Old Canadair Originals Surface (Mostly a Tale of DC-3s)

Canadair PBY rollout  _LR

(Click on the photos to see them full size.) Factory fresh RCAF Consolidated PBY-5 9806 “Princess Alice” is rolled out midst fanfare at Canadian Vickers in March 1943. After its wartime RCAF service, 9806 was sold in Brazil as PP-PCX. With the fall of Germany and Japan in 1945, this great PBY factory became home to a new company — Canadair.

Historic photographs steadily surface in the CANAV Books archives. There’ll never be enough time to use but a fraction more of these in books. Happily, our blog provides a nice outlet. Here are a few recent finds – original Kodak 4 x 5 colour transparencies plus some lovely first generation b/w prints all taken by Canadair’s photographers at Cartierville in the late 1940s. Cartierville was booming at this period. In the factories along the north airport boundary (the Bois Franc Rd. side), CanCar was turning out new Norseman Vs and developing the Burnelli CBY-3 Cargomaster, a twin-engine transport in the DC-3 category. Things were hopping at the old Curtiss Reid Flying School along St. Laurent Blvd., with lots of war surplus airplanes buzzing around — Tiger Moths and Cornells, Ansons and Cranes. But the real action was at Canadair, a new company formed at war’s end in the suddenly dormant Canadian Vickers facility, where hundreds of PBY-5s had been manufactured for the war effort. With a big push from Ottawa bulldozed through by C.D. Howe, and promoted by company founder, Benjamin Franklin, Canadair began manufacturing North Star transports for TCA, the RCAF and BOAC. A less glitzy yet very important second big enterprise was refurbishing hundreds of war-weary C-47s for the airlines and for “Corporate Canada”. Here are a few samples from my vintage Canadair photo files bolstered by other relevant b/w pix, which I took back around 1960 (serious bibliophiles will have enjoyed many other such photos in CANAV titles over the decades).

Wouldn’t you just love to slide back in time to spend a lovely summer’s day picnicking at postwar Cartierville! Here sits CF-TFC “Champlain”, a sparkling new Canadair North Star ready for hand-over to TCA in the summer of 1947. In the distance under the engines are the Curtiss Reid flying school hangars. Over by the looming billboard on St. Laurent Blvd. are some of the barrack blocks that accommodated wartime workers. This is one of the Canadair original 4x5s in my collection where the colours got compromised over 60-70 years. Getting them back in 2015 was a challenge. On the whole, however, these big Kodak transparencies have weathered the decades well.

Wouldn’t you just love to slide back in time to spend a lovely summer’s day picnicking at postwar Cartierville! Here sits CF-TFC “Champlain”, a sparkling new Canadair North Star ready for hand-over to TCA in the summer of 1947. In the distance under the engines are the Curtiss Reid flying school hangars. Over by the looming billboard on St. Laurent Blvd. are some of the barrack blocks that accommodated wartime workers. This is one of the Canadair original 4x5s in my collection where the colours got compromised over 60-70 years. Getting them back in 2015 was a challenge. On the whole, however, these big Kodak transparencies have weathered the decades well.

Canadair 2 DC-3 line

The booming DC-3 line at Cartierville circa 1946. This enterprise brought in a plane load of much-needed cash just as Canadair was trying to get a foothold in the worldwide aviation market. Benjamin Franklin played his cards very sharply in the war surplus materiel game., scooping up trainloads of DC-3 and DC-4 components at Douglas plants in the US at 10 cents a pound.

Ready for delivery, gleaming DC-3 CF-GJZ taxies in the snow at Cartierville in 1948. “GJZ” had begun off the Douglas production line in 1943 as USAAC C-47 42-92400. In 1944 it went to the RAF as Dakota FZ639, did its wartime service, then was acquired dirt cheap by Canadair at war’s end. Fully rejuvenated, it was sold to the Algoma Steel Company of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Christened “Victoria”, it operated into 1964, when it was replaced by Gulfstream CF-ASC. From then into 1977, it flew as N510Z and N766VM (mostly based in Florida). Finally, it migrated to Guatemala with military tail number “510”. In 2015 it reportedly was a museum piece somewhere in Guatemala.

Ready for delivery, gleaming DC-3 CF-GJZ taxies in the snow at Cartierville in 1948. “GJZ” had begun off the Douglas production line in 1943 as USAAC C-47 42-92400. In 1944 it went to the RAF as Dakota FZ639, did its wartime service, then was acquired dirt cheap by Canadair at war’s end. Fully rejuvenated, it was sold to the Algoma Steel Company of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Christened “Victoria”, it operated into 1964, when it was replaced by Gulfstream CF-ASC. From then into 1977, it flew as N510Z and N766VM (mostly based in Florida). Finally, it migrated to Guatemala with military tail number “510”. In 2015 it reportedly was a museum piece somewhere in Guatemala.

“Victoria” during a 1959 visit to Toronto/Malton. Legendary pilot Allan Coggan of Algoma Steel usually was in the captain’s seat on such a visit.

“Victoria” during a 1959 visit to Toronto/Malton. Legendary pilot Allan Coggan of Algoma Steel usually was in the captain’s seat on such a visit.

In 2012 David Osborn came across Canadair DC-3 CF-GJZ/FAG510 at La Aurora airport in Guatemala City. How the mighty have fallen, one might observe! La Aurora is a fairly typical Central American airport. Take a look at the satellite view of it on Google. See if you can spot a B-25, a T-33 and at least two DC-3s, along with a wide collection of other types big and small, old and new.

In 2012 David Osborn came across Canadair DC-3 CF-GJZ/FAG510 at La Aurora airport in Guatemala City. How the mighty have fallen, one might observe! La Aurora is a fairly typical Central American airport. Take a look at the satellite view of it on Google. See if you can spot a B-25, a T-33 and at least two DC-3s, along with a wide collection of other types big and small, old and new.

Canadair’s own DC-3 CF-DXU at Malton on May 19, 1960. Originally 42-93060 delivered to the USAAF in early 1944, it soon was transferred to the RCAF as KG526 for domestic use. It was converted for TCA as CF-TED in 1945, but a few months later returned to Canadair. As “DXU” it served the company into 1968, by which time the company had a Convair 240 and a Mallard. “DXU” then worked for many Canadian operators (mainly in the north) into the early 1980s, when it went for pots and pans.

Canadair’s own DC-3 CF-DXU at Malton on May 19, 1960. Originally 42-93060 delivered to the USAAF in early 1944, it soon was transferred to the RCAF as KG526 for domestic use. It was converted for TCA as CF-TED in 1945, but a few months later returned to Canadair. As “DXU” it served the company into 1968, by which time the company had a Convair 240 and a Mallard. “DXU” then worked for many Canadian operators (mainly in the north) into the early 1980s, when it went for pots and pans.

Before there was “DXU” there very briefly was “DXT”. Formerly RAF KP216, it was dormant at Dorval when the war ended. Benjamin Franklin quickly latched on to it, getting it serviceable in 1946 and looking fine in glitzy Canadair markings. Then an Argentine buyer cropped up to whom “DXT” was just as quickly sold. As LV-ADG it seems to have endured in Argentina into the early 1970s.

Before there was “DXU” there very briefly was “DXT”. Formerly RAF KP216, it was dormant at Dorval when the war ended. Benjamin Franklin quickly latched on to it, getting it serviceable in 1946 and looking very flashy in glitzy Canadair markings. Then an Argentine buyer cropped up to whom “DXT” was just as quickly sold. As LV-ADG it seems to have endured in Argentina into the early 1970s.

One of the choice photo ops in which we fans would revel at Malton Airport in the 1950s would be a DC-3 parked in the clear. This magnificent example had been USAAC 42-9228. Delivered in October 1943, it soon was handed over to the RAF as FL596. Canadair snagged it for peanuts in the UK in 1947, had it ferried across the pond (ferry pilots were lucky to get $50 for such a trip), then fitted it luxuriously for the filthy rich Eaton family of Toronto. The Eatons flew “ETE” into 1963, when it was replaced with Canada’s first Lockheed Jetstar, CF-ETN. Thereafter, “ETE” served the Hudsons Bay Co. in Winnipeg for a dozen years, then laboured in the north for Ilford Riverton, etc., before migrating to Florida in 1979 as N62WS. Sadly, ol’ “ETE” could only get into trouble in its new environment. For starters, in 1980 it was impounded in Indiana for a drugs infraction. Slithering out of that jam, it moved to Central America to smuggle more drugs and run guns. In March 1984 it was shot down by unknown desperados along the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border. At the time it was falsely flying its once proud identity – CF-ETE.

One of the choice photo ops in which we school-age fans would revel at Malton Airport in the 1950s would be a DC-3 parked in the clear. This magnificent example had been USAAC 42-9228. Delivered in October 1943, it soon was handed over to the RAF as FL596. Canadair snagged it for peanuts in the UK in 1947, had it ferried across the pond (ferry pilots were lucky to get $50 for such a trip), then fitted it luxuriously for the filthy rich Eaton family of Toronto. The Eatons flew “ETE” into 1963, when it was replaced with Canada’s first Lockheed Jetstar, CF-ETN. Thereafter, “ETE” served the Hudsons Bay Co. in Winnipeg for a dozen years, then laboured in the north for Ilford Riverton, etc., before migrating to Florida in 1979 as N62WS. Sadly, ol’ “ETE” could only get into trouble in its new environment. For starters, in 1980 it was impounded in Indiana for a drugs infraction. Slithering out of that jam, it moved to Central America to smuggle more drugs and run guns. In March 1984 it was shot down by unknown desperados along the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border. At the time it was falsely flying its once proud identity – CF-ETE.

Story time … CF-TDJ began as USAAC C-49J 43-1985. Acquired by Canadair in 1945, it was converted as one of TCA’s original DC-3s. However, “TDJ” soon was re-sold to Goodyear Tire and Rubber of Toronto. Canadair installed the deluxe interior, then “TDJ” faithfully served Goodyear into 1984, when it was replaced by a Learjet. In October 1982 I had a memorable flight in “TDJ”. This was connected to my pal, Steve Piercey, being in town to do an air-to-air shoot with “TDJ” for an article in his beloved Propliner magazine. Steve worked that day from an Aztec, provided gratis by the great Carl Millard (see Steve’s “TDJ” item in Propliner, Winter 1982). Some time later, I mentioned to Captain Don Murray (who had flown “TDJ” from the day it joined Goodyear) that instead of dumping its beloved DC-3 for far less than it was worth, Goodyear could try donating it to Canada’s National Aviation Museum in Ottawa in exchange for a decent tax receipt. Being a history-minded and penny-wise fellow, Don listened, then jumped on my suggestion. A deal was arranged with the NAM at Rockcliffe. On December 19, 1983 Bob Bradford (head of the NAM) and several guests, myself and Ken Molson included, boarded “TDJ” for its nostalgic last flight. In perfect weather we cruised up to Rockcliffe, made a ceremonial flypast on arrival, landed, then watched as CF-TDJ was pushed into the main hangar. There it sits to this day just as you see it here.

Story time … CF-TDJ began as USAAC C-49J 43-1985. Acquired by Canadair in 1945, it was converted as one of TCA’s original DC-3s. However, “TDJ” soon was re-sold to Goodyear Tire and Rubber of Toronto. Canadair installed the deluxe interior, then “TDJ” faithfully served Goodyear into 1984, when it was replaced by a Learjet. In October 1982 I had a memorable flight in “TDJ”. This was connected to my pal, Steve Piercey, being in town to do an air-to-air shoot with “TDJ” for an article in his beloved Propliner magazine. Steve worked that day from an Aztec, provided gratis by the great Carl Millard (see Steve’s “TDJ” item in Propliner, Winter 1982). Some time later, I mentioned to Captain Don Murray (who had flown “TDJ” from the day it joined Goodyear) that instead of dumping its beloved DC-3 for far less than it was worth, Goodyear could try donating it to Canada’s National Aviation Museum in Ottawa in exchange for a decent tax receipt. Being a history-minded and penny-wise fellow, Don listened, then jumped on my suggestion. A deal was arranged with the NAM at Rockcliffe. On December 19, 1983 Bob Bradford (head of the NAM) and several guests, myself and Ken Molson included, boarded “TDJ” for its nostalgic last flight. In perfect weather we cruised up to Rockcliffe, made a ceremonial flypast on arrival, landed, then watched as CF-TDJ was pushed into the main hangar. There it sits to this day just as you see it here.

TCA received more than 20 Canadair DC-3 rebuilds. Here CF-TEG sits in its polished glory at Cartierville, ready for customer acceptance. “TEG” served TCA 1945-57, then Canada’s Dept. of Transport as CF-GXW to 1985. In 1986 it flew around the world promoting Vancouver’s Expo 86. Last heard of in the 2010s it was N173RD with Algonquin Airlines.

TCA received more than 20 Canadair DC-3 rebuilds. Here CF-TEG sits in its polished glory at Cartierville, ready for customer acceptance. “TEG” served TCA 1945-57, then Canada’s Dept. of Transport as CF-GXW to 1985. In 1986 it flew around the world promoting Vancouver’s Expo 86. Last heard of in the 2010s it was N173RD with Algonquin Airlines.

Having begun in 1944 as USAAF 43-15079, this DC-3 was acquired by Canadair for conversion and sold circa 1947 to Aeroposta Argentina. Little is known of its later career, but there is a mention that it may have been wrecked soon after migrating to the Southern Hemisphere.

Having begun in 1944 as USAAF 43-15079, this DC-3 was acquired by Canadair for conversion and sold circa 1947 to Aeroposta Argentina. Little is known of its later career, but there is a mention that it may have been wrecked soon after migrating to the Southern Hemisphere.

Having begun in 1944 as USAAF 43-15079, this DC-3 was acquired by Canadair for conversion and sold circa 1947 to Aeroposta Argentina. Little is known of its later career, but there is a mention that it may have been wrecked soon after migrating to the Southern Hemisphere.

Originally USAAC 42-93418, this C-47 mainly served the RAF as KG598. It reached Cartierville for rebuild in July 1946, then was sold as a virtually new DC-3 to Aviateka of Guatemala. There, it operated until a landing mishap some 30 years later.

Having begun in 1944 as USAAF 43-15079, this DC-3 was acquired by Canadair for conversion and sold circa 1947 to Aeroposta Argentina. Little is known of its later career, but there is a mention that it may have been wrecked soon after migrating to the Southern Hemisphere.

This Canadair DC-3 was done up for Colonial Airlines, predecessor of American Airlines. Note the pristine appearance of the airplane fresh off the Cartierville line, and how it flies the Canada Post Office emblem.

Canadair sold a number of DC-3s to Colonial. Here is NC86591, which served the US Army during the war, including in the “Market Garden” disaster over Holland in September 1944, where dozens of C-47s were shot down. Many of Canadair’s C-47s had seen combat. The old timers used to tell me how some arrived at Cartierville bearing the scars of battle. NC86591 well might have been one of these “Gooney Birds” with bullet holes and patches. Canadair handed it over to Colonial in May 1946, but it soon was sold on to Aerolineas Argentinas, becoming LV-AGE. On June 3, 1951 it crashed at Puerto Deseado, happily without casualties.

Canadair sold a number of DC-3s to Colonial. Here is NC86591, which served the US Army during the war, including in the “Market Garden” disaster over Holland in September 1944, where dozens of C-47s were shot down. Many of Canadair’s C-47s had seen combat. The old timers used to tell me how some arrived at Cartierville bearing the scars of battle. NC86591 well might have been one of these “Gooney Birds” with bullet holes and patches. Canadair handed it over to Colonial in May 1946, but it soon was sold on to Aerolineas Argentinas, becoming LV-AGE. On June 3, 1951 it crashed at Puerto Deseado, happily without casualties.

One of the “Great Silver Fleet” DC-3s which Canadair delivered to Eastern Airlines. NC15667 had begun as USAAC C-49J 43-1986. Sold by EAL in 1952, it had numerous subsequent owners and last was heard of in 1988 as N211TA at Miami.

One of the “Great Silver Fleet” DC-3s which Canadair delivered to Eastern Airlines. NC15667 had begun as USAAC C-49J 43-1986. Sold by EAL in 1952, it had numerous subsequent owners and last was heard of in 1988 as N211TA at Miami.

A tragic tale … DC-3 DT990 began as USAAC 42-93170. Its wartime years were spent on the home front, then it retired for disposal at the vast military airplane “graveyard” at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. Next stop was Cartierville, where Canadair refurbished it for the Netherlands East Indies military. Later, it joined Indonesian airline Garuda as PK-GDY. While on a flight of February 3, 1964, “GDY” disappeared forever with all 26 passengers and crew. The fanatical spotter will note the shiny Burnelli CBY-3 Cargomaster sitting far across the field.

A tragic tale … DC-3 DT990 began as USAAC 42-93170. Its wartime years were spent on the home front, then it retired for disposal at the vast military airplane “graveyard” at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. Next stop was Cartierville, where Canadair refurbished it for the Netherlands East Indies military. Later, it joined Indonesian airline Garuda as PK-GDY. While on a flight of February 3, 1964, “GDY” disappeared forever with all 26 passengers and crew. The fanatical spotter will note the shiny Burnelli CBY-3 Cargomaster sitting far across the field.

Canadair also did such non-DC-3 conversions as an Anson Mk.5 for Goodyear Tire and Rubber of Toronto (this Anson soon was replaced by CF-TDJ). In another case, in April 1948 BA Oil of Toronto purchased ex-TCA Lockheed 18 Lodestar CF-TDE, which went to Canadair for executive conversion. Re-registered CF-BAO, here it is ready for delivery. “BAO” served BA Oil from Toronto’s Malton Airport into 1960. It next was sold in the US, then to a Peruvian company for aerial survey duties.

Canadair also did such non-DC-3 conversions as an Anson Mk.5 for Goodyear Tire and Rubber of Toronto (this Anson soon was replaced by CF-TDJ). In another case, in April 1948 BA Oil of Toronto purchased ex-TCA Lockheed 18 Lodestar CF-TDE, which went to Canadair for executive conversion. Re-registered CF-BAO, here it is ready for delivery. “BAO” served BA Oil from Toronto’s Malton Airport into 1960. It next was sold in the US, then to a Peruvian company for aerial survey duties.

The interior of a typical Canadair VIP DC-3 conversion. Oversized comfy seats were de rigeur. Note the other furnishings of the day -- curtains, telephone, cabinetry, lamp, etc. This view looks aft toward the door into the biffy.

The interior of a typical Canadair VIP DC-3 conversion. Oversized comfy seats were de rigeur. Note the other furnishings of the day — curtains, telephone, cabinetry, lamp, etc. This view looks aft toward the door into the biffy.

The interior of a typical Canadair VIP DC-3 conversion. Oversized comfy seats were de rigeur. Note the other furnishings of the day -- curtains, telephone, cabinetry, lamp, etc. This view looks aft toward the door into the biffy.

One of the more exotic VIP conversions done by Canadair was the C-5 for the RCAF. A DC-4/DC-6 hybrid, only one C-5 was built. It was delivered to Ottawa as the RCAF’s premier VIP airplane. Here is the aft cabin with typical 1950s-style furnishings. The curtains are RCAF tartan. Tales of the C-5 are related in CANAV’s classic title The Canadair North Star.

the C-5 are related in CANAV’s classic title The Canadair North Star. Canadair 19 A view of Cartierville looking northwest with St. Laurent Blvd going off toward to right (north). The main plant was built during the war for PBY-5 production, then was converted in 1945 to build North Stars. This view is circa 1960 -- the CL-44 and CL-66 (Convair 540) era. Across the field is the old Noorduyn Norseman factory, where Harvards and Norsemans were built, then T-33s, Sabres, CF-5s, CL-41s and F-104s in the 1950s-60s. Many more details of this historic landscape are recorded in Canadair: The First 50 Years, The Canadair North Star and Air Transport in Canada. Today, Cartierville airport is gone, replaced by residential neighbourhoods. However, the main plant, where Bombardier still manufactures aircraft structures, survives. For more about the DC-3 in Canada, scroll back and enjoy “Where are They Now? Canada’s Enduring DC-3s”.

A view of Cartierville looking northwest with St. Laurent Blvd going off toward to right (north). The main plant was built during the war for PBY-5 production, then was converted in 1945 to build North Stars. This view is circa 1960 — the CL-44 and CL-66 (Convair 540) era. Across the field is the old Noorduyn Norseman factory, where Harvards and Norsemans were built, then T-33s, Sabres, CF-5s, CL-41s and F-104s in the 1950s-60s. Many more details of this historic landscape are recorded in Canadair: The First 50 Years, The Canadair North Star and Air Transport in Canada. Today, Cartierville airport is gone, replaced by residential neighbourhoods. However, the main plant, where Bombardier still manufactures aircraft structures, survives. For more about the DC-3 in Canada, scroll back and enjoy “Where Are They Now? Canada’s Enduring DC-3s”.

Incredible adventures of the Norseman con’t…

Blog Norseman CF-HCBNew Norseman material emerges pretty well daily. Recently, Aric Aldrich sent me this classic Norseman scene captured (location unknown) in May 1956 by Leo Kohn, an early post-WWII airplane photography hobbyist. CF-HCB began in July 1944 as US Army UC-64A 44-70303. A year later it became NC33177. After its brief US civil career, it migrated to Canada in 1953. This is the very Norseman in which Carl Crossley force-landed in the Arctic just a few days after Leo photographed it. HCB was lost through the ice, but Carl was rescued. This is one of the many incredible adventures related in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, which you can order online  here (Vol. 1) and here (Vol. 2).

More Norseman Tales: CF-JIN ex-RCAF 2482

RCAF Norseman 2482 in wartime days.The colour scheme was standard yellow overall. Postwar, 2482 became CF-JIN,  remaining in service into 2015. (CANAV Books Collection)

RCAF Norseman 2482 in wartime days.The colour scheme was standard yellow overall. Postwar, 2482 became CF-JIN, remaining in service into 2015. (CANAV Books Collection)

One of the busier Norsemans in modern times has been CF-JIN. Originally RCAF 2482 in 1941, it was struck off strength in 1953. It eventually re-appeared in 1957 as CF-JIN with Austin Airways, where it toiled into 1969. The next few years are a puzzle as to operations. There was a long dormancy, then, in 1988 it popped up at Red Lake Air Service in NW Ontario. In 1995 it moved across Howey Bay to Chimo Air Service, where it remained into 2015.

CF-JIN stuck in the boonies circa 1960 during Austin Airways times. Looks like an engine change is under way. (CANAV Books Collection)

CF-JIN stuck in the boonies circa 1960 during Austin Airways times. Looks like an engine change is under way. (CANAV Books Collection)

In October 2002 JIN went south for overhaul at Mo Nesbitt’s Corporate Aircraft Restorations in Oshawa. Specializing in such vintage types as the Tiger Moth, Harvard and Chipmunk, CAR found JIN to be in reasonable condition, even its wooden wing. On May 1, 2003, by then looking like a factory fresh Norseman, JIN was trucked to Oshawa Harbour, assembled, craned into the water, then towed to nearby Whitby, whose beach made test flights convenient. JIN next made a short hop to Lake Scugog for post-test flight checks, then flew home to Red Lake. In the following years it has worked summers in the fly-in fishing and tourist camp trade.

CF-JIN at CAR

Work is nearly done retoring CF-JIN in the CAR hangar. Al Wingate, looks on. Al knew a thing or two about Norsemans having ferried one to Argentina after the war. a story related in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman. (Wally Norris)

 Work is nearly done retoring CF-JIN in the CAR hangar. Al Wingate, looks on. Al knew a thing or two about Norsemans having ferried one to Argentina after the war. a  story related in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman. (Wally Norris)

Following overhaul, CF-JIN heads through the streets of Oshawa towards Lake Ontario for assembly and test flying. (Wally Norris)

Flying JIN in the season following its rebuild was Bob Cameron of Whitehorse. In 2015 Bob recalled:

When I first arrived at Red Lake in May 2002, I was put to work flying Norseman CF-KAO. CF-JIN was still sitting up on shore in “winter mode”, but soon also was busy hauling fishermen out to the lodges. After I had been on KAO for a couple of weeks, chief pilot Dave Robertson announced: “So you think you’re a Norseman pilot now that you’re comfortable with KAO. Well, anyone can fly KAO. The real test is to make JIN haul a load. It’s now your turn.”

JIN had been maligned, in my opinion, hung with a reputation of being a “dog”. The Norseman is legendary for long take-off runs, and for that certain talent required of a pilot to work the “sweetspot” in getting his plane off the water. True, KAO seemed to dispel that traditional reputation with its amazing agility. Nonetheless, to me JIN was more of a “normal” Norseman, demanding that the pilot work the sweetspot with precision. I found that the sweetspot subtly moved incrementally forward from the moment it was established on the step, to when it smoothly lifted off. Dave Robertson told me that JIN didn’t fly any differently even after all the money that was spent on its rebuild.

Even though Chimo recently has been operating one of those fine, ever-efficient Turbo Otters, JIN proved its value at Chimo last season. We’ll have to see how much longer it lasts. Sad to say, but going into 2015 there’s a lengthening list of Norsemans consigned to “Norseman Limbo”.

Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman includes many details and photos of the famous CF-JIN. You can order this spectacular 2-volume set right here: Volume 1 and Volume 2 (Canadian orders only). US and overseas, contact larry@canavbooks.com.

CF-JIN in a typical over-wintering scene at Red Lake. This is how the planes dedicated to summer tourism spend their off-season. (Larry Milberry)

CF-JIN in a typical over-wintering scene at Red Lake. This is how the planes dedicated to summer tourism spend their off-season. (Larry Milberry)

The bare-bones interior of Norseman JIN as it was the season  Bob Cameron flew it. (Bob Cameron)

The bare-bones interior of Norseman JIN as it was the season Bob Cameron flew it. (Bob Cameron)

The typical Northwestern Ontario country over which JIN has been operating for almost 30 summers. (Bob Cameron)

The typical Northwestern Ontario country over which JIN has been operating for almost 30 summers. (Bob Cameron)

Jim Court flew the Quebec North Shore for decades. In his retirement, one of his hobbies is scratch-building magnificent models. In recent times he crafted this lovely version of CF-JIN for Bob Cameron. (Jim Court)

Jim Court flew the Quebec North Shore for decades. In his retirement, one of his hobbies is scratch-building magnificent models. In recent times he crafted this lovely version of CF-JIN for Bob Cameron. (Jim Court)

On January 31, Jim Court of Sept-Îles added a bit to the JIN story:

Hi, Larry … here’s a little more news about JIN in that hazy period you mention. After Austin Airways, it was with Labrador Mining and Exploration, which had been operating Beaver IUU and Norseman ECG. In 1969 ECG was sold to Baie Comeau Air Service, since there wasn’t enough work for both airplanes.

Within a summer or two, however, business picked up with the drilling at Jerido Lake south of Kuujjuaq. So LM&E bought JIN. However, one day Lloyd Hogan  crashed it into a swamp north of Schefferville after running a tank dry (Lloyd had his own story about this). JIN was salvaged and, years later, got rebuilt and went back to work.

A Norseman Visual Treasure Surfaces

Blog SGAS Norsemans Mochulskyjpg(Click on photo to see it full screen.) There’s a shadowy “archive” that slowly leaks out wonderful new Canadian aviation history. This treasure trove comprises the scrapbooks, albums, log books and correspondence of people who spent their lives in aviation.

Sadly, much of this material still ends in the dump after people leave aviation and fade away. We’ve heard this story all too often. One day a fellow called to report that his brother (my acquaintance) had passed. Before we signed off, I enquired about my old pal’s aviation collection. The caller reported that, since he had to clear his brother’s apartment quickly, he had boxed everything and put it out to the side of the road on garbage day – library, photos, log books, everything. A sad old tale, just pitiful.

Happily, others have family members with an interest, so good material gets passed along for safe keeping. Many have sent me such goodies, knowing that their treasures will be cared for and put to good use. One day the late, great Robert Halford invited me to lunch, showed me his life’s collection of material gathered through decades of publishing Aircraft Magazine and The Canadian Aircraft Operator. Then, he handed the whole collection – box upon box – over to me. Since then, I have used many of Bob’s photos in my ongoing series of Canadian aviation titles.

On another occasion, Harry Mochulsky, a renowned old-time Canadian air engineer, sent me some of his vintage Kodachrome slides. He was done this such stuff, but knew I could use it. I published the first of Harry’s photos in Power: The Pratt and Whitney Canada Story in 1989. Wonderful old material that likely would have ended in the landfill, had Harry not thought of me.

Harry photographed anything with wings — it was a natural activity, part of his trade. Here is one of his lovely old Kodachromes of the Saskatchewan Government Airways Service base at LaRonge about 1955 (click on the photo to see it full screen). What a typical Canadian bush flying scene. Nearest, and resplendent in SGAS black and yellow, is Norseman V CF-BEM, one of the stars in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2. Then is an SGAS Beaver, another Norseman and Beaver and, far on the right, a Cessna 180. Everything is on skis. Note the neat nose hangars and custom wing covers used by SGAS. Can’t you just hear the snow squeaking under your boots and feel that crisp northern Saskatchewan air.

Having spent 1945-53 mainly in the NWT, CF-BEM served the SGAS 1954-64, Next, ‘til 1970 it was mainly a fish hauler for LaRonge Aviation and Canadian Fish Products. Later, came a stint with a tourist lodge, until CF-BEM was sold in the USA in 1979. Last heard of it was a shabby wreck in a Denver scrap yard.

CANAV is always on the lookout for ordinary old photos to bring to light in its next book. If you have any such still lying around, I’m interested, so drop me a note: larry@canavbooks.com.

Thanks for a great year of reading, writing, photographing and sharing aviation. Warmest holiday wishes and all the best in New Year 2015!

Larry Milberry

Hey, girls and boys, are we aviating yet?

Typhoon and Tempest – Reminiscences

Spectacular Typhoon MN235 dressed in 440 Squadron markings for the CASM’s 2014 D-Day remembrance event. (Larry Milberry)

Spectacular Typhoon MN235 dressed in 440 Squadron markings for the CASM’s 2014 D-Day remembrance event. (Larry Milberry)

Typhoon dust jacketPublished in 1989, Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story is the only book dedicated to the heroic young Canadians who fought in these rugged World War II fighters. With some justification, through the postwar years these fellows felt sidelined by historians specializing in the 1939-45 air war. Their gripe was about how history eagerly embraced the Hurricane, Mustang, Spitfire, Thunderbolt, etc., but where were the books about the Typhoon and Tempest? Well, the books (all by UK publishers) were there, but only a handful by comparison. Their authors, the renowned Francis K. Mason, Christopher Shores and Christopher Thomas included, did outstanding work.

In the early 1980s, Hugh A. Halliday, a historian at the Canadian War Museum, became interested in the Typhoon and Tempest and the Canadians who fought and (often) died in them. Hugh developed a manuscript, but could find no publisher with the interest. At some point we talked over his project. It did not take rocket science to decide: “Let’s publish, Hugh”, I impulsively concluded.

And publish we did in 1992. Robin Brass did our graphics and editing, Tri-Graphic in Ottawa did the printing and binding. Our book launch at Canadian Forces Staff School in Toronto was a gala event. The Officers Mess was packed with fellows who had survived tours on Typhoons and Tempests to go on to postwar careers in aviation and many other professions. A bit later we held another book launch on a blustery winter’s night in the 410 Wing (Air Force Association of Canada) mess at Rockcliffe. I was certain that few would brave the slippery highways that night, but they showed up. Even Honourary Colonel André Lord of 438 Squadron attended, buzzing in through the storm in a 438 Kiowa chopper from St. Hubert. His pilots looked ashen, but the old Typhoon warrior was ready to get right into it!

Hugh’s book now was off on its 20+ year career. We earned several glowing reviews from critics who actually knew an important book when they got their hands on one. Where such reviewers have disappeared to, I have no idea. Unless an author is a rock star (preferably not Canadian), there’s no way today to beg, borrow or buy a review for any such a world-class Canadian book as Typhoon and Tempest.

Much great fun was had in post-book launch times. Thanks chiefly to Ed McKay (438 Sqn), a Typhoon and Tempest pilots association came into being and various events were organized. The fellows made Hugh and I their only honourary members. We gathered periodically for lunch in and around Toronto, and in Niagara-on-the-Lake; and each year several also would team up for a Normandy tour. Gradually, however, the fellows began to drop away. Our lunches that often numbered 25 or 30 pilots in the 1990s, by 2013 had dwindled to 5 or 6.

Pilots from the Typhoon and Tempest association at one of their annual get lunch gatherings. This one was held on October 14, 1992 at the Mississauga Golf and Country Club. Standing are Jack Cook (439 Sqn), Ed Flanagan (440), Jim Ruse (439), Jim Beatty (439), Ed McKay (438), Staff Marlatt (247, 439), George Lane (198), Jack Brown (193), John Flintoff (440), Harry Hare (175), Al McMane (182, 274), Murray Hallford (439), John Friedlander (181), Norm Howe (175), Clayton Leigh (182) and Bill Baggs (164). In front are Bill Clifford (439), Frank Johnson (174), Norm Dawber (438) and Rod Davidge (193). (Larry Milberry)

Pilots from the Typhoon and Tempest association at one of our annual lunch gatherings. This one was held on October 14, 1992 at the Mississauga Golf and Country Club. Standing are Jack Cook (439 Sqn), Ed Flanagan (440), Jim Ruse (439), Jim Beatty (439), Ed McKay (438), Staff Marlatt (247, 439), George Lane (198), Jack Brown (193), John Flintoff (440), Harry Hare (175), Al McMane (182, 274), Murray Hallford (439), John Friedlander (181), Norm Howe (175), Clayton Leigh (182) and Bill Baggs (164). In front are Bill Clifford (439), Frank Johnson (174), Norm Dawber (438) and Rod Davidge (193). (Larry Milberry)

Typhoon Dawber

How a couple of these fellows appeared in combat times – typical gung-ho RCAF fighter pilots Norm Dawber (above) of Toronto and John Flintoff (below) of Montreal. (RCAF)

4 Typhoon Flintoff

One of the best post-book launch Typhoon and Tempest events was an evening hosted by Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion at her municipal art gallery. I forget just how this got going, but the late George Broomfield’s war art was on show. His widow, Bambi, was guest of honour, along with a contingent of wartime pilots and “erks” (mechanics and other groundcrew).

F/L George Broomfield’s chalk rendering entitled “Inoculation Parade at Dispersal, 143 Airfield England ‘44”. This piece (the front endpaper of Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story), features 439 Typhoon “5V-D”. (Canadian War Museum)

F/L George Broomfield’s chalk rendering entitled “Inoculation Parade at Dispersal, 143 Airfield England ‘44”. This piece (the front endpaper of Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story), features 439 Typhoon “5V-D”. (Canadian War Museum)

George Broomfield (1906-1992) painted widely as RCAF 143 Wing (where he was a transportation officer) moved across Europe after D-Day. The only RCAF Typhoon wing, 143 comprised 438, 439 and 440 Squadrons. The wing would play a prominent role in the brutal chore of sweeping the Germans from France and the Low Countries, then back across the Rhine to final defeat. As a curator of war art at the Canadian War Museum, Hugh Halliday knew of Broomfield and recommended that we use some of his 143 Wing pieces. This was done, with Bambi’s approval. On the night the exhibition opened, a solid contingent of Typhoon people turned out. Here are a few of the snapshots that I came away with that evening.

Typhoon pilot Bill Baggs (164 Sqn) and his wife Nan enjoy the Broomfield show at the Mississauga Living Arts

Typhoon pilot Bill Baggs (164 Sqn) and his wife Nan enjoy the Broomfield show at the Mississauga Living Arts

Bambi Broomfield and Mayor Hazel McCallion surrounded by Typhoon men Bill Baggs, John McCullough, Norm Howe, George Lane, Jack Brown, Norm Dawber, Dave Davies, John Friedlander and Ed McKay.

Bambi Broomfield and Mayor Hazel McCallion surrounded by Typhoon men Bill Baggs, John McCullough, Norm Howe, George Lane, Jack Brown, Norm Dawber, Dave Davies, John Friedlander and Ed McKay.

Mayor McCallion, Ed McKay, Bambi Broomfield and Norm Dawber.

Mayor McCallion, Ed McKay, Bambi Broomfield and Norm Dawber.

The mayor with Norm Dawber and John McCullough.

The mayor with Norm Dawber and John McCullough.

The RCAF Central Band ready to lead the festivities at Rockcliffe. (all, Larry Milberry unless noted)

The RCAF Central Band ready to lead the festivities at Rockcliffe. (all, Larry Milberry unless noted)

Over the summer of 2014 a few survivors of our Typhoon and Tempest community gathered at the Canada Air and Space Museum in Ottawa. This was a bit of a last fling to honour them and included the world’s one-and-only surviving Typhoon — arrangements had been made to transport it from the RAF Museum at Hendon on loan. The reunion was part of D-Day celebrations held in Ottawa. Attending pilots made their ways to Ottawa from as far away as Victoria, BC. On June 6 they all arrived at the CASM/Rockcliffe aboard the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum DC-3 in D-Day markings.

CASM Typhoon Ceremony CWH DC-3 6-6-2014 colour

The CWH DC-3 arrives at the CASM from nearby Uplands carrying a contingent of WWII Typhoon pilots. Then, below, views of the excitement around the “Dak” as the fellows moved into the crowd.

12 Typhoon - IMG_5922 colour OK?Typhoon For the next year or so you’ll be able to see the awesome Typhoon at the CASM and, later, at the RCAF Memorial Museum in Trenton. Don’t miss your chance, if in the Ottawa or Trenton area. Here are a few other photos of the Ottawa “Typhoon roll-out” on June 6, 2014:

Wally Ward steps down from the CWH Dakota.

Wally Ward steps down from the CWH Dakota.

15 Typhoon - CASM Peter Roper & John Thompson 6-6-2014Peter Roper (a Brit on 56 and 198 Sqns) with John Thompson (245). Peter came in from Montreal, John from Woodbridge.

Ken Hanna (181 Sqn) with Frank Johnson (174) and publisher Larry Milberry. Ken wears the following medals: Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1945 Star, Aircrew Europe Star with Clasp denoting post-D-Day service, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and l’Ordre national du Quebec. Otherwise, he displays an Operation Wing, 181 Sqn crest, a Typhoon pin and (on the right) the Normandy Campaign Medal -- an honour created by a private veteran’s association (people had to purchase it with proof of qualifying service). John’s medals are: 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star (post-D-Day service), Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, and War Medal 1939-45. Both the fellows sport “Typhoon” ties.

Ken Hanna (181 Sqn) with Frank Johnson (174) and publisher Larry Milberry. Both the fellows sport their “Typhoon” ties.

HarryHardy_JohnFriedlander_StephenQuick

Harry Hardy (left, 440 Sqn) from Vancouver greets John Friedlander (181, 247) of Mississauga as CASM director, Stephen Quick, enjoys the goings-on.

Harry Hardy

Harry Hardy in an RCAF wartime PR photo.

 Harry Hardy autographs an admirer’s copy of Hugh Halliday’s renowned book.

Harry Hardy autographs an admirer’s copy of Hugh Halliday’s renowned book.

John Thompson is interviewed by one of the media types covering this grand D-Day/Typhoon event.

John Thompson is interviewed by one of the media types covering this grand D-Day/Typhoon event.

Typhoon pilot Norm Howe from Niagara-on-the-Lake with a CWH Dakota pilot. The “canned” citation to Norm’s DFC notes: “By his keenness and enthusiasm, this officer has set a fine example to the rest of the squadron.” In comparison, Harry Hardy’s DFC citation is detailed, including such comments as “He has attacked many heavily defended targets including bridges, railway sidings, enemy strong points, barges, locomotives, canal locks and V-1 objectives.”

Typhoon pilot Norm Howe from Niagara-on-the-Lake with a CWH Dakota pilot. The “canned” citation to Norm’s DFC notes: “By his keenness and enthusiasm, this officer has set a fine example to the rest of the squadron.” In comparison, Harry Hardy’s DFC citation is detailed, including such comments as “He has attacked many heavily defended targets including bridges, railway sidings, enemy strong points, barges, locomotives, canal locks and V-1 objectives.”

 Ted Smith was excited to see the CASM Typhoon in the markings of his beloved 440 Squadron. Ted arrived this day from his residence at Sunnybrook veterans hospital in Toronto.

Ted Smith was excited to see the Typhoon in the markings of his beloved 440 Squadron. Ted arrived this day from his residence at Sunnybrook veterans hospital in Toronto.

Typhoon - winter scene

Some general scenes with 143 Wing showing typical conditions. It was no piece of cake for anyone in “the Typhoon business”. First, a 440 “Tiffie” awaiting winter “ops” at Eindhoven (the erks had the dirtiest ground jobs of all on 143 Wing).

Typhoon - taxying through the puddles

A Canadian Typhoon heads out on operations from Eindhoven lugging a typical load – a pair of 1000-lb general purpose bombs.

Typhoon - gerry cans I8-P

440 Squadron’s I8-P runs up in a sunnier setting with 5-gallon cans of aviation fuel supplying the foreground. Thanks to Andrew Yee for tweaking some of these photos. (RCAF)

Do you have your copy yet?

Be sure to have Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story on your aviation bookshelf. The final 50 of our 3000 print run are on sale (Canada) at $37.50 + $12.00 Canada Post + $2.47 tax = $51.97. Use PayPal (to larry@canavbooks.com) or mail a cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E 3B6 Canada. US and overseas — CDN$61.00 all-in by PayPal or any cheque on any CDN or US bank (sorry, no plastic). Call Larry if any queries: (416) 698-7559.

Aurora Aviation

B-25 fuel hauler CF-DKU of Aurora Aviation as photographed by Leslie Corness at Edmonton Industrial Airport on July 18, 1973.

In the early 1970s some 435 Squadron C-130 aircrew stationed at CFB Edmonton (Namao) decided to get into business as “Aurora Aviation”, hauling fuel by air to remote mining and construction sites north of Edmonton. Involved were Duke Dawe, Bob Hopper, Harley Koons, Jack Rees and Neil Tobie. Tobie was a USAF officer on exchange with 435. This was a chance for the fellows to get some experience in business, make some money and maybe move up the line in civil aviation (Koons and Rees soon were to leave the air force.

As young RCAF pilots in the early 1950s Koons had flown the B-25 Mitchell, Rees had been an aero engine tech on RCAF B-25s, while flight engineer Dawe had solid experience on such types as the Lancaster, Neptune, Yukon and Norseman. They studied up on the practicalities of fuel hauling and decided that a B-25 would make a suitable and economic tanker. They located a dormant B-25J in New Jersey, one of several used over the years in flight research by Bendix. Ex-USAF 45-8835, this plane had been delivered so late in the war that it saw no service. In October 1945 it had been ferried straight into storage at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, where Bendix acquired it a few months later. As N69345, it began its R&D career at Tedeboro, NJ.

After many useful years, in September 1972 N69345 was sold to Aurora for $20,000. Ferried to Edmonton, it became CF-DKU and work began under Dawe and Rees to convert it for tanking. Several tanks were installed: one in the nose (modified T-33 tip tank), dorsal turret, bombay and rear fuselage. Tankage totalled 1400 Imp. gallons. “DKU” soon was licenced and put to work hauling fuel from Yellowknife to an ice strip at Hope Bay near the Arctic coast, where a silver mine was being developed. Other good business was supplying fuel for the resource railroad being laid by BC Rail from Fort St. James to distant Dease Lake. An airstrip was bulldozed along the route at Mosquito Creek, as construction proceeded. During DKU’s fuel-hauling years, Harley Koons and Jack Rees did most of the flying, assisted by Jeff Hutchison and Al Seitz. Speaking of the BC Rail job, Duke recalled in 2014: “We flew two trips per day from Smithers. I was the AME and co-pilot with Harley Koons.”

DKU twice suffered a collapsed nose gear during operations at Mosquito Creek. Duke recalls: “On checking my log book, the accident site was called Mosque – a gravel strip along the Skeena River.” He and his crew made some interim repairs, then DKU flew to Dawson Creek with the nose gear “down and welded”, then on to St. Albert (near Edmonton). Duke then visited Kamloops, where several ex-RCAF B-25s were rusting. For $500 he acquired the nose from one, then hauled it back to St. Albert to graft on to DKU, which soon went back to work.

The rugged airstrip at Mosquito Creek into which DKU operated from Smithers. (via Duke Dawe)

The rugged airstrip at Mosquito Creek into which DKU operated from Smithers. (via Duke Dawe)

Duke Dawe’s crew makes temporary repairs to DKU. The nose was bashed in and the prop tips bent.

Duke Dawe’s crew makes temporary repairs to DKU. The nose was bashed in and the props bent.

Looking quite unsightly, DKU returns to Edmonton for permanent repairs.

Looking a bit unsightly, DKU returns to Edmonton for permanent repairs.

In 1975 DKU was converted into a water bomber at St. Albert (near Edmonton). Thereafter, it was part of the G&M fleet of three B-25s fighting fires in Wood Buffalo National Park from their base at Fort Smith, NWT. Under chief pilot Jack Rees, G&M held the fire fighting contract for the park until 1991, when Ottawa decided no longer to fight fires in Wood Buffalo. In 1993 CF-DKU was sold back into the US, where it became N5672V. After several years being restored, it flew again in 1999. Today it’s warbird “Betty’s Dream” in California.

“DKU” with its new nose at Edmonton on May 31, 1975. (Leslie Corness)

“DKU” with its new nose at Edmonton on May 31, 1975. (Leslie Corness)

In Scott Thompson’s excellent book B-25 Mitchell in Civil Service, you can read Jack Rees’ personal recollections of his time flying CF-DKU, and his notes comparing the B-25 and A-26 as fire bombers. Scott also covers other Canadian civil B-25s. Copies of his book usually can be found at abebooks.com.

Blog B-25 No.6 Book Cover