Our readers respond to new Norseman book

Another fun book "promo" shot taken by Rich Hulina on July 2.

Another fun book “promo” shot taken by Rich Hulina on July 2. Here’s the book “in the flesh” and this is a real Norseman — C-FFOX, the first one I ever photographed (back in 1959).

Here are a few Norseman Vol.1 tidbits. If in the UK or the EuroZone, you can pick up your copy of Vol.1 (now, also, Vol.2) at Henk Timmers’ Aviation Megastore in Amsterdam. Henk also carries most other CANAV titles and … he also sells on line.

By now you’ll be wondering, “How goes Noorduyn Norseman Vol.2?” Well, this week we’re finishing layout of the final chapter — a spectacular photo gallery finale. At the current rate, I expect to have Vol.2 in the mail to you as soon as the end of October.

Some of our readers have already been checking in, after taking a serious look at Vol.1. As usual, there is some pretty hard-hitting stuff bubbling up. Having edited the Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society for more than 40 years, Bill Wheeler is one of the most highly qualified readers in Canada to review any such book. Bill has a few succinct observations, noting: “While countless articles have been written about the Norseman, a comprehensive book such as this was long overdue.” Bill adds how, “This is a book for browsing… A striking photograph will capture your attention and you will find it impossible not to read the relevant text, which is usually in the form of first-hand accounts by those involved in development of the Norseman or in its operation… Members of the CAHS will find that the Noorduyn Norseman complements the many Norseman accounts published in our Journal. I would recommend this book for any enthusiast’s library.” [Readers should check out cahs.ca. For any true fan of Canada’s great aviation heritage, CAHS membership is a no-brainer. For a small annual fee, you’ll receive four issues of the  Journal. Besides this  enticement, there are local CAHS chapters,  informative chapter newsletters and an annual convention. So hop to it and get your application form filled out.]

Guillaume in the USA remarks: “The Noorduyn book is terrific. I like the weaving of anecdotes with the narrative, and the photographs are very nicely reproduced.” Coming as it does from a hardcore aero-bibliophile, this encourages your beleagueredold publisher to push to the finish line with Volume 2.

Retired airline pilot, Mike, reports having closely gone through Norseman 1: “The Norseman story is compelling and exceedingly well written.  What airplane fan couldn’t love it!  I’m standing by, straining at the chocks, for the next installment. Now I’m sure I should have bought that Norseman in Winnipeg  in  ’83, but I built a house instead.”

Len Halloran from New Brunswick who, with his Eskimo companion, Irkotte, saved pilot Wiggo Norwang and his three passengers following their horrendous Norseman crash on the tundra on January 31, 1958, admits that he really isn’t  all that particularly interested in aviation. However, on going through his copy of Noorduyn Norseman, Len’s key phrase about it all is “out of this world”.  “You sure put a book together, my friend,” is how he finishes.

After a solid flying career that began in November 1935, Norseman No.1 CF-AYO ended very badly, crashing in August 1953 in Ontario's Algonquin Park. Years later the shattered remains were recovered and moved for safe keeping to the Ontario Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. (Larry Milberry)

After a solid flying career that began in November 1935, Norseman No.1 CF-AYO ended very badly, crashing in August 1953 in Ontario’s Algonquin Park. Years later the shattered remains were recovered and moved for safe keeping to the Ontario Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. (Larry Milberry)

Dennis Spragg, who curates the Glenn Miller Archive at the University of Colorado Boulder, also is delighted with his copy: “Your package arrived in the mail this morning safe and sound.  It has perked up an otherwise dreary and wet day! I have gone straight to the AAF section and am pleased to see many of the photos that I, also, have gathered.  Terrific! More importantly , I am very humbled to see your iteration of the AAF service issues … Your honest and clear description is aligned perfectly with my independent study of the AAF files, particularly the VIII AF Service Command where 44-70285 served [that was the Norseman in which Glenn Miller disappeared].  This has made me feel  vindicated in my admiration for the aircraft.  There were problems to be sure if the plane was mishandled by a pilot not paying attention to the manual or the updated pilot’s information… It is very heartening to realize that there are others who are into the details of the Noorduyn Norseman. Thank you so much.”

From Roger Lindsay (one of the UK’s leading aviation history researchers, writers and publishers) come these comments: “I haven’t yet gone very far into the content of Vol.1, but it’s clearly a fascinating subject. Bob Noorduyn’s background was entirely new to me. I didn’t know he came to the UK to work with Sopwith and Armstrong Whitworth. It’s good that you have done him and his achievements justice in this highly meticulous CANAV treatment. Also, what a lovely selection of well-produced old photos that really recreate an atmosphere of the Norseman era.”

Bryan in BC writes:

Magnificent, Larry … your books get better and better!

Mo in Ontario concludes:

An airplane I always wanted to fly, Larry. Looks like another great read. I don’t know how you do it, but keep going!

Bill in Ontario, who flew RCAF Norsemans in the Arctic in the 1940s adds:

Another victory for you, Larry – well done again!

Steinar’s view from Norway?

I have been looking very much forward to your Norseman book. You publish the best aviation history books available! 

From Jim in California, whose recent order included the Norseman, the word is even more effusive:

Man oh man, the books came yesterday. Wow, is all I can say! Not since my teens, when I bought mail order from Beachcomber Books in the great northwest, have a gotten a more exciting book shipment. Methinks that American ‘airplane nuts’ are doing themselves a great disservice if not frequenting CanAv books.

Ellis in Ontario, who grew up around Norsemans, then flew Beavers, etc., passes on his opinion:

Great job! Love the Norseman book. Names and places bring back a lot of nostalgia, as well as the very real exposure to one of the fine creations of Canadian engineering.

In reading the story on p.201-3 of how Gold Belt Air Service Norseman CF-BSG went down in the Quebec bush, Con in Quebec came up with a teeny bit of very local history, but it fits right in! (Gold Belt also had Norseman’s CF-BSE and CF-PAA):

My parents worked for Gold Belt Air Service, running the base at Bachelor Lake, Quebec. “PAA” and “BSE” were the names of their dogs, while their cat was “Roger Roger.” “BSE” was killed by wolves, “PAA” by a bear.

These are my kind of hardcore “analysts”, the real pros. Most of them can boast of distinguished aviation careers, certainly (as the great Don McVicar would say) distinguished reading careers! Each knows and love airplanes and aviation books. Most, if not all, had parents who fostered that essential passion in their children – never be without a book. These aviation bibliophiles get the big picture, know what is required to produce a great book, and deeply understand and appreciate 1) good, hard work  and 2) the synchronicity of solid historical research, serviceable writing and fastidious publishing. “Nitpicking” is not in their vocabulary – they get the big picture.

However … there also are some oddballs. No matter what you publish, they will go after it in their own passionate way. One poor sod recently was fuming to CANAV about what kind of moron (me) would waste his life writing about the world’s crappiest bushplane – the Norseman! Well, we do need a bit of comic relief once in a while, right. Another fellow considers anything written about the Norseman in the RCAF to be a waste of paper and ink. I’d like to see his definition of what constitutes a well-rounded history of whichever airplane. Just leave out entire swathes of history? Duh!

Thanks, good readers – I couldn’t do it without your fabulous support. Any other comments, feel free to send them our way! FYI, Norseman Vol.2 should be at the printer by the end of September, books in 4-5 weeks thereafter. I’ll keep y’all informed. Have a great summer!

Larry Milberry, publisher

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3 responses to “Our readers respond to new Norseman book

  1. Robert W. Arnold

    Hi Larry.
    Looks like another great book from the CanAv dynasty.
    It will be a must have for my collection.
    I will be making a visit shortly to the WCAM book shop to pick up my copy.
    Cheers from Winnipeg
    Robert Arnold.

  2. My parents worked for Goldbelt – ran the base at Bachelor Lake – PAA and BSE were the dogs names the cat was named Roger Roger.
    BSE was killed by wolves PAA by a bear.

  3. Pingback: Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol 2 at the printer! | CANAV Books Blog

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