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

Blog 1 June 2018

Blog 2 June 2018

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

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

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

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

Blog 3 June 2018

Blog 4 June 2018

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

Blog 5 June 2018

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

Heads up for a Bit of Norseman News

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

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

Blog 6 June 2018

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

Blog 7 June 2018

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

Blog 8 June 2018

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

Blog 9 June 2018

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

Blog 10 June 2018

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


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

  1. Gord is working on DRD’s wings. The rest remains in Red Lake where Red Lake Seaplane and Superior Airways will tackle the restoration jobs. DRD will be off the pylon until the 2019 festival, possibly longer.
    Just to clarify N786921 is N78691 now with Renfro’s Alaskan Adventures.

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