79 hours operationally. He took part in the Dieppe Raid when he led his section in low level attacks on gun positions. He is now a Deputy Flight Commander and has led his flight on a number of occasions. He has displayed great keenness and enthusiasm and throughout has set a magnificent example. During a dive-bombing attack on the Cherbourg area he was very badly shot up by flak and in spite of severe damage he brought his aircraft safely home.” Norm died at age 98 on December 6, 2018. His obituary, describing yet another typical member of “The Greatest Generation”, reads in part: “Decorated Royal Air Force fighter pilot, jazz aficionado, fabulous dresser, champion tennis player, amateur water colour artist, bird watcher and skilled raconteur and joke-teller. He also made a very tasty chili and clam chowder, and his blueberry pancakes were first class. It is next to impossible to come up with any negatives about Normie – except perhaps his penchant for never getting rid of anything that he acquired, ever, and during his heyday making a undrinkable, potent, purple, unfiltered-for-fruit flies concoction that members of his Niagara-on-the-Lake cabal astonishingly termed “wine”. He was intelligent, loving, funny, engaging, generous, witty, empathetic, creative and self-sacrificing. He saw the best in others and gave the best he had. He was just someone you wanted to be around. We will miss him terribly.” See even more about Norm Howe at www.canavbooks.wordpress.com Go there and search for “Typhoon and Tempest – Reminiscences”. That will take you to some rare coverage of the RCAF’s last few Typhoon pilots.

Norm Howe (right) of Toronto with his pal Duval Wescott of Winnipeg, while they were tempting fate on a daily basis flying Typhoons with 175 Squadron.

Stanley M. Deluce (1923 – 2010, left) and R.A. “Dick” Watson (1923 – 2010) at the 1992 CFPA get together. Born in Chapleau, Ontario, Stan flew RCAF Hurricanes with 126 Squadron (Eastern Air Command). Postwar, he founded White River Air Services, a small bush flying outfit in Northern Ontario. He also was an engineer with the CPR, a job he held for more than 40 years. Meanwhile, the Deluce children became involved with the family business, “learning the ropes” as young bush pilots. White River eventually absorbed such companies as Austin Airways, grew into Air Ontario, and operates today as Porter Airlines – still family run. In 2007 Stan was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Born in Oba, Ontario, Dick Watson joined the RCAF in 1941 and eventually excelled overseas as a Typhoon pilot. A 1944 RCAF statement about Dick reads: “This officer has completed a tour of operational duty during which he has taken part in many sorties against heavily defended ground targets. At Caen, on 18th July, 1944, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire and exploded in mid-air. He was able to parachute safely to earth and found himself in the midst of a furious tank battle, but he returned to our lines bringing back 139 prisoners with him. He has displayed great presence of mind and gallantry and has been an outstanding example to all those with whom he flies.” Dick received the Croix de Guerre from both France and Belgium (the medals on the right with red ribbons). Postwar, Dick operated a bush flying and tourist operation from Wawa on the Lake Superior shore. For many years it was an annual thing for Dick and his “wild and crazy” Typhoon buddies to gather at one of his lodges to fish, hunt and reminisce.

P/O Dick Watson (then about age 20) about to take his mighty 440 Squadron Typhoon on an operational sortie from one of our advanced fighter bases in France. This has always been one of my favourite Typhoon “action shots”. (RCAF PL40736)

On October 30, 2019 W.C Russ Bannock, DSO, DFC and Bar, was honoured for reaching 100th year. Here, he cuts his cake at the Toronto Cricket Club during Royal Canadian Legion Branch 165’s monthly dinner. Russ is a legendary figure in Canadian aviation, famous originally for his wartime career as a Mosquito night intruder pilot. During his many operations in such roles as CO of 418 “City of Edmonton” Squadron, Russ and his navigators attained ace status, destroying and damaging many enemy aircraft in aerial combat and during daring raids on enemy airfields, and downing 19 V-1 flying bombs (more than any other crew). The citation to Russ’ Distinguished Service Order notes, “As squadron commander, Wing Commander Bannock has proved to be an outstanding success. Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross he has destroyed a further seven enemy aircraft bringing his total victories to at least eleven enemy aircraft destroyed and others damaged. He has also destroyed nineteen flying bombs by night. In addition he has caused considerable disruption to the enemy’s lines of communication. Under this officer’s inspiring leadership his squadron has obtained a fine record of successes and reached a high standard of operational efficiency.” Postwar, Russ joined De Havilland of Canada, where he made the first flight of the DHC-2 Beaver in 1947. Russ eventually rose to be head of sales, then president of DHC. He later founded Bannock Aerospace, which operates to this day. His civil honours include membership in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Order of Ontario. Russ is featured in many books from Hugh Halliday’s The Tumbling Sky to Fred Hotson’s The De Havilland Canada Story to one that Hugh and I did together, The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945.

The famous night intruder team of Russ Bannock (pilot) and Robert Bruce (navigator) under the nose of their Mosquito.

Always supportive of our aviation heritage, Russ Bannock to this day shows up at history events. Here he is (right) ages ago with two other renowned (but late) Canadians at one of CANAV’s famous book launchings. Bob Fowler (left) flew Mitchells over France after D-Day, then excelled postwar as a test pilot at DHC. Centre is K.M. “Ken” Molson, who has done more for Canada’s aviation heritage than anyone. His achievements include founding Canada’s national aviation museum and authoring some of the most prominent Canadian aviation history books. Russ and Bob ever so deservedly are members of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. We are hoping that some day the Hall will also admit Ken.

Canadair CRJs Go for Scrap

This year, aviation historian, Jan Fosgren, photographed some early Canadair CRJs consigned for parting out and scrapping in Sweden. Shown are photos taken in January 2019, when these aircraft were complete except for engines, then how they recently ended. Jan noted on January 18, 2019: “Just thought I’d send you some photos of three CRJ200’s that have been stored at Arlanda airport near Stockholm for several years. I took these last Thursday at Arlanda’s ‘Desolation Row’, which also includes two Caravelles (destined for preservation), one ATP, one Saab 340 and one DC-8-62.”

CRJ-200 VP-BMR was Canadair Serial No.7192 delivered initially as N623BR in September 1997 to Atlantic Coast Airlines of Dulles International Airport. In 2004 ACA became Independence Air. In 2009 N623BR was acquired by Air Volga of Volgograd, then (when the airline went bankrupt in April 2010), it joined RusLine of Moscow the following year. By 2019 RusLine is said to have had a fleet in 17 old CRJs. “BMR” flew to Arlanda for storage in February 2014. Jan wrote to me again on October 30 this year with some details: “After a Russian team had removed anything of value, the scrappers moved in two days ago. A sad sight, but a reminder that even 20-year old airliners can be of no value other than as scrap metal. I managed to obtain one item from JA01RJ — a ‘Mind the Steps’ sign in English and Japanese.” Notice that these CRJs are in “ER” (“engines removed”) condition. The GE engines go first as quite often they still have a few years left in them. At least they are good for spare parts.

Japanese-registered CRJ-200 JA-01RJ was a very early CRJ-100 (s/n 7012). In April 1993 it went new from Canadair of Montreal as N914CA to Comair/Delta Connection of Cincinnatti. In 2010 it was in storage at Calgary, where CRJs mainly were meeting their sad endings as piles of mangled aluminum (once anything of value had been stripped). Somehow, 7012 ended with a short reprieve, having been ferried out of Calgary some time after October 2012 (no details presently known). What is the meaning of 7012’s Japanese registration? Sometimes such details are elusive.

Built in Y2K, CRJ-200 s/n 7426 VQ-BBW started with ACA and Independence Air as N651BR. In 2006 it moved to Mesa Airlines of Phoenix and in 2009 went to Rusline of Moscow. In their dying days, such well-worn CRJs often get a quick new paint job. They look fine, but really … quite often they are being “flown into the ground” to squeeze the last few cycles/dollars out of them. In June 2011 “BBW” was consigned to the boneyard at Arlanda. Jan adds this interesting bit of history, “Built by Bombardier, the 50-seat CRJ-100 entered airline service in 1994, with 226 being built. The improved CRJ-200 proved a huge success, with 709 being delivered.” Many of these early CRJs remain in daily use. Most are very well cared for, a few “out in the boonies” are basket cases.

Early Film Footage of the Boeing 707 + Rick Mercer Reports on the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster + Dave Fairbanks Is Honoured at Ithaca

The Boeing 707 — Early Development and Initial Service This is a very worthwhile viewing experience. It’s a 1960 Boeing promotional movie with some very nice footage from around the world, including by one of my earliest correspondents, the great Gordon S. Williams. Have a look and enjoy — just google this link and you should get there:     https://youtu.be/JEFjhLwThmc

And … if you have another spare 6 minutes, check out Rick Mercer’s wonderful coverage of his flight in the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster!

Dave Fairbanks Honoured in Canada and the United States

While serving the RCAF during WWII, Dave Fairbanks mainly flew the powerful Hawker Tempest V, an advanced British fighter that was greatly feared by the enemy.

Among new members inducted at the Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame annual dinner this year (2019) in Montreal was the great David Charles “Dave” Fairbanks. Born in Ithaca, New York in 1922, early in WWII Dave joined the RCAF, where he excelled as an instructor, then as a fighter pilot. In combat in the European Theatre of Action, Dave gained “ace” status and received the Distinguished Flying Cross three times. Postwar, he led the way with several key projects as a test and demonstration pilot with De Havilland Canada in Toronto. That’s the period when I first met Dave. During the Toronto airshow on September 2, 1961, Dave flew me back and forth between Downsview Airport and Toronto Island Airport in Caribou No.2 CF-LAN. Flipping through some early pages in my passenger logbook, I see that I flew again with Dave on August 28, 1963 (at the same airshow) in Caribou CF-OYE. Those were the years when we local high school aviation buffs often could scrounge such flights from the ever-friendly DHC pilots.

 

Dave Fairbanks with his Tempest EJ762 following a severe encounter with German flak on November 19, 1944. Commanding 274 Squadron, Dave became the top Tempest ace with at least 11 kills.

 

Dave Fairbanks was a prominent part of several key De Havilland Canada programs during the height of the STOL (short takeoff and landing) development period. His first big assignment was the DHC-4 Caribou, which he and fellow pilot George Neal flew initially on July 30, 1958. Here they are that day (Dave on the right, George on the left) with flight test engineer Hans Brinkman.

CF-LAN-X was the second prototype Caribou. The US Army became the main Caribou operator.

Pilot’s Progress

Dave Fairbanks certainly made his mark at DHC. Besides Caribou test flying, from October 1959 to May 1960 he and A.W. “Mick” Saunders piloted CF-LVA on the first Caribou round-the-world sales tour. Dave contributed steadily to various on-going and upcoming DHC projects, the Twin Otter, Buffalo and Dash 7 included. He also carried out a lot of routine flying duties. Recently, Darrel Smith told me about one of these. Darrel had been with the Vancouver RCAF air reserve flying everything from Harvards and Vampires to Otters. When his squadron (442 Sqn) received its first Otters in 1960, Dave Fairbanks went west to make himself useful by giving some Otter seminars and flying instruction to 442. Lately, Darrel told me, “Certainly nice that Ithaca’s air event [see below] was dedicated to Dave. I too was really pleased that he was inducted into the CAHF last May. I had the pleasure of flying with Dave when we received our first Otters at 442, He was certainly a very well respected pilot.”

Following the Caribou, Dave did much development flying on the DHC-5 Buffalo and DHC-6 Twin Otter. Here, he does a dramatic Buffalo STOL departure from a baseball park along the East River in New York City. This was part of a grand demonstration to show the potential to city life of STOL aircraft. Then, a Twin Otter is seen landing in a tight spot during the same demonstration. These two wonderful photos were taken by the late, great Howard Levy of New Jersey.

Dave Passes On

Dave Fairbanks during his later years at DHC.

On February 20, 1975, just two weeks after the Dash 7 had been rolled out, Dave died of unexpected heart failure at the young age of 52. Happily, the basic details of his eminent aviation career are recorded in Fred Hotson’s 1995 book, De Havilland in Canada, and in Norman Franks’ 2019 book, Gallantry in Action: Airmen Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Two Bars 1918-1955. There’s also a good summary of Dave’s life on the “Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame” website cahf.ca. You can check out these sources for the fuller story.

When you get a chance to visit Canada’s National Air Force Museum in Trenton, Ontario, be sure to look for the wonderful display of F/L Dave Fairbanks’ memorabilia, his wartime logbook and DFC Citations included. (Photo by Ken Swartz)

Getting Dave Inducted

How did the process work to get Dave Fairbanks inducted into the CAHF? The initial push came from longtime DHC pilot, Tom Appleton. Tom had worked under Dave since the mid-1960s as a test and demonstration pilot, excelling especially in Buffalo test and development flying. Tom later was president of the Amphibious Aircraft Division at Bombardier Aerospace, president of Piaggio America, and to this day is active in aerospace. In 2018 he asked if I would second his nomination for Dave to the CAHF. That, of course, was an honour and, happily, Tom’s efforts panned out – Dave was selected. However, the preliminaries had not been “a piece of cake”.

Although Dave was well known in test flying circles around the world, few details about his personal life were known. Tom knew that he had grown up in Ithaca, but Dave seemed to have no known relatives. His wife was believed to have passed away and they had had no children. Dave’s parents had long ago passed on and there was no sign of any siblings. Meanwhile, I had heard that MGen (ret’d) Mike Hall now was airport manager at Ithaca Tomkins Airport. I had known Mike when he commanded the 174th Tactical Fighter Squadron, a New York Air National Guard A-10 unit based at Syracuse. I connected Tom with Mike, then, one weekend Tom visited Mike to see what more he could learn. This foray paid off, for Tom found some leads about Dave’s youth, etc. through the Ithaca high school, local newspaper archives and other historical sources. Meanwhile, retired Canadian War Museum historian, Hugh Halliday, provided us with all known details about Dave’s wartime RCAF career by reviewing his personnel file at Library and Archives Canada. After filtering through all such material, Tom was able to present the CAHF with a good argument in Dave’s favour. At the CAHF Induction Dinner held in Bombardier’s business jet completion hangar at Dorval (Montreal) in May, we all enjoyed a video covering Dave’s accomplishments. CAHF historian, John Chalmers, CAHF stawald, Mary Oswald, and others at the CAHF in Wetaskiwin, Alberta teamed to create this wonderful piece of history. Mike and Sheela Hall attended from Ithaca. Dave Fairbanks now was formally recognized in the wide world of aviation history. Everyone went home satisfied and the Hall of Fame staff began looking ahead to 2020 and a new group of inductees.

Follow-Up

Meanwhile, down in Ithaca other wheels of aviation history were turning. When he took over as airport manager in 2014, Mike Hall had introduced an annual airport open house. For 2019 it seemed important to him that this year’s event should be dedicated in honour of Dave Fairbanks, and so it happened. Tom, his wife, Heather, and I were invited. On September 13 we drove from Toronto to Ithaca, where we enjoyed a wonderful evening in one of the main Ithaca Tomkins Airport hangars. Banquet tables were arranged around the EAA’s fabulous B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” (an impressive backdrop), Mike and Tom spoke, and a fine time was had by all.

The crowd starts to gather in the hangar for the Dave Fairbanks event. Then …  time to eat!

Mike Hall delivers his opening remarks. Through his distinguished USAF career, Mike flew NORAD’s top fighter – the F- 106. He later joined the New York Air National Guard, flying the A-10 and F-16 with the 174th TFS at Syracuse. Eventually, he commanded the squadron.

Tom Appleton outlines the Dave Fairbanks story. Tom worked several years as a test pilot under Dave at De Havilland Canada. Then, Mike Hall chatting with Tom and Heather Appleton.

Ithaca Tomkins Airport

Next morning the airport tarmac was open to the public. It was great fun with many displays of aircraft, collectable cars, and much airport equipment for everyone to enjoy at the “hands on” level. Topping it all off, “Aluminum Overcast” made several passenger flights.

The flying club hosted a pancake breakfast. Visitors packed the hangar. Then, EAA B- 17 N5017N on the tarmac ready for its first of several flights. Happily, the weather was starting to clear. The detail photo of the instrument panel shows a mixture of old and new technology.

N5017N “Aluminum Overcast” as I first saw it at the Canadian Warplane Heritage airshow at Hamilton, Ontario in June 1979. Note that it still was in “stripped down” condition. Originally USAAF tail number 44-85740, N5017N had been delivered too late (1945) to see combat. Instead, in 1947 it was sold for $750 scrap value to Charles Winters, who soon re-sold it for $3500. Registered N5017N, it was converted to haul cargo, so all excess weight (gun turrets, etc.) was removed. It then started freighting between Florida and Puerto Rico. In 1949 N5017N was re-sold for $28,000 (how its market value had exploded!) to Aero Service Corp. and converted for high level aerial photography. Later, N5017N had a life as a bug sprayer, until finally getting into the warbird world in 1978, when acquired by Dr. William Harrison. In 1980 he donated the plane to the EAA, which eventually, re-converted it to look as it would have when rolled off the Boeing production line. For more about “Aluminum Overcast” see Scott A. Thompson’s superb book Final Cut The Post-War B-17 Flying Fortress: The Survivors and B17 Aluminum Overcast Tour – EAA

Lots of car collectors turned out for the Saturday event at Ithaca Tomkins Airport. Here, vintage car aficionado, Tom Appleton, admires a 1937 Packard, and talks it over with the owner.

All sorts of airport equipment were on display, including this 1958 American Lafrance (Dodge Power Wagon) fire truck. Meanwhile, the nearby community of Lansing was taking visitors on “flights” in the bucket of its 100-foot aerial ladder.

Ithaca being in a New York state snow belt, the airport is ready for the worst in winter storms. A variety of exotic snow removal equipment is always at the ready once winter closes in. Everyone had a chance to inspect this amazing technology.

Airport manager, Mike Hall, (right) on duty on the ramp.

Commercial flights came and went during the day. Here, Delta Connection’s Bombardier CRJ-200 N496CA arrives.

Cornell University

Ithaca is renowned as the home of Cornell University. Dave Fairbanks grew up in this rarefied atmosphere and his own father was a Cornell professor. For our weekend visit, our hosts set us up royally in the Statler Hotel on the Cornell campus. Here are a few snapshots taken during my walk-arounds. First, the Ezra Cornell monument, then the famous Cornell clock tower.

This week, Cornell’s renowned art gallery was featuring an interesting “installation” – a beat- up old “hippy” Volvo.

Another typical scene on the historic Cornell campus.