Here’s Your CANAV Blog for March 30, 2019 … Eric G. Smith … A Bit about Books … “Fighter Pilots and Observers” Updates … Some Grand Citizens of Canadian Aviation … More Beech 18 History … Arizona Boneyard (Thank You Pierre) … Civil Canadair Sabres

Wing Commander Eric G. Smith, Distinguished Flying Cross, United States Air Medal

Eric Smith as a young wartime Mosquito pilot in the UK with 107 Squadron.

One of the very fine men of the RCAF died in Navan (near Ottawa) last week. Eric G. Smith plain and simply was a gem of a Canadian, so please take a moment to read about him below. I was honoured to have met Eric in the early 1980s, when starting research for a history of the Canadair Sabre. Eric could not have been a friendlier and more encouraging fellow. He put up with my phone calls, letters and visits, helping to ensure that the book eventually would be a good one. In all the subsequent years, he and I kept in touch and had many a pleasant time together at such events as the annual BBQs of the Canadian Fighter Pilots Association, Commonwealth Aircrew Reunions, or at one thrash or another at the Gloucester Mess in Ottawa. Here is a summary of this fine gentleman’s life:

These first two photos of Eric appear in Vol.2 of Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace. I’ve left the caption in for this one, so that you can get a sense of what such young Canadians were doing to help shorten the war. If it meant giving your life, then that was part of the deal.

Eric’s obituary: Eric George Smith S/L (Ret’d), loving husband of 65 years to Dinah Rosaleen (Cole), passed away peacefully March 30th, 2019 at the Ottawa General Hospital in his 99th year. He was a loving father to Erin Zintel (Smith) and a kind-hearted father-in-law to Bob Zintel. Eric was a proud and loving Grandpa to Sarah and Kristen Zintel. Eric will be remembered by his many nieces and nephews. Eric was a friend to so many who  remember his sense of humour, storytelling and how he always had time to have a conversation. Predeceased by his parents George and Mary Ann Smith; his brother Sidney (Thelma); sisters Inez McFadden (William), Muriel Greenidge (Herbert), and Mavis Rothwell (Norman). Born January 26th, 1921 in the town of Navan, Ontario, Eric was educated at Navan Continuation School, Vankleek Hill Collegiate and the Ottawa Normal School (Teachers College). Eric taught school in Carlsbad SS#12 when he was 19 years old. In 1940, Eric assisted the Police in apprehending John Miki who murdered police officer Harold Dent in Navan. On July 1st, 1941 Eric enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He reported to the Manning depot, Toronto on August 27th, 1941. He was then transferred to Trenton, Belleville, Portage La Prairie and Camp Borden where he received his flying wings. Eric was commissioned on July 17th, 1942. In April 1945, Eric received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). His citation reads as follows: “This officer has completed a large number of operational sorties. He is 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 enemy lines of communication,  mechanical transportation and rolling stock. He has at all times exhibited great determination, initiative and daring and set an inspiring example by his fine fighting spirit and devotion to duty”

Eric while on secondment in Korea with the USAF in 1952. Then, a page from his log book in that period, when he was flying the F-86 Sabre, battling it out with Chinese air force MiG- 15s.

While he was Chief Flying Instructor with No.1 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit at RCAF Station Chatham, teaching young pilots to fly the F-86, F/L Smith and the OTU Commander, S/L Bill Smith, flew this suitably painted “The Smith Bros” Sabre. These two photos can be found in The Canadair Sabre.

In 1952, Eric began instructing on Sabre F-86 jets and was invited to participate in the Korean War as an exchange pilot with the U.S. Air force going up against Russian MiG’s. In 1952, the U.S. government decorated Eric with their U.S. Air Medal : “Squadron Leader Eric G. Smith distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial combat as a pilot of an F-86 aircraft, 4th Fighter interceptor Wing, Fifth Air Force, flying missions against enemies of the United States, from 10 September 1952 to 14December 1952. While flying combat air patrol and various other type missions deep into enemy territory, many times against a superior number of enemy aircraft, his dedication to duty and demonstrated skill were a magnificent contribution to the successful completion of the assigned mission. As a result of his fortitude and courage on these occasions he has brought great credit upon himself, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Force.” Eric was the Commander of Sqn. No 413 from January 12th, 1959 to February 2nd, 1961. Over the course of Eric’s distinguished military career he was honoured and awarded the following medals: • Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) • 1939-45 Star • France and Germany Star • Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp • Volunteer Service 1939-45 • Korea Medal • Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea • United Nations Korea Medal • CD Canadian Forces Decoration • United States Air Medal • Korean War Veterans Association Medal • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal • French Legion of Honour at the French embassy in Ottawa. In March 1953, while stationed in Chatham New Brunswick, Eric met Dinah Rosaleen Cole. They were married in Toronto on May 16th, 1953. Eric retired from the RCAF in August 1968 and moved to a farm 7 miles south of Kemptville where he and Dinah took up farming. Eric sold real estate for Albert Gale Real Estate from 1971 until his retirement in 1991. In May 2001, Eric and Dinah moved back to his home town of Navan. Eric enjoyed both playing and watching hockey. Eric played hockey for the winning Navan team in the 1946 Bradley Cup in which he scored five goals. Eric’s other favourite sport was curling which he played up until 2015. Eric was a proud member of the RCAF, SPAADS, Branch 632 Canadian Legion, Orleans, 410(William Barker VC) Wing RCAFA, Knights of the Round Table, Masonic Lodge Maitland Chapter, Tunis Shriners, Legion of Honour and the Navan Curling Club. The family would like to thank the Ottawa General 5th floor nurses and doctors and Eric’s family doctor – Dr. Bujold. The family would also like to thank the care at home from SE Health/Access Care and Champlain LHIN. Family and friends are invited to visit at the St. Laurent Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 1200 Ogilvie Road (at Aviation Parkway), Ottawa, on Friday, April 5, 2019 from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. A Funeral Service will take place at St. Mary’s Anglican Church, 3480 Trim Road, Navan, on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 11 am. As an expression of sympathy, donations to St. Mary’s Anglican Church would be greatly appreciated by the family: P.O. Box 71, 3480 Trim Road, Navan, Ontario K4B 1J3. Interac transfers can also be sent at St.Marys.Navan@outlook.com.

Eric and I while visiting the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa for D-Day celebrations on June 6, 2014.

 

On April 19 the Ottawa Citizen followed up this very nice tribute to Eric written by staffer Andrew Duffy:

Navan’s Eric Smith among only Canadians to fly combat missions in both WWII, Korea

Photos of Eric Smith courtesy of his family. jpg

Even among fighter pilots, Eric Smith was a rare breed. The Navan, Ont. wing commander was one of the few Canadians to fly combat missions in the Second World War and Korean War — and receive decorations for both. “He was in an exclusive little club,” said Canadian aviation historian and author Larry Milberry.

Smith received a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for the valour he showed in flying more than 50 low-altitude night fighter missions over France, Belgium Holland and Germany during the Second World War. He received the U.S. Air Medal for “his fortitude and courage” in flying 50 combat missions in the Korean War while on secondment to the U.S. Air Force.

Smith died last month at The Ottawa Hospital from pneumonia. He was 98. “I liked everything about him,” said his widow, Dinah Smith, 87. “He could talk to anybody from the lowest rank to a general.”

Eric George Smith was born on Jan. 26, 1921 in Navan, Ont., about half an hour east of Ottawa. His father was a farmer and a veteran of the First World War. Eric often accompanied him as he delivered milk and cream by horse-drawn wagon to Ottawa. An accomplished student, Smith graduated from teacher’s college, Ottawa Normal School, and took a job at a small schoolhouse in Carlsbad Springs. The Second World War interrupted his fledgling career.

In July 1941, at the age of 20, Smith enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force, determined to be a pilot. At 5’6’’, he narrowly met the height requirement. “If he wasn’t going to be a pilot, he didn’t want to be anything else,” said his daughter, Erin Zintel. Smith had heard his father’s stories about the mud and misery of trench warfare, she said, and he wanted nothing to do with the regular army. He trained in Toronto, Trenton, Belleville and Portage La Prairie before earning his pilot’s wings at Camp Borden. After still more training, Smith became a pilot instructor at No. 2 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Station Uplands — one of 231 sites opened in Canada to train pilots, navigators, gunners and flight engineers for the war.

Smith spent more than a year instructing young pilots before preparing for his own combat duty: He was sent to England in early 1944 to learn the dangerous art of low-level flying. Posted to No. 107 Squadron RAF, Smith flew his first night sortie over occupied France on Aug. 26, 1944. It was his first experience with night fighting. Smith’s logbook — he flew 58 missions — shows that he attacked troop transports, rail yards, warehouses, ammunition dumps, boats, trains, even a V-1 flying bomb, often while under attack by German anti-aircraft units. “Every one of these trips was literally death-defying: low-level Mosquito missions at night looking for anything German that moved,” said Milberry. “A lot of Mosquitos didn’t come back because they flew into wires or trees or towers.”

On the evening of March 5, 1945, Smith was one of only two pilots to get into the air because of dense, low-lying fog. The other pilot died that night in a crash landing. In April 1945, Smith was awarded the DFC with a citation that read: “He has at all times exhibited great determination, initiative and daring, and set an inspiring example by his fine fighting spirit and devotion to duty.” After the war, Smith returned to Canada and enrolled in university. But after a year in school, he decided to return to the air and to the RCAF. In 1952, he accepted a secondment to the U.S. Air Force to fly in the Korean War. Smith flew an F-86 Sabre jet on 50 combat missions, which took him deep into enemy territory and pitted him against Russian-built MiG fighters. Then a squadron leader, he was one of 22 RCAF pilots to fly in Korea. It’s believed he was the last surviving member of that exclusive group. Smith once told an interviewer how the high-flying MiGs would attack from out of the sky. The MiGs could climb to 50,000 feet while the Sabres couldn’t get above 42,000. On one sortie, he said, a MiG dropped right onto his tail. “But he was a very poor shot I guess,” Smith said of his narrow escape.

After returning to Canada, Smith was stationed in Chatham, New Brunswick, where a late season blizzard changed his life. In March 1953, during the storm, he crashed his car into a snow bank on RCAF Station Chatham. Two women went to see if he was OK. Dinah Cole, on her way home from the midnight shift as a fighter control operator, was one of them. “He ploughed into a snowbank right in front of me,” she recalled. “I opened the car door, and I said to him, ‘Can I help you? Can I phone somebody to pull you out?’ “He took a look at me and said, ‘No, but you can keep me company until someone comes, though’ … That was smooth.” The two were married five weeks later. Cole, then 21, had to quit her job since Smith was her senior officer.

Smith went on to serve in the RAF Air Ministry in London and to command RCAF’s Squadron No. 413 at CFB Greenwood. He retired as a wing commander in August 1968 and bought a property in Kemptville so that he could return to farming. He also sold real estate. In May 2001, Smith and his wife moved back to Navan to be closer to their only daughter, Erin, and their grandchildren. Smith continued to curl — it was his favourite sport — and to collect stamps and coins well into his 90s. During his career, Smith flew more than 30 airplanes, including the CF-100 twinjet fighter. “He knew how to fly and he knew his airplanes inside out,” said Milberry. “Like any of the good ones, he could fly anything.”

 

 Fighter Pilots and Observers Updates

Since we launched Fighter Pilots and Observers last October, our readership has been pleased overall with the book. Of course, there are bound to be a few questions and  comments about factual details. WWI aerial warfare historian, Colin Owers, in Australia,  makes these points: For the photo of the L.V.G. on page 39, Colin points out that the airplane shown actually is a modified postwar example: “This is a civilian L.V.G. C.VI post-Armistice. Note the extra person in the elongated cockpit.” Next … for what I call a D.F.W. on p.64, Colin notes: “I am sure that the aircraft in the bottom photo is an L.V.G. C.V.” The same goes for p.106: “This is a D.F.W. C.V.” Thank you for this, Colin. If anyone can add further regarding updates/errata, please drop me a note — larry@canavbooks.com

Why Are People Arguing about Books These Days? It’s Getting a Bit Dumb, Really

There’s always some good chitchat around the circuit about books – those beloved emblems of wisdom, knowledge, art, sheer beauty and pure joy. Books have been with us for millennia. Anyone with half a brain knows that they never can be replaced, no matter how many dunderheads rant and rave against them, try to belittle publishers and authors, and boringly spew that old rot about “everything” being on the web. What a farse, eh, and talk about pitiful!

Here’s a good one from this week’s “Toronto Star” (March 27, 2019). Columnist Heather Mallick is on a bit of a book tear, pointing out how, try as she might, she can’t give her personal books away, not even to the local USED bookseller. She admits, “so I’m bagging them … and dumping them beside the blue bin”. Gads … what sort of books does she read or are they contaminated by the plague? Here at CANAV, used books are beloved, and sales have been a key part of the operation for decades. These sales help greatly in fundraising to finance the next CANAV project. Thank you, devoted readers, who can’t wait to see what’s lately been added to the CANAV used book list. Anyway, Mallick wonders if books have become “a social embarrassment to be disposed of by stealth in the dark of night”. There’s a buried suggestion here that no one with any sense would be caught with a book in the house. She mentions that, apparently, it’s now a big thing with real estate agents and house stagers to get every book out of sight when preparing a house for showing. Books just spoil everything, don’t they. Finally, Mallick drops books and wanders off to chatter about her minimalist lifestyle, the woes of Trump and China, and other far-out stuff.

There’s an revealing thing about this edition of the “Star”. After plodding through the Mallick column, I flipped a few pages only to find a “Wall Street Journal” story about Michelle Obama’s recent life’s story, Becoming, published by Penguin Random House. Sales have topped 10 million copies in 5 months – a world record for this genre through all the centuries of books. So … methinks the book is probably in OK shape for at least a little while longer. Ergo … will you strange people out there please stop bothering us about the book supposedly being “dead”, “useless”, “environmentally hazardous”, etc? I doubt that you could even get Homer Simpson to agree with your moronic campaigning.

Some More Kings of Canadian Aviation

1.1 Blog Molson + Bradford

Speaking of books … probably 98% of recorded Canadian aviation history is found on the printed page. So, if you don’t have a good library of Canadian aviation books, basically, you’re in the dark about the topic. CANAV has published almost 40 titles since 1981. On the whole, these all are about people first, i.e., the folks who designed, built, flew and maintained the  planes. I’ll never live long enough to write about all those who still have not yet been covered. I still have innumerable photos of these fine citizens and every once in a while, like to show you a few on the blog. That gets a little more of the story told. Here are some old photos that recently popped up. First, seen at a CANAV book launch in 1991 are two of the most important figures in Canadian aviation history. On the right is K.M. “Ken” Molson (1916-1996), the most influential man in all of Canadian aviation, when it comes to history.

Having moved to Toronto as a boy from the “Montreal Molsons” (following family tragedies in the 1930s) Ken went on to earn his aeronautical degree at the University of Toronto. His first job was working on the Lysander line at National Steel Car at Toronto’s old Malton airport. There he remained through the CF-100 and CF-105 eras, then went to Ottawa to establish Canada’s national aeronautical collection. As the collection’s first curator, Ken set the tone that you still get when touring it more than half a century later. It all starts with the magnificent collection that Ken passionately assembled of the classic planes that “made” modern Canadian aviation back in the day – the HS-2L, Bellanca, Fairchild, Junkers, then on to the Norseman, Stinson, Beaver, Lockheed 10, DC-3, etc. Ken also laid the foundation for such other museum themes as the great aircraft of WWI. His influence is astounding.

The museum as you see it today is a glorious tribute to Ken Molson, but you’d hardy know it – the man barely (maybe not at all?) is even mentioned in the place, considering that it ought to be named in his honour. Ken also wrote several of the seminal histories of Canadian aviation, books that should be on your shelves. If you don’t have them yet, check under “K.M. Molson” at http://www.abebooks.com, where you can also order your personal copies. Ken became a true supporter of my own efforts. As the years passed, he was gradually keener to supply material I needed for various projects (it took a few years for anyone to be embraced by Ken). Here, Ken is chatting with another King of Canadian Aviation, Robert “Bob” Bradford, who succeeded Ken at the museum. A wartime RCAF pilot and to this day an active aviation artist in his 90s. Bob has an Order of Canada and is a member of Canada‘s Aviation Hall of Fame. There’s finally a move afoot to get Ken inducted in the Hall. Strange that he’s not yet a member, right. The funny thing is that he only recently was nominated and you can get in until someone starts the ball rolling.

1.3 Blog Meaden

Here’s another old snapshot that grabbed my eye lately while flipping through some files. This one dates to our 1990 book launch for The Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945. On the right is William Harold David “Wild Bill” Meaden, DFC, whose story as a Bomber Command pilot is told in the book. On the left is the great aviation artist, Ron Lowry, who painted the front cover art of this best-selling title. Centre is Robert Finlayson, who painted the back cover art (which depicts a scene from Bill’s tour – the night his crew shot down a Ju.88). All three of these fine citizens have left us. Such old pictures are intrinsically important, but sure can be melancholic at the same time.

Last Saturday (March 23) we attended Carl Mills’ funeral. Carl saved so much of our history from the trash heap, as with his magnificent history of the Banshee jet fighter in the RCN. He also did a massive amount of original work unearthing all the details about Canada’s airmen who fought in Korea. In recent years he had been working diligently on the history of 400 Squadron. Included in that task, he built several important scale dioramas (masterpieces of art) and commissioned several wonderful paintings by some of Canada’s top aviation artists. Just a few days earlier, I learned that the great Peter Mossman, the artist who painted the cover art for our first three books, also had died.

CAHS Nostalgia

The Canadian Aviation Historical Society was founded in 1963 to preserve Canada’s aviation heritage. I attended the second ever CAHS meeting and have membership No.11. The society thrived through the decades with chapters across Canada, a magnificent quarterly journal, newsletters and annual conventions. Sad to say, but the CAHS has been up against a lot in recent years. Like many such organizations, it’s hard hit by the aging (and passing) of members, and the difficulty of pulling in new members. Not helping matters, the society was riven by unnecessary internal strife in more recent times. How dumb was that, just when CAHS people should have been extra supportive and out there beating the bushes for members, etc., instead of fomenting civil war in its own ranks. But such things happen when folks lose sight of the big picture and start beating their own irrelevant little drums.

Here’s a historic photo going back to early CAHS days (1960s) in Toronto. In front in this group of CAHS pioneers are Art Marcopoulis, John Ham, Roger Juniper, Charlie Catalano, Bruce Gowans and Doug MacRitchie. Behind are (standing) Ernie Harrison, M.L. “Mac” McIntyre, Jeff Burch, George Morley, Al Martin, Frank Ellis, Elsie Ellis, Terry Waddington, Clint Toms, Bill Wheeler, Don Long (in front Bill) and Boris ZissoffEach of these brought a unique aviation background to the society, and each worked diligently to build the society into a world-class organization. To my knowledge only Bruce, Ernie and Bill are still with us in 2019.

Love the Beech 18? Then This Is for You!

If you scroll back a few pages you’ll see our blog item “The Enduring (Indestructible?) Beech 18”. Well, as any true fan knows, we can never get enough Beech 18 coverage, so this week I’ve put together a series of superb photos taken mainly in the 1970s by the great Toronto-based photographer, Joan Turner. Almost annually, Joan and her brother, Bill, would make a driving tour across Northern Ontario to cover the bush flying scene. Invariably, they would find a good number of Beech 18s. Of course, they could be sure of finding the usual old standards, as they clocked up the miles from Sudbury westward – to Chapleau, Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, around Lake Superior to the Lakehead, then westward to such haunts as Ignace, Fort Frances, Nestor Falls, Sioux Lookout and Red Lake. The whole experience must have been 100% fun. Take a look at these wonderful stock Joan Turner photos.

Some 50 years later, several of the fine old Beechcrafts that Joan covered are still at work, still turning heads with their classic great looks … and still making money, right. As to the captions, you might wonder from where so much Beech 18 trivia possibly could originate. There are many important sources, as any aviation bibliophile will know – just look in the books. Yes … in those actual amazing things made out of paper, ink and glue. Try on Air Transport in Canada, for example, where you will find 100s of references to Canada’s Beech 18s (ATC presently is on sale at CANAV Books at $60 off, check right here: 2 Blog CANAV Booklist Spring_Summer 2019 Then (as mentioned in our earlier Beech 18 item) there’s the world’s top Beech 18 book, Beech 18: A Civil and Military History by Robert Parmerter. By far the single most important website is that of Australian historian, Geoff Goodall. For this goldmine, google “Beech 18 Production List”. There are so many other sources for the keen reader and fan (weenies need not apply, of course). So … strap in good and tight, here comes “The Joan Turner Beech 18 Gallery”. To see a photo full screen, just click on it.

Blog 1 Turner Beech 18 CF-HHI

One of Canada’s Beech 18s that served longest with the same owner was CF-HHI, which had served originally with Florida Airways in 1946. Having joined International Nickel/Canadian Nickel Air Services of Sudbury in 1953, “HHI” served the company in the exploration and executive roles into 1974. The great George Cramer, who had flown Sunderlands through WWII, was chief pilot for most of this Beech’s career. Today, “HHI” is C-GZCE. Painted in RCAF wartime colours, it flies airshows and hops passengers with the Canadian Warplane Heritage of Hamilton. Joan photographed “HHI” at Ramsay Lake, Sudbury on August 8, 1970.

Blog 1A Turner Beech 18 CF-ZYT

Visiting Sudbury on August 5, 1972, Joan photographed this lovely privately-owned Beech “Super 18”, CF-ZYT. Built in 1960, it initially had been N9941R with Wiles-Holloway Inc. of Baton Rouge. It next served a Houston drilling company, then was sold to Don Plaunt of Sudbury, whose business interests ranged from forestry to radio/TV to a mysterious fleet of DC-6s in California. In 1977 “ZYT” was sold in Alaska, becoming N741GB. Soon after, however, it suffered a forced landing and never flew again.

Blog 2 Turner Beech 18 CF-KAK

On September 16, 1977 Joan found George Theriault’s lovely Beech 18 CF-KAK looking photogenic at the dock at George’s tourist base near Foleyet, northeast of Chapleau along Hwy 101. “KAK” is a really historic Beech, having begun in 1944 as RCAF 1418. After serving several other carriers over the decades, in 2019 “KAK” was with Pacific Seaplanes of Nanaimo, BC. In 1994 George Theriault published his personal story all about life and flying in the Canadian Shield. I recommend that you track down a copy — Trespassing in God’s Country: Sixty Years of Flying in Northern Canada. It’s a beauty.

Blog 2A Turner Beech 18 CF-KAK

Much earlier (September 12, 1971) Joan had spotted “KAK” at Toronto YYZ soon after George Theriault acquired it from Keir Air Transport of Edmonton. “KAK” was always noted for its pointed nose — different for the average Beech 18. Retired bush pilot Joe Sinkowski of Red Lake points out that Green Airways’ Beech CF-GNR also had this off-beat mod.

Blog 3 Turner Beech 18 CF-PSU

CF-PSU coasts in to the Air-Dale dock at Sault Ste. Marie on September 2, 1972. “PSU” had begun with the USAAF in 1944. Once surplus, it was purchased in 1956 by the Aircraft Instrument Co. for $6125 and became N8011H. Having served various US owners, it came to Air- Dale in 1963. Serving there reliably until 1979, it migrated to Alaska as N1047B. After many adventures, it ended in Anchorage at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. The museum website notes: “The Beechcraft Model or Twin Beech, as it was better known, first flew on January 15, 1937. It was configured to carry between 6 and 11 passengers. The aircraft was in production for 32 years, with over 9,000 aircraft being built. N1047B arrived in Juneau, Alaska in 1979. After some modifications it was sold to Alaska Coastal Airlines Corporation of Juneau in 1982. On Sept 30, 1987 N1047B was sold to the Alaska Aviation Museum and flown to its current home at the museum. The aircraft … is installed on Edo floats and represents the configuration the aircraft was in while assigned to the 10th Search and Rescue Squadron at Elmendorf AFB during the 1940s.”

Blog 4 Turner Beech 18 CF-AIR-X

That same day at Air-Dale (always a key stop for any spotter touring Northern Ontario), Joan photographed CF-AIR-X. “AIR” had begun in 1952 as RCAF Expeditor 1506, and first appeared on the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register in 1967. By this time it had been consigned to the weeds at Air-Dale. Why it carried an “X” registration isn’t know. However, take a look at the airframe. It looks as if it might comprise two different Beech 18s. Something like that could have required an “X”. The rudder paint job suggests a former Royal Canadian Navy Expeditor. There always are these mysteries for the spotters to research.

 

Blog 5 Turner Beech 18 CF-YQB

Westward we go … another Beech 18 in Joan’s files is CF-YQB. She took this shot on September 27, 1976 at Thunder Bay/Lakehead Airport. “YQB” had been RCAF 1553 from 1952 to 1968, when it was declared surplus. In 1970, O.J. Weiben (Severn Enterprises, Superior Airways, etc.) of Thunder Bay acquired it from Crown Assets Disposal Corp. — the government agency in charge of selling off surplus Canadian military equipment. In this period Beech 18s were selling for as little as $2000. “OJ” operated “YQB” in the bush until selling it in Florida in 1987. There it briefly was N9062Z, then returned to Canada a year later, picking up its former ID. Based at Inuvik near the Arctic coast, it operated under various banners, finally being with Arctic Wings and Rotors. In July 1994 it was reported destroyed by fire.

Blog 6 Turner Beech 18 CF-ZQH

Formerly RCAF 2379, CF-ZQH was another of the many Expeditors acquired cheaply by O.J. Wieben. This Expeditor must have been extra nice, for “OJ” used it as his personal plane from 1971. “ZQH” crashed on October 4, 1981. Retired bush pilot, Joe Sinkowski, recalls: “It was Orville’s personal airplane for getting around from Thunder Bay to places like Pickle or Wiebenville. There were very few whom he trusted to fly it, mainly some of his DC-3 captains. ‘ZQH’ was operated only on wheels. It was sold with the company after Orville passed away. I can’t recall the exact details, but someone put it into the bush somewhere north of Armstrong, when flying from Fort Hope to Thunder Bay.” Joan photographed “ZQH” at Thunder Bay on September 27, 1976.

Blog 7 Turner Beech 18 CF-RVR

Beech 19 CF-RVR of Slate Fall Airways at Sioux Lookout on September 19, 1977. “RVR” began in 1944 as a USAAF UC- 45B, then was delivered under Lend-Lease straight to the Royal Air Force. Next, as fast as the paperwork could be stamped, it was transferred to the RCAF as Expeditor 1402. It served into 1964, then was struck off charge. It was purchased in 1965 via CADC by Manitoba’s Ilford Airways. It next served Slate Falls (1970-84), then other outfits until joining Air Rainbow of Nanaimo, BC in 1991. While taking off from Nanaimo on January 27, 1992, it crashed disastrously, killing seven of the nine people aboard.

Blog 8 Beech 18 CF-DLN

Airplane boneyards are always fascinating places to visit for spotters, photographers, artists and other aviation fans. On September 19, 1977 Joan Turner dropped by this old bushplane “cemetery” in Sioux Lookout. Included in the general mayhem was a Cessna, a very tired old Norseman, and Slate Falls Airways Beech CF-DLN (ex-RCAF 2334 1952-70).

Blog 9 Turner Beech 18 CF-GNR

Joan photographed Green Airways’ famous Beech 18 CF-GNR in its yellow-and-green paint job at Red Lake on September 20, 1977. Formerly RCAF 2318 (1952-65), “GNR” later served Larry Langford’s Vancouver Island Air. In August 2013 it was noted as having logged 18,173 flying hours. In 2014 it was sold. At that time, Larry told me, “Our last Beech C-FGNR went to a collector in Belgium of all places. She flew 50 hours on that trip without a problem. Longest leg was over 8 hours Iceland to Scotland. Owner, Taigh Ramey, and a Canadian pilot, Brad Blois, did the trip. Still the nicest aircraft on floats I have flown.” With this odyssey “GNR” became the only Beech 18 to have flown the North Atlantic on floats. Its registration today is N1XW.

Blog 10 Turner Beech 18 CF-XUO

CF-XUO of Ontario Central Airlines at Red Lake also on September 20, 1977. Ex-RCAF 2329, it served OCA 1974-84, then wandered all over the place from Nunasi-Central Airlines to Green Airways, Pickle Lake Air Service, Kelner Airways, Beaver Air, Ignace Airways and (today) Showalters Fly-In of Ear Falls not far south of Red Lake.

Blog 11 Turner Beech 18 CF-ZNQ

Yet another clapped out ex-RCAF Expeditor (or, “Exploder”, as some called it back in RCAF days), CF-ZNQ had been RCAF 2339. It briefly was listed to Pembina Air Services of Morden, Manitoba in 1972, then joined Harvey Friesen’s Bearskin Airlines in 1974. Joan saw it at Red Lake/Cochenour airport on September 20, 1977. Doesn’t look as if Bearskin ever flew it, but probably just used it for spare parts.

Blog 12 Turner Beech 18 CF-PVC

CF-PVC was another well-known northern Beech 18. As RCAF 1546 (then 5186) it was one of the last RCAF Expeditors in service. From Crown Assets Corp. storage in Saskatoon, in 1971 it was sold to Northern Stores, mainly to serve the 219 nm route between Red Lake and Big Trout Lake, hauling groceries and supplies. Here it is derelict at Red Lake on September 20, 1977. It’s a fair guess that it finally went for pots and pans.

Blog 13 Turner Beech 18 C-FERM

Lake-of-the-Woods country. One of Rusty Myers always-handsome Beech 18s: C-FERM at Fort Frances on September 25, 1976. “ERM” had been RCAF 1487 from 1951 to 1967. Rusty Myers picked it up in ’67, then operated it into the 2000s. It was only the advent of the Cessna Caravan that spelled the end of the classic Beech 18 at Fort Frances. To this day “ERM” sits derelict at Fort Frances alongside “BGO”, “RVL” and “ZRI”.

Blog 13A Turner Beech 18 CF-BGO

Ex-RCAF 2336 CF-BGO at Fort Frances on September 23, 1977. It served Rusty Myers from 1970 until a disastrous accident on July 6, 1996. I don’t know the details other that that “BGO” apparently crashed in the bush. Happily, all 5 aboard survived.

Blog 14 Turner Beech 18 Ft.Frances

An unknown ex-RCAF Expeditor at Fort Frances on September 23, 1977. At this late date, this could only have been a Rusty Myers “hangar queen” used for the occasional spare part. Joan walked around it looking for any sign of former ID, but found nothing. When tallying all the superannuated RCAF Expeditors in Canada, it’s clear just how resourceful/prudent Canada’s (usually tight-fisted) northern air carriers were when it came to an opportunity such a military surplus Beech 18s. Everyone knew how tough and reliable the Expeditor was, and how cheap it was to buy in via Crown Assets Disposal Corporation. Also, by 1968 people knew how a Beech could do just about any ordinary job on floats or skis, whether on the BC coast, in the mountains, across the prairies or anywhere northward all the way to the Beaufort Sea or Ungava. Just for fun, if you check the March 31, 1972 Canadian Civil Aircraft Register you’ll see the following Beech 18 versions listed: AT-11 – 3, C18S – 7, C-45 – 13, D18S – 40, E18s/G18S – 12, ex-RCAF 3N, 3NM and 3T trainers – 62. Total 137. These were based everywhere from Victoria to Prince George, Watson Lake, Calgary, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Winnipeg, Morden, Pine Falls, God’s Lake Narrows, Flin Flon, Fort Frances, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Kenora, Big Trout Lake, Pickle Lake, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Sudbury, Toronto, Ottawa, St. Félicien all the way east to Gaspé and Dartmouth. Truly, the Beech 18 deserves its place as one of Canada’s great general-purpose air transports and bushplanes.

Blog 14A Turner Beech CF-GXD

CF-GXD in Rusty Myers’ “Back 40” at Fort Francis on September 23, 1977. I can’t find much about this Beech 18, other than that it had served Canada’s Department of Transport in the 1950s-60s (it’s still in the standard gray-with-white-and-yellow DoT colours). Its Rusty Myers stint was 1970-76.

Blog 15 Turner Beech 18 CF-TBX

C-FTBX was flying for Canadian Voyageur Airlines when Joan spotted it at the dock at Fort Frances on September 26, 1976. A 1952 Model D18S, it began as N481B with Ohio’s Aetna Freight Lines. Owned these days by veteran bush operator Neil Walston, “TBX” has been dormant in Nestor Falls in recent times, but can quickly go back to work any day some work materializes.

Blog 15A Turner Beech 18 CF-XIR

Joan photographed this attractive Beech at Fort Frances on September 23, 1977. “XIR” initially was a 1944 USAAF UC-45F, then had a civil aviation career in the US. As N963J, for example, it served Four Lakes Aviation in Wisconsin. It came to Canada for Rainy Lake Airways in 1968, serving there into 1984, but subsequently was scrapped. Some tales of “XIR” + such other Beech 18 horror stories (and much, much more of the Norseman, DC-3, 748, etc.) as the 1975 crash of OCA’s Beech “XVF” are extremely well told in Sam Cole’s wonderful book covering a bush pilot’s “life and hard times”, Switches, Instruments, Radios and Rudders. This is another “must read” for anyone with a love for northern aviation. I’ll mail you a copy for $48 all-in. Simply email this amount by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

Blog 16 Turner Beech 18 CF-SRE

A fine view of CF-SRE (ex-RCAF 1486) at Nestor Falls, Ontario on September 25, 1976. Since joining Silver Pine Air Services of Pine Falls, Manitoba in 1970, “SRE” has been hard at work. It’s presently dormant at Selkirk, Manitoba.

Blog 17 Turner Beech 18 C-GEHX

C-GEHX in the colours of Warren Plummer’s famous NWT sport fishing operation, Great Bear Lodge. “EHX” had been RCAF 1512 from 1952 to 1968. It later was listed to Minto Airways of Edmonton. I’m not certain about the lineage thereafter, but Minto seems to have owned the plane to about 1986, leasing it out to such operators as Silver Pine Air Services, Sabourin Lake Airways, North Caribou Flying Services and La Ronge Aviation Services. In this period it might have been on a sub-lease from Silver Pine to Plummer. Joan photographed “EHX” at Pine Falls, Manitoba on September 4, 1982. It’s presently based at Nestor Falls and expected to be at work this season.

Blog 18 Turner Beech 18 CF-JIR

The famous Arthur Fecteau operated various Beech 18s over the years from his base in Senneterre, Quebec. These would have been important connecting his mining industry clients (and others) with Quebec City, Montreal, Noranda-Rouyn, Timmins, etc. Here is his Beech 18 CF-JIR at Amos, Quebec on August 19, 1954. Too bad for us, but Joan didn’t often get into Quebec. Who was covering that vast domain aviation-wise? “JIR” was ex-RCAF/RCN 1449. Arthur operated it from 1974, then sold it to George Theriault. George quickly sold it to a US buyer, Jeno F. Paulucci, a famous Beech operator in Florida. After many years as freighter and tanker N792LP in Florida, it made its way to Minnesota in 2006. Alongside Beech 18 N33JP, it still spends its summers serving the tourist trade from its base near Duluth.

Blog 19 Turner Beech 18 CF-WGP

One of Canada’s great Beech operators was Carl Millard of Toronto. I saw the first of Carl’s “18s” on my earliest visits to Malton airport in 1955 and they still were there right into the 1990s. Joan photographed CF-WGP at Malton/Toronto/YYZ on September 12, 1971. “WGP” had started in 1946 as executive Beech NC44631 with Stanolind Oil & Gas in 1946. Carl acquired it in 1967, then operated it into 1992, when he sold it stateside. As N70WW it was seen derelict in Oregon in the early 2000s. For the story of Millardair you really need a copy of Millard and Me: A Young Man’s Journey from Turbulence to Triumph. Included in this ace of a book is a ton of hardcore and hugely entertaining Beech 18 history for the serious reader, along with much lore of Millardair’s DC-3 and DC-4s. If you’d like a copy, email $36.00 (all-in price) by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com

Blog 20 Turner Beech 18 CF-SIJ

Millardair’s CF-SIJ (ex-RCAF/RCN 2312) at Toronto YYZ on July 5, 1969. Check all the re-skinning recently done, plus the newly-installed cargo door (the RCAF did not have cargo doors on its Expeditors). Carl Millard also beefed up his Beech 18 wings with a wing spar mod developed by his old pal, Dave Saunders, one of Canada’s genius aeronautical engineers (father of the Saunders ST-27, etc.). “SIJ” later had a string of Quebec operators from Airgava of Schefferville to Transfair of Sept- Iles, Para-Vision of St-Jérome and finally (in the 2000s) Aero-Dynamic of Mascouche.

Blog 21 Turner Beech 18 CF-URS

What in the world, eh! This super-modified Beech 18 had been RCAF 2301 in 1952-66, then became CF-URS with Joe Lucas’ Aircraft Industries of St. Jean, Quebec. This company had a dream of offering the old Expeditor –- so many of which were flooding the market –- in a revitalized form powered by Canada’s new PT6 turboprop engine. Although several US-made PT6 Beech 18 would follow, “URS” was the original. First flown with a pair of early PT6A-20s, “URS” was called the Jobmaster. Later, it was converted to Volmar tricycle undercarriage. Aircraft Industries, meanwhile, folded its tent after many years as a Canadian leader in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul. “URL” migrated to the USA in 1970, becoming N10VT. It went into the air cargo business and, oddly, reverted to its tail wheel configuration. The Hamilton Aircraft Co. extended nose was added in 1976. On June 19, 1978 N10VT (operating with Great Western Airlines) had an engine failure and crashed on nearing its destination of Windsor Locks, Connecticut from Albany, NY. The crew survived. The turbo-Beech 18 really was not a huge success. The mod cost a pile of money and the PT6 burned a lot more fuel than a Beech 18 with standard R985 engines. In this Joan Turner photo “URS” is at Hamilton, Ontario on September 7, 1968.

Blog 22 Turner Beech 18 N

Beech 18 N3199 owned by K&S Aircraft of Fort Lauderdale at Cape May, New Jersey on August 23, 1971. N3199 had begun as a wartime USAAF AT-7. The USAF had it remanufactured in 1952, then it became N3198G in 1959 with the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. It may have been converted to a tri-gear Beech in that period. In 1972 it became N106A and disappeared from the US Civil Aircraft Register in 1988. There were not that many tri-gear Beech 18s by comparison with the standard tail draggers. Another visible mod with N3199 is the 3-bladed props.

Blog 22A Turner Beech 18 N87HA

Joan Turner always was happy to photograph anything with wings. This set her apart from (and above) those photographers who would boast “I only shoot Canadian civil” … or US military, or F-16s, or B-52s, or airliners. You get the idea. These latter would never know the enjoyment that Joan got in shooting homebuilts, Aeroncas, Bellancas, Cessna, Pipers, and – if the chance arose – a B-52. So the sight of a US civil Beech 18 was a pure opportunity. While Joan was revelling in Hamilton, Ohio at the Waco convention on June 29, 1980, she happily shot off a few frames on this E18S Super 18. N87HA had begun in 1956 as N3787B with Southern Airways. It joined Hogan Air in 1980, hence the new registration with an “HA”. In 2019 this historic Beech is N8711H in Puerto Rico with Seven Stars Air Cargo. As I was writing this on March 27, FlightAware noted that N8711H that day made a return flight from San Juan to Beef Island, logging 1 hour 16 minutes.

Blog 23 Turner Beech 18 CF-MJY

Another remanufactured wartime Beech, this example served the US military again from 1953. In 1960 it became N3734G then quickly came to Canada and was converted for aerial surveying by Spartan Air Services. I first photographed “MJY” at Kenora on September 6, 1961. Joan’s shot dates to Ottawa International Airport on September 9, 1973. Looks like a derelict Queen Air just beyond. You can see “MJY” today on display at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage in Sault Ste. Marie.

Blog 24 Turner Beech 18 CF-ZYH

Through the 1970s-80s ex-RCAF Expeditors could be spotted from coast to coast. Some went on to useful careers in civil aviation, but many eventually were parted out and scrapped. While visiting Rockcliffe airport in Ottawa on June 4, 1972, Joan spotted CF- ZYH and ‘YI. Here is “ZHY” still bearing RCAF serial 2302. Note the lovely Citroen Ds19 in the background. “ZYH” seems to have done no further flying, but “ZYI” was sold into the US in 1994, becoming N20R. It’s listed as struck off the USCAR in Mission, Texas in 1991.

Blog 25 Turner Beech 18 CF-DTN

Former DoT Beech 18 CF-DTN was in Joe Kohut’s Capital Air Surveys markings when Joan saw it at Carp on August 22, 1970. Earlier, “DTN” had been RCAF 1500 (1951-1959). Following a contract somewhere in Africa, it ended in Scotland and today is G-BKRN over there, painted in US Navy colours (google Beech D-18S G-BKRN Naval Encounter).

Another important Beech 18 operator in Canada was Bradley Air Services of Carp, Ontario – an airport a bit west of Ottawa. Bradley pioneered in the Arctic starting in the 1950s, then built up its fleet to include the DC-3, Twin Otter and HS748 (see Air Transport in Canada). Bradley eventually evolved into today’s First Air of Ottawa. Joan Turner saw CF-TAE at Carp on October 9, 1972. A G18S “Super 18”, “TAE” had come to Canada in 1960 for Transair of Winnipeg. It later served Bradley 1970-85, so would have had enough adventures to fill a book. In 1985 it joined Toronto-based Air 500, a small company set up by former Millardair pilot Dennis Chadala (author of Millardair and Me). Having been parted out due to wear and tear, “TAE” was struck from the CCAR in 1989.

Blog 27 Turner Beech 18 CF-KJI

Being expert in the air photo business, Bradley made good use of the AT-11, the WWII US military bombardier/gunnery/navigation training version of the Beech 18/C-45. It acquired CF-KJI in 1957 and seems to have operated it for about a decade. Joan photographed it derelict at Carp on October 9, 1972.

Blog 28 Turner Beech 18 Boneyard Carp

Even in the 2000s the bones of a Beech 18 sometimes still can be found moldering away. Joan photographed these ruins at Carp on August 22, 1970. You can see how the good old phrase “in the weeds” applies in this case.

Blog 29 Turner Beech 18 CF-AMY

The founder of Bradley Air Services, Russ Bradley, had a partner, Weldy Phipps. Weldy eventually left to compete in the Arctic with Bradley as Atlas Aviation. Not surprisingly, he made good use of the Beech 18. Joan spotted Weldy’s Beech CF-AMY at Ottawa Uplands on August 21, 1970. “AMY” had begun in 1946 as NC44639 with the State of Illinois – it was the governor’s VIP plane. It came to Canada in 1958 for Automotive Products of Rimouski, then joined Atlas at its Resolute Bay base in 1966, from where it operated to about 1974. Last heard of in the 2000s it was stored somewhere around Winnipeg. Norm Avery wrote the Weldy Phipps biography – Whiskey Whiskey Papa. Used copies of this excellent book can be found at http://www.abebooks.com

Arizona Boneyard

Recently, the intrepid Pierre Gillard of Longueuil was wandering around in the great southwestern desert enjoying the natural environment and great food & hospitality to the fullest. But he also was covering (in his usual scrupulous detail) the local aviation scene. Here is just a small sample of what Pierre found to photograph this time. It’s a formerly busy water bomber base, but now more of a boneyard – Gila River airport in Arizona. You’ll be amazed at what old airplanes still can be found, so google here to see it all: http://www.pierregillard.com/blog/index.html

Civilian Canadair Sabres

Blog 30 Sabre + 747 (1)Blog 31 Sabre + L1011

Not long after the RCAF declared its classic Canadair F-86 Sabres surplus in 1968, a large flock of them was bought up by civil operators. Most migrated to California, where they became target drones, chiefly for Flight Systems based at Mojave. Many of these eventually were shot down during “SAM” (surface-to-air-missile) development trials. Others ended with museums and warbird collectors, and even found work as chase planes. Boeing operated both the Canadair Sabre and Canadair T-33 as chase and photo planes during many airliner development programs from the 747 onward. Lockheed used an ex-RCAF Sabre chase plane during the L1011 program. Show here from the CANAV Books Collection is Boeing Sabre Mk.6 N8686F (ex-RCAF 23363) accompanying 747 prototype N7470. If this was on the first flight, the date was February 9, 1969. The 747 is hanging its gear, so the Sabre is using loads of flap plus speed brakes for low-speed control. Both these super-historic airplanes now reside with the Museum of Flight in Seattle. In the second photo, L1011 N31001 is accompanied by Sabre Mk.5 N8544 (ex-RCAF 23241). This was the second L1011 to fly (first flight February 15, 1971). It later served Eastern Airlines, then a list of other global air carriers. It was scrapped in Miami around Y2K. While on some sort of a mission from Mojave on March 23, 1986, N8544 was damaged and subsequently scrapped. Several ex-RCAF Sabres still fly as warbirds in the US. If you’d like an autographed copy of CANAV’s best-selling book, The Canadair Sabre, order using PayPal via larry@canavbooks.com The all-in price with this offer is $46.00. The Canadair Sabre often has been described (all things considered) as the best of the world’s many F-86 Sabre books. I still like what France’s prestigious “Air Fan” journal said about our book when it first appeared. To “Air Fan” The Canadair Sabre was “The aviation literary event of the year”. If you still don’t have a copy, you’ll thank yourself for ordering one today at the price of a few beers.

Some rusty remains of CF-AIR-X still could be found at Air-Dale in 2009. (Ian Macdonald)

Some Beech 18 fans speak up … Readers have been enjoying our blog of late, and quite a few have commented. Here’s some Beech 18 input. Ian Macdonald adds a bit for CF-AIR-X, noting that some parts (a wing section included) still were sitting in the weeds at Air-Dale in 2009. If memory serves Ian correctly, the “X” in the registration possibly had to do with float or ski trials. John Gilbert writes, “Great pics of the Beech 18s, Larry. I see DTN is among them. When I worked at the Aircraft Radio Workshops (Ottawa 1959-61, Toronto 1962-66) we had several Beech 18s used for flight checking. Thanks for the memories (and for all the good books).” Clarke la Prairie adds, “Thanks Larry. That’s a fascinating read on your blog. I followed the link to order the book Whiskey Whiskey Papa. Looking forward to this read about Weldy Phipps.”

Blain Fowler was reminded of his own Beech 18 love affair: “My first airplane ride was as an Air Cadet in 1958. We flew in an Expeditor at CFB Penhold.  Quite a thrill.  I was hooked.  I remember looking down at swathed grain fields and thinking they looked like giant finger prints. About thirty-five years ago, I bought ex RCAF Expeditor 3NM, 2344, out of a farmers field north of Edmonton. It looked similar to 2302/ZHY in your photo collection. It had been given to a composite high school by the air force and was subsequently acquired by the farmer. He had taken very good care of it, although it had not flown or been on the civil register since SOS. Both engines had been run frequently and were in beautiful shape, as was the whole machine. Everything worked, not even a burned out light bulb! Since this was just before I bought the Corsair, I never got around to getting it flying and finally sold it to another Warbird fellow. Had a bit of fun with it while I had it, loading it up with “the boys” occasionally, everyone with a headset, and taxyed it up and down the runway.  Round engine fans are a bit crazy! Loved your blog.”

Paul Manson, who once commanded Canada’s air force, writes to us: “I really enjoyed your latest blog. As always, so much good reading, and superb photos, especially the material on the old Beech 18/C-45/Expeditor. Back in 1962/3, when I was a student on the Specialist Navigator course in Winnipeg (as a token pilot), I did much of my practice flying on the Expeditor as co-pilot. Just checked my log book to see that I had time in the following C-45s: 2334, 1567, 1598, 1461, 2351, 1489 and 1502. Great experience for a jet fighter pilot!”

Wayne MacLellan reports: “Thanks Larry … that brings back memories. We had three Expeditors at Portage-la-Prairie, when I was a T-33 instructor there. As I remember, they were used for senior officer flying proficiency (with a qualified pilot), x-country training (picking up lobster on the east coast, transporting curling teams, etc). When I got my pink slip from Mr. Hellyer I manged to get a Beech rating towards my civilian commercial ticket. When I got to Qantas and they spent three months teaching me how to build and fly a DC-3, my 200 hours of Beech experience came in handy.”

Bob McCaw, one of the many solid Austin Airways people from post-WWII years, mentions two things regarding the blog. First … that Austin didn’t operate the Beech 18. Second … that around the time Stan Deluce’s White River Air Service bought out Austin, White River was operating Beech E18S CF-ANA on a passenger sked between Timmins and Kapuskasing (it’s a hop, skip and a jump between these two centres). Before long, White River became the main contractor in the Ontario Government’s NorOntair, and the Twin Otter took over on all such routes. “ANA” served White River 1970-74, then flew with various operators from Laurentian Air Services of Ottawa to Skycraft of Oshawa. In 1993 it became N5847 with “One Way Ride” in Pennsylvania (let’s go flying with them eh!). Today it’s privately owned in Vacaville, California as N5867. Here’s a photo of “ANA” that I took Toronto YYZ on May 15, 1971. While in Air Niagara colours, it apparently was owned by the Port Colborne Flying Club, which in turn had it on lease to White River. It’s not always easy to figure out such a plane’s historic details. For example, in the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register 1970-74 “ANA” is listed as owned by White River.

After enjoying the blog, Ken Pickford was reminded of his boyhood days watching the planes at Edmonton Municipal Airport — “The Muni”: “Thanks, Larry. When I was growing up in Edmonton in the 1950s I remember the RCAF Expeditors coming and going. I lived within bike riding distance, so so spent a lot of time on the observation deck. One difference in those days is that you could identify most aircraft by engine sound alone. Not possible today! Then, I just had to hear 5 seconds of the engine sound as the aircraft passed my bedroom window a mile or so away on final approach (or after takeoff) and could say with about 90% accuracy whether it was a DC-3, North Star, DC-6, Expeditor, Harvard, etc. The North Star could be a little tricky as there were still a few Lancasters in use by the RCAF on a project involving mapping of the Arctic regions, also several Avro York freighters busy on the DEW Line. When I think of the Beech 18, the famous stunt flying scenes from the 1963 movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” come to mind. In the movie, the famed stunt pilot Frank Tallman piloted a Beech 18 through a billboard and a hangar. Such scenes today would be done using computer-generated imagery, but in 1963 it was the real thing.” (To see what Ken means, check out these film clips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlC1Fboq5vI    and    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsu3hiP1ikQ)

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